Category Archives: blog news

Game Design: Support the Story Experience

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More than once I’ve been asked what advice I have for people who want to design games, and everytime my first piece of advice is make sure everything in the game supports the story/experience.

I have usually just said “story”, but not every game’s main thrust is the story–hence, story/experience. What does that mean? Even if your game is open world exploration or a MOBA fighting game (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) or an FPS, and not an adventure game (as is my wont), there’s still a specific experience you want players to have. A mood, a frame of mind, a social interaction, or whatever else. I would add that I believe most people unconsciously add their own story to games that don’t lay out a specific one (ask me sometime about the narrative I’ve decided to paint when my husband plays World of Tanks!), but even if they don’t add their own, there is still the experience.

That’s what it means in theory. In practice? It means don’t add anything to your game that doesn’t support the story you’re telling. Don’t do it because when you do, you waste your time (and money and resources) and you waste the player’s time on something that is superfluous, unimportant, and may even remove them from the gameplay experience. This is why you should never add a puzzle for the sake of a puzzle. Only add a puzzle if it reinforces a point about the characters, the world, or the plot. If it’s there just to kill time, then that is all you’ve done. Killed time. And with the modern game audience, that’s all it takes for them to move on to the next thing.

My favorite examples of these are, of course, from adventure games. In that community, it gets called “moon logic” a lot, or puzzles where your true goal is to “figure out what the designer was thinking.” At the peak of this in my book are three puzzles from King’s Quest V: cheese in the machine, pie at the yeti, and emeralds in honey.

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621 Followers?! Er, make that 140-something.

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As mentioned in my previous post, I’m going to have a very busy summer. Also, there are apparently 621 people following my blog — holy crap! I know some of you are friends of mine whom I know quite well, but I’m quite curious as to who else is following and reading my stuff.

I’d love to hear from anyone following the blog, so feel free to post a comment and say hi, let me know what you like about the blog, and what you would like to see more of!

UPDATE: I’ve been informed that WordPress is a little tricky about this, and folds all of your Facebook friends into your number of followers when you link the accounts. Still, that leaves about 140+ followers who came here of their own accord and hit follow, so I’d be happy to hear from you folks! (Or any of the Facebook friends as well…I’m nonetheless curious who’s actually coming by and reading.)

Thanks for reading! Enjoy this picture of a corgi!

A Busy Summer

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Despite my hopes & plans to post regularly with a DIY PR and Tropes post every week, I’ve gotten behind. I blame working on making games, and also working on making games! Yes, that’s right, for the summer I am working not only with Phoenix Online, but also with Jane Jensen’s new studio Pinkerton Road as an Assistant Designer! Which is SUPER EXCITING. While it means I’ll not have anything even close to a relaxing, beachy summer, that’s quite alright by me: I’m working on my dreams, loving it, and getting some fantastic experience. Plus, as my dad pointed out, I burn easily anyways.

I’ll endeavor to try and keep up some semi-regular posting, however, on DIY PR, Tropes, and my writing in general. I hope whoever’s reading enjoys!