Fun-ness

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Post: #16
Zwilnik Wrote:A lot of ideas though start with "I'd really like to do something along the lines of __insert game you've liked here__ but with explosions".

You've just triggered an idea in my mind with that sentence and it is so out there that I wanted to share it as an example of how one thing leads to another:

"I'd really like to do something along the lines of Scrabble but with explosions"

Scrabble was the first thing that jumped into my mind when thinking of another game.

The process for coming up with a new starting point is just that simple!
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Post: #17
Andrew Sage Wrote:You've just triggered an idea in my mind with that sentence and it is so out there that I wanted to share it as an example of how one thing leads to another:

"I'd really like to do something along the lines of Scrabble but with explosions"

That would rock! BATTLE SCRABBLE!

"That's 26 tons of TNT on a triple explosion score!"
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Post: #18
Joseph Duchesne Wrote:1.. So you have a clean slate, an empty .c file, a brand new project folder or whatever you start with and what do you do, start to finish, summarized heavily, to create a fun game?
I design the entire game on paper first, including storyline, the characters, and every little detail of the gameplay. Absolutely no coding is done until I'm satisfied with the gameplay.
Quote:3. Is there any way to break away from that first 95% of the game is 50% of the work deathtrap?
Well sure, but you'll be stuck with an unpolished game that will be a chore to play for many. The extra 50% of the work comes from thorough beta testing and play/usability testing, plus a lot of polish.
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Post: #19
Zwilnik Wrote:or one that picked random words from a dictionary file.

I did this for unknown just the other day...

Code:
ruby -e 'list = File.read("/usr/share/dict/words").split; puts list[rand(list.size)]'

'course, then you're left wondering what "Strobilomyces" means... and the Mac OS X dictionary with definitions in it doesn't have a clue... Wikipedia knows, though Wink
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Post: #20
A while back I bought A Theory of Fun for Game Design,
nice book, good to flip through now and then and be reminded of
something so obvious about playing games that you miss it most of the time.

I hope you aren't discouraged by the "unfunness" of your games Joseph,
you have been learning to code through the process, sacrifices have to be made
somewhere and now you have made mistakes to learn from, as everyone must.

Matt mentioned the exercises writers use to develop their talents.
I just bought a book full of them The Writer's Idea Book by Jack Heffron.
Its over two hundred pages of homework assignments in writing:
"write about your first experience with death", "write about the waitress", etc etc.

Writing is writing, and its like riding a bike, always wear a helmet.

The first step in designing a great game is planning, and part of that involves
getting the idea out of your head and on paper, database, web, instant message, whatever.

Have a Look at these design documents. Artists are trained to sketch many thumbnails, then roughs,
before even starting their final illustrations.

Game designers likewise should be sketching out game ideas, before they start to crank out the code.
Brainstorming sessions are great for cutting
through the mental fog and getting to the meat of good game ideas.
We had a "crazy game idea" thread ages ago that should be revived with themes weekly for that purpose of pure "BS".

Ok here is the game you should go make today: Game Design Document MadLibs.
You can't go wrong with that, its a tool, its a game, its fun for all ages.
It will eventually help you solve the "fun" problem with a huge database of silliness.

Reminds me of something I recently read, when designing characters think
of verbs not adjectives, what does the character do? Then how they do it.
Relevant since every game must have a player and if you design
for them, then the game should be fun.
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Post: #21
I usually start with the game mechanics and then try to fit in a setting. Though its hard to find a "cool" setting after. Nxt time i'll start with the cool setting Wink

Coolness of the setting accounts for a LOT, especially the first impression. (i.e. you are a 3 legged ninja that has super powers blablabla... is better than match 3 colors)

If you got some awesome mechanics without a cool setting, you still might not give enough emotions to the player.

©h€ck øut µy stuƒƒ åt ragdollsoft.com
New game in development Rubber Ninjas - Mac Games Downloads
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Post: #22
Try discussing crazy ideas with a friend, and expounding on them. It works really well to bounce off ideas and think of fun things.

Alex
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Post: #23
I recently read the book 'Virtual World Design' by Richard Bartle (he designed and coded the first Virtual World, MUD1 and he's still designing games today Smile ); it was a really great book, and even though it is mostly about MMOs, it still has some good general advice about game design and, perhaps more importantly, how player's react and think about things in games.
If you can, join a programming or game design group, even if it is on the internet. I'm still a sophmore in high-school, and I take a web-design class out at a building away from the school. So far this year, all we have done is learn fifteen HTML tags XD, but what I love about being out at the building is all of the nerdy people; they're really fun to hang out with and, even though they don't program (or perhaps especially because they don't program), they help me refine or come up with game ideas. If you can't find a group of people like that to hang out with, try hanging out with a pencil-and-paper or table-top roleplaying group...I guarantee that you will come up with some interesting new rpg game ideas!
Just normal fictional books are also a great source of ideas for me, fantasy in particular Smile
-wyrmmage

Worlds at War (Current Project) - http://www.awkward-games.com/forum/
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Post: #24
wyrmmage Wrote:...is all of the nerdy people; they're really fun to hang out with and, even though they don't program (or perhaps especially because they don't program), they help me refine or come up with game ideas. If you can't find a group of people like that to hang out with, try hanging out with a pencil-and-paper or table-top roleplaying group...I guarantee that you will come up with some interesting new rpg game ideas!
-wyrmmage

There's one major caveat with this, and that is that gamers of all types usually have no idea what makes a good game. It sounds stupid and completely wrong but really, it's true. A lot of gamers have many ideas about what they want to stuff into a game and when it comes down to it, many times it doesn't make for a fun or good game.
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Post: #25
heh, that is certainly true...I have seen enough moronic posts on certain MMORPG's forums saying something to the effect of "d00d, flyng c4rs w05ld b 4w3s0m3!!11!!" under the 'ideas' section >.< Even if a gamer's plan for a game isn't a great one, you can still sometimes salvage the core idea or some other aspect of the game and improve upon that, then it just becomes a matter of sifting out the good ideas from the bad ones and not always listening to your player's ideas, like some games do...*cough*runescape*cough* Wink
-wyrmmage

Worlds at War (Current Project) - http://www.awkward-games.com/forum/
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Post: #26
unknown Wrote:How do you come up with ideas like this?

Here's an idea that, even if it doesn't lead to a game design, makes for some wicked fun brainstorming sessions. I forgot where I found this- either here, Gamasutra, or one of those game design books, but it's too cool not to share (possibly again):

Step 1) Get colored index cards, at least 4 different colors.
Step 2) Each index card will have a different concept written on it, each color being a different category. One category is nouns: "Ninjas", "Robots", "Pirates" or the like. Second category is modifiers: "Big", "Microscopic", "Invisible", "Mutated", whatever you can think of. Third category is settings: examples being Space, Underwater, etc, and fourth category is Game Mechanics: "FPS", "RTS", "2D", "3D", "Sprite-based", "Non-violent", and so on.
Step 3) Write out as many of each category as you can think of: at least 25 of each should work. Only write the terms on one side.
Step 4) Shuffle and deal out 10 cards to yourself, or 10 cards to each person brainstorming.
Step 5) Try to incorporate all 10 cards into a game design.
Step 6) Repeat as many times as desired.

One really cool design that came out of this was:
2D, sprite based platformer, involving microscopic ninjas fighting an alien race inside the human body.

And to get more ideas out of it, all you have to do is add more index cards to your deck. You can make the individual terms as absurd, juvenile, esoteric as you want- tailor it to your own style and what you like in games.

Justin Ficarrotta
http://www.justinfic.com
"It is better to be The Man than to work for The Man." - Alexander Seropian
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Post: #27
unknown Wrote:How do you come up with ideas like this?

History channel Grin. Or something related.

The machine does not run without the coin.
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Post: #28
Justin Brimm Wrote:There's one major caveat with this, and that is that gamers of all types usually have no idea what makes a good game.

Chris Crawford has an interesting discussion about that in his book, Crawford on Game Design (recommended). Many suggestions you get are just plain wrong and don't belong in your game.

Being polite about that can waste a lot of time. I actually save all the suggestions I get, just so I can tell people that I do so, but only 25% of them actually make sense for my game, 50% would make sense but in some other game that I'm not currently writing, and 25% don't make much sense. :-) [Edit: I should point out, that some ideas that didn't make sense to me initially turned out to be useful later on. So I'm not saying I instantly know what makes sense and what doesn't.]

The difficult thing is that you DO need feedback to find out what isn't working in your game. I imagine that this is why the experts often recommend observing users with your game, rather than soliciting feedback. Users might not be able to tell you what is broken, or their suggestions may not make sense, but as you watch them struggle or lose interest you may see what's going on without needing them to come up with their own recommendations for fixing it.

Measure twice, cut once, curse three or four times.
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Post: #29
Fun is the cycle of effort and reward. Let the player expend a little effort and get some staisfaction. The faster that cycle goes, the more fun it can be. It's so hard to concretely define...

A great example of a game that perfected this is Halo. It's 30 seconds of fun over and over again. Approach a group of enemies, and hear their war crys. Spray them with asssault rifle bullets. Hit B and the butt of your rifle smashes an alien skull. Fire the shotgun and send a grunt flying. Toss a sticky grenade and watch it blow up. Then it's all settled down and you feel triumphant.

That sort of experience is extremely satisfying because it couples challenge with reward: you have to defeat the enemies, and when you do it's extremely engaging and satisfying.

Why? The intense music, the crunch of the melee attack, the roar of the guns, the screams of the enemies, the panic of the grenade timer, the urgency of combat in general.

Lots of fun there.
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Post: #30
djork Wrote:Fun is the cycle of effort and reward. Let the player expend a little effort and get some staisfaction. The faster that cycle goes, the more fun it can be. It's so hard to concretely define...

A great example of a game that perfected this is Halo. It's 30 seconds of fun over and over again. Approach a group of enemies, and hear their war crys. Spray them with asssault rifle bullets. Hit B and the butt of your rifle smashes an alien skull. Fire the shotgun and send a grunt flying. Toss a sticky grenade and watch it blow up. Then it's all settled down and you feel triumphant.

That sort of experience is extremely satisfying because it couples challenge with reward: you have to defeat the enemies, and when you do it's extremely engaging and satisfying.

Why? The intense music, the crunch of the melee attack, the roar of the guns, the screams of the enemies, the panic of the grenade timer, the urgency of combat in general.

Lots of fun there.

Blink

You know, when you write it down it sounds so... wrong! Rasp
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