Wednesday, May 17, 2006

For Fun's Sake!

One of the worst mistakes a game studio can make is designing for the studio instead of designing for the player. Nobody wants to play a game that's just a tech-demo or a flashy graphics-laden piece of artwork. One of the ways this problem occurs is when the studio is "ruled" by one of the major departments: designers, artists, or programmers.

When the designers are in charge, they might make demands that are impossible for the programmers and artists to meet, resulting in a game that fails to meet expectations.

When the artists are in charge, the resulting games will be laden with flashy quality graphics, but they will be boring and dumb, suffering from major design problems.

When the programmers are in charge, the results will be games that require micromanaging and are way too hard to play. They will be technology driven and very impressive to be sure, but they won't be any fun.

The solution is to allow all the departments to work together on the same level, as well as requiring programming, art, and design experience from everyone, so they can understand the different points of view.

Another reason studios might not design for the player is because they don't playtest enough, or their playtester groups never change. The studio will get more and more used to their own game during its progress, and they might overlook major flaws in the design. Similarly, when the same group of playtesters is used throughout a game's development, they may get used to different problems and come to accept them.

Whatever the reason, game development studios need to design their games for the players. They need to consider what the player will see and do, not just how the game operates under the hood or whether or not it has impressive graphics.

Can you think of other reasons studios might fail to bring the player into consideration? Click the "comments so far" link below and let us know!

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