Game designers are sometimes tempted to offer players a way to start over again the game while they maintain their first run. This is a great feature if the game offers multiple choices and big decisions processes. That way the players can explore different facets of the game and keeps enjoying the game over and over again.
Of course, if the second run is too close from the first, it’ll just seem a waste of time. And a faint attempt from the game makers to artificially over-extend the game lifetime at the expense of new features, which is often bad received.
Example : EVE Online‘s alternate characters are a great way to explore the rich skill tree of the game.
Counter-examples : TrainStation‘s second station, Simple Hospital‘s second hospital (and third and fourth and fifth), Dungeon Overlord‘s second dungeon…
Disclaimer : I’ve been a video game player for more than 20 years now, and even though I’m not myself a professionnal game designer, I’ve slowly built up over the time a sort of game design philosophy based on my gaming experience. These tips are ordered by arrival in my mind to write them up, there is no priority whatsoever.
Continue reading “Game Design Tips #1 : Far goals are appealing”
I’m a huge fan of late productions of Bullfrog Productions game studio. Dungeon Keeper, Theme Park, Theme Hospital, Populous, Syndicate… You name it, I love it (or I never played it). I was pretty sad when I found out that the studio closed his doors to merge with Electronic Arts.
Since then, I have been longing to play spiritual sequels of those great game. Alas, each and every games inspired from these classics disappointed me (you can read a comparison I wrote in french about Theme Hospital and Hospital Tycoon here). Even when Peter Molyneux was in charge, like for Black and White, I’m never been as thrilled as I was with Bullfrog’s productions.
Then I dived in Facebook “social” games. I found out that most of them don’t meet my quality criterias except for a few like TrainStation, but it didn’t bother me much until I tried three specific games: Simply Hospital, Rollercoaster Mania and Dungeon Overlord. All three share cruel resemblances with old Bullfrog titles and that caught my eye.
Continue reading “How the Bullfrog heritage is being robbed by Facebook Games”
I’ve already ranted about Facebook games, hey, I even made a comparison table between a few Facebook games. But not everything is bad, and TrainStation is one of the few games that truly leverages Facebook “friend” network and stays addictive beyond the first 30 minutes of play.
Continue reading “TrainStation, the game that made me add 200+ unknown people on Facebook as friend”
Facebook has been a social game platform for a few years now. The lack of quality of the first few games to be released on this platform could easily be explained by the youth of the concept. But no more. So here’s a few useful guidelines if you still want to make your Facebook web-browser game suck in 2011.
Template systems based on original template language are pretty popular amongst web tools such as frameworks or CMS (Content Management System). But are they really necessary? Moreover, don’t they slow down the learning curve by adding complexity over complexity?
Continue reading “Debunking the template language hype”