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Amateur game design for the technically impaired

Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

Expected Gameplay Mechanics Part 1

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I have decided to discuss common game play mechanics found throughout games. For the most part, I will be speaking in generalities. I will also be discussing commercial as well as Indie games. The purpose of this post is to discuss familiar gameplay mechanics that most games share and to perhaps avoid some of these cliche mistakes in the future.


This most may sound like a bit of a rant, but it stems from a series of recurring themes and gameplay devices that I have noticed in my years of gaming. These things apply to most not all games.

  • Collecting Stuff
  • Difficulty
  • Points
  • Boss Fights
  • Save Points
  • Unlocking Characters in fighting games
  • Ninjas, Pirates, Robots, Zombies

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    Written by brunokruse

    April 1, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Putting Polish on Simple Games

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    Often the charm of an indie game comes from its simplicity. Not having access to huge teams, and running with the occasional necessity of tapering your vision to your abilities can accent the unique gameplay and style of an indie game. An artist is often the most creative when he is forced to act wihap.jpgthin strict limits. This is one of the things I love about indie games. I assume it is a fun challenge for our favorite indie developers to try and find ways to use their limited resources to transcend audience expectations.

    Unfortunately, too often games fall short due to what I expect is an opposing attitude:  the game doesn’t have to look good or work perfectly, after all it’s just an indie game. Lazy developers sometimes think their audience won’t be bothered by minor flaws because the game was free. But overlooking these things makes a huge difference to gamers like me. Many simple games could’ve been a lot better by (believe it or not) making them even simpler.

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    Written by ericharm

    March 31, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Writing effective tutorials for beginners

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    This may seem that it is aimed at the complete opposite end of the spectrum: those who are expert enough developers to write their own guides to coding. And it is. I wish I could come up with an exhaustive list of great ways to recognize a good tutorial, but I recently took on a pretty weighty endeavor and the very lack of good resources is what triggered my desire to express myself.


    The weighty endeavor I speak of? I decided a couple days ago to try and learn as much of the C++ language as I could from online tutorials. I haven’t given up completely, but it seems that I’ll need a face-to-face tutor to help me put it all together. I’ll allow that coding isn’t easy, and that having a teacher (or friend in my case) is perhaps paramount in being able to learn a language in any effective manner. However, the sort of problems I ran into with online tutorials were so inexcusable and so rampant that I can hardly imagine how the writers could conceive of passing their material off to beginners. Most of these tutorials claimed they would be very useful to those with no coding experience at all. Hogwash.

    I did learn a little C++ in the process, and with that I am able to go back and criticize some errors in these guides. And where I became unable to continue, my criticism is simply that. Here is my list of awful mistakes in C++ “beginner” tutorials:

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    Written by ericharm

    February 29, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    The Supreme Importance of Music in Simple Games

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    Mega Man 2All music links in this post, unless otherwise noted, link to, a large database of midis for classic games.

    I have a very simple theory: that the success of most, if not every, popular 8-bit game was heavily dependent on the quality of its music. That is to say, dependent almost exclusively on the music. Mediocre games became great and good ones became legendary. I will support this theory, but also apply it to the development of independent games today.

    I won’t drag this out with too many details, since my original theory isn’t so much the point as its application to the current indie industry (dare I say… indiestry?). Instead, I’ll appeal to your own personal experiences and ask you to participate in a small experiment. Play any of the following games with the sound off, then simply crank it up. Be amazed as the entertainment value increases a hundredfold.

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    Written by justindopiriak

    February 27, 2008 at 8:16 pm

    Posted in Development Process, Opinion

    Tagged with , , ,