The Art of Game Design: What Makes a Game Great?


Posted 4 weeks ago in More

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When you dive into the world of a video game, you might marvel at the lifelike graphics, or the narrative may leave a strong impression on you, but it’s unlikely you spend a lot of time thinking about the work that went into the fantasy world you find your self exploring. And that’s ok; developers want players focused on enjoying their games and immersing themselves in the universes they’ve created. We’re not just talking about AAA titles here; casual games also require a lot of work to become great.

For every Candy Crush Saga that’s attracted millions of players, there’s a similar casual game that hasn’t had much of an impact. Why is that? It comes down to game design, that special combination of memorable adventures and balancing elements like mechanics, narrative, visuals, and sound. Whatever the gaming genre, each of these aspects must be present to create a game that’ll keep players engaged from start to finish. In this article, we look at the art of game design and what truly makes a game great.

Player-Centric Design

Without satisfied players, a game will flop, and that’s why game designers always keep players at the forefront of their minds when creating new titles. To do so successfully, they must understand their target audience. We can use online poker as an example of how this process works. Not long ago, poker was a game mostly played in casinos, poker rooms, and during game nights with friends. As high-speed internet spread globally, poker began to transition from being an in-person game to one that is also played online. As a result, it attracted a new audience, and online platforms posted tutorials to learn how to play poker and help players develop their skills.┬áDevelopers had to take into account new and veteran players when designing games to ensure they maintained the feel of traditional poker while introducing new features that enhanced their gameplay online. They also recreated the feel of poker rooms in a digital format, always keeping the player in mind.

This development process is true across gaming genres, with game designers and developers using user feedback and iterative design processes to create games that will best appeal to the public. One way they do this is by gathering feedback from playtesting and community input to find out what areas of a game need improvement and use that information to make changes to improve the game. If you’ve ever played games like Fortnite or Apex Legends, you’ve seen this process at work, as developers constantly update their content and mechanics based on player feedback.

Engaging Mechanics

It’s common sense: if a game isn’t engaging, players aren’t going to spend much time playing it. Gaming companies know this, which is why they invest so much time and money into getting games right the first time around. This process begins with game mechanics, which are the foundational rules and systems that dictate how a game is played; game mechanics determine how players interact with the game world and each other and are one of the most important parts of creating an enjoyable and engaging experience.

One of the reasons why the Super Mario games are so popular is they use intuitive controls that make it easy for players to navigate the different levels, jump over obstacles, and defeat enemies. Since players find they can progress through the game without too much trouble, they leave the game with a sense of satisfaction. For gamers who prefer a more challenging experience, games like Civilization give them the difficulty they crave. To succeed, thoughtful planning, resource management, and decision-making are required, and as a reward, players get to build and sustain a civilization over time.

Compelling Narratives

Just like stories attract people to cities like Dublln, they are also a big part of what attracts and keeps gamers playing video games. When a story is good, a player feels emotionally connected to the characters on the screen and immersed in the action. These narratives also contextualize the player’s actions, making the games more meaningful. The Last of Us is just one example of a game that excels at storytelling. In fact, its storytelling is so good that HBO developed a series based on the video game. Well-developed characters, emotional arcs, and complex storytelling are all keys to creating a successful game.

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