Complexitivity: My game’s biggest flaw

September 1, 2012 - 5:23 am

The past week has been great. I managed to gather a lot of really helpful criticisms and suggestions about Complexitivity. This gave me insight of what the game’s strengths are and where it falls short.

The biggest flaw that seems to be keeping the game from being great is its low lasting appeal.

“It’s fun for awhile”

I seem to get this often just like in my previous LD attempt. I always manage to come up with a fun core mechanic but fail to sustain it for a long time. Sure there were those who enjoyed it and played it for a few times, but according to the statistics, some just played it once and then moved on.

As can be seen above, there were those who played the game a couple of times. Some were very skilled that they don’t need more than 4 tries to get the top positions.

From what I learned above, it is the high score that motivates more playthroughs.  I believe, however, that this is not enough as noThere should be something else that should hook the players.

What is my solution? I’m not sure yet. But at least I know now what to improve upon on my post-compo build.

If you still haven’t tried my game, play it here.

Posted under: Complexitivity Game Design

An existing panda runner

April 25, 2012 - 9:06 am

Lately, I have been getting visits from search engines under the keyword “panda run”. It got me a little curious as my game is still in development and is relatively unknown to the non-gamedev world. After a little searching I found out that there is actually an existing game on the Google Play marketplace called “Panda Run“.

Our games are somewhat similar but there are differences. “Panda Run” is clearly derived from “Temple Run” which is evident from the controls and the randomly generated levels. It was something I considered before but decided against as my influences lies more from Crash Bandicoot.

This discovery got me concerned though. Particularly, with the name of my game. Will the similarities in name affect my visibility in the marketplace? There’s a possibility that the other game will be mistaken as mine and might affect its credibility.

I might get a new name before release maybe somewhere along the lines of “Penny and Bobo” named after the main protagonists. Although that too may pose some problems especially on the name-recall front.

Whatever the case, this requires a lot of thought. I shall post my decision here soon. For now, it’s time to finish this game!


My criteria for a good camera rig

March 11, 2012 - 11:46 pm

Since my latest game development project is all about avoiding obstacles, a lot of thought has been placed on the camera view.

My criteria are as follows (arranged from most important to the least):

Balance between visibility, clutter and challenge – The player must be able to see the obstacles up ahead clearly. If the level needs to be challenging, proper care should be observed when designing the level as to not build up visual clutter. Also, we want the player to worry about the immediate obstacles and not all of those preceding it.

Character must be visible from head to toe – The important thing is to let the player see their feet on the ground. This helps in judging the player’s distance from objects and with the timing when jumping. Placing a blob shadow below the player also helps.

Proper camera turning – Since the camera is on-rails, the player must be able to traverse the course without worrying about the camera. It must move smoothly and precisely when it is needed.

The picture below shows the camera turning behavior in normal mode.

As seen above, the player acts as the trigger that rotates the camera.

Next we have the camera behavior on “Reverse Mode”. The old version still uses the player as the trigger but because of this, the camera is already out of the obstacle which makes things confusing.

The new camera behavior fixes this problem by having a turn handler, which triggers the turning keeping the camera in the middle of the track at all times.

Smart camera – Cameras should also not go through walls. It is distracting and doesn’t look right. The camera should be able to navigate it’s way through obstacles making sure that no object is obstructing the camera’s view.

Must not waste any space – Since the game is also targeted towards mobile platforms, every space counts! The first iteration has wasted a lot of space as seen below:

Surroundings must be visible  – Since the surroundings also help with the player experience, they need to be visible as well.

For more information about my latest game, go here.

What makes a game addicting?

June 11, 2010 - 2:24 pm

After completing my very first game, I’ve decided to delve deeper into the world of game development by joining in on the monthly challenges over at Experimental Gameplay. This month’s theme is “Casual Addiction“. It’s a slightly tougher than the previous ones they’ve had, but I’m betting that this would produce some really cool games.

Making an interesting game is easy. It is making it addicting that’s hard. This holds true especially in casual games where the focus is on gameplay over story or eye-candy visuals.

In order for us to know what makes a game truly addicting, I have listed down titles that has garnered success in gluing gamers onto their gaming couches and then studied them piece by piece. I have also sought ideas from other participants at Experimental Gameplay and from different articles from the net regarding this topic.

I found out that in order for a game to be addicting they must contain one or more  of the following:

  • A  simple but challenging gameplay – A good example is Tetris. It’s simple in every way. It’s gameplay, mechanics, and presentation. But it is also quite challenging. It’s simplicity makes it easily accessible, it’s challenging gameplay makes players play more.
  • Satisfying rewards – Players are much more willing to reach a specified goal when rewards are worth it. This can be in the form of power-ups or new stuff for players to play with. Otherwise, they would be less inclined to reach the goals that you have set for them.
  • A level of progress – A game without progress easily runs out of fuel. This can be in terms of progressing the story, or the character, or maybe even the gameplay. This is why MMORPGs are addicting, leveling up your character gives a big sense of progress and accomplishment.
  • Constantly showing and reminding of players about their progress makes them want to play more – This is why there’s always a fan fare whenever you level up, why you get a notification every time you get an achievement, and why the score counter is always visible.
  • Increasing difficulty – Progress makes a gamer even better at the game they are playing so it would be obvious to increase the difficulty to match the player’s newly attained level of skill. Not doing this lessens the challenge, removing the desire for progressing further.
  • A sense of improvement – If a player feels he can be better  if he played more of the game, he will continue on playing. One game that accomplishes this is Canabalt. On the first few tries, you are bound to die. So you play more and become better. The next thing you know you’ve been playing the game for hours trying to improve your score.

Of course, there are more that contribute to a game’s addictiveness. The ones listed above are just some of them.

Do you have more to add? Share them below!

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Posted under: Blog Post Game Design