Game a Week: Week 22



Right off the bat, I want to point out that I started this game on Thursday. I’m pretty excited about the fact that for the first time in a while, I was able to give myself ample time to create and gather feedback on a game – which I then would be able to act on.

The actual idea for this week didn’t really come from anywhere. I’ve been thinking a lot about games that I think are designed well and/or enjoy, and trying to pinpoint exactly why I think that. I’ve been doing this a few different ways – by talking design with other developers, writing analyses of games that I enjoy, and of course truly thinking about the design of my games – and one theme that I kept noticing was that of a heavily skill/practice based game. I like a game that you have to work to be good at – a game where you truly feel rewarded for the time that you put into it.

So, I thought of a game where you fly through various obstacles as close as you can without hitting them. Not the most original idea, but fun to try out!

What went right

I had a lot of time to work on this game. Despite also working on another project this week – the fact that I had literally nothing else going on meant that I could really sit down for some long development sessions. I was able to sketch out a few ideas and really think about what I was doing (instead of hurriedly creating SOMETHING before an arbitrary deadline).

I think the core concept of flying around and avoiding obstacles turned out fairly engaging. It’s a game that you can keep playing and improving at, which was basically my only goal for the feel of this game. The better you do, the harder it gets and there’s a pretty quick restartability to it.

What went wrong

I designed the game so that the closer you get to a bar the more points you receive. In addition, if you achieve the really close score level multiple times in a row, you get a pretty large score multiplier. I was hoping that this would draw players in to being a bit more risky with their movements in order to achieve a high score, however, I found that a lot of people I talked to would simply take the less risky option to stay alive.

What I learned

High score isn’t as strong of a motivator for risky moves as I thought. I should think of more creative ways to force the player to play the way I expect. Also, holy crap is it nice to have real time to work on stuff again.

I also started playing around with recording time lapses of my development. The software I found that can make time-lapse videos on mac takes incredibly blurry shots of the desktop which I’d like to fix, but for now – here’s some videos of me programming and walking around.

2 Responses

  1. I really liked your game this week. I found it quite difficult. One idea for motivating players to fly closer would be to speed up the game when doing well and slow it down to a boring pace when the player is playing to safe. I also find that high score is not that great of a motivator for most players (without a leader board). For a skill based game, the feeling of getting good and challenging yourself to fly closer would work pretty well. Either way, the game is great, looking forward to seeing next week’s!

  2. Interesting feedback on high scores. They can be a motivator but I find just numbers doesn’t really mean much to me.

    Have you thought having the high score as distance, having a time limit to play, and then getting time boosts depending on how close you are to the blocks? That would reward risky play while discouraging playing it safe.

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