Game Design is the creation and balancing of game systems and mechanics. Not for programming questions about "design" of features, engines, etc. Not for visual design questions about the looks of assets.

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27
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5answers
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How should I structure a design document?

Should the design document be a continuous line of text, with real sentences, more like a description of the entire game, or should I structure it in simple points? What are the benefits, and are ...
27
votes
2answers
3k views

Is there a way to procedurally generate the history of a world?

I am somewhat intrigued by the diagram found here representing 1800 years of cultural history in an imaginary world some guy created. This sort of thing would seem to have strong applications for ...
26
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20answers
3k views

Are there many games involving the manipulation of water?

I'm in the very, very early brainstorming stages of a game which centers around the manipulation of water and the terrain around it. (i.e., changing the water's state between solid, liquid, gas; ...
26
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6answers
4k views

Designing a game - Where to start? [closed]

A friend of mine and I are planning a game together to work on in our free time. It's not an extensive game, but it's not a simple one either. He's working on the story behind the game while I'm ...
26
votes
8answers
4k views

What makes a good jump scare?

I am working on a game and would like to include a few jump scares. So here is a rather simple question — What makes a good jump scare and when and how should they happen?
26
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6answers
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Have any video game designs used non-uniform random numbers in interesting ways?

A variety of video games use uniformly distributed numbers to decide the outcome of an event, such as a "50% chance to hit" almost always means to check if a random floating point number from 0-1 is ...
25
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8answers
4k views

Why is permadeath essential to a roguelike design?

Roguelikes and roguelike-likes (Spelunky, The Binding of Isaac) tend to share a number of game design elements: Procedurally generated worlds Character growth by way of new abilities and powers ...
25
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7answers
2k views

Does an inventory limit in an MMORPG make sense?

I am currently developing a simple 2d MMORPG. My current focus is the inventory system. I am currently wondering if I should implement a limit on what a player character can carry. Either in form of ...
24
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9answers
2k views

How are boss battles important?

What are the point of boss battles in the current form? For most games, a boss encounter is usually: A puzzle of sorts, where you have to figure out when the boss' weak point is exposed. An enemy ...
24
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7answers
31k views

Algorithm for dynamically calculating a level based on experience points?

One of the struggles I've always had in game development is deciding how to implement experience points attributed to gaining a level. There doesn't seem to be a pattern to gaining a level in many of ...
24
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6answers
2k views

How can I introduce time pressure on the player's decisions?

I am designing a hacking game, in which the player usually can take his time thinking about how to overcome the obstacles that he/she currently faces. However, I decided that besides coming up with ...
23
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11answers
2k views

Approaching the Fun Factor in Game Design

As designers there has to be some ways you've approached establishing the 'fun-factor' in your games. You've likely done something in one game that may very well transfer into the future games you've ...
22
votes
19answers
2k views

What would most games benefit from having? [closed]

I think I've seen "questions" like this on stackoverflow but sorry if I'm overstepping any bounds. Inspired by my recent question and all the nice answers (Checklist for finished game?) I think ...
22
votes
5answers
9k views

How can I come up with a simple diminishing return equation?

There are formulas out there for a diminishing return equation; however, those usually involve exponential. What other ways are there for coming up with such an equation? Take, for example, the ...
22
votes
4answers
2k views

Randomly generated story

I'm developing a game at the moment and I had an idea where the game's story line would randomly generate as the player progressed and their actions would affect the story. Would this be a bad idea ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

A good way to prototype game ideas?

We, as in my 4 person indie group, have an entire whiteboard that looks like graffiti for prototyping our game ideas. We look at it every day and choose which idea draws us in the most when we near ...
21
votes
15answers
3k views

How to discourage micromanagement in strategy games?

When designing a strategy game (or one in a similar genre), how do you avoid having your players focus almost entirely on micromanagement? What should be done and what avoided in gameplay mechanics?
21
votes
4answers
901 views

What kind of gaming experiences does hiding game play stats and formulas cultivate?

There are varying degrees of providing players with information on their characters abilities - including but not limited to showing players their character's stats and how they tie into formulas such ...
21
votes
2answers
1k views

Who kept a blog for a year with a new game idea every day, and where is it?

There's this indie game developer who tried to come up with a new original idea for a game every day for a year - and he put all his thoughts on his website. +200 ideas so far, if I remember correctly....
21
votes
3answers
795 views

How do you choose the right price of items in your games?

I have a game in which the player earns money for wining races and, then, he can spend that money to unlock new levels or to improve his vehicle. Now, I am choosing the money you earn and the prices ...
21
votes
6answers
9k views

Game planning and software design? I feel that UML is not convenient

In my university, they always emphasize and hype about UML design and stuff, in which I feel it is not going to work well with game structure design. Now, I just want a professional advice on how ...
20
votes
18answers
2k views

How can I make the “Strength” attribute more attractive to Wizard/Caster classes in a RPG game? [closed]

I have a game where, among many attributes, is Strength and Constitution. In Ultima Online, Strength was used for hit points. However, I would like to avoid this- as Hit Points are so incredibly ...
20
votes
5answers
4k views

Spreadsheets in Game Design?

There have been two instances from the past two weeks that I've heard from well known successful game developers that they use spreadsheets when designing games. The first being David Whatley in ...
20
votes
6answers
9k views

Enemy Spawning method in a Top-Down Shooter

I'm working on a top-down shooter akin to DoDonPachi, Ikaruga, etc. The camera movement through the world is handled automatically with the player able to move inside of the camera's visible region. ...
19
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7answers
1k views

Fight with creativity burnout [closed]

I have big creativity burnout :/ Do you have any ideas how can I fight with it ??
19
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6answers
2k views

Are hidden stats a good idea? [closed]

I'm thinking of and RPG, FPS or a turn based game (does not really matter), where the player does not know his character(s) exact stats. Of course they exist as random variables of normal distribution ...
19
votes
2answers
1k views

Kickstarter “last minute cold feet”

today I scheduled the publication of a video on Kickstarter requesting approximately $5,000 in order to complete the iPhone shooter game I started 1 year ago after quitting my job. I invested more ...
19
votes
3answers
977 views

Making a game as a tutorial? [closed]

I am in charge of a game development club at my school and I'd like to work on a project this summer that I could use as a tutorial next semester. I have never done anything quite like this so I was ...
18
votes
9answers
1k views

Does it make the game more fun when the user is forced to progress through the levels sequentially rather than letting them pick and play? [closed]

For the first time in my game, I'm stuck with a real design dilemma. I guess that's a good thing ;) I'm building a word puzzle game that has five levels, each with 30 puzzles. Currently, the user ...
18
votes
9answers
1k views

How do/should MMOs handle disconnection during PvP?

In an MMO (not even necessarily an MMORPG) what are some techniques for dealing with players disconnecting in the middle of PvP? In particular - how do you avoid adversely affecting people who get ...
17
votes
4answers
970 views

It is worth adding 'futuristic' features to our game, or should we put our focus elsewhere?

I'm lead programmer in a medium-sized indie game studio. This is our first game as a team. We're working on a futuristic FPS game, with a profit-sharing buisness plan. Anyway, we have some very good ...
17
votes
7answers
3k views

What makes Minecraft so great? [closed]

I believe everybody has heard of Minecraft. It is a deceptively simple game, that was made by a single indie developer, and sold more than 500k copies - despite having no active marketing and being ...
17
votes
3answers
3k views

What is the purpose of adding non-gameplay elements to a game?

As an example, I'll reference scientists in Jetpack Joyride. I do understand there are achievements that involve scientists, that you can kill them or you have a nerd repellent, but I am not asking ...
17
votes
4answers
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Is there any harm in having the main game loop run uncontrolled?

I was wondering if there is any possible harm when my game loop runs as fast as the system allows? I currently have a loop, that, by measuring passed time in nanoseconds, runs the game logic and ...
17
votes
14answers
1k views

Advice for a first year CS major

I'm coming to the end of my first year of CS which has been primarily a Java based course. I'd like to get my feet wet with some game development but I'm not sure where to start. Some people have ...
17
votes
5answers
1k views

I have an “amoeba” game mechanic. Any idea on how to implement it?

Outside of a tetris clone, a crappy 2D top-down shooter, and some messing around with stuff like Unity and Flixel, I realize that I have yet to complete a single, polished, bells-and-whistles game. I ...
17
votes
4answers
739 views

How can I design lots of different attack types that can be combined?

I'm making a top down 2D game and I want to have a lot of different attack types. I'd like to make the attacks very flexible and combine-able the way The Binding of Isaac works. Here's a list of all ...
17
votes
2answers
2k views

Is there a definitive reference on Pinball playfield design?

I'm looking at designing tables for Future Pinball but I'm not sure where to start as I've little background in game design per se. I've played scores of pinball tables over the years so I've a fairly ...
16
votes
6answers
1k views

Handling player logoff and logon in a persistent world without breaking immersion

One problem I've never seen fixed in any persistent online game is how to handle player logon and logoff without the characters just popping in and out of the world. My first thought is to simply ...
16
votes
7answers
1k views

It is worth planning before jumping in the code?

I always thought that planning is important for a game. But i don't know at which point. Some are telling me to code instead of planning but i feel like its still important because when you will be in ...
16
votes
5answers
5k views

How is game development different from other software development? [closed]

For a solid general purpose software developer, what specifically is different about game development, either fundamentally or just differences in degree? I've done toy games like Tic-tac-toe, Tetris,...
16
votes
12answers
1k views

Balance in online PvP games

I don't know if there's an accepted solution to this wicked problem. I'm thinking about the design of an online PvP game. A key aspect of the game, something that is just a given, and not my choice, ...
16
votes
4answers
2k views

Calculating the output of two armies fighting

I am programming a strategic game using Flash. The game works very similar to the famous game "Travian". My problem is as follows: I am trying to make the calculation of the troops lost as a result ...
16
votes
3answers
3k views

Guidance for building a proper in game economy

I'm seriously thinking of building a space opera game which would share some of Machiavelli The Prince aspects regarding commerce: each player will be able to extract/build/buy/sell/donate a wide ...
16
votes
3answers
1k views

Are games designed to be addictive? [closed]

When I was younger I used to play games a lot for hours. I would say I got addicted to them. Now I'm a software developer and was wondering if games are explicitly designed to be addicting? Game ...
15
votes
13answers
1k views

Styles of games that work at low-resolution

I'm taking a class on compilers, and the goal is to write a compiler for Meggy Jr devices (Arduino). The goal is just to make a simple compilers with loops and variables and stuff. Obviously, that's ...
15
votes
6answers
1k views

Should developers make their games easier with new versions?

It seems that the game Angry Birds is becoming gradually easier with new versions. Maybe so people get the illusion of progress and satisfaction of breaking new records? I would like to know if ...
15
votes
6answers
23k views

What does a Game Designer do? what skills do they need? [closed]

I know someone who is thinking about getting into game design, and I wondered, what does the job game designer entail? what tools do you have to learn how to use? what unique skills do you need? what ...
15
votes
7answers
3k views

How can I let new players effectively compete with long-time players?

When new players join my strategy game, they have 3 days of protection from other players attacking them, but that's not enough time to catch up to players who have been playing for longer. How can I ...
15
votes
5answers
4k views

How do they made Pokémon games so flawlessly balanced? [closed]

I find it hard to believe how well balanced the Pokémon games are. Not just within the games, where you'll find amazing balance from the very beginning to the very end, but, surprisingly, even when ...