Game Design is the practice of creating and balancing systems and the mechanics which the player uses to affect those systems. This is not to be used for programming questions about the "design" of features, engines, etc.

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What should a game have in order to keep humans playing it?

In many entertainment professions there suggestions, loose rules, or general frameworks one follows that appeal to humans in one way or another. For instance, many movies and books follow the ...
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What's a good alternative to colored tiles to account for color blindness?

I have a game with tiles. Each tile is a number, and each number is one of six colors. The color is important to the game play, and I want to make the game available to those who are color blind. ...
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What makes a game a game vs something else like a puzzle or a toy?

Famously the Sims and similar games have been described by some designers as Toys and not "really" games. I'm curious if there is a good answer to what makes something a game. For example many ...
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Algorithm for determining random events

I'm struggling with coming up with an elegant solution to generating random events in the game that I'm working on. Say there are 4 classes of events that can happen, with varying events in those ...
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How detailed and/or complete is/are your game design documents before starting a project?

What I'm wondering is how complete your design documents typically are before beginning the implementation of a project? I'm talking about medium to very small projects with a very small team here ...
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What are the downsides of only explicitly informing the player of *success*?

I'm working on educational software and trying to increase Engagement ("fun"). Clear Progress toward a Goal (one of the tenets of Engagement) would suggest we need to let the player know how they are ...
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Prototyping a puzzle game for solvability of levels

I am in the prototyping phase of making a puzzle game for iOS. The basic premise of what the player has to do is get from point A to point B by navigating through a maze like setup, while moving ...
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Seperation of drawing and logic in games

I'm a developer that's just now starting to mess around with game development. I'm a .Net guy, so I've messed with XNA and am now playing around with Cocos2d for the iPhone. My question really is more ...
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Which approach is better: Frequent small updates, or occasional large ones? [closed]

I recently released the first publicly available free Alpha for my top-down shooter: Dread I'm trying to decide whether a weekly / bi-weekly small update release schedule is better than the more ...
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Balancing game difficulty against player progression

It seems that the current climate of games seems to cater to an obvious progression of player power, whether that means getting a bigger, more explosive gun in Halo, leveling up in an RPG, or ...
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How to properly handle collision in a component-based game?

Trying to wrap my head around the ways to properly handle collision in a game designed around components. I see many examples have some sort of PhysicsComponent that gets added to the entity's list ...
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Dual Currency vs. One Currency in social games economics and monetization

Not a programming question but game development related. I am creating an iPhone online game which I wish to be free-to-play where in-app purchase is used for monetization. The important point is to ...
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Making a character move along a curved slope in a World with gravity

I have seen this game Fancy Pants 2 . And the thing I noticed apart from the physics and beautiful animations is that the character is moving along slopes , even curved slopes. I have little ...
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Power, achievement and affiliation games for psychology research project [closed]

For a psychology research project we're looking for short (ca. 5 minute) single-player games to observe people's basic motivation. We would like to ask people to list games that provide the closest ...
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Is there a gold standard for touch controls in scrolling shoot-em-ups?

Is there currently a "standard" for touch controls in shooters on platforms such as iPhone or Android? I've noticed that many of them enable auto-fire by default, or control the character via direct ...
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Design Document Contents [closed]

What is the minimum content that a game design document should have?
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Other games that employ mechanics like the game “Diplomacy”

I'm doing a little bit of research and I'm hoping you can help me track down any games, other than Diplomacy (online version here), that employ all or some of the mechanics in Diplomacy (rules, short ...
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The need your game fills. Establishing your “hook.”

I am a programmer and have worked on games although never attempted design myself. I am now attempting to design a game myself, working with a modest team of programmers and artists. Game designers ...
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Agency versus story

What are good ways to reconcile a desire to allow the user to have freedom of choice and have their choices affect the world, with the desire to be able to have a story without the player 'ruining' ...
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What to focus on in developing a game demo for an interview?

In other threads on this very website, it has been repeatedly stressed that having a game demo to showcase at a job interview is of paramount importance, so I decided to have a go and write my own ...
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How can I implement a command system for a point-and-click style adventure game?

I'm making a point and click adventure game, and I'm currently trying to figure out the best way to implement a command system. Assume a Monkey Island or Maniac Mansion style interface, with a ...
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What are the pros and cons of skill trees versus skill lists in RPGs? [closed]

What are the pros and cons of skill trees versus flat skill lists in role playing games? In what situations would the usage of one be more appropriate than the other? Here is an example of a ...
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Where to find designers for independent projects? [closed]

Let's say I'm a programmer, I know some artists, we've got a game engine and fun prototype done, and we're ready to enter the indie equivalent of "production". But the game is full of "programmer ...
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Methods for character design

When one begins the character design process, what are good starting points? Are there well known methodologies or systems to help in this process? How does the design process work in game industry, ...
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Bejewelled Next Best jewel selection

Is there a game design technique I can use so that I completely remove 'No more moves left' situations. ie. the game should contain no impossible scenarios. As far as I've guess It all depends on ...
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692 views

Where to hire a scenario writer for a small interactive story game?

I need a scenario for a small dialog-based game / interactive story. The game would be used as an example to be shipped with a middleware tool we're developing. I would like to buy an existing story ...
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Time reverse mechanism in games

I am wondering about how time manipulation mechanisms in games are typically designed. I am particularly interested in time reversing (sort of like in the latest SSX or Prince of Persia). The game ...
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Bomberman clone, how to do bombs?

I'm playing around with a bomberman clone to learn game-developement. So far I've done tiles, movement, collision detection, and item pickup. I also have pseudo bombplacing (just graphics and ...
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What are the common character animation techniques used in tile based hack&slash games?

I wonder what kind of animation techniques are used for creature and character animation in modern hack&slash type tile based games? Keyframing for different actions may be one option. Skeletal ...
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Calculating the “power” of a player in a “Defend Your Castle” type game

I'm a making a "Defend Your Castle" type game, where each player has a castle and must send units to destroy the opponent's castle. It looks like this (and yeah, this is the actual game, not a quick ...
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I have to make a game in 9 days. AHHH!

If you just want to get to the question and skip the background, go to the next paragraph if not, keep reading. O.k., so, I'm 13 and I make games in my spare time. They've never really been shared ...
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What type of document for game design? [closed]

What type of support/format do you use to store and diffuse your game design documentation? Wiki? Doc files? Files in Repository? Shared folder? Google Doc? Please provide pros and cons for each one. ...
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Why should I separate objects from rendering?

Disclamer: I know what an entity system pattern is and I'm not using it. I've read a lot about separating object and rendering. About the fact that the game logic should be independent from the ...
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Representing feelings such as temperature, pain, smell, taste, hunger, and thirst immersively

In a totally immersive, simulation-type role-playing game, the player should not look at bars or numbers to keep track of his or her stats, so another method of showing these stats is needed. For ...
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Keeping user's attention with tycoon style games

I'm developing a tycoon game, and with most games in the "genre", some in game things just take time. Making money, waiting for things to happen, etc. For mobile gaming (ios, android), how do I keep ...
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Simplest most effective way to rank and measure player skill in a multi-player environment?

I know of the Truskill algorithm, it's quite complex but effective. My question is there other algorithms/methods to determine a players skill for accurate measuring for multi-player competitive ...
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Designing for visually impaired gamers

Globally the number of people of all ages visually impaired is estimated to be 285 million, of whom 39 million are blind. — World Health Organisation, 2010. (That's 4.2% and 0.6% of the ...
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What kind of system can I use to balance an RPG?

I'm developing a 2D RPG game, like Zelda. I've developed a first version, for studies. Now, I'd like rewrite it in better way The character has strength, agility, willpower, constitution, dexterity ...
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Calculating Experience Points earned after a battle

I'm developing a simple text battle game and having some issues calculating how much XP should be earned after a battle, theres a few factors that i want to consider: 1) Players should of course earn ...
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100 points between 0-1000 on an increasing scale

Basically, it's for roleplay, I need to generate 100 points along a scale. Level 1 is the starting amount, and is at point 0 on the scale. Level 100 is the highest amount planned at this point, and it ...
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When pausing an XNA Xbox game and showing a “pause menu”, which controller buttons should I use?

I'm making a simple 2D XNA game for Xbox 360. My game can be paused by pressing the Start button on the Xbox controller. While paused, a simple menu pops up with options like Resume and Exit to Title ...
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Java 2D game programming: Different approaches to make a game loop

I am new to Java game programming, but the more I read the more I'm confused, because I've seen several different approaches to make a game loop: 1. The standard approach, that uses the Timer class ...
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Intellectual rights to game concepts

For a client I might be making a small puzzle game about getting a item out of a puzzle. The concept will strongly resemble this game : ...
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Turning a board game idea into a browser based, slow paced gameplay

Suppose I want to create a strategy game with global mutable state shared between all players (think game board). But unlike a board game, I don't want it to be real time action and/or turn-based. ...
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Articles about a plot in an open world

There are plenty of articles about open world game design and writing plots. But have you guys come across articles or blog entries about designing an engaging plot in an open world game? What i mean ...
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How can I scale the number and challenge of enemies in an attack wave as the game progresses?

I'm currently making a defense game where enemies will spawn and attack the player's army. It's similar to a Tower Defense game, except there is only one level. The enemies will keep spawning until ...
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How do I choose the scaling factor of a 3D game world?

I am making a 3D tank game prototype with some physics simulation, am using C++. One of the decisions I need to make is the scale of the game world in relation to reality. For example, I could ...
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How does one measure and reward social aspects in virtual worlds?

Well this sounds like a pretty vague question but please bear with me. I know of how Gaiaonline gave gold to people who participated in forum posts. I'm curious if in theory these could be applied ...
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Realtime multi-player game design principles for Node.js

I've been reading the Valve article on multi-player networking which has been adapted from Yahn Bernier's 2001 paper called Latency Compensating Methods in Client/Server In-game Protocol Design and ...
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2D pathfinding - finding smooth paths

I was trying to implement a simple pathfinding, but the outcome is less satisfactory than what I intended to achieve. The thing is units in games like Starcraft 2 move in all directions whereas units ...