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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Which approach is better: Frequent small updates, or occasional large ones?

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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612 views

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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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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842 views

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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535 views

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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539 views

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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1answer
316 views

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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449 views

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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636 views

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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637 views

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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668 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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990 views

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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340 views

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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1answer
421 views

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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2answers
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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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6answers
909 views

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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638 views

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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790 views

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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632 views

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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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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341 views

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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750 views

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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5answers
823 views

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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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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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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281 views

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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832 views

How would you code an AI engine to allow communication in any programming language?

I developed a two-player iPhone board game. Computer players (AI) can either be local (in the game code) or remote running on a server. In the 2nd case, both client and server code are coded in Lua. ...
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528 views

How to implement “identify item” feature in RPG

In many games there is an approach that you can't use item that hasn't been identified. And usualy you can't identify it by just using it. While this approach simplifies a lot of things it just ...
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1answer
243 views

How long to display each sentence?

When creating a sequence where text advances automatically, is there a metric which will allow me to calculate a reasonable duration to display each "sentence"? My intuition tells me that because of ...
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316 views

Game timings and formats

There are more or less standardized TV-show/movie formats and recommended timings: 1. By the early 1960s, television companies commonly presented half-hour long "comedy" series, or one hour long ...
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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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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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1answer
912 views

what should the size of a flash game in Facebook be

I'm developing a flash game and i want to put it in Facebook ,My question is the Proper maximum size for it. 500 KB 1 MB ??
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476 views

What is realism?

Beyond the obvious something that seams real, realism in games is a hard feature to hit. In some cases, things that are completely impossible in real life are seen as realistic by gamers. For ...
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278 views

What do you do when you are at an impasse in the design phase?

I own a small web dev shop, and in our down time, I plan on having my guys work on a game (I will be paying them anyway, right?). A few buddies and I started talking about this game, and have been ...
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6answers
587 views

Game companies - Involvement of programmers in the design process

This is a question basically to programmers with experience working in game companies. How common is it that game coders participate in the design process of the game? Both gameplay design, and ...
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4answers
567 views

Programmers/Designers: working with artists

Expanding on this question, what information do I need to communicate my artistic goals for a game to a professional artist? Assuming I'm an indie programmer. and I've found or hired an artist to for ...
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Per-Frame Function Calls versus Event Driven Messaging in Game Design

The traditional game design, as I know it, uses polymorphism and virtual functions to update game objects states. In other words, the same set of virtual functions are called in regular(ex: per-frame) ...
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Usage of standardized syntaxes in gaming: yea or nay?

TL;DR: Using CSS as an element in defining rulesets in Civ-style turn-based strategy games: Madness or just plain old insanity? Real question: Designing ruleset parse rules is a pain. Every single ...