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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249
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57answers
54k views

Game development Blogs [closed]

What are good game development/design blogs to follow? Please one blog per answer (make sure to provide a link) and give a brief summary as to the content of the blog posts. If you can, pick a ...
190
votes
33answers
19k views

How to prevent the “Too awesome to use” syndrome [closed]

When you give the player a rare but powerful item which can only be used once but is never really required to proceed, most players will not use it at all, because they are waiting for the perfect ...
153
votes
34answers
20k views

How do you prevent inflation in a virtual economy?

With your typical MMORPG, players can usually farm the world for raw materials essentially forever. Monsters/mineral veins/etc are usually on some sort of respawn timer, so other than time there ...
90
votes
12answers
59k views

How to develop RPG Damage Formulas?

I'm developing a classical 2d RPG (in a similar vein to final fantasy) and I was wondering if anyone had some advice on how to do damage formulas/links to resources/examples? I'll explain my current ...
85
votes
7answers
4k views

How to deal with (bad?) player suggestions

Every game which builds a community while still being in active development will soon be confronted with players who post suggestions for new features on its forum. Most of these suggestions, however: ...
80
votes
5answers
7k views

What is an optimum failure rate that will keep people coming back to my game?

I'm guessing some research has been done into this but I can't find much information. The question might be a bit too vague in itself as it depends on so many other factors. I'm developing a puzzle ...
80
votes
16answers
67k views

Good game design books? [closed]

I have some experience in creating, however I like to have some well written reference material to help me produce better products. Are there any game design books that are not aimed at a particular ...
79
votes
8answers
5k views

Why do loot drops contain (mostly) useless items?

I was thinking about this and couldn't figure this out. In Diablo you kill enemies and they drop random things. But usually the drops are worthless to you relative to what you already have equipped. ...
77
votes
28answers
17k views

How can I discourage camping while still supporting a “sniper” style of play?

I am trying to add features into a third person shooter that suit a sniper style of play, in addition to the current rush/deathmatch style it was designed for. The current gameplay is similar in style ...
75
votes
12answers
6k views

Why do most 2D platformers start off in the left and progress in the right direction?

In almost all 2D platformers I've played, your avatar always starts off on the left side of the world, and continues on to the right. Is there something designers gain by doing this?
71
votes
9answers
4k views

What is the purpose of having lives?

I think in game design it is incredibly important to ask the question why about everything, especially something that has become so standard as lives. So I am asking, what is the purpose of a game ...
60
votes
2answers
13k views

What is unit slotting?

I was watching the "Devs Play" S01E05 where JP LeBreton sat down with John Romero and played through Doom, while Romero would explain some of the game/level design choices they made. There are loads ...
58
votes
19answers
13k views

Level Design Tips [closed]

What are some pitfalls or pieces of good advice when designing levels or maps for a (presumeably 3D but not necessarily) game?
53
votes
15answers
8k views

Why are character-classes used in game design?

We had a long discussion in my company about character-classes. We are building a skill based game where you will eventually need to select 8 to enter a battle. I am a fan of classless systems, I have ...
53
votes
12answers
77k views

How do you come up with ideas for new games? [closed]

What is the best way in your opinion to find new ideas for games? I want to invent something really new (like Gish, World of Goo, Crayon Physics etc), but I'm having problems coming up with new, ...
52
votes
8answers
6k views

What is the design rationale behind melee retaliations in turn-based games?

I've seen quite a lot of turn-based games in which melee attacks on another unit cause the attacked units to also damage the attacking unit, while ranged attacks do not suffer from this "retaliation" ...
51
votes
8answers
11k views

Why do most video game guns reload without losing unused ammo in the magazine?

If I have picked up 500 spare ammo and I 73/100 bullets in my current gun, why will I end up with 473 spare ammo instead of 400 (losing the 73 unused rounds in the previous magazine)? Is this just to ...
48
votes
8answers
9k views

How can I avoid having many singletons in my game architecture?

I use cocos2d-x game engine for creating games. The engine already uses many singletons. If someone used it, then they should be familiar with some of them: Director SimpleAudioEngine ...
47
votes
1answer
13k views

Decision Tree vs Behavior Tree

What are some differences between Decision Trees and Behavior Trees for AI Game Development? When would you use one over the other?
46
votes
12answers
3k views

Coming up with manageable game ideas as a hobbyist game developer

I'm trying to come up with ideas for games to develop - as per the advice on this question I've started jotting down and brainstorming my ideas as I get them, and it has worked relatively well - I now ...
45
votes
14answers
6k views

1% idea, 99% execution? [closed]

I keep reading in the game development community that the idea of a game is 1% and the execution of the game is 99%. Do you believe that to be true? Not necessary in those percentages.. I always ...
45
votes
10answers
9k views

How do Action RPGs make different weapon types feel unique?

I'm getting feedback on my game which has Action RPG elements (think Diablo, Torchlight, etc.) but you control a team of heroes. When you kill enemies sometimes new weapons will drop. In my game the ...
45
votes
10answers
9k views

How to give the player the feeling of being chased by enemies and force him/her to rush

I have already asked a question about the difficulty progression in my endless runner game: How to make difficulty progression in my endless-runner game? Now I have to decided that it is a good ...
44
votes
13answers
3k views

Creating meaningful and engaging quests

Kill X number of monsters. Gather Y number of items (usually by killing X number of monsters). Deliver this NPC's package to this other NPC who is far far away. etc. Yeah. These quests are ...
43
votes
9answers
3k views

What can make a peaceful game successful? [closed]

Today, the most successful games are action games like FPS, RPG, MMORPG... I'd like to make a peaceful game, but I don't know how to attract people. I can make good graphics, but that's not the main ...
43
votes
10answers
2k views

How to know when your game concept is simply not fun and to stop

I'm a new hobbyist game developer but have yet to come up with something original that I found to be really fun. The hardest part I find about game development is this: You have an idea that in your ...
40
votes
4answers
3k views

How to break the feeling of busywork in a game

I don't know if this topic has been explored before but in a handful of games I've played there comes a point where trying to explore everything, doing sidequests, or even trying to get gear starts ...
40
votes
7answers
3k views

When prototyping, how can I more easily explore game behaviour?

I build indie games myself, but I'm usually out of energy once I've taken a newly developed game to a level where it's possible to play with behavior, so I settle for refinement instead of exploration....
38
votes
4answers
6k views

What is the purpose of a “press start” screen?

A lot of games start with their intros and vendor videos, and then show a "Press Start" screen before the actual main menu. I never quite figures out the purpose of this. Why not go to the main menu ...
37
votes
6answers
2k views

Why use random numbers when it comes to rewards and stats?

Many games use random numbers for things like attack damage, gold loot, or monster type being spawned. It is obvious that random numbers allow you to generate content to make games more re-playable, ...
37
votes
17answers
7k views

Turn-based strategy games where action happens in real-time?

Okay, this idea has come up for the 3rd time in conversation now, and it's been bugging me for years. The idea is a game where all players make decisions/issue orders to units while the game is in a ...
36
votes
15answers
5k views

MMORPG design for time-limited players

I believe that there is a significant market of players who would enjoy the exploration and interaction aspects of MMORPGs, but simply don't have the time for the endless grinding marathons which are ...
36
votes
2answers
3k views

Good game design process for a do-it-all programmer

I am pretty new in game development - on Android platform and thinking about one-man game development. I know I can't professionally do everything such as graphics, sounds, and music but I think I can ...
36
votes
6answers
6k views

What should developers do when they receive conflicting feedback about their game?

I've been working my first mobile game (I have done a lot of web and PC games before). I wanted the idea to be simple but fun. The thing is, I received feedback from friends and family and I have ...
36
votes
9answers
3k views

Is it possible to calculate or mathematically prove if a game is balanced / fair?

This question is not focussed on video games but games in general. I went to a boardgame trade fair yesterday and asked myself if there is a way to calculate the fairness of a game. Sure, some of them ...
35
votes
13answers
6k views

How can I make backtracking interesting?

When a player navigates a space for the first time, it is very interesting: the content is new, the dangers are unknown, paths need to be found. However, various situations force the player to ...
35
votes
4answers
5k views

How to design the attack class in an RPG game?

I am in the planning phase of a small RPG style game. The character will have have a set of attributes, like strength, agility, etc which are represented as integers. The character also will have a ...
34
votes
13answers
2k views

what is the best way to eliminate grinding in games? [closed]

This is a very persistent question in game design, especially in games where you need to hold/retain players like MMO or social games. (On a side note grinding can easily calculated so its easy tool ...
34
votes
3answers
3k views

When should I hard-code data versus load external data?

I'm a thousand or so lines of code into making my own 2D space-based game, which creates networks of randomly generated star systems and populates them with a random selection of planets, stations, ...
32
votes
12answers
2k views

Alternates to scratch damage to solve combat deadlocking

Scratch damage is a game mechanic whereby any successful attack always does some minimal amount of damage. This is often used in subtractive combat systems, where the defense is subtracted directly ...
32
votes
5answers
1k views

How can I make space recognizable and easy to orient in?

I'm thinking about making a game set in space, that would feature very large, procedurally-generated game world (many stars, planets and what have you). However, I foresee a big problem: cosmic space ...
31
votes
5answers
6k views

Use an instance or a class for game resources (wood,iron,gold)

So I'm making a game where you can send ships to locations to sell or buy resources like wood, iron, gold, etc. Now I was wondering how the resources should be created in de game. I came up with 2 ...
31
votes
9answers
4k views

Why should I choose to design a health bar rather than heart containers?

When designing any hero-based game, be it adventure, RPG, brawler, or similar, you eventually need to decide on your health system. Barring any regenerative systems with zero UI (like Call of Duty), ...
31
votes
4answers
1k views

Creating an illusion of stress and danger

I'm currently experimenting with an adventure game setting where at some point the game is quite calm and the player has to solve puzzles and at some point there are enemies or environmental traps. I ...
30
votes
7answers
2k views

Which purpose do armor points serve?

I have seen a mechanic which I call "armor points" in many games: Quake, Counter Strike, etc. Generally, while the player has these armor points, he takes less damage. However, they act in a similar ...
30
votes
6answers
1k views

Does inflating scores make players happier? [closed]

I realize that this will depend on a game-to-game, situation-to-situation basis and that this is not a very technical question, but I remember hearing in a tech podcast a few years ago that inflated ...
29
votes
8answers
5k views

How can the lategame in a 4X game be made more exciting?

I played a lot of different 4X games lately (eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, eXterminate, like the Civilization series, for example), and noticed that most of them suffer from the same problem: As soon as ...
29
votes
2answers
4k views

Random/Procedural vs. Previously Made Level Generation

What the advantages/disadvantages of using random/procedural generation vs. pre-made levels? There seems to be few that I can think of, other than the fact that items may be a problem to distribute ...
28
votes
5answers
9k views

Lag compensation with networked 2D games

I want to make a 2D game that is basically a physics driven sandbox / activity game. There is something I really do not understand though. From research, it seems like updates from the server should ...
28
votes
8answers
4k views

How can I prevent small numerical advantages from dominating the balance of an encounter?

I've been tinkering for some time with a game and I'm having a fair amount of trouble with something: I have two characters, each of whom have attributes (about ten) in a range (between 1 and 20). I ...