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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226
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57answers
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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 ...
169
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33answers
14k 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 ...
133
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30answers
12k 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 ...
71
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8answers
4k 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. ...
71
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6answers
3k 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: ...
67
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11answers
25k 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 ...
66
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16answers
32k 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 ...
65
votes
12answers
4k 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?
65
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9answers
3k 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 ...
61
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5answers
6k 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 ...
56
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19answers
9k 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?
43
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14answers
4k 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 ...
43
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12answers
2k 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 ...
41
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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 ...
41
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8answers
7k 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 ...
39
votes
13answers
2k 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 ...
37
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10answers
6k 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 ...
36
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4answers
2k 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 ...
36
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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 ...
35
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4answers
5k 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 ...
35
votes
12answers
31k 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, ...
34
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, ...
34
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1answer
4k 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?
33
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14answers
3k 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 ...
33
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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 ...
33
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2answers
2k 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 ...
32
votes
16answers
3k 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 ...
31
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3answers
2k 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, ...
31
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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 ...
31
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 ...
30
votes
9answers
2k 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 ...
29
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 ...
29
votes
7answers
1k 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 ...
29
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4answers
3k 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 ...
28
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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 ...
27
votes
9answers
2k 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), ...
26
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
26
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6answers
3k 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 ...
25
votes
8answers
2k views

In-Game Tutorial Decisions

I'm working on a game with confusing mechanics such as energy storage and the coolant temperature. What is the best way to get a new player learned quickly? What are the pros and cons of different ...
25
votes
20answers
2k 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; ...
25
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6answers
1k views

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 ...
24
votes
8answers
3k 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 ...
24
votes
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
votes
4answers
3k views

How to determine the amount of experience needed for leveling up

Related questions under this topic might include: How should I base how much experience points it takes to get to the next level? What factors are involved in this? How do I keep the player not ...
24
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2answers
2k 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 ...
23
votes
9answers
1k 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 ...
23
votes
5answers
3k views

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 ...
23
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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 ...
22
votes
5answers
6k 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 ...
22
votes
13answers
3k views

How to implement “bullet time” in a multiplayer game?

I have never seen such a feature before, but it should provide an interesting gameplay opportunity. So yes, in a multiplayer/real-time environment (imagine FPS), how could I implement a slow ...