Questions tagged [game-design]

Game Design is the process of deciding the rules and mechanics of a game, and solving balancing problems to achieve the intended play experience. For questions about design of software code, use the Software Engineering or Algorithm tags instead. Likewise, questions about visual design should use Art or Graphics tags.

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250 votes
35 answers
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How to prevent the "Too awesome to use" syndrome?

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 ...
192 votes
35 answers
35k 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 ...
160 votes
25 answers
29k views

How do I get players to say "no" when they are afraid of missing out on sidequests or XP?

In my RPG, I have a companion NPC who is overconfident in his abilities and lacks self-control. I wanted to create a few situations where the player needs to reign them in and tell them "no"....
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136 votes
16 answers
21k views

How to avoid players getting lost in and/or bored by the meta game?

Yesterday, I noticed something that I had never noticed consciously before, but which had "ruined" more or less all games that I have ever played: The longer you play a game, the more you get lost in ...
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135 votes
4 answers
19k views

What are "affordances" in game design?

I keep hearing the word "affordance" in terms of game design, most recently in the movie Indie Game: Life After. I also vaguely remember it from a UX class in undergrad. But I have no idea what it ...
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126 votes
13 answers
138k 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 ...
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  • 1,863
123 votes
20 answers
45k views

Is it unethical to make a game AI that is secretly non-competitive?

In several games the AI is designed to give the player an easy time without their knowledge. This can be having a 0% chance to hit the first time you appear, enemy letting you sneak up on them by not ...
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  • 1,240
118 votes
28 answers
28k views

How to deal with "Scrooge McDucks" in my fixed-currency-amount game?

I'm currently working on a very small scale MMO game planned to support approximately hundred players per server, but we're having trouble with our economical model. For various reasons we have ...
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111 votes
10 answers
8k views

What makes a computer opponent feel alive?

Are there any recommended blogs or whitepapers that talk about making the AI in an RPG game feel more real? (Specifically in turn based combat.) I know something must be out there, but I am only ...
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107 votes
13 answers
29k views

What are the advantages of putting cheat codes into a game?

Some games have cheat codes in them, but I'm not sure I want to add some to mine because I fear they'll ruin the game by making it too easy to beat. What would be the advantages of putting cheat ...
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  • 1,809
98 votes
7 answers
6k 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: ...
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91 votes
16 answers
105k 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 ...
89 votes
8 answers
8k 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. ...
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87 votes
13 answers
11k 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?
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87 votes
5 answers
9k 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 ...
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80 votes
30 answers
19k 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 ...
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76 votes
6 answers
26k views

Why do RPGs let you know how much XP you need to level up?

I was reading this article called Behavioral Game Design, and it says: ...how do we make players maintain a high, consistent rate of activity? ... the answer is a variable ratio schedule, one where ...
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73 votes
10 answers
5k 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 ...
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71 votes
12 answers
141k 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, ...
69 votes
6 answers
17k views

How can I know if my puzzle game is always possible?

I've made a sort of a puzzle game where the goal is to get rid of all of the white tiles. You can try it at the end of the question. Each time, the board is randomly generated with white tiles in ...
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  • 743
68 votes
15 answers
12k views

How might I eliminate asymmetrical gameplay caused by turn order?

I'm designing a turn based game in which players profit from buying, transporting, and selling resources. Each turn, the map has to produce a certain number of resources and different locations, and ...
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  • 723
68 votes
2 answers
16k 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 ...
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  • 3,318
65 votes
12 answers
10k views

Having the player face themselves after the mid-game

I am writing a game, in the vein of a jRPG, in which you begin playing as the main villain. You don't know it. You think you are playing the hero and the more successful you are and the stronger you ...
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  • 839
61 votes
19 answers
17k 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?
61 votes
17 answers
12k 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 ...
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59 votes
14 answers
18k views

Why do some games persistently have mostly one viable strategy, while others can have many?

The interesting thing in League of Legends is the existence of the "meta", which, for the purpose of this question, can be defined as the One Strategy That Rules Them All. The meta shifts between ...
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  • 867
59 votes
8 answers
22k 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 ...
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  • 701
57 votes
8 answers
18k 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: ...
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  • 1,317
55 votes
8 answers
8k 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" ...
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  • 1,242
52 votes
7 answers
14k views

How do we convey scale in 2D games?

What methods can one use to let the player experience the size of a game world in a 2D game, be it Isometric or Orthogonal? When playing an open-world game in 3D, the player often is able to rotate ...
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  • 623
51 votes
4 answers
16k views

Why do games have hats?

I noticed that a lot of games tend to have hats. I was wondering why? Is it some sort of tradition to add hats to your games? What makes this trend so popular in game development?
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  • 8,279
51 votes
14 answers
10k 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 ...
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51 votes
10 answers
13k 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 ...
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50 votes
6 answers
15k views

You've killed the enemy you needed to get across. Now you have to die and retry?

I am designing enemies for a platformer, and want to have enemies which the player utilises to get through levels. I like the idea of jumping on enemies to platform across gaps, but it's problematic ...
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  • 1,809
50 votes
10 answers
9k views

Dungeons in a 3d space game

I'm in the process of creating a prototype for a 3d space game (3rd person). My question is this: How can a 3d space game have Zelda-like (or similar) dungeons in open space? Problems: Space has no ...
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  • 552
49 votes
14 answers
8k 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 ...
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  • 754
49 votes
17 answers
11k views

How to create an RTS gameplay experience where all phases of a match are equally engaging without spikes in required concentration?

In games such as Starcraft Brood War, players at the start of the game don't have as much to do compared to later on when they have to manage multiple battles and multiple bases at once. This means at ...
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49 votes
10 answers
10k 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 ...
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49 votes
12 answers
4k 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 ...
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  • 1,366
48 votes
7 answers
5k 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....
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47 votes
11 answers
12k views

How do I discourage "loot from party members who are about to leave" behavior?

In my RPG, I have companion characters that can potentially leave the party. A behavior I have witnessed among testers is something that I think many RPGs deal with, namely that players will strip the ...
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  • 1,937
47 votes
5 answers
14k views

How much "real life" immersion is good?

I've been making a visual novel game where the Player Character can get hungry, thirsty, has energy and also needs to go to the toilet, has sanity, has cleanliness, has life, has money, has a ...
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  • 1,382
47 votes
11 answers
17k views

If I design a game that has both guns and melee weapons, how do I make them equally viable?

I have a plan to make a 2D action platformer game, and I've started prototyping a bit in Godot 2D. My intention was to make the character fight with both guns and melee weapons, with gunplay like the ...
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47 votes
10 answers
4k 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 ...
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  • 471
46 votes
10 answers
11k views

How can I make my players interested in the game lore of my MMORPG?

In WoW (World of Warcraft), players skip all quest descriptions, and mindlessly spam "auto attack button", ignore the environment, lore, NPCs as they never existed. I.e., they enter a brain dead "mode"...
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46 votes
5 answers
18k 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 ...
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  • 2,523
46 votes
7 answers
97k views

Algorithm for dynamically calculating a level based on experience points? [closed]

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 ...
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  • 615
45 votes
12 answers
18k views

Level playing field: Punish the better player or enhance the worse player?

I am making a 1 vs 1 game where each player controls a car with an identical joystick. The objective for the players is to reach a goal destination before the other player. The players of the game ...
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  • 559
44 votes
9 answers
4k 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 ...
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  • 1,647
44 votes
11 answers
14k views

How can I make text-based combat more engaging?

I'm making a text based adventure in Java, and currently I have a fairly limited combat system where you can do one of 3 things: attack with your sword attack with magic(if its unlocked) drink a ...
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