v2 - 2020.07.15
Think outside the box
If all your experiments succeed, you’re not doing enough experiments. Step out of your comfort zone, go crazy, and explore new playable concepts.
Define a goal
A player without a goal tends to lose interest quickly. Define one even if it’s trivial.
Are we there yet?
Make sure the player knows (or have an idea of) how much they progressed and what is left to complete each objective.
Get a lot of feedback
Playable builds ASAP! Test early, observe & listen frequently and carefully to the players. It’s even better if your build has a goal and a challenge to overcome.
A fresh pair of eyes
Take a long break and before getting back to the development let someone else play in front of you while you observe as a spectator, you might notice issues you haven’t before because you were so immersed in your screen.
Make it easy to learn, but hard to master
Have your core mechanics ready as soon as possible and use the extra time to identify their difficulty factors. This gives you more time to tweak and explore them. Remember of 4:44 rule.
Form follows function
One of the ways you can make your game easy to learn is by explaining your rules through the form. Use visuals & sounds to shape your rules.
Turn on the big picture mode
It’s easy to get lost and “waste” a bunch of time in tiny details, look for the changes that’ll have a higher time/result value.
Players enjoy challenging themselves, try to throw some optional challenges/shortcuts alongside the game, and let them impose the difficulty they want to play. Have multiple ways to overcome a challenge while keeping in mind the minimum and maximum difficulty for each one.
Give them some dopamine
Reward positive behaviors immediately. They did what you expected? Here, have some particles and a cool sound! But it’s also important to have a reason to not fail, so assign a value to failure.
Leave some bread crumbs along the way
Backup your files and also save a few things that can be used in other projects