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How to Design More Compelling Indie Games

Want to take your indie games to the next level? Understand your players, focus on the details, manage the flow of emotions. Learn how here.

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Game design can prove to be highly challenging, as you’re attempting to bring forth the best possible interactive experience for players. This requires a tremendous amount of work, but in order to make an impact, you have to truly connect with the audience in order to create a design that will stand out and generate massive fun and continued interest among your players.

 

Understanding Your Players

When a player starts playing a game, he usually has to deal with a wide range of things. They’ll usually have extreme focus on a task, a loss of self awareness as well as a sense of active control of the experience as a whole. Some players will want something that will relax them, but others want a game that will challenge their skill and make them feel rewarded as they play. You’ll have to pick a segment and truly dig deep, or provide the best of both worlds.

Also, your game needs to have a concrete set of rules that can be managed.  These rules make the experience a lot more interesting and appealing, so you should try and implement a good set of rules into your game design if you want the game to have even the slightest chance of success. Think simple gameplay, and simple rules. Build upon these rules and continually iterate upon them.

 

The Devil is in the Details

Attention to detail is another important aspect of game design. Gamers want attention to detail, but at the same time they want to experience new mechanics as they play. You absolutely must integrate new mechanics and/or gameplay elements gradually as this will generate interest. Avoid bringing boredom for your users by revealing all of the game mechanics upfront, and instead gradually introduce new possibilities as the game goes on.

If you want to make the most out of this, try to turn the smaller goals in your game into larger ones and bring in rewards as this will make the experience even more interesting as a whole. Additionally, try to avoid over-cluttering the game’s HUD when the players enter a nice flow state, as this will break immersion.

 

Create Actions that Complement the Player’s Sensibilities

The player capabilities are directed by emotions. Flow will be affected by performance and stress, and if you fear that the game difficulty is too high, decrease it gradually to obtain the best outcome. If the game feels too easy, toughen up those enemies! Feedback should always be addressed, because gamers share their ideas and you, as a designer have to listen. Always take feedback, and try not to dismiss negative feedback.

At it’s core, gaming is all about concentration, so removing the unnecessary clutter from the interface will make players feel much more immersed in the game world. Do that and you will definitely be able to capture the interest of the player and bring forth astounding gameplay opportunities.

Try to manage flow and all emotions in the best way you can, but at the same time, work hard to bring in only necessary elements into the interface and story.  Take time to design your game intelligently, it’ll pay off.

 

Special thanks to our team for authoring this article.

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Topics:
game dev ,game design ,indie games

Published at DZone with permission of Daniel Doan, DZone MVB. See the original article here.

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