Adrian's blog

Writing Checklist for the New Year

December 28th, 2013

Here’s a short list of topics I want to cover sometime soon. The fault lays with work, game development and motivation!

Transitions: I’m looking at how every element of the game leads into another. This can be as simple as a device to network stages like pipes in Mario, storybook themes and pages, or a grander flow of levels that tie together geographically and thematically.

Pacing: Pacing in games is not linear, even if there is only 1 direction of the player to go in. Pacing needs to be understood on a micro and macro level where every player is different and their feelings need to be accounted for. A player having fun will not notice the snags in gameplay that slow things down. A player who is frustrated will find smaller problems to be far more antagonizing. Given the mood of the player they might not want to do as you’ve designed. This is like reading a book that skips along quickly versus one that reads like a math textbook. The thing is there are people who enjoy reading math textbooks. Pacing is a large and complicated mess for game design.

Non-binary Mechanics: So you get a key and you use it on the door and the door opens, congrats, the mechanic requires no skill to perform and is just a device to deflect you from the point of progression. I love it when a single mechanic has multiple uses that lead to constant discovery and skill. This is more about seeing how everything interacts and seeing the multiple aspects of a particular item given to the player. A gun can be a tool not just a weapon.

Stories in Games: Kind of a general thing. More like a collection of ways I’ve seen story done effectively. Most of what I have to add is about characterization based on mechanics and such. Trying to tightly weave the themes of a story into the player mechanics as best as possible.

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One Response to “Writing Checklist for the New Year”
  1. Stig A -

    It’s not always easy to find the time and motivation to write articles. That I know all too well. Look forward to see what your takes are on transitions in particular.

    To create a flow, a subtle trickle of information, not overwhelming, not insufficient is really a little piece of art. To provide the player with enough information to solve a puzzle without solving it for him or making it obvious he is being helped is one challenge I am always amazed gamemakers accomplish so well. Good designers that is, one can say that is the difference between a game and a good game.

    Best of luck in your adventures and article-writing!

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