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Gamasutra: Josh Bycer’s Blog-Understanding Game Design Issues

The following blog post was written by members of the Gamasutra ?? s community, unless otherwise stated.
The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the writer, not Gamasutra or its parent company.


A common overlooked issue with video game quality is the annoying aspect of playing the game. Like skipping records, these moments can at best remove players from that moment and, in the worst case, ruin the game for them. Learn how consumers react to problems and why you should include audio slider and control rebinding if you send us a video game.

Definition of pain

The concept of finding problems with video games is not often talked about among consumers and reviewers. What we are referring to is a video game element that breaks the illusion of the experience or worsens the gameplay.

The hard part to find this is that you rarely see a terrible example of having a game that literally has an invincible section. Most pain points are small and may cover them in some people. In other words, it’s like someone who has their favorite car they’ll have for the rest of their lives, and windshield wipers don’t work properly. “You only learn to live with it,” is a common phrase about problems.

For enthusiastic fans of popular genres, they have completely internalized every issue as a learning curve for the title. For them, there can be no problem with the game, Only outsiders do not understand it.. This is why so many issues with titles tend to focus on the experience and onboarding of new players. Another commonly used term is the “gamer tax” that someone has to pay before they can fully enjoy the game. In my previous post on soul-like design, I talked about the subtle line between title challenge and frustration.

One surefire way to distinguish between the two is that frustration is often caused by problems rather than challenges. When you play as many games as I do, it’s easy to see patterns of problems that developers miss. It brings an important point about someone’s limits.

User tolerance

At a weekly live show on game development topics, my co-host Sharky came up with a great way to explain this phenomenon for consumers by literally measuring the problem. When it comes to games, everyone has a tolerable level of frustration, and every time they encounter something that is considered a problem, it starts counting them.

Unknowingly, when the game’s painpoint level reaches a person’s internal limits, they just stop playing. Not only do different tolerance levels vary from person to person, but they also contribute to increasing the accumulation of this point.

For me, I can’t stand the user interface and user experience (UI / UX) issues anymore. If you can’t comfortably enjoy your core gameplay loop, my interest in your game nods. And that brings me back to the beginning about the audio slider —Basic UI quality of life features should now be the standard for games.. This includes, but is not limited to, audio sliders, key rebinding, accessibility features, and even the ability to allow someone to exit the game from the main menu. A further example is a tutorial design and basic onboarding to make sure someone knows how to play your game.

The point of pain is very important because it’s not too difficult to find the point of pain when you know what you’re looking for.

Relieve pain

Finding game issues begins and ends with the user experience. As always, anything that prevents or prevents someone from experiencing your core gameplay loop is a problem. In the case of ARPG, the common one does not have the ability to sort inventory full of items.

Even harmless things like the ever-repeating annoying sound bites are considered a problem. The common theme is that the problem is to be consistent during play. The consideration is not to have a problem, but to have a difficult section that will result in a more difficult spike.

Some of the challenges in identifying an issue are often confused with other issues. Asking someone what’s annoying in a game is like asking a patient what’s wrong. You can talk about your symptoms, but you can’t tell your doctor about your symptoms.

Here are some small examples of the challenge of finding problems. The game has two negative reviews. “This game is terrible and a waste of time. No matter what you do, you will die.” “This game is terrible. The boss is designed by a stupid game developer. Some people reading this Some people eliminate these reviews altogether because they contain Vitriol. Some developers are taught to ignore negative reviews.

However, some of the game developers are trying to read between the lines of comments. I talked several times with designers and experts about John Braiger’s playtest. One of the things we talked about was that we couldn’t get full feedback from the testers. These two reviews not only attack the developers, but also show that nothing has been clicked on in the combat system. Going further, you may find that you are experiencing combat responsiveness, overall enemy difficulty, attack buffering, and many other issues.

Keep in mind that one issue is not enough to raise an alarm. But what I’ve found is that if a developer has one problem, there may be multiple developers waiting to turn their heads back and ruin their experience. .. Good quality of life features help reduce problems. It makes the game more enjoyable to play without being consciously aware, demonstrating that developers have a good understanding of game design.

As I’ve said many times, designing a complex system is very easy, but making it easier to understand is a whole different story.

Playtest, playtest, playtest …

Finally, this seems to be the standard conclusion for my recent design posts. Move on to the play test. If you want to know if there is a problem with the game, put it in the hands of the consumer and see if there are any complaints. Keep in mind that we want fans of this genre as well as non-fans and critics who are more willing to accept the issue to play the game.

As a developer, no matter what kind of game you’re making, you’ll need a playtest.. Find a game club in your area or ask others if you want to watch your game while building a network. As a shameless plug, I’m open to consulting work and do my best to look up indie games weekly on the indie showcase stream and point out the pros and cons of the titles I’m looking at.

Anyway, designing a game with bubbles is the easiest way to have a problematic experience. For playtesting, a single playtesting session is not enough. You need several different groups. Again, you need to get all the feedback, especially the one that doesn’t work. A good video game is always greater than the sum of its parts, from which the problem is subtracted.

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