Our commandments of game design series kicks off 2013 with Flow, Flower and Journey producer, Kellee Santiago, co-founder and former President of thatgamecompany. She is now a partner at Indie Fund. We published our own ten commandments in November, and you can keep track of all the collected proclamations by using the Commandments of game design search tag.
Always ask yourself, “Why?”
And if the answer is “because everyone else in this genre is doing it” then stop. Great game experiences happen when all the pieces fit together perfectly. This rule goes for elements in and outside the game. The way you talk with your players, the way you promote your game – everything should come from the game itself.
Making games will be hard
So make sure the answer to, “Why am I making this game?” is really good. No matter if you work at a large studio on a large team, on a small team, or by yourself, making games is a hard endeavor – each way of doing it comes with its own challenges. So don’t waste your time as a developer, or our time as players, with a game that is a copy of something else, or is safe. Take risks and fight the good fight, and you will be rewarded.
Playtest, playtest, playtest
Don’t just do this once, during beta, just to make sure it’s all working. Playtest early and often, even though it makes you cringe to watch people ‘break’ your game. They are helping you to make it so, so much better. Remember: Every great game sucked at some point.
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