Designers: master one game, or else

In a new Gamasutra feature, Gameloft’s Christian Philippe Guay suggests some simple ideas for getting better at making fun games — by breaking them down into component elements.
“We have to be aware of what has been done before, as it is important to not repeat past mistakes,” writes Guay.

To design fun games, he writes, “I would suggest to any designer to take one game and spend enough time to master it. There are things that can only be properly understood once they’re truly experienced.”

“In reality, the more we master an experience, the more others become alike, because everything in this universe is based on the same principles. We realize that the same mechanics are used, but in a different context. By doing this, it becomes easier to create interesting gameplay mechanics or learn how to fix them.”

There is one important consideration, though, Guay does suggest.

“I tend to think that to study the greatest games of all time would help us to better understand how to make better games. However, those games are often so engaging that we might not see how to make greater things, because when we play them, we aren’t thinking critically about how they’re constructed; we’re experiencing them as players.”

The antidote?

“However, if we play the worst games, then everything frustrating will jump in our faces. Then we will see what needs to be improved, and that forces us to be creative and find how to fix those problems.”

The full feature, in which Guay breaks down fun into seven different layers to offer his take on the essential elements of game design, is live now on Gamasutra.

[link]

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