Game-Making Blog

January 25, 2011:  Put the player first

I'm hard at work on the second chapter of "Medical Problems," and I'm still finding it interesting to think about games from the designer's perspective and not the player's.  Though the first thing I've learned about thinking from the designer's perspective is to spend most of my time thinking from the player's perspective. :-)  

I've played games where the designer seemed more interested in showing off than in creating an experience that would be fun for the player, and I don't want to fall into that trap.  I want to show off in ways that ARE fun for the player. :-)  But seriously, people are giving you their time and attention when they play your game, even if -- as in the case of "Medical Problems" -- they aren't giving you any money.  People's time and attention are valuable commodities, and you have to reward that gift with something equally valuable:  fun.  I've made a couple of things that I thought would be cool, then scrapped them, because I realized that although they'd be cool, they wouldn't be FUN.

Not that a fun game can never have sad moments or slow moments.  A one-note song is painful to listen to.  But if you're going to make the player sad or make the player work, then you have to reward the player for experiencing those things by giving them something that's worth what they've experienced.

I'm just a beginner, and I
understand that.  I wish more of the people who made the games I try to play did.