Game Development & Technical Checklist

Discussion in 'Game Development (Technical)' started by Gilzu, Jun 4, 2006.

  1. Gilzu

    Gilzu
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    Since this subject had been discussed in so many ways from "How can I improve my game?" and "what constitutes polish", I thought it would be nice to have one concentrated checklist of things we can improve in our games.

    Instead of vague descriptions like "polish", this list contain specific features that can be considered as an added-value to your game.

    I encourage you to suggest more ideas, thus helping other game developers in improving their games.

    Techincal Issues:
    1. Allow alt-tab and Switching to other programs (and the all-known DX issue)
    2. Allow alt-f4 and manual program shutdown at every stage
    3. Sound and Music Volume control
    4. Software capability tests (DX, OGL, Accelerator caps)
    5. Support both windowed and fullscreen modes
    6. Mouse / Keyboard / Joystick / Keypad support
    7. Allow player to choose input device and choose which keys to use
    8. Prevent multiple game launch
    9. Low FPS handling
    10. Saving game settings and preferences
    11. Call stack dump upon a crash
    12. System config for tech support
    13. Version number for tech support (and if you're really up to it, web update check)

    Game Issues:
    1. Having Music and Sound effect for every possible event (including GUI event)
    2. Highscore table (or even better, an Online highscore system)
    3. Tutorial level(s)
    4. In game documentation, or an off-line one (for the sake of us, the laptop users)
    5. Pause option
    6. Difficulty levels
    7. Save Games
    8. Level selection (or at least select episodes / levels that had been unlocked)
    9. co-op play or duel mode
    10. Level/Scenario Editor

    Polish & Demo:
    1. Smooth screen transitions (fades ect.)
    2. Loading Screens
    3. Game elements and Controls slide before first game/level
    4. Nag Screens
    5. Show in-game which features are available in full version
    6. Kiddie mode - you'll be amazed how many parants will pay for a game for a "keep the dward busy with infinit credits" mode.
    7. Bonus level(s)
    8. Screenshots - let your gamers show-off their achievements thus giving you more publicity (works well with any sim/RPG/RTS)
    9. Minigames
    10. Multi lingual support
    11. In game hints
    12. ...or cheats/walkthrough for those points everyone gets stuck.
    13. Strategy guide
    14. Game progress indicator (such as maps with the road that had been played)
    15. Skins & Personalization (allow user to choose/make his own symbol, choose NPC's names)
    16. Credits to contributors

    Installer:
    1. Have one, not zipped.
    2. EULA
    3. Game icon
    4. Optional link on the desktop
    5. Optional Program group with meaningful name
    6. Uninstaller. One that doesn't leave any remains.
    7. Option to run the game after installation complete.
     
    Regeniversity, FisherCS and a1clark1a like this.
  2. MrGoldfish

    MrGoldfish
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    Adjustable mouse cursor speed! So annoying when this simple feature isn't implemented. Just because you like your mouse to move slower than a snail it doesn't mean the rest of us do.
     
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  3. Arex

    Arex
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    Great list! Thanks! :)
     
  4. kaolin

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    Ditto. I've been looking for a list like this for ages :D
     
  5. Bad Sector

    Bad Sector
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    Very good list. I would like to add that single player games should take advantage of the internet if you can find some use for it (like online highscore tables, in-game mod downloads, auto updates*, etc), but not demand it. I'm at vacation with my laptop and i was running around to find an open wireless hot spot so i can set Steam to offline mode for playing my games :p.

    *=auto updates, where available, must *NEVER* installed by default, unless the user asks so, especially if they break savegames or change the gameplay (this includes fixing bugs that some gamers took advantage of in their single player session :).

    EDIT: Also...

    Make sure your art style is consistent. Don't use a few pretty elements and leave the rest plain. Make everything pretty or everything plain. If you can't afford high detail, stick with medium or even low detail as long as it looks good. Detail does not equal good. When you start designing a game, write down some design specs, like how big doors will be, what colors or shapes enemies will have. Don't describe each enemy, just some guidelines that will help you keep a consistent style.
     
    #5 Bad Sector, Apr 29, 2008
    Last edited: Apr 29, 2008
  6. Sol_HSA

    Sol_HSA
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    May I disagree a bit?
    In my opinion there should not be any need for tutorial levels, or documentation - the game should be easy enough to get into without any explicit studying. This doesn't mean that the player doesn't need to learn stuff - look at Lost Vikings, as a classic game example - simple to get into, but the combinations of things you can do is quite large. You pick new stuff all the time while playing.

    Same goes for difficulty levels and save games. These should be automatic, reacting to what the player is doing.

    This all depends a lot on the kind of game we're talking about, naturally..
     
  7. Game Producer

    Game Producer
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    Hey, this is nice list. Good job gilzu.

    word "Techincal" should be "Technical" ;)

    * Auto-updating is nice technical thing if it's possible
    * Packet saving for replays (and also for debugging) in Network games
    * I'd like to add "Buy Now" button (and perhaps not "order" or "purchase" ;)) for demo.
     
  8. Grey Alien

    Grey Alien
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    Yeah good list but Polish and Demo should really be in separate groups, then polish could be expanded LOTS (haven't got time to list them though ;-))

    Also Metagame(s)! Story/Plot etc.

    True it's good if a game doesn't need tutorial levels or documentation but some types of game may well require something along those lines.
     
  9. Vesper

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    First time poster here, but in answer to the tutorial/no tutorial discussion (or the levels of gray between those two), I've had a lot of interest into game design and relations between it and the psychology of learning. One aspect that could be useful when considering how to approach 'tutorial' content is to consider the end goals.

    What I mean is that there have been some studies (sorry can't link them off the top of my head) that have indicated some links between knowledge retention/application and the method that you present 'tutorial' content.

    The two methods described where either 'direction intense' or nearly devoid of directions. Direction intense would be tutorials where say each step is delivered by a message and you continue through the messages as you do the specific things and hit triggers in the game. The studies suggested that 'direction intense' styles inmbued the player with more confidence about the subject since their path was reinforced a lot. Those people tended to do better on formal tests of the concepts the game was trying to teach afterwards. The less direct approach simply focused on having teh content more silently direct the players and allowed them the chance to test their own ideas against the game's system. On formalized tests they didn't do as well (the study notes that the whole thing could be biased a bit since people in general are currently more used to reading to learn, especially for tests so the 'direction intense' version might be benefitting by being similar). However, they found that given the time the people playing the 'quiet' tutorial had more 'fun' and were more enthusiastic to continue, and actually seemed to grasp the concepts just fine if not better.

    The studies I've read make me think that the latter method is 'better' but should be accompanied with information to reinforce the player that their ideas are infact correct as you go along.

    But after all that it kind of depends on what the player might be expecting too, so it's ultimately always a judgement call.
     
  10. electronicStar

    electronicStar
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    I think some of the gameplay mechanics are best left to be discovered by the player, it then gives the player a sense of achievement and/or pride (even if the player was actually subtly guided to the discovery of the technique) and it tends to increase the playing enjoyment. and it gives the impression that the game is "deeper".
    Of course it's risky, you run the risk that some player don't "get it" and to possibly get some negative reviews by sloppy reviewers.
     
  11. haileyjonathan

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    Wow very good list, more informative.,
    Thanks for your sharing...
     
  12. giomak

    giomak
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    It was very helpful for me, thank you for sharing this information.
     
  13. Taka

    Taka
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    I feel that a skippable tutorial should be added to the list
     

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