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Discussion in 'Indie Basics' started by Cubies, Jul 23, 2006.
What's the secret to making a great game?
There is no secret. Maybe.
Making a bad game, figuring out what's bad about it, fixing it, and repeating the process more times than anyone else can be bothered.
Then taking everything you've learned, and starting the process again with a slightly less bad game. Repeat until you retire.
At the end of all that, some of your games may turn out quite good.
Magic pixie dust. I'll sell you some for $19.95.
A very anal attention to detail is one PART of the secret...
Exactly 11 lines of code in every single method.
Well, if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret...
Detailed knowledge of the subject matter. Creative mind. Dedication. Hard work. (in that order)
xenophobia, agoraphobia and pogophobia, in that order.
Understanding why a game or concept is bad. Not every idea can be shaped in to something meaningful to a player. Polishing a bad game is a polished bad game.
And giving the player something new, or something they havn't done in a while. So according to that theory, Duke Nukem Forever is gonna be great, 'cause it's been something like 10 years since we played Duke3D.
Depends on what your definition of great is. Some games may be technically or critically perceived as great but in terms of actual sales greatness not much there. In the last 10yrs I think only a handful of games could be categorized as great. In my opinion for a Casual Game to be considered great one of the indicators has got to be shelf-life of minimum 3yrs. Meaning it still has strong potential to crack top 10 on most sites even after 3 or more years.
This is my category breakdown of :
GREAT GAMES <1%
VERY GOOD GAMES ~10%
GOOD GAMES ~15%
AVERAGE GAMES ~50%
BELOW AVERAGE GAMES ~20%
BAD GAMES ~5%
To answer your question I think it is strictly dumb luck once your game falls in the GOOD GAMES and above category I just listed. In December 2005 I liquidated (~$60k) some of my ownership in two cell phone stores (Downtown Chicago) that I am part owner, with the hopes of building a team to make our dream game. But to be honest after seeing how Reflexives (Mosiac: Mystery Tomb) game performed, It made me re-think the entire volatility of the Casual Game Market. In my opinion this was a great game but in terms of shelf-life I do not think it did so well ( correct me if i'm wrong ). I have since invested my money in a startup consulting company that creates niche Java tools for a imaging software package called Filenet.
As a true ROI endevour, I would feel safer taking my money and going to Vegas and blowing it on strippers, booze and gambling. At least I would have fun blowing my money.
Being able to judge your own work objectively.
The secret is butter. Lots and lots of butter.
Seriously though. The secret is a good team. A brilliant idea can be ruined by one single team member not putting out the right material. Take Lunar for example; it was an excellent game but every time I heard that damn flying cat Nall talk I wanted to strangle someone. The voice actors failed the rest of the team.
That's why there is so many great indie games.
small teams = less people to screw everything up
When teams are small you can very easily pay close attention to the progress of every member. But when you have a massive corporate team upwards of a thousand people you just sort of stumble around in the dark doing what you are told and praying you don't misinterpret your directions.
"What's the secret to making a great game?"
Behind every so called "great game" is great marketing, so I'd rather learn the secret to great marketing.
Oho! A specific game design answer. Probably worth talking about in more detail.
You'd better find some people to make great games for you to market, then.
I second the team (and team leader). Leader with clear vision and passion and the team able to make it come true.
It's not only Emmanuel's merit that Mystic Inn, Fairies or Atlantis are so great.
It was also the talent of John Raptis and the other involuntary team members?