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Article - 'The Major Minor things' by Angroth

An item about Game Design posted on Aug 8, 2003

Blurb

An article on how to improve your game just by touching up a few little details!

Body

Even the most minute details can subconsciously effect the players mind. Here is a small sample of things you can do to improve the little details in your game.



The most important thing that could be considered as minor is the maps and chipsets. The general layout of the area must be quite pleasing. There is nothing less rewarding than walking into a half empty forest that is all grass and has the odd tree. And similarly it isn’t great if tree’s are everywhere in a badly organised way which hinders progress through the forest (especially when not intended) and just bluntly looks diabolical. So maps, whatever they are, towns, forests, caves etc, they should be interesting and almost fun to explore. Yes this probably means you will spend more time on your maps but if it is a town put lots of people in it and if it is riddle with buildings don’t plant them down and paste more for totally symetrical layouts.

Also, the way your maps blend is also important. You wouldn’t want a cartoony forest then suddenly you enter a highly detailed village. You must try to keep chipsets that look better together and more of one style.



Talking of one style, facesets should also blend well. If you have trouble then just don’t use faces at all, who says you must?

Like in the great game, Diary of a Madman (not a bad album too!) the facesets all come from one graphic file. They need not be from all one file but because of this they were all the same style.

A bad mix of facesets is easily noticed and is very apparent.



The next point would have to be the general way your game flows. If the game isn’t explaining something or people begin to do things for no reason then it makes you feel confused and makes you lack the will to live… and play of course!

Another thing is when the plot delves into a section deeply, you must make sure all the other sections have the same depth and are not quickly jumped over because of laziness. You can usually tell if something has been rushed, definitely if the other parts before or after have had great care given to them. There general play must be as consistant as possible.



The most minor of the minor things would have to include things such as picture positioning. Do the pictures look as effective as they possibly could in the location you have placed them across the screen?

And another silly little thing is if there is a character who is speaking and who is at the bottom of the screen. If the text bar covers over them, it hinders your vision, and can be very fustrating especially when it is a new person you have just met because you don’t get the chance to see them.

Placing the text above them isn’t very difficult but once again it will take a little extra time.



There are more things that I could talk about but I think you generally get the idea. However, I thought I would just share this with you to remind you to be doing them! The only problem is they all take a little extra time and when combined they can consume hours of your game making time. But fear not! The overall feel of the game will be better and more people will like it. And remember, even the smallest of things can effect a players judgement.