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Article - 'Making a Good Game' by Zetamancer

An item about Game Design posted on Nov 11, 2004

Blurb

Zetamancer tells us some things to help us shape up our game.

Body

First of all, this is applying to RM2K3.

Anyways, on with the article.

Ok, so you have this great idea for a game, you have the story set up, its great and everything, etc. But now for the game in general. Lets start with skills.

First you want to have a general term for your skills, like most final fantasy games, its called Magic, or you could call them Techs. Or, best of all, be completely original and invent your own name for them.

Now, you generally want to have at least 3 cure spells, 1 to cure a character, 2 to cure one character even more, and 3 to cure everyone. When making skills, at least the spells part of it, its good to base attacks on elements, fire, lightning, shadow, holy, wind, water, ice, earth, ether, etc. Of course there's those status changing spells, such as Bio, Regen, Beserk, etc. Be sure to incorporate lots of spells in your game, it makes the battles more exciting.

Now, music. The annoying thing about this is, whenever anyone makes a game they always seem to take music from the popular ones, like Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy series. What you want to do is either make up your own with a midi maker, or find a game that no one really plays, or isn't that popular. For example, not too many people play Terranigma, which in itself is a great game.You could take music from that. Its also good to change the file names on your music. Say your game was called Shadows of Asheron, the music for the title screen would be SOA-Theme.mid. Think about your music too. For battles you'd want something slightly if not more upbeat, and boss battles should have even more tense music. The final boss music should sound kind of dramatic. Also another no, no is putting actual songs in your game. Having your main character's theme be a Metallica song, is really stupid, unless you have a modern day setting, and its at the disk player in the main characters home, don't incorporate real songs.

Races: Ok, you want to have your own races for the game don't you? Sure elves are great, gnomes are funny, and angels are awesome, but don't you want to have something of your own? For example, you could have a human who is born as a human, but when he grows up, he grows into a full size were wolf, but isn’t crazy and blood thirsty. Its good to invent your own races because they can have they're own attributes, for example. One race could have very high magic properties, while another could be able to fly without wings. Take this into consideration.

CMS/Other Custom Systems:
This may be hard for those who don't know more advanced RM2K3 (go read some of ATARI's tutorials) but it certainly adds "spiffyness" to the game. While the menu in RM2K3 is a great step up from RM2K, its still not very customisable. Incorporating your own menu is a good thing to do, because
A) You can pick exactly what it looks like, and exactly what options it has.
B) Obviously, more customisable. Try having weird options, like quests, so you can see where you are, without having to back track. You could also have character profiles in your menu, for fun. Try lots of things.

Another good system is running. Press shift, run, press shift again, walk. I won't explain it in this tutorial, but its great to incorporate for stealth parts, something like running makes to much noise so a guard might catch you.

Jumping. Probably the most annoying action system. Why? You can jump into walls and the game will freeze. But if you're intelligent to somehow manage to disallow that, its a great addition to any game, you can jump down cliffs to treasure chests, etc.

Help menus: VERY good to have, if you have lots of custom systems you'd want the player to understand them. Simple make the help like a custom menu, it opens and you scroll through the topics.

Speech: Try not to have that many errors in grammar. It’s annoying and makes the game less worth while.

Characters: Develop characters, their hates, their likes, etc. For example, our main character will be Dallas. Lets say he absolutely hates the color pink. In the game, he goes on a date, and his date is wearing pink, you could have him say "Ugh... pink..." to show he hates it. Develop your characters so they seep into the player's mind, so the player gets to know them.

That’s all for now, I might release a second part later. I don’t care if this article sucked or not. Good luck.