Archive | April, 2009

Introduction to Adaptable Game Design

Adaptability is important when planning and developing a game. It’s just as important as when designing any computer system. Times change, and so software set in stone normally gets replaced by newer and more flexible systems.

Use of the Unreal Engine lasted a long time partly because of excellent design planning. Its makers realized that the framework of a game is almost as important as the final product. Even if a game does well on its initial release, modifying the original game with exciting expansions can flood it in the spotlight. However, in order for this to be possible, the application needs to be adaptable to these kinds of changes.

A good framework revolves around a smart class architecture. Classes need to be well defined, and with clear goals in mind. For example, a class called “Player” initially used to create instances of human players can’t also calculate the final game score. Doing so introduces dissorganization, and in turn makes the game design harder to manage.

To make a game design adatable to change, its creator needs to keep an open mind to future modifications. Here are important points to keep in mind when designing an adaptable game:

  • Don’t duplicate code; create structures when possible
  • Use object-orientated principles
  • Keep future implimentations in mind when defining classes/functions
  • Don’t go outside the scope of a class or variable

I will be posting a sequel to this post, going into further detail about game design adaptibility. If you want to know when it’s available, subscribe to this blog to stay updated. I hope you’ve enjoyed the read.

The Clash of MMORPGs

It’s mindblowing how many massive multiplayer role playing games litter the internet.

Many of them have nice graphics. They’re also quite user-friendly, and easy to play. What angers me about them is how generic most of them are.

  1. Enter game,
  2. Kill ‘x’ monsters,
  3. Gain a level,
  4. Lather, rinse, repeat

I’ll admit that some MMORPGs have a unique selling point of some kind. Sometimes it involves controlling more than one character, flying through the world instead of run, or completely unique character classes. It can a nice change from the usual, but in the big picture, it only really adds 30 mins to 1 hour to my playing time.

Maybe it’s just me, and I’m picky when it comes to MMORPG games, but can you blame me?

I’ve played Everquest for a good part of my childhood, which in my opinion is the game that carved out the road for modern MMORPGs. It was great for its time; an immense world full of suprises, addictive combat, and interesting NPCs. I, like tens of thousands of other players, was rooted to the game.

I don’t think the MMORPG model is a thing of the past. Besides, World of Warcraft is still around. What the next big MMORPG needs is something truly unique. Eve Online did a pretty good job; high tech space world with endless factions and missions, including a complex economic system. It’s the first of its kind that I’ve seen to this date.

So, what’s next in the world of MMORPGs? I suppose we’ll have to wait and see.

Earn Money Programming Games

Did you know that Paul Preese, the creator of Desktop Tower Defense, makes around $8,000 a month?

Programming games, even as a hobby, can be lucrative. Even publishing free flash games on the internet has potential to bring in money through advertisements.

Any novice programmer has the ability to create such a game. Most addictive games are very simplistic. This includes flash games, browser games as well as some application games.

Here’s an interesting success story for you:
Chris Sawyer developed Roller Coaster Tycoon.

Alone.

Since its initial release, Roller Coaster Tycoon earned him $30 million. You may think this is a poor example, since this game came out in 1999, and times have changed. However, I’m telling you this to make my point clear about how a good game idea can go very far.

If you’re having trouble thinking of an original game idea, here are a few pointers :

  • Browse free games on the internet, and make a note of the ones that catch your eye.
  • Find a game that you can play for 2+ hours
  • Think of some universal facts to base your game around. Revenge, love, and greed are some of them.
  • Consider the importance of buzz-worthy. Are people going to want to share your game with others?

To finish off, here’s something to think about. What’s stopping you from creating a popular game? Seriously. I bet most of today’s most addictive flash games are created by amateurs. If you think you have a good game idea, good chances are that the game will catch on if developed properly.

Thanks for reading. Stay posted for more eye-opening articles.