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-   -   Gamasutra - The Designer's Notebook; No Twinkie Game Design (https://www.rpgwatch.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2643)

magerette September 5th, 2007 09:22

Gamasutra - The Designer's Notebook; No Twinkie Game Design
Gamasutra has an article up by Ernest Stuart concerning some of the more widely seen flaws in game design, or as he says "…a list of things not to do." Here are a couple of examples:

The first time my wife sat down to the play the original text adventure, Colossal Cave, she saw the opening words:
You are standing at the end of a road before a small brick building. Around you is a forest. A small stream flows out of the building and down a gully.
Then it just sat there, waiting. "What am I supposed to do?" she asked the guy who was showing her the game. "Anything you want!" he said proudly (this was 1979, and games with parsers were brand new). But she didn't know what she wanted to do. The game didn't give her any incentive to do anything in particular, and we've lived with the same…Condition for nearly 30 years -- it still happens, believe it or not.


Moving on from game balancing to storytelling, Andrew Stuart writes about games that begin:

"You wake up in a strange place. You don't know who you are or how you got here. You have amnesia and your objective is to find out who you are and what you are doing here." It's hard to believe but it seems every second game has me waking up with amnesia. It's okay after a night out on the booze, but in every second computer game? Enough!
The author also has a more comprehensive database of design mistakes unworthy of a twinkie reward on his own website, including:
  • Conceptual Non-Sequitars:Birds that Carry Swords
  • Bad Gameplay Design: Extreme Rule Changes when Fighting Boss Monsters, Puzzles Requiring Obscure Knowledge from Outside the Game
  • Bad Level Design: You Have 30 Seconds to Figure Out This Level Before You Die
And many more. More information.

Reyla September 5th, 2007 09:22

Extremely well written and informed observations of game design.

His scathing attack on those who program big boobs is straight to the point.

Bar Tec September 5th, 2007 12:12

Great article, lovely summary of design flaws.

I especially like the passage about the amnesia - it so overused and cheesy cliche. On the other hand, rather than to explain character's lack of knowledge about the gameworld, designers could use amnesia to add realism to things like fast character's progression, in the style of "The Bourne Identity" etc.

Corwin September 5th, 2007 13:32

I agree, great article and well worth reading the additional material on his site!!

woges September 5th, 2007 13:59

"Some years ago, EA had a couple of artists create animations of cheerleaders for a cartridge edition of Madden NFL Football. What they turned in was a feeble little 4-step cycle of women with completely improbable breasts jumping up and down."

EA must have re-hired them then, and EA used to pump out some real shit I remember.

txa1265 September 5th, 2007 15:17

The whole thing about providing clear short-term goals is really important … most of us play games head-on, knocking away until it is done. But I remember playing games during times where I'd have two or three games to play and about one hour a week to play. So a game might get visited once a month at which point I'd be thinking … ok, what do I do *NOW*.

Corwin September 6th, 2007 01:50

That's why they made Oblivion!! :biggrin:

txa1265 September 6th, 2007 03:03


Originally Posted by Corwin (Post 43970)
That's why they made Oblivion!! :biggrin:

All humor aside, Oblivion is one of the games with updating quest logs … but it is few and far between where you get a quest with so many players and nodes as the 'marriage' and 'brothers' quests I've recently done in Two Worlds - I really needed the updating quest log for that!

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