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Most important thing in game design?

 Post subject: Most important thing in game design?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 9:01 am 
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Unctuous Toady
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What do you think the most important thing is when designing a successful game? I want to leave the question open, but here are some ideas...

miniatures
artwork
setting/fluff
marketing
distribution
production value
playability
balanced rules
realism
easy to learn
strategically challenging
etc.

Don't limit your answer to my list. Write a friggin' essay explaining your point. I want to know the reasons why you feel the way that you do!


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The game designers themselves know these values are not realistic and they do not intend them to replace or invalidate the fluff. So let's get on with our lives and not fixate over the cosmic ramifications of game mechanics which we already know are streamlined for larger forces at the expense of detail.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2006 8:51 pm 
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Master Gunner
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setting/fluff

The importance of the world that exists within and without a game is the very foundation upon which successful games have been made. i would have chosen another thing, but not all games and systems have that much in common. except that every game has a story or background behind it. miniatures aren't necesary, even in miniature games. using counters and the like is a viable, if cheap ass, alternative. and while a balanced rules set is nice to have, a few games, notably white wolf's Exalted series, have succeeded despite (or perhaps because of) their unbalanced rules systems. the bottom line is, without a background to back up the game, it seems soulless and unappealing. just think of how much less fun and interesting necromunda or wh40k would be without any backstory or fluff. it would just be a miniatures game about statistics and mathmatical projections of success vesus failure in battlefield conditions, which is measurable through equations, but i don't feel like thinking it through atm.

for example, in a role-playing game, when confronted with a system that has no back story of it's own, you are almost forced to make a backstory for the setting of your campaign or chronicle. how else can you make the character's actions affect the world around them without knowing about the world that they are in? If the actions carry no consequence, then people quickly lose interest. what's the point in playing a character in a static setting, where whatever you do, it doesn't matter at all? that is the essence of my opinion on this matter.

Look at the success of the forgotten realms setting for d&d. while i don't personnally like it that much, there are many times many that use it as a basis upon which worlds are created and destroyed. there are hundreds of different cities, political systems, and sub-plots to be explored. this is all not to mention all of the expansions, dungeon packs, etc. that have been released upon the world. the success of this setting can be directly attributed to the fact that it's background and story are so well documented in the sourcebooks. within this world, the pressure of creating a world is taken off of the game master's shoulders and he/she is free to tell a story without the hang-ups of dealing with a custom setting.

like i said, i don't like forgotten realms. in fact. i hate it. just not my style really. high magic and tolkein-esque races make my skin crawl. so before running a game myself, i spent free time for a couple of months off and on making a setting of my own. without this work and back-plot, nothing subsequently done would have worked. 75% of the storyline was on the spot, but the reactions and ripples of those things were easily measurable with the backstory and history works that had been written up during the pre-start phase of the game itself. so, when the people would show up back in a place that they hadn't been in a while, the effects of their actions would be seen, if they looked. taxes rising or falling in response to a war succeeding or simply continuing. people dissapearing at night if a dark cult is left to fester rather than being wiped out. strange stories of a lone man, cloaked in darkness, stalking the streets if they didn't follow up his sub-plot. all of these things would be difficult to come up with 'on the fly'.

thus, to me, backstory and plot are the driving force behind any game's success or failure.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 3:41 am 
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Master Gunner
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What I love, one major feature is the ability to grow and develop your pieces. Some people might like chess or simple games but I like to personalize and develop. That could mean a game like civilization, or Xcom. Hard to implement for a board game but alright on a computer game. Think of Mechcommander. I prefer that over say, mechwarrior 4 which lacks any meaningful development.

Fluff is good. You want a good convincing background. Even for AD&D it wouldn't be so good if you inflated the monster manual with masses of useless garbage and illustrations. That doesn't suit kids though.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 5:36 am 
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Master Gunner
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true, kids these days have been so immersed in television and computer games that imagination is a dying thing. they need illustrations to imagine things, which is really, really sad. i liked the old ones where there was sort of a vague description and you had to think of the rest on your own. whereass now it's (name)(picture)(stats)(special rules)(tiny ittie bittie piece of background) or something to that effect.

of course, i'm just a month shy of 22, so to many of you, i may still be a kid. in which case, my thoughts may seem as deluded to you as 13-18 y/olds do to me.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2006 11:46 am 
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kharille wrote:
Even for AD&D it wouldn't be so good if you inflated the monster manual with masses of useless garbage and illustrations.
Too Late! :P

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