One, two, games are coming for you
How to create fundamentals for your super game (that is going to be a hit)
Making games has never been as easy as today. Free, powerful tools do not cost a penny and you can find thousands of professional tutorials everywhere. Some engines even allow you to make games without any programming know-how. Knowledge is at your fingertips, requires only willingness, time and perseverance. It would seem, therefore, that more and more good games should be created every day. And in fact — many games are being made, probably we have never been flooded with so many new titles. For example average number of new apps in Google Play per day is about 5,500 and on App Store is 1200, and 17% of new apps are new games (stats for March, 2018 thanks to 42matters ). In 2017 alone, almost as many games were released on Steam as during the first 10 years of this platform! Look at this chart — it is 6000 new games in a year:
(chart above comes from: https://twitter.com/ZhugeEX/status/928680024512892929)
The gaming market is flooded by the ocean of games, and the gems have less and less chances to break into the players’ consciousness, which creates a certain paradox: games can be easier to create, but it’s harder to convince people to play them. However, let’s look at the hits of the indie market in recent years: Superhot, Stardew Valley or Cuphead. These productions are the indie games and despite the competition from more or less ambitious games, they exist in the players’ consciousness. They are the perfect proof that if the game really deserves it, it will conquer the market. The requirement, however, is always one and the same: the game must be … good!
Perhaps you are glad that the tools for creating games are so easily available and you plan to create your first game with a few buddies, but you do not know how to start; or maybe you’ve already done the game and it seemed to be so great, but it turns out that nobody wants to play it — then this post is for you. I am gonna write how to approach the subject wisely and minimize the risk of losing time, money or maybe even a few buddies. In short: how to start creating your (next) super game that is going to be a hit.
Today I will focus on step 1: Fundamentals
Fundamentals are all these things, without which it makes no sense to start any work: the simplest issues that will affect the path you will follow to create your game. Look and consider topics such as:
- VIDEOGAME GENRES
As Wikipedia says: A video game genre is a classification assigned to a video game based on its gameplay interaction rather than visual or narrative differences. A video game genre is defined by a set of gameplay challenges and are classified independently of their setting or game-world content, unlike other works of fiction such as films or books. For example, a shooter game is still a shooter game, regardless of where or when it takes place.
There are a whole bunch of genres of games that you can choose individually or mix to achieve new combinations.
You can choose between:
- shooter (like Call of Duty or Battlefield)
- action (Uncharted, GTA)
- RPG (The Witcher, Fallout)
- racing (Need For Speed, Forza Horizon)
- sports (FIFA, NBA 2K18)
- MOBA (League of Legends, DOTA)
- platform (Limbo, Super Mario Bros.)
- simulation (Sims, SimCity)
- strategy (Civilization, Starcraft)
- HOPA (Pear’s Peril, Eventide: Slavic Fable)
- social network games (Top Eleven, Farmville)
- idle (Chef Royale)
- and many, many more
2. NUMBER OF PLAYERS
For how many people do you create? Video games are often single-player games that put the player against programmed challenges or opponents controlled by AI. Multiplayer games allow players to interact with other people in cooperation, rivalry or competition.
When considering the number of players, we can choose:
- single player
People choose games depending on what and how they want to play. At the same time, some types of games are assigned to specific devices (eg visual novels are developed mostly for a PC). The devices also enforce specific types of gameplay.
You do not have to choose one platform, but more will increase the scope of work:
- computers (PC, Mac, Linux)
- consoles (Xbox, Play Station, Wii, Apple TV etc.)
- portable consoles (DS, PSP, Vita)
- mobile (Android, iOS)
- online (www)
Depending on how much money you can spend on development you can estimate a scope of your game. You cannot develop great MMO with few buddies, it is just technically impossible now, in 2018. Specifying your budget and dividing it in half should give you a vision of the scope of work that you can plan.
Depending on how much money you have or how much money you plan to get, you can choose between:
- AAA (biggest games for consoles and computers)
- “budget” games (for computers)
- independent/indie (small, often unconventional)
- mobile (for smartphones and tablets, usually small, with fast gameplay loop)
Look at the list of the most expensive video games ever developed to realize their size: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_expensive_video_games_to_develop
5. BUSINESS MODEL
In other words, it is an idea how to monetize your game. You have to know how will your game return money invested in production, because it also affects what the game will be. Different types of monetization work differently with different platforms, so consider all the pros and cons, and choose from:
- paid games, physical copies distribution
- paid games, digital distribution
- subscription model
- F2P (free to play)
- early access (paid beta)
6. CLASSIFICATION OF GAMERS
You need to know your players perfectly, even better than they know themselves — you need to know what players are really looking for, not what they think they want. It is about this thing, which gives the greatest pleasure, because everyone’s motivation is based on the search for pleasure. Try to understand your target group and think about the game considering such player classifications:
- hardcore/casual (how often and how do players play)
- demography (age, sex, nationality etc.)
- psychography (chalenges, exploring, expressing etc.)
- preferred platform (console, PC, mobile)
- consumer habits (do players pay or prefer F2P)
- engagement (how intensely do players play)
Before even starting creating a game, you have to carefully examine above points and write down all conclusions, because this is the basis you will rely on while starting designing your game.