As a developer it can be frustrating to spend hours, days, weeks or even months working on something to have your hard work picked apart by people completely unqualified to do so. Having said that it IS our job to make sure that the end user has the best possible experience when using our software. Whether we like it or not every complaint has some validity in the eyes of the person making that complaint. Some complaints you can put aside as “opinion” such as people who didn’t like the plot, but complaints about mechanics are often worth taking more notice of.
In this short post I am going to talk about some of the more simple things that we can do to make life easier for ourselves and the end user.
Don’t overdo it
A lot of indie games have mechanics in them that are totally pointless and in some cases have no benefit to the game in any way. Often these things started out as a good idea but were never finished or were superseded and rather than remove them from the game, because they have spent time on them, the dev wants to leave them in instead. This also goes for “preview” sections of a game where you only partially implement a larger part of the game to give your patrons something to do. The problem is that you are committing yourself to something which you may not ever get a chance to finish.
Streamline your code. Ask yourself if what you are coding has any benefit to the game as a whole and how, as an unbiased player are these things going to be interpreted. Players aren’t the button mashing idiots of the late 90’s early 00’s and they can spot a “time sink” very quickly and will be more than happy to blast you for it.
Don’t use Cookie Cutter characters!
A lot of games use Daz Studio for their visuals. Daz is a wonderful piece of software with vast potential. It is incredibly easy to customize characters and sets. It is because it is so easy that when a dev like myself see’s game after game with the same Victoria character with different colour variants of the same hair style, we die a little inside as it shows just how lazy the developer has been. Likewise the dev who downloads the massive morphs and just cranks them up without making any change to the face… you know who you are.
Insert name here…
If your game is an in depth RPG with weeks of game play, asking the player for their name can be a nice touch as it helps with immersion. If your game is an adult themed visual novel which realistically has a couple of days reading at best, asking the player for their name is not only pointless but can actually be a bit annoying. It either shows a lack of understanding of your player base or a lack of caring on your part. I’ll give you a hint, if you are making a porn game, the chances are that your player only has one free hand and so making them type is counter productive…