Ian at Gamasutra has compiled a list for game designers. Here are the key points I picked up for myself.
- Do play your game to ensure the fun
- Do keep design documentation up to date
- Do make prototypes with fun gameplay to remind the goals
- Do use placheolders
- Do use peer reviews
- Do play other games to learn from them, combine the ideas yet also use your own imagination
- Do add a good story in order to avoid tech demo status or just keep it simple and short
Have you also read this cool article – Bad Game Designer, No Twinkie! II?
But what makes a game actually fun or even worth playing? This is discussed by Mark at Gamasutra. Here is a summary for future reference.
- Do keep the player motivated to advance in your levels.
- Significant threat from behind will keep player moving
- A dangling carrot on the field ahead sure looks like an objective
- Impose a time limit for the player not to hang around
- Provide guidance or simply limit the possible routes the player can choose from
- Provide something of interest of the player to motivate him
- Use architectural pressure trigger movement via psychology including long corridors and junctions
- Taking away the object of interest will make him chase it down
- Make the player believe they are under a threat – actual danger.
- External – caused by an enemy
- Internal – caused by players mistakes
- Keep the player believing in an unknown danger which would build up tension – perceived danger.
- Tempo is described by the level of intensity of action.
Why are dumb hit points of any fun? A blog post over at rampantgames has the anwser.
- It is intuitive
- Players get a sense of a warning system
- It balances the game
- It is appealing to see the growth of hitpoints