general tips and advice on making games?

I’m quite stumped.
I’ve got the skills to make some basic games now.
I just cant seem to make something fun.

My skills are in UnrealEngine. So keep in mind im aiming toward games that either are in 3D or have 3D apsects to them.

So what would you people define as important aspects of having fun?

What are some do’s and don’ts according to you when it comes to game design?

I got something in the pipeline. I’d like to make something appealing for a change though.

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It’s hard to give tips when you don’t know what genre you’re going for, but some general guidelines for what makes things “fun” in games are:

  1. The player should not only be free to make choices, but feel as though these choices impact their experience in a meaningful way
  2. The outcome of a choice should provide short-term feedback to give the player the feeling of doing something in the moment, as well as a sense of long-term progress over time
  3. The player should be able to learn and adapt to something to gain a greater understanding of the game as they play–in short, like they can “git gud”
  4. Failure should be a temporary setback, and victory should encourage you to keep going.

These rules cast a pretty wide net over entirely different genres, so it’s constructive to look at what they mean in the context of a specific game. For example, in Hades…

  1. The player can choose from various different weapons and starting items, select different paths throughout a run, and pick different buffs when they summon a particular god. This results in extremely different builds and strategies throughout the course of a run even when you try to run 2 similar builds.
  2. Hitting things comes with a satisfying animation, particle effect, and sound, and beating one run feels earned because Dad Is Mad. Moreover, even when you lose a run, you still progress through the story and come home with loot to make your next run easier.
  3. Fighting enemies over and over makes their animations easier to predict and play around, and there’s something new to learn with pretty much every escape attempt. The game also encourages you to seek out specific boons from different gods, giving you a chance to learn how those boons affect gameplay and how you might want to use them.
  4. When you die, you can upgrade your abilities and items to get stronger for your next attempt, and you have a vast catalogue of character interactions to see. This means you always get something for your trouble. Winning a run also progresses the story and nets you better rewards.

Hitting that sweet spot in all of these departments is not easy. That’s why game design is hard. Trial and error are the key to learning whether or not you’re doing anything right. There’s a lot more nuance to it, of course. One channel I highly recommend is Adam Millard, he has a lot of videos going into the technical aspects of why things are or aren’t fun and what you can do to make your game better.

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Definitely plan everything out first.

Make some notes, plan levels, ai behaviour, items etc.
the more you plan, the better you can see what you might need to change.

Once you implement things, changing things can cause a multitude of issues, whereas if you change them all in planning, it makes the process much easier.

The other thing is start basic. Get your main game loop up. Just the bare minimum for the game to function. After that you can add your assets and polish it.
A game may look pretty, but if it’s not functional, it’s worthless sadly.

Lastly, scope. Don’t aim too high. Trying to do too much will eventually cause you to give up, slowly add extra features, extra assets, extra content. That way it keeps you interested and prevents burn out.

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I don’t know if it’s relevant here, but:
The absolute number one rule of game devving: Do NOT make your dream game until you’ve gotten a lot of experience doing all kinds of different little projects.
Getting real sick and tired of all those v0.0.5 projects that pop up from some new/new-ish game devs that crash and burn because of spaghetti code, massive code rewrites, or feature bloat.

Anyway, probably more relevant stuff:
Important aspects of fun… is pretty subjective. Everyone’s got their tastes in gameplay, challenge, game length, fetishes, etc. Me, I like games where the fetish is first and foremost, or at least pretty close to it, lewd games that don’t try too hard to be a “real” game. It’s kind of a pet peeve of mine when you’ve got some kind of lewd RPG and the game has you grind for hours, doing all sorts of actual RPG stuff, just to have the kink stuff be locked behind losses against bosses and that’s it.
That said, having the game be some piss-easy puzzle game where you can rush through all the content in five minutes and have zero replayability is no good either. There should be some aspect of replayability here, whether it’s redoing things to unlock more stuff for the gallery, or doing an intentionally difficult side quest to unlock the ability to adjust characters’ weights whenever you like, IDK.

Game design tips:

  1. Consider whether or not the player should/could play one-handed. Maybe the whole game is lewd, so you should have the controls only need one hand? Maybe the game isn’t that lewd outside of the lewd scenes, so the controls are two-handed most of the time? Maybe do alt control schemes if possible.
  2. Consider the length of time between lewd bits of the game. It’s okay to have non-lewd breaks to pad the game out, but don’t overdo it. Nobody wants to spend the few private hours they have IRL to pick herbs for a fetch quest in a game about unbirthing.
  3. Add replayability through secrets, unlocks, difficult side objectives, etc. New game +? High score lists?
  4. Fetish toggles, when practical.
    4a. Clearly telling the player what they’re about to get themselves into, unless the game’s point is to be vague. If you meet a woman and she’s being flirty with you, and the two options are “ANAL” and “CONTINUE”, you better clarify somewhere that “continue” means to get a blowjob from her and “anal” is her actually being a futa and screwing YOUR butt.
  5. Screenshots. Please, please make sure your game’s page has screenshots of a few things around the game so we know what it looks like and what to expect. I personally hate downloading a new game then finding out it’s another RPG Maker game.
  6. Put thought into the balance of genders in the game and how the player will see it. Is the game female-only? Is there a scene with a dude mixed in that the player can’t skip? Is the game 50/50?
  7. Don’t put lewd content behind bad ends, unless the game is so hard that the player is expected to lose to everything at least once. (Or you can cheat by having bad ends be unlocked in the gallery after you win!)
  8. Don’t change the game’s tone too much, if you can avoid it. Most players aren’t too happy when a game has a lot of wholesome pregnancy content and after the 3rd chapter, the game decides all pregnancies should be forcefully aborted by the new villain that hates children and there’s no pregnancy at all for the next two chapters, despite being a pregnancy kink game
  9. Consider adding a cheat mode of some kind while the game is in development so we don’t have to take as long to get to different parts of the game when things get added or whatever. Nobody likes having to redo 10 hours of a game because the dev reworked the save system, or a save bug broke everyone’s saves.

Also yeah, key points:
Watch the scope of the game, don’t add a billion mechanics if none of them are fleshed out, PLAY your game a few times while you develop it, and don’t surround yourself with Yes Men that just want to suck your e-peen and tell you how good you’re doing.

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Very insightfull folks!
thanks a lot.
I’ll be going over these points a lot as i develop from now on to see if i’m still on the right path.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Embrace it for the learning opportunity that it presents, as people are more open about providing feedback in such instances. The only way to be a success, either flying solo or as part of a team, is to keep trying and putting yourself out there since the only way to truly fail is to quit trying.

Threads like these are heartening to see. Even when frustrations mount you’re seeking answers, not giving in to despondency. This is a great trait to see in a developer!

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I failed really well the last game jam.
And I now know that “Losing the plot” is definitely one of my pitfalls.
Despite my game not being very fun to play, i had fun making it and would like to continue making more small games until one has big potential :stuck_out_tongue: