So, I’m someone who’s pretty interested in game design in general. I don’t really have a lot to actually show for it experience-wise other than having done some QA work, but nonetheless good game design is an important thing to me.
That said, I see a lot of games on here and their associated threads and I see lots of tiny issues that could easily have been avoided or done better, and I’d like to start a discussion on things to think about to improve your work.
I’ll start with the way people post about their games first, since I know more about what I want to say on that front. Generally people could handle their OPs way better (for the unfamiliar that means Original Post, as in the first post of a topic and generally where people put their game information and download links). In general people could stand to include more information in their OPs, and I don’t mean just adding more text, in fact sometimes less text is better. Rather, what I’d like to see more of is things like pictures of the game (even if it’s a text game a snippet could be useful).
Even including what engine a game uses could be potentially useful, since RPGMaker games take way longer to download than say a Quest game. It could even give a good idea of what type of game it is since certain engines are more widely used for making certain games (I mean you generally do expect an RPG from RPGMaker. Unity is way more wild card though).
Then there’s Formatting. Formatting refers to how you arrange your information, and clearer and cleaner is always better. Big blocks of text are easy to get lost in, but spacing things out (like I have a tendency to overdo, honestly) helps a lot with readability. How you choose to order your information can mean a lot too - in my experience images are usually included lower down in posts on things like ROM hacking or indie game forums, after the main synopsis of the project has been given, but usually before closing statements. If there’s a lot of images they usually chose one or two Choice images and then shove the rest under a clickthrough (usually this is done with Spoiler tags, but Weight Gaming seems to have the function as “hide details” under the gear icon).
Speaking of synopses, you should always try to describe your project as neatly and to-the-point as you can (which is probably something I need to get better at I mean look at all this text I could probably get my points across much faster). There’s nothing wrong with lovingly describing things, rather the idea is not to let your descriptions get away from you and turn into ramblings (again, I have that problem lol).
Finally on the topic of your OPs, consider adding important updates to them if your project is in-progress. You don’t need to keep a complete changelog or link to every post you’ve made in the thread, but highlighting new cool developments is always good, especially since not everyone will want to scroll through the entire topic to see updates. That said always remember to update the OP if you release a new download link. Letting important things like that get hidden among posts in the thread is a major issue.
As for ways to make games better, well, I’ll save that for a second post haha, this one’s gone on a bit and I’m not sure if this forum has text limits. But, hey, that’s another thing you can do: Make two posts. Often threads for mods, hacks, and indie games reserve the second post of the thread for things like updates or other important information they don’t necessarily want in the OP. If you’re aiming particularly high with your project or it’s a work in progress, consider if doing that would be beneficial to you!