What Makes a Game FUN ?

I tried to break things down to find the elusive factors that could increase the Fun Factor in products like games.

What makes a game enjoyable ?

It’s not the graphics or the audio quality. You actually don’t need any epic tale to make a good game. And it’s definitely not the amount of money a developer/publisher throws at a game.

I suggest you pay attention to the two main categories of processes:

  1. Basic Processes :

Before starting the new design, test the old design to identify the good parts that you should keep or emphasize, and the bad parts that give users trouble.

  • Errors: How many errors do users make, how severe are these errors, and how easily can they recover from the errors ?
  • Efficiency: Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks
  • Satisfaction: How pleasant is it to use the design ?
  • Memorability: When users meet similar quest, how easily can they reestablish proficiency ?

2. Advanced Processes

  • THE ILLUSION OF VARIETY

Many of Games can be little bit repetitive since gamer is basically doing the same thing over and over again. However, while it may seem like doing the same things to get to the goal, should always be given di erent options on how to get to the goal. For example: if the goal is to flying above the landscape and collecting collects points as long as possible by simply swiping left and right. On the way there, we’re going to encounter obstacles like Balloons, Clouds, Landforms.

How we can create these obstacles more different ? Obviously we can add objects (more graphics — higher costs of production ). But we can also add more mechanic (ways) to overcome current obstacles. Gamer can avoid obstacles but what about other ways, as the flight upside down, barrel, wings vertically ? We have to give different ways to beat the game. Do you attempt to use air blast, various weather phenomena, gets boosters, shoot by fireballs (LOL) ? Give more choices for the gamers, while they are playing this game.

  • ENGAGING ROLE OF SOUNDS !

The value of the sounds is often underestimated by the game developers. However we observe, the phenomenon of music games created by famous DJs such as Avicii. This mechanic works particularly well in the endless games. To maintain a commitment of gamers during the repetitive gameplay we need to add some varieties. Cheap and clever way, is the mechanics from music game of Avicii. The further we got into the gameplay, we get more and more interesting, more powerful audio experience. The desire to hear further fragments of the soundtrack (if well composed) strengthens the desire to play !

  • OBSERVABLE PROGRESS TOWARD THE GOAL

Fun Factor will be to increased if we can identify clear progress as we approach the goal, even if we don’t ultimately win. Goals with tuned diffculty level. If a game goal is too easy to attain the game will be boring; if too di cult, it will be frustrating. Since people get better with practice, there has to be some way to escalate the diffculty to compensate. Great endless games do it with automatic diffculty changes based on player performance. Design a reward that is given only occasionally. This is a good example of a powerful fun factor in engagement.

Note, that in the endless games we do not have rewards in the form of the end of the level. So, we need to take care of different kinds of rewards to keep player “on the carousel” .

  • RIVALRY

Multiplayer mode in design and optimization is an expensive process to create and implementation and also it would need to take care of the backend of the game. However we can develope 2–3 virtual opponents and the scoreboard each of them at the end of the game. Comparing results with opponents and seeing progress greatly enhances our engagement to the game.

  • CUNNING WAYS

I think most people would call this “hacking the game”. In meaning of possibilities to find complex situations, that emerge from the interaction of relatively simple game mechanics. Having these things happen may act as intermediate rewards during play, and help to sustain an interest ( These things will be more effective if they don’t happen too often). In game design, an emergent, unexpected event is something that is positive. If it is results from user actions (not randomly), is extended in time (not just a short sound e ect or a bump to the score), and gives a sense of progress, then it will be huge Fun Factor !

  • CYCLES OF TENSION AND RELEASE

In existing version player gets stable progress whole the time, but the apparent progress dissipates, build engagement. We will notice a significant increase of the level of Fun Factor, if we add a mechanism Cycles of Tension and Release. Sample of this mechanism can be seen in football. The tension grows when we have to work for the situation. In soccer, a team may have a only one promising attack on goal, only to have a shot saved and the ball cleared and then…. , then ….. (crowds go wild ) !

Let the player feel : struggle upwards, with sucess looking possible, then despair, it’s hopeless after all, and then… the culminating triumph. I suggests that this may actually be the most important of the fun factors.

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