Principles Of Game Design

Games have become mainstream now, thanks to the advent of the internet. The days of considering gaming as a mere pastime or something only tech-savvy individuals would enjoy are long gone.

Video games are now a multi-billion-dollar industry. Developers all over the world are coming up with new games almost every passing hour. Creating a hit game is not that easy though. There are a few core principles. This guide will be all about the principles of game design.

6 Core Principles Of Game Design

Whether you are a console gamer, a PC gamer, a mobile gamer, or looking for the future of game development, you should know one thing. Ultimately, a game should be engaging and fun. It should feel like a game.

There is a fine line between something being fun and being tedious. Games that aim for realism need to tread a thin line. They should be fun to play but also give an immersive experience. No matter what platform you are building a game on, or for which audience, there are 6 principles of game design.

1. The Core Mechanic

One advantage of the digital world is its limitless possibilities. You can build practically anything, and in this case, any type of game can allow you to do anything. However, you need to take a more focused and grounded approach.

That is why the first principle of game design is to base your game around a core mechanic. Take any popular game, and you will see that they all have a core mechanic. For example, Tetris asks you to fit shapes into a confined space.

In Apex Legends, a very popular online battle royale, the core mechanic is shooting enemies – running, gunning, and looting. A core mechanic is something that will repeat multiple times during gameplay. It will make your game more focused.

There is a caveat, though. You need to ensure that the core mechanic is fun and immersive. Otherwise, you would end up with something that is mind-numbingly boring. And players will lose interest — the opposite of what you are trying to achieve.

2. Balanced Gameplay

A focused core mechanic is not enough. You need to have balanced gameplay. Now, what does that mean? Well, it is basically giving players options. These options will allow players to tackle challenges in the game based on their skills and play style.

For example, in a racing game, you may allow players to modify their vehicle. Some mods may increase the top speed but reduce the acceleration. Other mods may increase acceleration but reduce tire grip.

All these ifs and buts bring consequences. Players can choose how they want to tackle a challenge. Your game should not feel unfair. That is what balanced gameplay is all about. There might be a challenge to it, but with the right skills and decisions, it can be overcome.

3. Easy To Learn, But Difficult To Master

Speaking of challenges, a game that players can breeze through will probably bore most of them. Games are supposed to be fun, yes. While this is very true, a challenge can really get players excited.

A win in a game that is too easy might feel hollow. And players might not feel like they have achieved something in the game. Hence matching players with others of equal skill often brings a fair challenge and more fun.

They will feel motivated to grind and get better at it if the game gets progressively difficult. The idea here is that the basics of the gameplay are easy to learn. But mastering it will take some time, energy, and skill. Something players can work towards and look forward to.

4. Proper Main Missions

Main missions can look vastly different from game to game. In Tetris, one of our previous examples, the main goal is simple. We all know what you need to do with it.

If you have an open-world game in a metaverse where the plot line is that the human race is fighting an alien invasion, now that is exciting.

The possibilities are endless. Regardless of what the core mechanics of the game are, the core or main missions need to be meaningful and well-designed.

The whole concept of level design and story writing comes into play here. These topics can be single in-depth articles on their own. However, the main idea is that the story and the main missions should be cohesive. They should make sense.

And not to mention, they should also feel immersive. Otherwise, it may leave the players feeling lost or disengaged.

5. Is It fun?

At its core, a video game should be fun to play. It should give the player a sense of euphoria and get them excited. It is easier said than done though.

That is why you need to have a talented game development studio. There are whole departments in game studios that test a game to see whether they are fun or not.

This is aptly called playtesting. A game that is not fun ultimately fails. The thing is, you cannot strictly define what ‘fun’ is for a game. It can vary vastly depending on the game, the gameplay, and also the genre.

Microsoft’s Flight Simulator is a very realistic game. You actually have to follow all the tedious little details of flying an aircraft. But guess what? It does not feel tedious. In fact, players who love the game, love it for its realism.

On the other hand, The Last of Us, is an epic award-winning action video game. Things are not that realistic in this game, but it’s gameplay makes it fun!

But there are still some elements that are designed in a way that makes you buy into the whole world. Both are fun though. That is what it is all about. You need to find the perfect balance here.

6. Reward And Feedback

A lot of gamers love the reward and feedback mechanics of well-designed games. It gives us a dopamine hit and keeps us coming back for more. The last thing you want is for a player to play your game once and then forget about it.

You need to keep them engaged. You need to have them revisit your game more. And for that, a proper reward and feedback mechanism is essential. Tell them how they are doing in the game.

How much have they progressed? If it is a multi-player game, tell them how they compare with other players on the server. Rewards are awesome too! They get players excited and keep them motivated.

Wrapping Up

The principles of game design allows game developers to create a game that will feel like a game. It will create a game that is not only fun to play but is immersive and gets players coming back for more.

Studios like us at Metaverse Games Studio understand this fact. That is why we are taking the principle of game development and adapting it for the next revolution – the metaverse.

Make an appointment today to learn how we can help build your ideas into reality.

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