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10 Features Every Video Game Should Embrace

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A new article in Business Week (credit to MN) talks about 10 usable things that every game should incorporate. I like the list, here's clip. Might be interesting to read someone do a church version of the list:

1. Never ask a player if they want to save their game.
Should you give players the option to save their game (and that's entirely up to you), don't ask them if they want to save upon reaching a designated checkpoint. Of course players want to save a game when given the privilege! Asking a gamer if he wants to save his progress is like asking a movie buff if they want to watch subsequent chapters of a DVD. Don't disrupt the game experience with an obtrusive pop-up. Simply display subtle on-screen text that says "Saving…" as popularized on consoles by Halo and be done with it. To ensure gamers can play back their favorite levels, don't overwrite level data. Rather, keep tabs on a gamer's progress and grant them access to the areas they have already visited.

2. Always say "press any button" to start a game.
This may seem fastidious, but in the real world, I've seen both casual players and experienced gamers unnecessarily stop and think about the start screen. A game specifically asks a player to "press start to begin." When prompted, the newbie gamer looks down at a confusing set of buttons, thinks for a second as to which button they need to press, then they hit it. The intimidation process has already begun. This is bad usability. Any button should do. "But I don't develop games for
newbie, I develop them for gamers," you say. Fine, then you just forced a gamer to unnecessarily think if the actual start button is required, or any button would suffice as is the case with most games. Obviously as a designer you want to leverage thinking to enhance the value of completing a task, but what entertainment value can be found in complicating a start menu? Some games wisely display "press any button to start." Every game should.

3. Always let players remap controller buttons to suit their preferences.
Certain computer users prefer a mouse at the left side of the keyboard as opposed to the right. Fortunately, they have the option to do so. Sadly, a lot of games don't let
players remap buttons and analog sticks to better suit their likes and dislikes. To rectify the situation, why not bring control options front and center to the pause menu? They're already an integral part to the gameplay experience. Why bury them in a complicated hierarchy of menu options? This would allow for easy access letting gamers quickly change what they need before getting back to the action. A handy "quick map" of controls as featured on most game demos would also be appreciated. Granted, this takes more effort on the part of developers to facilitate the option, but using controller templates for every console is sure to save some economies.


posted by Joshua Griffin @ 8:59 PM |

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