Monday, June 21, 2010

Quality level pt2

So i figured I should go into some of the things that make a game seem higher quality to me. Now of course this is my personal list, and everyone elses will be different. I aim to do 10 examples, but as i am writing this off the cuff, who knows what will be typed below...

So on with the list,
1. Nice splash screen. Not complex, but suitable for the game. First impressions count of course. Nowadays i would have to upgrade this to a nice Video splash screen showing your company name/logo and the name of the game perhaps.
2. Thumbnail, ok maybe this should have been number 1. All i need from this is to be able to read the games name. Honestly the ones i see that i have no idea what they are for. such a waste of possible recognition.
3. Main menu should come on after the splash screen and be somewhat entertaining. Now i know that sounds like a lot, but it just means... Don't be a static main menu. animate something, and you had better be playing music!
4. A player should KNOW which menu item he has selected, if they have to think twice (is it the highlight or lowlighted item), then you have done bad!
5. Moving through menus should work with both joystick and buttons.
6. Moving through menus should have a sfx or even a ditty. confirmation of feedback is very important to new players. One could also animate the transitions too.
7. 'B' or 'Back' button should always allow me to get back from any menu level i am in. Though i do have to say design parameters can outweigh this one. If there are no good design considerations, then do em both.
8.  Fade in and out, or at least transition in some way. Hard cuts time after time is harsh. Though once again can be used if designed properly.
9. Graphical glitches should not be apparent. I know this sounds obvious. But i have tested a number of games with graphical glitchs in them in peer review, and it is not a failable issue.
10. Reactions to gameplay. All things should react in some way to gameplay happening. For example a blood splat when a flesh character is hit, or bolts fly off when a robot is damaged. Dust can come up from landing from a jump etc. every one that is put in makes a product feel so much more than it's parts.
11. A game should have animation. This is not a comic, so animate something. My 3rd title was a comic and quiz and while the comic was on the screen there were scaling and alphaing stars in the background. If you have a game that has trees, have leaves fall. It does not take much to add those niceties that make people wanna stay. The more you add, the better your initial impressions will be of your game.
12. Balance the music with the sfx. It takes so long to get this part done i dislike it. However the time spent makes the game so much better for everyone.

Ok, so i am guilty of course for not doing all these all the time. Though i do most of them and more most of the time. I know you are maybe reading this and thinking that most are stupidly obvious, so why then are they not being done in so many games on Xblig? Laziness or just not knowing? I think it is mostly the latter. When it is your own baby and you are so close to it every day, it is hard not to just ignore the shortcomings.


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