Game Design Theory Level 3 – Customization and Creative Design Techniques

Always Strive to Enable Players Even When Disabling Them

 

Sometimes it’s necessary in your game to “power down” or take away some of the power of the player and put them in situations where they are limited in some way. When this happens, you can usually make a better experience for players when you make it up to them by enabling them in some other ways. Sometimes you switch the gameplay on the player by putting them in another character or another game mode entirely. You can make the enemies in these sections easier and more numerous to allow some “venting” fun for players, or just give them some new tool to use to defeat their old enemies while they are limited.

 

You can make limited sections where the player has no enemies at all and must carry out a task that requires other coordination skills. You should make the art in all of these limited sections pop and the game mechanics should run smoothly. Mini-games and puzzles can be very fun for players if you make them interesting and not just bland “do-this, move-that” actions. Running back and forth and pushing buttons isn’t a puzzle. The mini-games outcomes should affect the main game in meaningful ways to get players interested. Provide rewards if possible. Also don’t forget to be honest about the limited sections. All the same rules about removing un-fun elements still apply. Make the limited sections fun to play too! For some reason good game loot in the limited sections makes them seem instantly more fun to some players.

 

took my powers

 

 

Another cool trick in video games is to have players earn back control of their normal abilities or game mode by completing specific tasks or achieving a goal in the limited mode. You can have a character that is physically limited or even obscure the vision of the player, though you want to be careful with messing with sight unless it improves gameplay and still enables players to have fun. Give your players that sense of accomplishment when they conquer challenges even without all their normal tools, and then get to return to the normal gameplay. Sometimes the player will appreciate their tools and abilities more and sometimes they even return with a newly earned ability.