2016’s Lessons Of Gaming #12: 111-120

111. Advertise, Advertise, Advertise

Don’t pass up opportunities to get people’s eyes on your products, like HEY GO LOOK AT THIS TOTAL STRANGERS.

See the funny thing is, I wrote that a few months ago, because a friend regularly reminds me that I don’t advertise my own work enough. I did it in this thread a few times and not one of them converted to a purchase within the time frame.

Clearly, gotta advertise more.

112. You Can Make Games

I may not get more likes than this so here’s the big one. Here’s the king hit. YOU CAN MAKE GAMES. This time last year I had BASICALLY NO experience making games. In one year, I made about FIFTEEN You Can Make Games Too. You don’t need to do presentation. You don’t need to do aesthetics. You don’t even need to write formal rules. But you can sit down, with pieces of card, scribble on them, and you can MAKE A GAME. And I WANT YOU TO.

Right Now, we’ve got a Lot Of Guys Like Me making shit. That’s fine but hey look at that we have the same five nerd boy fantasies repeating.  You will find all sorts of weird, cool, interesting game ideas when you reach even the tiniest step out of Orcs Vs Spacemen Zombies You can make games with dice and cardboard and paper and pens and glue and tape and THAT IS AWESOME and YOU CAN DO IT. Want to take it to the next level? Free graphics programs. Free template tools. Free text editors and pdf exporters and stock art – YOU CAN.

And if fuckin’ ANYONE wants to tell you that You Don’t Have The Qualifications or You Don’t Belong in making games? I will fight them.

This idea turned out to be so important to me it formed the bedrock of my final thesis and a semester of teaching. You can make games.

113. Folding Prototypes

You know what’s super great for 3d prototypes? Oragami skills. Folding distinct pieces with stiff card can be v. Quick. There are TONS of resources for simple origami techniques out there.

114. The Basic Aesthetic Option

When in doubt, white text, black outline, or black text with white outline. It’s practical and it’s everywhere because it works.

115. What Doesn’t Belong

Most games wind up being boring because there’s an under-examined system in there ‘just because. ‘ Roll-and-move is a great example of this. Does your game benefit from random movement? Does it just slow shit down? You should be able to explain to yourself why you’re doing any of the things you’re doing.

116. Roll-And-Move

‘We wanted to slow things down’ is a perfectly fine thing to want in your game, btw.

117. Repeating the Game Loop

Some games like Poker or Skull are relatively dull in a single experience but become exciting in aggregate. Make sure to try out your mechanic in iterated groups with carrying-over score. You may find they’re more interesting that way.

118. Feedback To Seek

The worst feedback you can get is ‘I dunno, seems fine. ‘ If you get this a lot, it’s not your tester though, it’s on you. If things ‘seem fine’ then nothing’s giving a strong emotional reaction, whether it’s ‘this sucks’ or ‘this is awesome.’

119. Procedural Pals

Befriend bot-makers. Random, procedural computer generation can give you large sets of information or assets to curate. They can also make some types of game assets, like permutations of one another, easier to get.

120. A Permutation Resource!

I use this Permutation Calculator for a lot of the permutation/set math I need to do ‘cos I’m bad at combinatorics.

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