Advice you don't agree with?

Redeye

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When it comes to "Make a game you want to play", I agree to an extent. If you solely design a game based on everything you personally enjoy in an RPG, then that's fine... as a hobby project. But if you actually want people to pick up and play your game (which I assume everyone on this forum, deep down, wants others to play and acknowledge their work), then you have to start considering what others like, too. You should always enjoy what you're creating, but also take the time to ask yourself if this is a game others would enjoy as well.
 

Tai_MT

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Oh boy. Look at this thing. LOOK AT IT!

So, I didn't skim your first post (though you seem to be fine accusing me of such), but I certainly skimmed this one once I got halfway through. I have two possibilities rolling around in my head:

When you miss key points, ignore key points, or divorce things from their proper context... There's no other explanation than you skimmed it.

Well, other than:
1. You require clarification. Which you should be polite and ask for.
2. You aren't any good with reading comprehension. I don't tend to accuse people of this unless they make it glaringly obvious because it's frankly a bit rude to make this assumption without proof.

1. You are playing 4D chess and presenting the advice you disagree with as your own position to highlight how bad it is, as that is what this thread is about.

2. There is a fundamental disconnect in language, here. And the initial mistake is how you read "Make the game you want to play".

It's the assumption of "make the game you want to play".

Here's the problem you're going to have. We have several posts in here with "The audience doesn't know what they want" and "the audience doesn't know how to make a game". Arguments which CONVENIENTLY leave out the fact that the Dev making the game... is also part of that audience.

It is arrogance to even think the thoughts of "The Audience doesn't know what they want" in any regard. Why? It implies that you're the sole exception to the rule.

The argument (if you had read it) was you need to design the game for your audience. Nothing more, nothing less. If your intent is to "create a game you want to play", your audience is you. At which point, if you are the audience you're designing for... then you don't really need to be on here asking people what they find fun or what works in terms of a system or not, because your only concern is yourself. Whether YOU are having fun.

If you are, instead, designing a game for others to play and enjoy (and most of us are), then you need to make concessions. You need to compromise your vision. You need to understand that the fun of your audience is going to be paramount. You need to understand that your audience doesn't care about what your vision is. They don't care if you had fun making your game. They don't care if you made the game you wanted to play. An audience other than yourself is only going to care that THEY have fun with it.

It's very simple.

Put simply, your vision is going to change (AND SHOULD!) based on player feedback. What you started out making isn't going to be what you end up making if you're doing your job correctly as a dev.

The advice of "Make the game you want to play" is silly. It's stupid. It's incomplete. It tells people that they don't have to remove things that their audience doesn't like. It tells people they don't have to concede to criticism. It tells them that it's okay to say, "I don't care if you don't like it, I like it, so it's done my way!"

Game design doesn't work well when your devs turn into those sorts of people. People who can't handle criticism. That's what "Design the game you want to play!" is inherently all about.

Don't design the game you want to play. Design the game your audience wants to play. Design a fun game. Design a game about thinking. Design an artsy game. Design ANYTHING other than "the game you want to play".

Your post is full of false dichotomies while also making concessions with regards to the very false dichotomies you presented. As part of the audience of your posts, I have to ask you: Did you "make the post you wanted to read"? Or did you make the post the audience wanted? :wink:

That's the second time you've used that word... and I'm beginning to think you don't know how to use it.

If you think it's a "false dichotomy", then you need to present a third option. You've yet to do so. Or, you need to provide proof that they are false. You've yet to do that either. But, you've managed to hurl an accusation as a means of "arguing the point" rather than... you know... arguing the point.

Also, I made the post the audience wanted. Or did you not notice how many people are suddenly quoting me, debating what I said, and having an actual discussion over it? The posts generated feedback to propel the topic into more discussion. Whether that discussion would've happened without my post... who can say? But, the topic changed from a lot of "me too!" and "I agree!" into "Hey, wait now... I disagree with your advice because..."

If I delivered the post I wanted to make it would've just said, "Yeah, me too, I agree to all of the above" and been done. One and done.

Instead, here we are with an actual discussion about advice :D All because you were eager to disagree with me.

But, that's honestly rather meta and not intentional. Fun little happy accident. I was more hoping that what I disagreed with would spark an actual discussion on the topic and an exchange of ideas. People tend to learn more from combating ideas. Whether they agree with me or not is often irrelevant. I only care that I can get a spirited and intellectual discussion out of it.

I tend to get disappointed when people dismiss things I've said "out of hand" in an effort to not have to prove their side of the argument... or when people have to resort to personal insults to shut me up rather than argue facts and logic. Tends to make me lose a bit of faith in humanity when that happens. But, that's just me.
 

Tai_MT

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You're talking about "brand recognition", which isn't the subject. If you gave me a game you designed right this instant... I guarantee you I don't care what your vision is. I'm going into your game with the intent to have fun in my off hours. I'm looking for fun parts to your game so that I can relax and have a good time.

What is your vision? I don't care. Is your game fun? Oh, I care if it is.

What's the vision behind Fortnite? Behind Call of Duty? What's the vision behind Starcraft 2? What's the vision behind WoW?

Do you know? Do you care?

Or, do you really only care that you're having a good time and didn't waste your time or money playing something that wasn't fun?
 

ericv00

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First, I'm going to offer up that you don't need to generate a wall of text, anymore. We're kind of past the point of useful dialogue on that particular piece of advice. I don't want you to waste your valuable time writing stuff I'm absolutely going to skim at best.

Next:
If you think it's a "false dichotomy", then you need to present a third option. You've yet to do so.
This has been done by many in the thread several times. You have made it clear that you are uninterested in acknowledging it. Or you sort of do as an aside that you present (not giving credit to others who have made the point), then present again that there are only two options. So, yeah, the dialogue is kinda dead now.

I'm unlikely to respond to you beyond this post unless we have a new topic to discuss.
 

Bernkastelwitch

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I think this whole thing assumes you want to sell your game to the masses. I know my game, for example is inspired by Suikoden. Should I change that inspiration merely because Suikoden isn't the most well known series nowadays, even if it means a lot to me and others?

I will bring up a feature people did point out on my game before with the large playable cast of 30. Some people think that's not a "traditional size" and "should be removed". Even though there may be issues there, there's gameplay reasons to have it and mechanics to have a lot of characters. The amount of elements, how each character is meant to have a different role, and everything. Should I simply remove that feature simply because "Not many people will like it"?

Not every feature is going to be for everyone. Yes, the creator should listen to feedback but at the same time, there's a difference between making a game someone is passionate about and making a product the creator doesn't care for just for the sake of "money" or "recognition".
 

SigmaSuccour

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I'm very interested in your reasoning for not agreeing with the spoken advice. I've been told to make games for myself many times because I often get so paranoid about what people are going to criticize about it that I keep redoing things indefinitely.

There are two parts to making a game.

1. Working on it.
&
2. Finishing it.

We all work on games.
But only a few, finish.

I want to clarify, that these are two separate actions and goals.
- Working on a game.
- Finishing that game.

Both of these, need different fuel and motivation to see them through.

- Making a game for yourself, will give you the energy and motivation to work on it. But it will not give you the energy to finish it.
Since finishing a game, requires us to do things that we would never do for ourselves.

Simple example: making a descriptive tutorial. And bug-testing, for things the player 'could' do that they are not suppose to. (Like bumping into that tree from all corners, at full dash speed, to test its collision.)


- And so to finish a game, you need to start doing it for others. For the player.



in conclusion, my advice is:
Work on the game for yourself, and finish it for others.

...there are parts in game making that are absolute suffering, with no immediate reward. Parts I would never do for myself.
The only thing that allows me to push through these parts, is fantasizing about player's comments when they play the game, and express that they absolutely love it.
And so... I work on my games for myself. And I finish for others, for people who will play them.

And so I advise others, what I do myself.
And I'm happy that it has been working for me. :LZSooo:
 

tiabuni

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When it comes to "Make a game you want to play", I agree to an extent. If you solely design a game based on everything you personally enjoy in an RPG, then that's fine... as a hobby project. But if you actually want people to pick up and play your game (which I assume everyone on this forum, deep down, wants others to play and acknowledge their work), then you have to start considering what others like, too. You should always enjoy what you're creating, but also take the time to ask yourself if this is a game others would enjoy as well.
You are a micro indie dev, not Nintendo or Square Enix. If you don't make a game you care about first, if you don't love your craft, who will? It is important to consider market trends, what you can actually develop - after all, ideas are not always feasible to implement in a game, unless you are a wizard who can code, draw, write, compose AND market all by yourself.

I also think you should consider what the target audience of your game appreciates. Case in point, I am making a RPG (obviously) and it lacks a bunch of things I have seen brought up as essential for a jRPG in the past. No, it doesn't last 150 hours and there are no anime girls in skimpy outfits (there are no humans whatsoever in the game, yay), but there is plenty of customization options, such as a very fun job system that works more or less like evolutions in Digimon. Basically, I consider what RPG players enjoy (which is a funny thing to say because the "jRPG fandom" is extremely divided), but ultimately what I like is what drives the game. There is a lot of inspiration from Pokémon, Digimon, Silent Hill and old Shin Megami Tensei games into it, because I love or used to love these things.

With that being said, being too stubborn is also a sure fire way to fail in this business. No, I don't think every games has an audience, not a sizeable and significant one, anyways. The creator of YIIK / Y2K sure seems to have believed everyone would love his pretentious game, but that wasn't the case, in the end. So if you are not a hobbist, consider if your game has actual commercial appeal. This is a particularly good video for blossoming solo and not so solo devs.

Anyways... Really, if I only wanted money, there are numerous activities that would give me more money and less stress.

-----

I disagree with the notion that games should be easy, and this is a hill I am willing to die on. There are so many moments and encounters in games, especially jRPGs, that would be so much more memorable if the enemy or boss didn't go down in a few hits, completely lacking any need for the player to come up with a particular strategy to beat them. All of this because money always comes first, and devs want to pander to the people who want to play the game without actually playing the game. Those who play jRPGs for the story only, but if that is the case, why not watch a film, anime or read a book - if the very thing that makes a game, well, a game doesn't interest you? Not to mention, there are story-heavy games in most genres these days, so you don't really need to play games you hate the gameplay for that.
 

ericv00

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Simple example: making a descriptive tutorial. And bug-testing, for things the player 'could' do that they are not suppose to. (Like bumping into that tree from all corners, at full dash speed, to test its collision.)


- And so to finish a game, you need to start doing it for others. For the player.
I think this highlights the disconnect of this piece of advice.

I think, for most people, "making the game you want to play" does not mean you are creating something for you to pass your own time playing. It more speaks to making the sort of game that you would be happy to have handed to you by another creator. You may not need a tutorial for the game you build, but if that game was something someone else built, you would want to have access to a guide that makes you aware of the functions in the game. The tutorial IS putting in the things you want in a game in your game.
 

The Stranger

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Not every feature is going to be for everyone. Yes, the creator should listen to feedback but at the same time, there's a difference between making a game someone is passionate about and making a product the creator doesn't care for just for the sake of "money" or "recognition".
Also, whose advice do you listen to? What types of criticism do you take to heart? There's no monolithic audience to appease. Even within a single genre, fans wants so many different, often contradictory, things. How do you cater to that? You can't. Do you filter out feedback based on people whose likes are similar to your own? Do you listen to everyone and end up with a half baked mess that appeals to everyone, but pleases no one? Do you chase current trends and shoehorn in things that half the time don't make sense?

Visit Steam discussion boards for early access games to see the sort of bizarre requests people make, and the sort of strange feedback and criticisms people can give. Not all feedback is worth listening to, just like not all opinions are worth entertaining.

Fanbases and nebulous audiences are often greatly divided on the sort of things they enjoy and want to see in games. To be honest, I still believe making a game you'd enjoy is the best way to go about things; you most likely belong to the target audience anyway.

There's also quite a few games out there now that aren't fun games, but which are weird artsy things with cult followings. They're not fun to play, some barely have gameplay at all, but they're still enjoyed.
 

Bernkastelwitch

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Also whose advice do you listen to? What types of criticism do you take to heart? There's no monolithic audience to appease. Even within a single genre, fans wants so many different, often contradictory, things. How do you cater to that? You can't. Do you filter out feedback based on people whose likes are similar to your own? Do you listen to everyone and end up with a half baked mess that appeals to everyone, but pleases no one? Do you chase current trends and shoehorn in things that half the time don't make sense?

Visit Steam discussion boards for early access games to see the sort of bizarre requests people make, and the sort of strange feedback and criticisms people can give. Not all feedback is worth listening to, just like not all opinions are worth entertaining.

Fanbases and nebulous audiences are often greatly divided on the sort of things they enjoy and want to see in games. To be honest, I still believe making a game you'd enjoy is the best way to go about things; you most likely belong to the target audience anyway.

There's also quite a few games out there now that aren't fun games, but which are weird artsy things with cult followings. They're not fun to play, some barely have gameplay at all, but they're still enjoyed.

There's a reason why I don't bring up much story specific stuff on forums for feedback. People bring out some of the strangest critiques. One I remember was someone wanting to change my protagonists gender to a male and for the prologue project I am working on "Don't kill off characters".

There's good critiques like wanting to fix up potential plot holes or rewrite a character if they don't seem to fit the story to weirder ones that only exist because of someone's personal taste.

The gameplay critiques are a lot easier to know than story ones. If a character is too overpowered or underpowered, people will know. If a mechanic doesn't work as intended, people will know. And those I can work accordingly.

Some people mistake genuine criticism for personal tastes.
 

tiabuni

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You (or someone you found paraphrasing me) might have gotten the wrong impression about something I wrote in my starting point tutorial, because I never said or wrote that.

I wrote that your FIRST game should not be your dream game - and directly gave the reason for that:
Your first game will always be a learning project, and it will almost always get scrapped after you learned how to use the engine.
And being forced to scrap your dream game due to beginner mistakes will damage that dream, so it is better to use some secondary idea for learning and pour your dream into your second project after you learned the basics.
One's first attempt at making a game, yes. One's first commercial game, no. I see this being preached over and over again, that someone's debut game can't be a commercial success (success being subjective, of course - not every game is going to be Undertale), despite there existence of examples of people whose first games were successes.
 

SigmaSuccour

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I think, for most people, "making the game you want to play" does not mean you are creating something for you to pass your own time playing. It more speaks to making the sort of game that you would be happy to have handed to you by another creator.

I assure you EricV, that is the meaning I addressed in my message.
Feel free to re-read, and reinterpret.
 

ericv00

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SigmaSuccor, I see. I'm caught up in "make the game you want to play". Your words were "making a game for yourself". I think I understand your distinction.

Still, I assume when most people say "make a game for yourself" as advice, they do not mean it in the literal sense. They mean it as something closer to "make the game you want to play", "make a game you would be happy to play", or "make the type of game you would like to see made".
 

Sword_of_Dusk

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Still, I assume when most people say "make a game for yourself" as advice, they do not mean it in the literal sense. They mean it as something closer to "make the game you want to play", "make a game you would be happy to play", or "make the type of game you would like to see made".
I always thought this was the obvious takeaway. Never assumed anyone would take it literally.
 

FirestormNeos

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Whenever I hear someone describe... ANYTHING in a story-- whether it's a romantic subplot, or a disturbing scene, or a character having a specific appearance --as either "forced" or "necessary," that is an immediate red flag to me that the person in question fundamentally misunderstands the purpose of art/entertainment/media/stories/whatever-you-want-to-call-videogames-movies-books-etc.

Nothing in art is natural. The only reason anything in a story is the way it is because the creator felt like making that part of the story be that way.

Nothing is ever needed nor unwanted to a story because stories are neither needed nor unwanted to begin with. Art and entertainment should be luxuries to be enjoyed by anyone, not a competition to become the next obligation to be thrust upon everyone.
 

Tai_MT

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I'm unlikely to respond to you beyond this post unless we have a new topic to discuss.

Fair enough. Agree to disagree then.

That's the beauty of advice. You don't have to take it. You do you.

For future reference, if you care: If you tire of an argument with me, you don't have to get rude or anything. All you have to do is say, "Agree to disagree" and the argument is over.

I have always respected these words in an argument or discussion. It is an admission that there is nothing to be gained and it's best to move along. Anyone who utters them to me in a decently respectable way (as you've done here), will have the discussion end at that point.

Sadly, only about five people on these forums have ever uttered those words and 3 of them were mods/admins.
 

ericv00

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I don't always accomplish giving the respect and consideration I endeavor to give, but that effort is there. I'm glad this didn't get lost in our exchange.

It's worth noting that probably the most important line in this entire thread is:
That's the beauty of advice. You don't have to take it.
 

tiabuni

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There are absolutely natural and unnatural things in stories, as there are things that are forced. Once a character is built up from the ground, there are things that they would do, and things they wouldn't do. Otherwise it is not a character, it is a mess. Likewise, if you created an interesting, well built world, there are things that can and can't happen - The audience doesn't need to know everything about how the world works, but you as the writer need to know what can be done and what cannot.

If in the second boss fight of, I don't know, Doom Eternal, the Doom Slayer threw away his gun and invited the demon for a tea party, that would be 100% unnatural and off character. It doesn't fit the character nor the setting. It would not only be unnatural but unneeded as well, because it doesn't do anything to enforce or elaborate/build on the character, setting and/or fantasy the game is offering.

Just because it is "made up" and all of this blahblahblah that is often parroted by people who have no respect for stories they consume and write, it doesn't mean we shouldn't strive for doing a good job at world building and at writing consistent characters. Well, you can do anything you want with your story, I particularly try to do the best I can for mine.
 

bgillisp

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@HexMozart88 : The game that took 23 years was Grimoire. Started in 1994, came out in 2017.

I missed a lot while at work, but thankfully it seems everyone kept it civil. And yes, that is the thing. Everyone has an opinion. Not all of them are good. I've seen some people on steam rage against a game if it doesn't have 3440 x 1440 resolution for instance. However I have also found that they are a very vocal minority and probably weren't going to buy an indie game anyways.

As for things with audiences. I've seen kickstarter games get so focuses on putting in everything someone that funded the kickstarter asked for that they never filter it and in the end you have a game that only pleases a couple people who threw $2500 at your game and everyone else hates it. So you sometimes need to filter out your audience even as sometimes they don't know what makes a good game, and if you put in every idea you can get a really bad game in the end.
 

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