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Hello! I'm Luna from Altitude I'll be talking about game design, specifically how we designers make decisions If we should go with our gut or take a more practical approach I’ll give tips on how to make better decisions for your games Will help non-designers as well
Hit-driven industry like movies Hard to make money unless you’re a big studio
There is no guaranteed formula for success Can have big IP and big budget But still terrible movie / game
Designers are more like captains at sea, land nowhere in sight The crew asks you, Captain, which way should we go? The designer’s job is to say: we go THIS way But you don't really know where land is How do you make an educated guess in the middle of the ocean?
If we can’t guarantee success and the industry is so unpredictable How do we make good design decisions? https://i.ytimg.com/vi/jTQurAEmt64/maxresdefault.jpg
First thing we do is go with our gut When someone suggests something and you immediately say, “NO that’s a bad idea” The player won’t like that, that won’t work, etc You just KNOW
Gut comes from experience But experience is based on past events Industry changes so fast For example, making a runner was a good idea a few years ago but by the time you release it, it might be too late!
Data shows you the present It gives you a clearer picture of what’s actually happening Track your player behavior, what they’re actually doing If you learn one thing from me today - start tracking!
You have to work closely with your data analysts Ask them questions. What do you need to know? E.g. “I need to know which level they stop at the end of Day 1” Get the info using player data and behavior. They calculate how many sessions players do in a day, which level they’re most likely to end their Day 1 on With that info, you replay your game pretending to be the player
This is the best way to make a design decision http://i3.kym-cdn.com/photos/images/facebook/000/155/144/6ca67b8f-37dd-40ef-9feb-02bed851c09a.jpg
People can argue forever trying to prove their idea is the best one (designers especially) But on paper, everyone’s ideas are equal. Good or bad My job is to come in and stop debates by asking, “Have you tested it?”
Example: Someone suggested a different control scheme Drag skill to enemy instead of tapping skill button Nothing inherently wrong with this idea. In fact, each side could cite games that used that control scheme So we did a quick/dirty test in build and saw it was terrible because it was in portrait Dragging icon goes over player’s heads, was really far Unlike other games in landscape where dragging from the bottom to enemy was the shortest distance Couldn't have known without testing
Honestly I settle any debate by saying “let’s test it” Can prototype: Unity, Balsamiq, pen and paper, Powerpoint, Flash, whatever Playtest: In team, whole company, random people A/B: Use a service. Look at these icons for Zodiac Pop. Aliens with balls won! Lighter color, Zodiac background
You have a theory, supported by data, now you test it It’s a combination of all three things to make the best educated guess Some tips to make this process better…
Process useless if you don't listen to other people Pixar has a Braintrust: Honest, constructive feedback Read reviews, YouTubers, feedback button in game But you still make the call. People are usually right about the problem but wrong about the solution (Neil Gaiman) Filter out the noise, and use gut+data+testing to choose the best solution
Harvard Business Review https://hbr.org/resources/images/article_assets/hbr/0809/R0809D_B.gif
The trick is speed Nothing worse than sitting on something for weeks Remember, you're lost at sea Do the cycle as fast as you can so you can react quickly, turn around, eliminate that possibility