Shot gun vs. patience

September 15, 2009

What kind of development group do you want to be? Do you want to see how many re-skins of a game you can churn out in a week, or do you want to see how high can you set the quality bar.

The problem with games for small platforms is how quickly games can be produced. Some developers look at platforms like the iPhone and see 50 tip calculators, and unknown number of flashlights. It welcomes the easy hit, and once that hit is made... reskinning.

Whenever I play a reskinned game it always takes me a moment or two to realized that I have played this game before... many times.

If you need an iPhone example, lets look at the "RPG" section of the game catalog. How many of those games are Mafia Wars with a new skin? Don't get me wrong, I love the business model but eventually the buying public will see that they're doing the same missions over and over. Changing it from Mafia to World War II to some Sci-Fi these won't hide that is the same game play repeated.

WHen talking about game design I always talk about the circle. Imagine that the center of the circle is the top selling game int that genre. I like to use Tomb Raider since most people know the game and I had a hand in its birth. So if Tomb Raider is the center, a game that is close to that center point is most likely a clone. If the game you're making is FAR outside the circle, then its to far from what the buying public understands, so its to much to learn and won't sell.

What you want to aim for is the line of the circle. That game invents new layers to teh genre, but doesn't go to far from what the public knows and love. If your game can hit that line, the circle will move to include your game.

Simple huh? But not the shotgun approach to games...


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