Welcome back to the second part of our DEV-Talk series on what can make or break your game. Like last times topic, it is hard to definitively say what can break your game, but it is much clearer. Usually what really breaks a game are developer decisions that conflict with players desires or goals for the game. The two best examples of this are DayZ Standalone and No Man’s Sky. Many of us are familiar with these games and the infamy in which they continue their development.
We will begin by examining DayZ Standalone. What began as an extremely successful mod for Arma 2, turned south quickly when the developer abandoned the game after receiving millions of dollars in backing through early access (a topic for another DEV-Talks). While DayZ Standalone had the same concept as the mod, the developer made many critical errors. We could spend way to much time going over all the issues but, I will highlight the big ones in my opinion.
- Reinventing the wheel in terms of graphics, environment, ballistics, and physics.
- Lack of content
- Hackers, bugs, glitches, FPS, and overall optimization.
- Extremely slow developer progress
These to me where the main issues, and then the cherry on top was the developer abandoning the game after years of no progress to begin his true vision. Thankfully, he hasn’t received much funding as many are afraid to go near him with a ten foot because of all the bad blood between gamers and him.
Next we break down the spectacular failure that is No Man’s Sky. What began as a very promising game, garner much attention following the slow progress of Star Citizen and gamers desires to explore space, burst into flames along with gamers pre-order money. Now No Man’s Sky faced a different issue and that was a lack of transparency. They developed the game behind a curtain and revealed little about the game. Much to gamers surprise and disappointment, then ended up with a whole lot of nothing. Over the last year and a half they have attempted to update their game making it into what they promised, but updates have been slow and focus on content not needed or content that doesn’t make a difference.
Biggest takeaways when developing your game:
- Transparency – Can’t stress this one enough, talk with your players, don’t hide from them, especially if your game is in early access or you participated in crowd funding.
- Keep Your Promises – If you don’t, your players certainly will and your sales will reflect it. Like the timeless saying, don’t make promises you can’t or won’t keep.
- Prioritize – While everything is important in your game, don’t prioritize unnecessary things, like DayZ redoing weather over and over while hackers ruin the game and zombies teleport and are a joke. Or No Man’s Sky adding cars to travel planets while no addressing the core issues, like the game is still empty.
I could list more but these are probably my biggest issues when it comes to bad games. Above all else, listen to your players if you want them to play your game, but don’t let them corrupt it.
Stay frosty travelers and check back soon for DEV-Talk 2.0 – Micro-Transactions.