My brother really likes board games And I… Don’t - so much So when he came up to my room Talking about them - and other stuff he likes And I’m not really all that into I could’ve just dismissed him Could’ve been a bit more civil and pretended I needed to go to the bathroom or something But, Instead - I sat and I tried to talk to him about these things See - I had this realization a while ago Where I realized I’d been forcing myself to do tons of shit Not because I enjoyed it But because other people did And - I mean - I’m glad I saw that In a lot of ways - it helped me realize what I was actually interested in But, when I first figured that out, I went through this phase Where I got really… Extreme, with it So - every time he’d try to talk to me about board games I’d get really paranoid about it - start to think “THIS ISN’T WHAT I’M ABOUT” Never gave him the time of day, and I think I missed more than just time with him for that urge Opportunities to meet new people - try new things - I basically never did anything unless I was already SUPER into it And I think it was all driven by this larger need to use my time as efficiently as possible But, looking back, all that such incredible “productivity” did was burn me out Of course, new risks with my time won’t usually pay off Most will simply crash and burn As for board games… Yeah - okay - realistically, not ideal But I can try to enjoy it, might pick up a few smaller things I got a few descent audio-book recommendations from my brother, as well as a couple of laughs I guess this is all to say that: you can never use all your time well I mean - you can definitely try But you’ll just end up being a very lonely person And - eventually - you’ll just run out of whatever fuel originally burned that fire in the first place anyway And it’s tough, because the times to make a sacrifice - take a risk - never give advanced warning They’ll almost always - in my experience - look like an inconvenience, on face value That middle ground - I don’t think it’s ever nailed down, but, sometimes I could stand to sacrifice that time for others, as well as myself At the end of the day - it’s all just calculated risk And I mean - hey If nothing else I’ll appreciate free time a lot more I really wanted to play guitar but instead I talked to my brother But now I’ll actually be genuinely productive with it, instead of just fiddling around watching YouTube videos in the background I don’t even feel that tired for it - I mean, honestly - who really knows what the balance is? I guess the secret is just never letting myself believe that I really do
With the recent criticism of Destiny 2 looking more like Destiny 1.5 than a full sequel, I was wondering how designers approach future entries in a series as it pertains to the game outside of the story/lore. Do you make intentional changes that might not be necessary, just to make it feel like a completely different game (like say a fancy new UI)? Or is there no fear of a game being to similar to it's predecessor when building a sequel?
When planning a sequel to a shipped title, we usually do several different things to figure out where to go with it. We look back at the old title to figure out what worked and what didn’t. We also go back to things that we wanted to do but couldn’t before (due to scheduling, resource allocation, etc.) and see if there are things there that we can plan for. In addition to these, we also look at the schedule and try to figure out just how much new content we have time to build.
The first thing we always do is go over what worked and what didn’t. Part of this is gauging the player response to the features in the wild via social media, reviews, metrics, etc. I’ve written about that sort of thing at length before. We also place a great deal of weight on our own internal observations during the original development process - if this system or type of content required a tremendous number of developer hours to ship, we need to seriously consider improving efficiency on it. Alternatively, sometimes the system is too old and needs rebuilding in order to allow artists and designers to create more up-to-date content. This is often large engineering-heavy systems like pathfinding, lighting, animation, etc.
We also often consider old ideas that were cut or that we had during development that were just too large in scope to be considered during the last game. Maybe we wanted intelligent AI sidekicks for the player, but we just had too much on our plate with new hardware, new engine work, and other systems that were just higher priority. Maybe we can revisit that idea for the sequel, because we have the bandwidth to actually do it this time. Perhaps, during the alpha and beta bug fixing sessions, we had a bunch of timing-specific animation bugs that were very difficult to reproduce consistently due to frame-perfect execution requirements. Our solution could be to build a system to let us save inputs with specific frame data, and then play it back so that we can more easily reproduce such issues.
Of course, all of this ultimately comes down to the total amount of resources we have allocated for the sequel. When we’re given the green light to start, we already have a general target date in mind, like Q2 2020. Given the target, we work backwards and figure out just how much development we can fit in these intervening 30ish months with a team this size. Building an open world full of living, breathing characters each with their own personality and schedule sounds like it could be a ton of fun, but isn’t feasible if the game has to ship next winter. It’s really hard predicting the future - the bigger the scope of the thing, the harder it is to predict. Often, the answer to “How long will it take?” isn’t “maybe six months”, but “We think six months, but we can spend a few weeks trying to get a better idea.”
Ultimately, we try to avoid doing things that aren’t necessary because that’s just wasted development budget, and nobody likes wasting resources. Most of our time is spent planning and developing stuff that we think players will like, or things that will help us build things players will like faster. When it’s a sequel, we try to keep the stuff that we think works really well, and we spend our time in ways that we think will naturally evolve and improve the game experience for our players while still retaining enough of the original gameplay that it still feels familiar and fun to fans of the franchise. Sometimes that isn’t super visible, like how the Destiny sequel doesn’t look like a lot has changed graphically. That probably means that they focused their development resources on something else, such as new or expanded gameplay systems, or tools and systems on the back end that allow them to create content at a faster rate.
I feel like most people don’t know how to give constructive criticism, so here’s a thing.
CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM are opinions as to how to make things better. It is not bashing, it is not flaming, it is not hate. Constructive criticism are tips and advice on how a game could be better, of what’s good and what could be improved upon.
You didn’t like that game? Okay, why? What didn’t you like? What would you like to see? What would make the game better?
When giving constructive criticism, it’s good to ask yourself questions!
Here are comments I see frequently: “I didn’t like game X! IT WAS BORING!”, “X SUCKSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!”, “THE ART LOOKS HORRIBLE!!!11!!!”.
These are NOT Constructive Criticism! These comments don’t help the Game Devs AT ALL! Not at all! It doesn’t tell them how to improve, really, or what’s at fault. It doesn’t give them much to go off on on how to make their games better. You want to SPECIFY what aspects of the game aren’t to your liking, CLARIFY WHY you don’t like it, and SUGGEST ADVICE on how to improve!
Here are a few examples of what you can do:
"I didn’t like game X! IT WAS BORING!“
Say this: "I didn’t like game X. The gameplay was unchallenging! The puzzles were really simple, and I felt bored.”
This lets the creator know that their games were too simple! It gives them something they can work on and improve, to making your gaming experience much better!
“THE ART LOOKS HORRIBLE!!!11!!!”
Say this: “The proportion of the characters seem off—their eyes are too big for their heads. And the style doesn’t seem to match the game that well since the genre is horror but the art style is very cutesy?”
This tells the Game Devs that they should work on their proportions, and that their art style isn’t working to enhance the atmosphere or the game but instead detracts from it.
“The character designs are AWFUL!!!1!!!!!ONE”
Say this: “I think the color choice for the characters are too bright for a horror genre game. And their clothes don’t match the Victorian Era you’re aiming for.”
This shows that there is some sharp incongruities that really clash with the feel of the game and are historically inaccurate.
Don’t. This doesn’t give anything at all. What part of the game didn’t you like? Why do you think the game sucks? This gives nothing. No feedback whatsoever.
All in all, just make sure that your feedback is helpful, and don’t delude “hate” with “criticism”.