The 5 Personal Cardinal Rules for a Game Developer

Posted on June 12, 2013 - 1:40pm by AsaiNeroTran

TLDR;

  1. Have fun making your game.
  2. Don't be afraid to try something new.
  3. Explore the minutia of the game.
  4. Even when you think you're done, you're not.
  5. The fans come first.

Hey, everyone. Young game developer here. Perhaps it's a bit forward for me to say what I'm saying the way I'm saying it, but I think every developer out there should have what I think are the five cardinal rules to making their games.

Keep in mind that I am a big Shigeru Miyamoto fan, and I try to find base my mindset on what I believe his to be:

1. Have fun making your game.

Yes, you should be professional, yes, you should be prompt, and yes, you should remember that work precedes fun, but if you're not enjoying the process of making a game, it will show in the final product. Fans can tell better than anyone when there was no love and care out into a product, and if what you're making isn't special to you, if your heart isn't in it, then why should theirs be? You should give as much time and dedication to your game as you expect the fans to give to your game, maybe even more.

2. Don't be afraid to try something new.

Be creative. Be imaginative. Even if you're sticking to a kind of formula, you should still flex your muscles and experiment a little bit here and there. That's what innovation is, and that's why games like Psychonauts, Metal Gear Solid, and Team Fortress exist. They pushed boundaries and weren't afraid to be bold, even if it was in small ways. The small things sometimes make the biggest difference.

3. Explore the minutia of the game.

Every pixel, every detail, every theme, every twist, every turn, and every underlying moral is important and you should look at every little bit of it all. Really knowing what you're going for and really appreciating the subtleties and nuances of a game is the last five percent in making a stellar game instead of a great game or a great game instead of a good game. It's the polish that makes your product shine. It's what makes one-off games into million-dollar franchises. That also means knowing what's important and what's not. If multiplayer is a core component of your game, focus on that; the same goes for single player. It's important to understand what you're trying to accomplish, and any peripheral ideas that conflict with that theme should be axed or outsourced for the betterment of the final product.

4. Even when you think you're done, you're not.

Every time you look at a section of the game, you'll find something that's off or that could be better. Every person you get to look at a game will find more and more things that could be improved. Have as many people look at it, play it, and test it as possible, multiple times over. There's no such thing as too much proofreading, and the more time and care you out into each section, the better it will turn out.

5. The fans come first.

Listen to your audience. They know what they don't like. They may not always know what they LIKE, but they will ALWAYS tell you what they don't like. And you want those people on your side more than anything, because they are the ones who support you. To be successful is this business, you have to be win them over and get them on your side. The moment you stop caring about what the people want and start going into business for yourself or for your own personal agendas is the moment that you should stop.

Thanks for reading. Have any thoughts? Post them down in the comments below. I almost always reply to my readers.

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