Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Understanding that the audience for your game fits within a niche genre,
established or otherwise, will allow you to write in a way that maximises the
quality of your game within that niche.
Knowing the audience
Once the genre and the audience for the game have been established, it is
important that everyone involved understands the conventions of the genre
and the expectations of the audience. If you do not know the target market,
how will your writing appeal to them other than by chance?
Playing other games, which are similar in gameplay style to yours, is vital.
Both the best and the worst in the genre can teach you valuable lessons in
what appeals to the players and what mistakes you can avoid. Familiarisation
helps you form a picture in your mind when the design is in the early stages
and all you have to go by are the design documents. Understanding how the
game is expected to work, based on a few descriptions, is very difficult if you
have no frame of reference. Be sure, too, to play the games the designers use
as a yardstick in the genre so that you know the kind of game standard at
which they are aiming.
Other valuable sources of information are the many reviews, both online
and in print, which regularly highlight the problems that games may have.
When written well, these reviews can really get to the heart of why a game
is successful or not, and how it might have been improved if features had
been implemented differently.
The coverage, within reviews, of the writing in games can be a little
patchy, with wildly differing opinions on the same game, but this is probably
a reflection of the varied quality of writing that has been common to many
games. It is difficult for reviewers to develop a consistent approach to
reviewing game writing when the overall standard is open to question.
Care must always be taken when reading game reviews. While they are
valuable for the insights they can offer into the views of the target audience,
at best they only represent a very small percentage of that audience. The
person who plays a game to write a review of it is very different to the game
player who may spend a couple of hours a week playing, working through a
game very slowly. Sometimes, too, a review can conflict with the general
feeling of a genre's audience, particularly if a reviewer is not a devotee of that
genre - many sites and magazines have a limited number of review staff and
games are given to them which may fall outside their normal range of
playing styles.
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