Game Development Reference
Unclear Objectives (Non-Linearity Can Sometimes Lead to
This can come in two forms. First, vague writing can cause players some confusion
as to what they're supposed to do. Be very clear with your writing and state the
objectives simply. Avoid using metaphors as much as possible, unless it's meant to
be a puzzle. Second, as players travel around, they may get caught up with doing
side quests for so long that they lose sight of what the main objective of the game is.
You'll need to have the objective transmission system remind players, being careful
not to annoy them in the process.
All the loose elements in a sandbox game can be hard to keep track of. If you don't
have all the elements of your story properly organized, you won't be in a good po-
sition to give good schedule estimates. Try using this method of charting out your
story and, from there, document each element within it so you always know what is
going on in the game. Be thorough with your documentation, thereby enabling you
to be thorough with your scheduling.
I think that more games are going to incorporate sandbox elements into their design
from now on. People naturally want to approach the game in their own way, and
game structures will eventually have to expand enough to accommodate that. In five
to ten years, we may find that the term “sandbox” is not used much to describe a
whole genre of game, mostly because it will be more of a norm.