Game Development Reference
Wrap the Game Mechanics in a Metaphor That People
“The ideal game mechanic is something you don't have to explain,” Preece says, which is especially true for a
mass-market audience like Facebook. This is likely why the most popular Facebook games simulate everyday
actions like farming or building construction.
NOTE Building up a social game is about building up momentum of player activity. This is quite unlike a
packaged console game, which requires an up-front investment of $60 or so—then, a player is willing invest
the time learning how to play, to get their money's worth.
Because social games are free, it's all about keeping the players in the game and meeting their expectations
minute by minute. A game mechanic that makes no intuitive sense, therefore, becomes a roadblock that will
cause many players to simply quit.
Make the Tutorial the Game's Sales Pitch and
Immediately Satisfy a Player's Expectations
The point of the game tutorial should not just be teaching how to play the game; the tutorial should just as much
act as the game's sales pitch, showing off all the key features of the game. For instance, in KIXEYE's War
Commander, the tutorial includes a battle in the first 10 seconds, and before the first minute is over, the player
Figure 5-2: War Commander tutorial