Game Design and Project Resources: The Workshops Quarter => Computer Game Development - The Indie Alley => Topic started by: Jubal on October 01, 2019, 10:38:02 PM

Title: Trust & Difficulty in game design
Post by: Jubal on October 01, 2019, 10:38:02 PM
I found this article pretty interesting and mostly wanted to share to see if anyone had any thoughts:


Especially this sort of bit:
At the core of the difference between how game designers and players speak about difficulty is the fact that we discuss it in terms of skill progression. All difficulty design is essentially that: crafting how players will learn, apply skills, and progress through challenges.

Game designers don’t actually talk that much about difficulty; we talk about things like progression systems and mental load. None of these things are strictly questions of “difficult” versus “easy” — they’re more about how we guide players to greater competency, and what that journey should be like, ideally.

And here is a unique progression system in Souls-like games such as Sekiro: Instead of teaching players the skills they need to beat a sequence or challenge beforehand, Souls-like games require you to progress by trial and error, learning by doing, understanding the rhythm of a fight while being in the fight itself.

In Souls-like games, death is not failing; it is growth. That has been the case in many games in the past, but this genre makes the connection between learning and failing explicit. It’s easy to understand, which is part of the reason players find it so welcoming despite the “difficulty” it creates. It feels fair to them.

Subsequently, what is at the core of a Souls-like game, from a designer’s perspective, is the importance of trust. We call this the player-developer contract. So much more is possible if the player trusts what we’re doing, and is comfortable failing in order to get better.

It's a perspective I've not really thought about before, perhaps partly because I don't play quite those sorts of games, but I thought it was interesting.