If you’ve read my posts, then you know that I’m a huge fan of progression systems in game design. Some examples would be meta-game, player-based, abstraction and so on. Upgrading characters has been a popular means of adding abstracted progression. However, understanding how to handle progression systems correctly can mean the difference of how your game will turn out.
A major evolution of game development over the years would have to be the use of procedural generation. Instead of having a linear experience that is one-and-done, you can create something that always keeps the player guessing. Rogue-likes, survival and simulator games have been using procedural generation to extend their replayability.
When it works, you have a game with almost unlimited replayability. However, as with all elements of game design, it’s not perfect and can hurt as much as help a game if not properly balanced.
The use of difficulty settings in game design has always been argued at different points. Some feel that every game should have them as a means of expanding the user base, while others feel that it messes with the balance of the game and leads to titles that are worse off. It’s a topic that I’ve thought about a lot as someone who plays a lot of hardcore games like the Souls series, and I wanted to talk more about this given the latest crop of games.
On a recent cast, I spoke with Mike Lee of Fakedice about their upcoming game Dicetiny. On the cast, we got on the discussion of the difficulty of breaking into new markets for up and coming developers. One of the points that came up was a good lesson that game developers need to learn, and it has to do with trying to copy the success of other games.