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Small nuances in game design

I am playing Squad Busters intensively these days. Hopefully, this game will work because it contains many elements I have been working on with another project up to last year (under NDA).

I am glad when top developers make certain design choices that I proposed or I was guessing but I didn’t have enough time to complete. “Please, Paolo, focus on this other task” is a classic when I start insisting on some point. It’s like when a singer sings exactly your feelings. Satisfying!

But I was also thinking of something else. I was in the middle of an intense moment. A player with a squad better than mine was chasing me. I didn’t have enough coins to open the chest, so I used a booster to open it.

And it reminded me of a quote from J. Riccitiello: “When you are six hours into playing Battlefield and you run out of ammo in your clip and we ask you for a dollar to reload, you’re really not that price sensitive at that point in time”.

I remember that everyone hated that, the only difference was that Mr. R. was pitching a power-up instead of a booster.

(In the jargon adopted by the companies I have worked with, boosters are the ones you buy BEFORE a match, while you can get or create power-ups DURING the match)

The reality of things is that we like to win, as players. And we can also pay for that. I respect the choice of putting this element on a strategic level and not on a tactical one. The latter would have upset too many people.

Anyway, it’s interesting to see how a small nuance can make all the difference in game design. So that also a bad (in the sense of evil) idea can be played well if we have the right time and resources to work on it.

Published inGame Design

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