Game refinement is an important topic and we’ll be covering it here for our blog today: but refinement can apply to a wider area of software development in general.
Firstly, by refinement we’re not referring to optimisation. Doing anything that makes the game perform better is what you should be doing anyway. If you’re not, you’re doing it wrong. Technically speaking, optimisation is just development. You build it to be the best it can. Why wouldn’t you?
By refinement we’re referring to the things you do to the game that make it easier to follow. Of course technically, this is also just development. But if there are any oversights in the development process, here are some things to check off the list.
So to be clear: making the game better understood, easier to navigate or simpler is to refine it.
So with that defined, here are a few general methods of game refinement that will improve the player experience. They are applicable to almost any game type. These are just a few, but feel free to make a list of your own for every game you’re developing.
7 General Improvements
- Touch feedback
Always let the user know when and where touched. If not always, then at least where it counts.
- On screen indicators
Just like doors that say ‘push’ or ‘pull’ add indicators like ‘click here’ or arrows for games.
- Icons and Text
Icons pair with text labels. And icons, labels and functions should be distinctive.
- Hit effects
Whenever something is hit and affected it, show it! Animate it, move it, blow it up… Just show it!
Smoother transitions between screens or easing movement when starting and stopping makes the whole game appear to flow much better.
Even if all they need to do is click on 1 big button that says ‘click me’ on it, explain that to the player.
Play it, a hundred times. Iron out all the crinkles you notice. Make it smoother. Explain it clearer or better. Be sure the indicators are clear. Give it to someone else and just watch. See what they can figure out for themselves.
This step makes all the difference between a clean finish and a jagged one.