Why do so many indie devs do this?

acarnivorousocean

  • Posts: 194
If your game has a plot or some control scheme that the user might want to know about, why isn't this info actually a part of the game experience?

Granted, lots of games in the Stencyl Arcade are short and (sometimes) sweet.  But when I have to scroll down from the active game area to read your description of who the main character is, or how to use the controls, it breaks what little immersion was there to begin with.

When I play a new game, whether it's here or on some other Flash portal, I never read the description until I'm done playing the game.  Anything pertaining to HOW and WHY you are playing the game should be, I think, in the game.  If it's already a part of the finished game, and you put a little reminder in the comments section, of course that's cool.  I guess some people don't want to make that extra click to read your Control Screen.

To close this with an analogy, because I love analogies, imagine going out for a nice dinner, and then being told that your silverware is in another room, and you must go get it yourself.

Happy Stencyling  8)

Blob

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  • Posts: 722
A lot of people who make games make poor game design choices because they're bad at game design.

That's the answer.

acarnivorousocean

  • Posts: 194
A lot of people who make games make poor game design choices because they're bad at game design.

That's the answer.

Blob, I had a feeling this was the case.  I just didn't want it to be true.

Manuel

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  • Posts: 764
As sad it can be, Blob is right. You should understand the tematics and control scheme of the game from the game, not outside it. There's nothing wrong into telling the controls/story of the game in the description, like a game manual. However it shouldn't be the only way to know that kind of information, as it would subtract immersion and presentation from the game.
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Silux

  • Posts: 438
I usually like a lot reading the manual, as video-game manuals are often more interesting than most of books for me!

However flash games shouldn't come with the manual.In game first levels should be enough to understand all mechanics, that often can't be described fully in a 150 characters description.

A nice reminder in pause menu and use of common use keys should make redundant reading instruction panel, but it's handy to have extra reference!
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Manuel

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  • Posts: 764
Yeah, I can agree with you on that. I was the other day reading the manual of Just Cause for the Xbox 360 and I was pleased on how well done it was. It doesn't limit itself on telling you the game's controls/guns/veicules, it also incorporates elements of the game's setting (fascism) in the form of in-game news or ads. Not to mention the print work.

Even through I'm moving more and more to digital, I like manuals even if I don't use them to help me. In fact the aid aspect of manuals I referred on the other post is kinda lost for me, I referred it because it has similarities with a game description, but I don't see aid as something I use in a game manual.
Not that I think that making a weapon/item/control reference is unappropriated for a manual, I just don't have a use for that. (granted, I don't play games that require a lot of info from the player, like the Ultima series and Civilization)

However, I see a manual as something that further explains parts of the game world that weren't shown in the game. It can show in-depth description of the game's elements, and in some cases it can even show some fancy concept art like the one from Zelda 1.

(For curiosity's sake, does anyone use the "Notes" section of a manual? I think I never wrote on one of those...)
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Rexasul

  • Posts: 147
I have been thinking about this for my game and after scrapping an elaborate control screen, I have decided to make them a part of a tutorial level. Simple instructions appear in the background and have some practical context:



There are more controls that don't appear until later in the game, but I think I'll use the same method.
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mars

  • Posts: 22
That looks like a cool game, very Metroid-ish! Like the graphics, especially the health bars :)

I agree with the OP I think, personally I don't want to read descriptions or control instructions, I tend to just jump right in and try to use the arrow keys or whatnot.

Silux

  • Posts: 438
This kind of tutorial is both easy to the dev and the player.
Anyway i'd like controls written somewhere, especially the one that can't be discovered through "smash the keyboard" tries like Shift+something or double tap W to dash ^^
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ablr

  • Posts: 13
I had a big long post in the description of my newest game that was basically the game manual until I realized that no one was actually reading it. So I added it into the game, but with pictures and stuff :)

Silux

  • Posts: 438
Me too.
It's such a curse when you make literally new galaxies and no one cares about.
But if you give it all spiced with images, music, and interactive gizmos all gains more appeal.
Sadly that takes lots more time than just giving plain text...
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Ryusui

  • Posts: 827
Corebound's story is pure excuse plot, so it's not actually mentioned in the game - other than that the final level ("Escape") and ending screen ("You Escaped!") suggest the protagonist is trapped in this gravity-switching otherworld.

The controls are given on the title screen, and the first level's name ("Grab the key, open the lock") pretty much explain the gameplay. The only thing that's not explained is the gravity-switching mechanic, but the player is likely to figure that out at the very beginning (with the lock and hence the exit being on the bottom of the lone planetoid).
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Enoch

  • Posts: 28
From what I've seen, a lot of the games are incomplete on the Stencyl Arcade. Users will put up the game because the game play mechanics are finalized and work (enough). This doesnt really make the game finished... The final touches are often missing but people would rather get the game out there so they have something to show for their work, but that really doesn't make it a complete game.

I don't think anyone can say that they are bad a game design. It's not like its something your born knowing. It more a lack of inexperience. It's not like people are sharing a list of principles on how to make your game more fun and immersive in the first few tutorials on Stencylpedia.   
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Silux

  • Posts: 438
Well i'm guilty too of publishing not so well polished games, but i often need it to test prototypes with my friends or test site APIs.

I'd sure return to worthy projects to add a start screen, option screen and such someday!
Currently working at:
Starwarrior 2097(my main project)
How to make successful games in Kongregate and the world(article)