I have often pondered this based on my own experiences and some reading I have done. However I thought it might be good to ask the UE4 community. In your opinion(s) what design elements make up a good game? I understand this can vary from game type to type, but in general, what are your thoughts?
That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it…
Without a specific game type in mind, it’s incredibly difficult to come up with anything useful aside from merely technical and measurable things like stability (i.e. it runs well and doesn’t crash), or perhaps rather subjective words like ‘engaging’ that do not really help anyone.
So… might want to at least specify a genre, target audience and platform (desktop || console || VR || handheld).
A good final Polished.
You know I guess you are right, I am being way too general. I suppose if I was going to pin point specific genres and platforms, it would be action adventure for consoles and PC (not VR). I chose these genres because there are a great many different games that can be classified this way, whether they are a FPS or RPG etc.
One thing I can think of in general is the overall atmosphere. Think about the definition of the word “atmosphere” in the context of games: the pervading tone or mood of a place, situation, or work of art. There are several factors at least that support the overall atmosphere. One that comes to mind right away is environment. How do props, colors and level design contribute to the atmosphere of the game. Then of course if there is a story line; how does the story contribute the atmosphere? Music is another factor that I think can play a big role in the overall atmosphere and feel of the game.
A great example is the DOOM series. They do a fantastic job of creating a nightmarish experience.
A good responsive control scheme,
a cohesive art style,
high quality assets (Not necessarily fancy, but no texture stretching, unsightly texture seams, random polygons added or missing…),
proper feedback for each action (pressing a button lighting it up or making a sound, enemies spurting out blood when hit…)
and an objective that carries you through the game.
If you get all of those done right, you’ve got a halfway decent game already.
I feel like anything beyond those crosses into more subjective territory.
If you ask game design theorists: “A series of meaningful choices.”
If you ask Overwatch marketers: “Butts and violence.”
If you ask me: “Something that the market wants to pay for.”
Impossible to answer and even harder to reach any general agreement…
But why not watch clips, the Top-100 video games ever made on YT etc…
Must be fun to play
“Fun” is a term so relative that it is almost meaningless.
Aside from the technical aspects what makes up a “good game” it’s the ultimate experience (the fun meter) that the game provides is really matters. Just like @JaanDoe pointed it out, first of all it must be fun to play, and while there are certain levels of expectation of a given title/genre, the essential part is always bends towards the core idea(s) which is either good ( or doesn’t exists at all ). Playtesting skeleton/prototype games with a couple of experienced and newcomer game testers is a good idea, and you can also ask your friends to give you compliments (that helps to motivate and keeps the fun level up high) which essentially gets translated into the game some way or another, but picking your game testers from the targeted audience can also help you decide which of the ideas are out of the scope that would result in a defficient user experience (if you don’t change it, but you will right?). These all i’m writing here might seem a little vauge but i hope you will find something between these lines to get you some confidence. Just because an idea is bad could easily mean the next one would be much better! Think positively, it will help you find a good idea for a good and funny game, but if you prefer the Sith ways you just give it a hell of a passion and make it all happen!
“Good game” is more vague and relative, yet it is something worth to discuss because there is no standard recipe to cook a successful game, but the more you research these topics the better the result will be.