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Getting straight to the game as quickly as possible: How important is it?

08-06-2012, 11:04 AM
#1
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 24
Getting straight to the game as quickly as possible: How important is it?

I'm designing a mini-games collection, and my idea was to link the games with a small story. This would include a short animated cutscene before starting, and also between levels. The idea was to add some theme and charm to the experience.

If you think about some of the most popular casual games though (Angry Birds, Temple Run, Tiny Wings etc.), they seem to throw you straight into the game, without any extraneous hindrances.

So, is mercilessly cutting out anything that is peripheral to core gameplay fundamental to a great mobile game? Is there any room for laid back whimsy, or are users inevitably just mashing their fingers on the screen to get bypass anything that isn't strictly gameplay?
08-06-2012, 11:45 AM
#2
Quote:
Originally Posted by codeb0t View Post
I'm designing a mini-games collection, and my idea was to link the games with a small story. This would include a short animated cutscene before starting, and also between levels. The idea was to add some theme and charm to the experience.

If you think about some of the most popular casual games though (Angry Birds, Temple Run, Tiny Wings etc.), they seem to throw you straight into the game, without any extraneous hindrances.

So, is mercilessly cutting out anything that is peripheral to core gameplay fundamental to a great mobile game? Is there any room for laid back whimsy, or are users inevitably just mashing their fingers on the screen to get bypass anything that isn't strictly gameplay?
Really depends on the game. Final Fantasy or The Hacker wouldn't be the same without the full story.

Other games like cut the rope and Angry birds show that one or two pieces of the story are enough for charm.

Still other games like Zombie Gunner don't have any story at all.

When in doubt - I take the less is more and nothing is most approach. If my games don't need a feature, I cut it.

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08-06-2012, 01:11 PM
#3
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blackharon View Post
Really depends on the game. Final Fantasy or The Hacker wouldn't be the same without the full story.

Other games like cut the rope and Angry birds show that one or two pieces of the story are enough for charm.

Still other games like Zombie Gunner don't have any story at all.

When in doubt - I take the less is more and nothing is most approach. If my games don't need a feature, I cut it.
Hmm, I'm in the process of creating a least one screen to show before the game starts, of the back story for my sniper game, because a couple comments I got were they we thrown into the game with no real idea why they were fighting. I thought a sniper game didn't need it, but I think people are looking for a little something.

Developer of WorldAlpha Sniper for iOS.
08-06-2012, 01:13 PM
#4
Quote:
Originally Posted by worldalpha View Post
Hmm, I'm in the process of creating a least one screen to show before the game starts, of the back story for my sniper game, because a couple comments I got were they we thrown into the game with no real idea why they were fighting. I thought a sniper game didn't need it, but I think people are looking for a little something.
Remember: You don't need dedicated screens to tell stories. The main menu, splash screen and/or loading screens can be used to do that if your game-play isn't enough.

Looking for a writer? PM me

Game Designer of:
Family Feud Matches Gaming with a side of Matchmaking!
Family Feud 2 My First Huge Apple Feature!
Pickpawcket
And more!
08-06-2012, 02:28 PM
#5
Joined: Aug 2011
Posts: 189
Just think about the audience you want this game to reach, the overall tone of the game and your design goals. Mini-game collections have a range styles out there, from Wario Ware DIY for the DS to Kinect Adventures on the Xbox.

The trend right now is to get as many people playing (and understanding) the actual game as quickly as humanly possible. It comes from the thought that people can play any game they want with the tap of a finger and any downtime means that potential to play has been lost.

It presents an interesting choice if you decide to follow the trend: do you let others come up with the story or do you use all the extra stuff (menus, characters, settings) around the game tell the story? Agent Dash does a particularly good job at the latter.

Toy Soldier Community Manager for Toy Studio Games
08-06-2012, 02:54 PM
#6
I think there's always room for story and character. But I think most games would be better off if that material didn't come first, as a multi-minute text-and-movie barrier to reaching the actual game.

The conventional wisdom is that the story "makes you care" about the game action. But I think that's mostly backwards. If you enjoy the game, then you will eventually want to learn more about the backstory and characters. If the game doesn't hold players' attention, they are just not going to care about Hopscotch the bunny who must save the warren by gathering carrots (or whatever your milieu may be).

In other words, I greatly prefer cut scenes interspersed with gameplay to a long introductory story.
08-06-2012, 03:02 PM
#7
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSnyder View Post
The conventional wisdom is that the story "makes you care" about the game action. But I think that's mostly backwards.
I'm not sure about this.

Imagine cut the rope without that original cut scene. Throwing you into level 1 without the cute backstory of 'Feed me candy' would have caused me to say 'WTF is this?!'

Quote:
Originally Posted by GSnyder View Post
...as a multi-minute text-and-movie barrier to reaching the actual game.
Multi-minute ANYTHING is a bad idea. Players' attention spans (from what I've seen) are limited to multi-seconds at best!

Looking for a writer? PM me

Game Designer of:
Family Feud Matches Gaming with a side of Matchmaking!
Family Feud 2 My First Huge Apple Feature!
Pickpawcket
And more!
08-06-2012, 03:55 PM
#8
I think that it depends in how casual is your game, I personally don't care about any story because I am a pure casual gamer and all I want is to play, but that's just one segment of the market.
Also remember that creating an animation can take time and effort and if poorly executed can have a negative effect.
08-06-2012, 06:27 PM
#9
I like my games wrapped in stories, but depending on the game, sometimes its best to make the story optional.


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Run Fatty Run
08-06-2012, 10:53 PM
#10
Joined: Jun 2012
Location: Devon, UK
Posts: 121
'Pac-Man' original arcade, loved the cut-scenes after (guess important?) a few levels. Was always excited to see a new one! I seem to remember being stuck on the 9th key - which was ? cut-scenes later - turned out that was a relatively rubbish achievement to some of the players.

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