It’s crazy how just changing one small aspect of your game can make a huge difference. Recently, when we inserted our new avatar into our thesis game, all the critiques we received regarding the shooting mechanic evaporated. What seemed to occur is that our previous avatar exacerbated the shooting mechanic to the point that some of our faculty argued that we should remove our shooting altogether. Nevertheless, my perspective was that the avatar created problems with the mechanic rather than the mechanic itself being the culprit, and if we were able to iterate on its design of the avatar, the mechanic itself would be fixed. Ultimately, the mechanic wasn’t the problem, but the avatar made it appear as if it was a problem.
What this taught me is how much in design we need to pay attention to what is going on within the game. A person can play the game and argue that one aspect of it is not working well. They may even argue that the mechanic needs to be eliminated altogether. In their assessment, from a surface level they would be correct in observing an issue with the game. However, as designers need to probe the design to see what is causing the problem and work on the underlying issue rather than merely addressing the visible problem. In our game, the shooting mechanic was broken. But it was the avatar that was causing this issue rather than the shooting mechanic itself. If we would have merely tackled the shooting mechanic, we would have overlooked the real cause of the problem. Therefore, being observant of the design helped us to fix the real problem with shooting that in the end allowed us to fix the observable problem caused by it.
Well everyone is heading to GDC and hopefully people will stop by the EAE booth and play our game. Hopefully people will enjoy the game and it exposes all the hard work we put into it.