Tips on how to come up with a game that the world will love from Matvey Palash, DEVGAME's product owner.
Coming up with a game is not hard, and any game designer surely has a dozen ideas in stock that they want to implement. But do they have potential? For a game to succeed, just an idea that's interesting in the game designer's view is not enough, you have to take all factors into account.
  • Everything has been there before you

Many believe that their idea is innovative and there won't be any other like it unless they implement it. Surely, it's not true. There are many different games and applications that have already used your idea, one way or another. Find them and check whether the idea is really worthy of your attention or not.
If you're sure that the idea is new, don't rejoice and imagine its success ahead of time. Most likely, this game will take even more effort in the making since the gamers are not familiar with it, nor have they seen anything like it before. The majority of users already have their own preferences regarding game genres, and they will probably not want to play a game with innovative gameplay - just because they don't know what it is.
"Stealing an idea" or "stealing a game" is non-existent in gamedev, most of the time developers take existing games into consideration and release something like it with a number of changes. It's not worth just copying another game though: take someone else's idea, spot its flaws and improve them in your game.

In short: Don't reinvent the wheel. Find a niche and destroy competition by hitting their weaknesses.
  • Listen to others but selectively

Getting feedback is very important. When you come up with an idea for the game, it might seem flawless and perfect while, in fact, everything might be not as bright. The thing is, the vision blurs, and telling the right decision from the wrong one gets harder every time.
At any stage of development, literally, ask others for their opinion, they might help you with a piece of advice or come from your target audience. These people will always take a fresh look at your game and suggest reasonable changes. But don't just listen to anyone: many people that are not engaged in your industry are unlikely to give you good advice, but surely will put in their completely-out-of-place two cents.

In short: Seek advice and listen to it.
  • Don't be afraid to discard ideas

I might upset you but many ideas that you think are interesting are actually not that good. Any new idea must be reviewed from different points of view in order to tell whether it's a good one or just an idea that will take a long time to implement but won't bring any profit. While working on a new idea it never hurts to ask yourself a few questions:
  • Why is this necessary?

  • What will it change?

  • What will I get out of this?
Let me give you an example: you have an idle farm game, where you need to grow your garden. In its core, it's an ordinary clicker where the user just clicks on plants but you decide to build in a feature in the form of random events, like alien invaders stealing your plants. Ask yourself:

  • Why is this necessary? Clicker's gameplay is monotonous, and a random event in the form of an alien invasion will distract the player, leaving them engaged;

  • What will it change? The event aims to diversify gameplay, making the average play time longer;

  • What will I get out of this? By making the average play time longer you'll increase your earnings since the player will spend more time in the game and, as a result, watch more ads.

Check every idea with these questions, and if you can answer them, the idea is worth it. Sometimes an idea seems genius but there are no answers to the Why is this necessary question, this kind of ideas should be tossed for sure. I, for one, sometimes want to add some interesting features into ordinary screens, and it plays out well in my head. But when I ask myself Why, I realise that I am the only one who needs them, and no profit, apart from my content, will be gained.

In short: Check your ideas for appropriateness and don't invent unnecessary stuff.
  • Judge from your experience

Why did you make your previous game? One possible answer is to use the knowledge and experience that I got developing it for my future projects. Analytics will help you spot and never make the same mistakes again. Building it into your every project is a must, and the more of it, the better since it's a way to know the user's behaviour in the game inside out. For example, in one of my kids' projects I wanted to add a narrative element by making a beautiful cinematic intro, in which the player is told about the plot of the game.
The game was based on the events of an animated series so the idea seemed great because it created a stronger link between the game and the cartoon. And I would gladly use this element in my other games if it weren't for analytics, which showed skyrocketing loss of users at that exact point. What it told us was that the player didn't want to watch the animated series in the game, they wanted to actually play it.

In short: Trust analytics. It doesn't lie when implemented correctly.
I hope you found something new or changed your mind about what you think now. Perfect your skills and don't be afraid to look at others' experience, you'll definitely find interesting things.
7 April / 2021