↑ comment by Viliam ·
2021-07-31T20:28:24.020Z · LW(p) · GW(p)
Sounds correct. I was thinking how this applies to computer games:
Several subskills - technical perfection, new idea, interesting story, graphics, music... Different games become popular for different aspects (Tetris vs Mass Effect vs Cookie Clicker).
A frequent beginner mistake is making a game with multiple levels which feel like copies of each other. That's because you code e.g. five or ten different interactive elements, and then you use all of them in every level. It makes the first level needlessly difficult, and every following level boring. Instead, you should introduce them gradually, so each level contains a little surprise, and perhaps you should never use all of them in the same level, but always use different subsets, so each level has a different flavor instead of merely being more difficult.
Another beginner mistake is to focus on the algorithm and ignore the non-functional aspects. If one level has a sunset in background, and another level uses a night sky with moon, it makes the game nicer, even if the background does not change anything about functionality.
Yet another mistake is to make the game insanely difficult, because as a developer you know everything about it and you played the first level for hundred times, so even the insanely difficult feels easy to you. If most new players cannot complete the tutorial, your audience is effectively just you alone.
Some people may be successful and yet you don't want to be like them, e.g. because they optimize the product to be addictive, while you aim for a different type of experience; or their approach is "explore the market, and make a clone of whatever sells best", while you have a specific vision.
You should do a very simple game first, because you are probably never going to finish a complicated one if it's your first attempt. I know a few people who ignored this advice, spent a lot of time designing something complex, in one case even rented a studio... but never finished anything. (Epistemic check: possible base-rate fallacy; most people never write a complete computer game, this might include even most of those who started small.) And the more time you wasted trying to make a complicated game, the less likely you are to give up and start anew.
Successful game authors often recycle good ideas from their previous, less successful games.
The audience is famously toxic. Whatever game you make, some people will say horrible things about the game and about you in general. It is probably wise to ignore them. (Epistemic check: so you're saying that you should only listen to those who liked your game? Yeah... from the profit perspective, the important thing is how many fans you have, not what is their ratio to haters. A game with 1000 fans and 10000 haters is more successful than a game with 10 fans and 1 hater.)
Being good at designing logical puzzles does not translate into being good at designing 3D shooters, and vice versa.