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Monday, January 23, 2006

A developer's thoughts...

I've done a lot of thinking these past couple of weeks regarding the future of Flash games. As an active contributor to an online Flash Forum, i came to know the concerns of most game developers in regards to game portals (buyers), and online games' indirect competition with console (ps2, xbox, etc) games.

A number of professional developers are concerned with the turnover of low quality Flash games into the online community, being sold to gaming portals for substandard prices. There are a lot of game portals that take advantage of the "game-developer-wannabees." These sites, i would like to think, have the belief that "more games equal more visitors." Which of course it true. But what they fail to realize is that if those games are not quality games, then these visitors would stop playing even before starting.

Quality games? A lot of arguement has been poured onto this specific topic. What makes a quality game? Graphics? Sounds? Features that appeal to one's senses are a big plus, but does that automatically mean that a game is top-notched just because of it's realistic 3D graphics, and heart-pounding music and sound effects? I believe that packaging a game to attract players is not only about what's on the outside, but what's inside is equally or even more important. For me, three things make a quality game, the first being visual, the other two would be flawlessness, and experience.

A quality game should be flawless, in terms of how it was programmed; how game characters interact with the players, interact with themselves, executing of actions. In short, bug free. A game should survive without scratches. It shouldn't stop at a middle of a level, expected reactions should happen after an action. What good is a game if it can't do what it's supposed to do?

A quality game should provide a new high in gaming experience. Yeah, we've seen them countless of times, some good, some bad. But they're all the same. I'm talking about the "Attack of the Clones." It's funny how this StarWars title came and hit everything right on the spot. Clones are everywhere. How many different types of Tetris-type games have you seen? Hundreds to even thousands? It's Tetris. How many of Nintendo's Mario-type games have you seen? Those side-scrolling games where you collect items, jump or shoot at enemies along the way to reach your goal? Hundreds to even thousands? It's still Mario. And how many Space Invaders, Asteroids, Breakouts, are out there? Be my guess. We are playing the same games (with different packages) over and over again. Nothing new actually. A quality game is about new experiences. What good is a game if it can't do what it's supposed to do?

These three points are what's crucial in making the next hit game. Some may agree, some may not... but that's what i think, and that's another problem. It's a problem that a number of developers are contemplating about. The game concept. It's another issue for another day, but an equally important issue nonetheless.