game design and artistic intent via @FALCONEERDEV

Continuing to find and save interesting twitter threads that can be useful for the game design community, with this thread game design and artistic intent via @FALCONEERDEV.

Original Thread Twitter: Game design and artistic intent

Edited Thread Twitter: Game design and artistic intent

So here's a #gamedesign thread too take you out of your "mechanical mind". That design place where player experience is only measured in player experience or stickiness, and it's easy to get lost in.

A thread on game design and artistic intent.

1/15

Take a look at your game and see if you can find a central moral or intellectual premise. Don't worry this isn't about making games to change the real world (cool side effect tho)

It’s about finding an emotional or intellectual theme or pillar that isn’t player centric.

Game design and artistic intent: Player Centric
Game design and artistic intent: Player Centric

2/15

It's what engages you, the creator, (and your team), what you want to convey and stick into the player on the other side of the screen. Your artistic intent if you will.

And yes, this is still about making a better game, bear with me.

3/15

It is about creating a coherent design that evolves the player, not coddles them in comfort and wishfulliment.
And how coherence from a central premise can grow the player and untap the actual 'growth rewards' they crave.

4/15

Like I've written so many times, games are teaching engines (did you learn how to defeat that Elden Ring boss or not?). And if you reflect everything to the same message or hmmm… 'lesson' your game won't become weaker but it will become stronger.
5/15

Start by evaluating every mechanical game design choice in your #gamedesign and weigh it. Is it very much for the player's experience, flow and stickiness? or can it be to support your premise or a logical consequence of it?

6/15

Now look at how you can adapt your designs. Player choices and consequences to not provide maximum flow but rather maximum reflection on your core premise. Is it supporting that premise and reflecting coherently from it.

7/15

This might seem counterintuitive at first, after all we are taught (especially by player feedback) to be player-centric. Lest we break player flow and lose the player.

But if you are afraid of losing the player then your designs are poor. You have the tools, now use em!.

8/15

But imagine it like this: Are you taking the player on your journey, or are they on their own journey?

Who is in control, and are the player choices you are designing strengthening they path you are laying out for the player, or just keeping them onboard?
9/15

If you do this consistently you add a new level of coherence to your game. A unifying feel and layer that can take the player to any moral or intellectual endpoint you find interesting. As long as your design choices support and reflect that premise.
10/15

Elden Ring : " the feeling of fulfilment from victory"
There is one great example, of coherent emotional and moral design, with every aspect serving that premise. Even to the logical consequences that some design choices are counter to flow or stickiness.
11/15

So yes I'd dare say if you are willing to be a guide and a teacher, taking your players on a journey not just to satisfy their cravings, but to satisfy your core premise and message, you can end up with something really powerful.
12/15

It is in the end about Artistic Intent and maintaining it throughout your game to add a layer of coherence that can be felt on an emotional level by the player as they grow and learn from what you provide for them.

13/15

I feel very much this is the answer to the 'are games art' question. It is a matter of artistic intent and the willingness to raise it up to equal importance to player experience.

14/15

If you analyse the games that truly stick with you, those that I dare say 'change' you. It is games that manage this, to keep their central premise 'central' to reflect off it and change the player over time to truly grasp the maker's intent and make it their own.

Art!

Originally tweeted by Tomas Sala (@FalconeerDev) on April 23, 2022.

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