New word game - advice please

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I have designed a word game which I have played a lot on a physical Scrabble board, and I would now like to have programmed with a view to placing it with  a company such as Gamehouse.   The screen presentation and player input would be similar to Scrabble.   I know little of programming and wondered if anyone would advise me of considerations before contacting a programmer, such as


Is solo player best to start with or should I go for multiplayer?

Should I confine it to desktop or to mobile devices?

Single platform or cross-platform?

How important is difficulty level player options?


Of course, I would direct the programmer to the company's developer resources for their compliance requirements.


Thanks for your help.


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That are not programming questions, they are game design.

It's great that you answer them before asking the programmer to code them, but you programming knowledge has nothing to do with it.


As a side note, if you are making your game in HTML5, it's cross-platform already. And even works in mobile, not great because of the different screen sizes, but works.



Maybe knowing about how programmers usually behave will help you deciding. This is how it usually works, the stereotype, but there are lot's of types of programmers.

Programmers won't create levels for you.

They won't create a GUI either, they will place your images in the place you ask them, but not design it.

A programmer will only create the behaviour of things, commonly even only the general behaviour and you have to do specifics (this varies a lot in the size of the project and team).

Changing things is hard, sometimes really hard.

Mock ups, or rapid prototypes created to test an idea can't be cleaned and call it done. It needs to be fully re-write to works. The bigger you game, the more important this becomes.


That's comes to the top of my head.


Good luck

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Thanks Deban


Yes, I know that most of my questions relate the commercial exploitation aspect, but I reckoned that experts at this site would be best placed to answer them, and I really appreciate your reply. 

I should have mentioned that I have documented the game fully including screen display requirements, word list etc.

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I should have mentioned that I have documented the game fully including screen display requirements, word list etc.

Great! That is really useful.




So... my game designer opinions:

Is solo player best to start with or should I go for multiplayer?

That depends in how much time you have to finish your project and your budget. Multi-player takes a lot more time and resources. Of course it will add life time to your game, but if the core of the game suffers because of the amount of efforts that the multi-player demands, then it's not worth it.

Even if you have a multiplayer game, you need some sort of single player part, at least for the beginners to practice and sharp their skills (like playing with bots in a MOBA).


As a note, a single player game with a multiplayer option is harder to make than a game with a single focus. You will basically be creating 2 different games with only parts of the mechanics shared between them.


So, multiplayer is better but only if you have the budget and time to implement it without making another part of the game suffer for it.


Should I confine it to desktop or to mobile devices?

Similar answer. The more devices the better, but it takes a lot of time, thought and money to make it run in every place.

Part of that is coding the transformations, but another large part is the game design of those differences. For example some people can be able to see more in one device than in another, having an unfair advantage.

If you have a multiplayer game, this becomes one of the mayor issues you have to think your game around. The screen size, vision and even the controls. For example: using a keyboard is way faster than tapping options, a mouse is more precise than a touch screen, clicking distant things is faster than tapping them (less travel distance) and some people even have macros in their keyboard.

And those topics have a lot of deep. Like the vision, it's not only affected by the screen size and the resolution, it's also affected by the user itself, as in a mobile device it will cover a part of the screen with his finger (which doesn't happen in desktop).


Of course a lot of this doesn't affect your particular game, but I'm sure there are some more problems in that type of game that you will run into. I just don't know them because I never made anything similar.


If you are making a single player game it's similar to the last question. The more platforms the more possible income. But it takes a lot of resources to ensure that in al devices players are going to have the same experience (and that sometimes means that they are different versions). If you ignore that, you can possibly waste resources because in one platform your game sucks because it doesn't feel right to play with that controls or it's too hard/easy.


So, my advice is: if you have a multiplayer game, stick to desktop unless you are rich and want a trip through hell. If you have a single player you can focus on desktop and then adapt it to mobile (or the other way around) or if you have the resources think about both at the same time. As a note, if you don't have the experience, I strongly advice against the last one.


Single platform or cross-platform?

Nowadays cross-platform, without a doubt.


How important is difficulty level player options?

There are two opinions about this that I'm aware off.

  1. If you have to leave the option to the player, it's because you couldn't decide which one was better for your target, so as an easy solution let the player choose.
  2. Accessibility is one of the most important features of your game, and having an option allows your game to be played by hardcore and casual gamers alike.

I think that both are true. The truth is that the less your player has to choose for you, the better. But it's also true that time and budget is limited and sometimes shortcuts are a necessity.

A good enough option is having a default option and allow to change the difficulty in a sub menu. That way people can start to play without being asked to choose the difficulty, and probably the hardcore gamers will find the option to make it harder.

An improvement of that is having the first level being some sort of hidden test where you test the player abilities and change the difficulty accordingly. Of course this is a lot more work.


The best way is making the difficulty change dynamically based on the player performance. For this to work, the difficulty can't have big steps, it needs to have smooth changes. This is an incredible amount of work.


And by the way, nobody likes the "Hey you died for the third time, looks like you suck really hard. Want me to lower the difficult for you? crybaby"


Usually creating different types of difficulties is really hard. Of course I mean not just adding HP and damage to the enemy and call it done. For example in a rpg: the difficulty has to touch the amount of gold (dropped and cost of items), the exp (drop or to lvl up), any kind of commerce, the AI of enemies, the amount of enemies, the AI based in the amount of enemies, enemies reflex (reaction time) and reaction time for the player. It should be the same game, but more difficult, the same strategies work (your lvl 50 attack with a specific item should always kill that creep in one hit, for example).


In your game I think it's a lot easier (I'm not sure as I don't really know everything about it) so I will go with the good enough approach because it can evolve in the testing level if everything goes right. If not, it also works pretty well that way.




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