Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

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Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:25 am

Long ago, I have written a very long "rulebook" as to how video games should be looked at and what developers should watch out for.
It may needs to be updated in some sorts. But most of its points still stand.


Here we go.
Unfortunately, due the character limit, I had to split the post into two.

Paragon's Rulebook for Video Game Creators


Preface
Welcome everyone to my 'Rulebook', directed at Video Game Creators and those who want it to be.
Now this book WILL NOT give you a guide on how to program and stuff.
Instead it will solely focus on the artisic values, what you need to keep in mind when you create characters and worlds, etc. etc.
It also shows you the mistakes than even the most successful companies did, which you MUST NOT do, if you want to be a real video game creator.
But know that this comes with responsibility. Even more, when you decide to enter the video game business.
So better think twice, whether you are up to the task.
But now let's get detailed.


Video Games as Art
The first step to become a rational video game creator is to understand this.
VIDEO GAMING IS ART! And art stands for CREATIVITY!
A true artist treats his creations with love and takes all the time he needs for them to reach "Perfection".
A true artist is not satisfied until his creations come as close to Perfection as they possibly can.
ARTISIC VALUES ALWAYS COME BEFORE PROFIT!
It is very important to keep this in mind AT ALL TIMES!
Of course if you enter a business, Profit also plays a big role.
But even so, artisic values should ALWAYS be top priority. Regardless of the companies situation, regardless of whether you do this as a hobby or a job.
This is pretty much a basic rule of any video game creator AND true artists for that matter.


Creating a theme
Before you start to develop worlds and characters, it is essential that you first create a theme.
No. With "theme" I don't mean a musical theme or anything.
With "theme" I mean a general style that defines the world, the characters, the design, the music, the story and all the other things that you create for that game or game series, as well as the audience you want to direct it to.
For example:
The theme for "Mario" is a light-hearted platformer for both old and young generations. (In similar manner as Mickey Mouse)
The world is a semi-cartoony fantasy world, that also has a few more realistic traits.
And the characters are mostly either Mushroom-based or Turtle-based. The main heroes and the princess (and a few more characters) are the only humans in this world.
Death is non-existant in this world and thus it follows a more cartoony way.

The theme for "Metroid" on the other hand is a Sci-Fi shooter (or shooter-platformer for the older games).
The world is a galaxy, with many different races. Including humans and the hostile Space Pirates.
It follows a more serious style and thus death and such does exist in this world.
Gore and blood however are not to be found here.

Those are just some basic examples. I could write much more about the themes of those two franchises.
Like the music-style, character-style and stuff.
But as an example they should work.
So think of a basic theme for the game, world, characters, etc. you want to create. Think of KEYWORDS that describe the theme.
Or better WRITE THEM DOWN! The more you have, the better.
These keywords shall perfectly serve as a guideline for any future decisions you will make for that game.
They are especially helpful, if you want to make a game series out of it.
In a game series, it is essential that the theme is kept throughout the series. No matter the circumstances.
So whatever changes, expansions or adjustments you make, make sure that it agrees with your theme.
And think HARD whether the decision really does agree with the theme.


Decisions are FINAL with release!
Before you release a game, you better think twice, whether everything is alright the way it is right now.
You can still adjust the basic theme of the game BEFORE you release it.
However, once you release the game, you CAN'T unring the bell.
From that point on, any decision on the game will be FINAL!
And if you want to make a series out of the game, the sequels will be strictly bound to the theme and style that has been established.
Of course, changes on the theme, retcons, etc. is something you could do, even after a game is released.
But it's something you ABSOLUTELY DO NOT WANT to do!
Not only do you might end up alienating your fanbase, but you also betray your game in the end.
With the release you pretty much make a pact with your game, characters, etc. that this is the way you want to go.
And once you made that pact, you MUST stay on the way and go on it. No matter the circumstances.
So whatever theme-changes you wanna do, do it BEFORE the release! Otherwise it's too late...


Game Criteria (Gameplay, Design, etc.)
Before I go into detail and what you should keep in mind for each criteria, I first want to answer the first question that everyone should ask at this point.
"Which criteria's are important???"
The answer is simple: "THEY ALL ARE IMPORTANT!!!"

Of course at this point, some people will probably say "Gameplay is everything that matters".
THAT'S WRONG! Only an idiot would actually think this way.
Every single game criteria is a piece of a puzzle. Together they form the whole game.
And if either piece is flawed, it will ruin the game. Either to an extent or entirely.
So NEVER make the mistake to focus on one criteria only, FOCUS ON ALL OF THEM!
Believe me, the more criteria's you end up doing good the more people you will reach.
People all have different priorities. And if you end up making all the criteria's good, you will have more fans that way.
ALWAYS FOCUS ON EVERY PART OF THE GAME! Never neglect even one part.
Once again, you are an artist. And true artists spend all the time they need, for their creation to reach "Perfection".
Never forget this!

Now for each criteria in detail.

- Gameplay
Gameplay defines how the game plays. Of course, it is essential to pick a suitable genre.
And it's equally essential to keep the game as glitch and bug free as possible.
While this should be a given, many companies still release games that are heavily bugged.
Example: Deus Ex - Human Revolution

So be sure that the game works properly ON EVERY SYSTEM you want to release it on.
And make sure it has a thorough testing period before releasing.
Since bugs and glitches can be potentially game breaking and discourage players to keep playing.
Make sure to weed them out!

Something that needs to be addressed as well is "CONVENIENCE".
A good game SHOULD BE easily accessible and playable for everyone who is allowed to play it.
Always keep in mind that there are people out there, who cannot handle complex button-combinations (like in "Street Fighter").
So you want to keep those people in mind as well and make a gameplay-style (or at least include options) so that they may also enjoy the game, without having to do anything that asks too much of them.
It's always important not to ask too much of the player. Otherwise it might get too much for him and he will quit.

And one last thing: While Gameplay is indeed the biggest piece of the puzzle, the other pieces are not nearly as unimportant as some people make it look like.
So don't listen to those fools!

- Design
Design stimulates the creativity of the players and allows them to enter a new world and become part of it.
So a good character and world-design definitely are needed.

That being said, allow me to bust a common misconception.
It is always said that PS3 games generally have better graphics than the other consoles.
WRONG! HI-RES GRAPHICS DO NOT EQUAL GOOD GRAPHICS!!!

So then, what are good graphics?
The truth is: That depends on the player!
Since in the end, it is nothing more than a matter of opinion.
Just like some people say the "Mona Lisa" is the best, while others say "Manga X" is the best.
And when it comes to video games, opinions on design also differ from one person to the next.
Some like ultra-realistic Hi-Res graphics, while some others are into Cel-Shading graphics.

Ultimately, no design-style is better than the other. And there is nothing wrong about either of those.
That includes PIXEL ART. Even the old 8-Bit style. Which also has its own fanbase.
Capcom also released two MegaMan WIIWare games in the old 8-Bit style.
Nothing speaks against using it even in HD and 3D-times.
It's an art-style like every other. So feel free to use whatever you see fit.

Personally, I think "Super Mario Galaxy" has better graphics than "Metal Gear Solid 4".
"MGS4" does make use of HD-graphics and the team definitely put a lot of effort into creating this world.
But when I look at "SMG", I see a beautifully designed universe in outer space, beautiful planets and the infinite possibilities of outer space.
In short, the graphics of "Super Mario Galaxy" fascinate me much more than "Metal Gear Solid 4".
That's why they are better, in my opinion.


The only real way to mess up graphics, is by messing up the colors. Aka, exchanging colors and stuff for no reason.
But only an idiot or a little child would do this. So this shouldn't be an issue.

- Music
Music creates a mood for each possible scenario and also largly defines the game.
Make sure you pick a music-style that agrees with the basic theme of your game.
For example: Rock-music for "The Legend of Zelda" would be just plain stupid, wouldn't it?
So pick a suitable music-style. And also make sure it fits the mood you want to create.
In a happy scenario, play a song that conveys happiness. And in a sad scenario, play a song that conveys sadness.

That's pretty much it actually.

- Story
A story makes the player understand his role in the game and immerses him in the world.
And it makes the player feel like he or she is interacting with the world.

Of course, not every game follows a story. But for those who do, it is an important element.
Even when it doesn't play a big role (like in "Street Fighter") it still is important.
(Despite many idiots saying otherwise...)

The most important things are:
- Make sure it suits the main theme of your game (Of course!).
- BE CREATIVE/ORIGINAL! Aka, don't jump on bandwagons, don't reuse too much stuff.

That's all there is to it really. Well, almost.
But more about that later...

- Root-Compatibility
Something that is often overlooked, but a game criteria nontheless.
It is used in series and defines how well a game sticked true to its roots.
The first game of the series defines the roots.

Of course, it is nothing I haven't said already.
It's basicly how well you sticked to the main theme of the series, that you defined at the very beginning with the first game.
Something very important for sure!



So much for the game criteria.
Let's move on...


Player Groups and Priorities
Another thing to understand, are the players and their priorities, when it comes to GAMEPLAY.
There are different kind of players out there. Each with their own traits.
So I divided the players into groups, to help you understand their needs.

- Low Skill
The group of players that have very little experience/skills with video gaming.
In most cases, it's people like Little Kids or very old people.
It also includes people, who may never played video games before and picked your game to give it a first try.

The most important thing for them is CONVENIENCE.
While it is also very important for all the other player groups, it is especially noteworthy for the Low Skills group.
So it's important for them to play a game, that is easy to understand, easy to play AND starts easy for even them.
A complex Menu-Design or complex controls are too hard for them to handle and may discourage them.
The most important thing about them though: THEY MAY HAVE TROUBLE PERFORMING MOVES THAT ARE EASY FOR US TO PERFORM!
They cannot handle "Quarter Circle Forward + B" Move from Street Fighter or even a "Wall Jump" from the Mario-series.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO UNDERSTAND THAT!!!
(Which some game companies don't do, sadly)
Either by making the first levels so easy that even those people have an easy time or at least include options for them to make things simpler.
The last thing would be a great option for fighting games like "Street Fighter".
It would be great if they had an Easy-Option like in "Tatsunoko vs Capcom", where you still could perform all the moves, but only had to press one button.

Another example would be the "Assistants" from recent Nintendo-games.
Like the "Super Assistant" from "New Super Mario Bros WII" or the "Sheikah Stone" from "Zelda: Skyward Sword".
Of course, it's not mandatory to include them. But it would help low skillers a lot, if they are stuck and can't go on.
Something worth considering...

- Casual
Casual Players have more experience with video gaming. And may be able to easily perform some moves, that Low Skiller's have trouble with.
Nevertheless very complex controls (once again like "Street Fighter") can still be very troublesome for them.
So easier controls and gameplay is still necessary here, in many cases.
And like I said before CONVENIENCE is a very important thing for pretty much all groups.

So give them the same treatment as the "Low Skills" and you should be fine with "Casuals" as well.

- Veteran
Veteran Players are players with a good amount of video gaming experience. Who can easily perform pretty much every move that the former two groups have trouble with.
So CONVENIENCE might be less of an issue here, but can still be important.

Too easy levels might end up boring them over time.
So if you want to keep this group entertained for longer, you either want to make the later levels harder or at least include additional difficulty-options.
Of course, it is optional. And most Veteran's don't quit playing the game, just because it's easy.
Though if it would have extra challenges that are harder to beat, it would greatly boost the replay-value.

- Hardcore
Hardcore Players are highly technicial players with the most amount of skill. Allowing them to easily perform even the most complex controls and moves with accurate timing.
The number and nature of highcore players differs from one genre to the next.

But either way, CONVENIENCE might only be important for them for the game menu's. Other than that, they don't need the charity that the other groups need.
In some game genres (mostly fighting games), BALANCE is required.
Many hardcore-gamers of some genres are competitive and play in tournaments. One thing to keep in mind.
So good and very balanced gameplay is essential here. If you really plan to appeal to them.


Those are all the player-groups.
Each one with their own needs, in order to be able to fully enjoy a game.
Now the question should be: "Which one is more important?"
My answer is simple: The "Low Skills" and "Casuals" are more important!
And ultimately, it's those people you get the most money from.
So it's important to keep them in mind.

If you appeal to Veteran's and Hardcore's only you might create challenging games, that will put their skills to the ultimate test.
But it might end up being too hard for players with lower skills, alienating them and probably making them never try your games anymore.
That way you will probably never get new players to support your franchise and you will be stuck with the people you do have.
However by making the game easier, you will give new players the introduction-time they need to get used to the game and make the game easy enough for them to be able to complete it.
That way you effectively gain new players to support your games.
While that may doesn't appeal to Veterans and Hardcores at first, believe me it ain't that much of a big deal.
If a game is too easy for them, many of them will come up with something to make it challenging for them.

But of course, the best option would be to PLEASE EVERY GROUP.
That can be done by giving low skill players the easy time and levels they need to have, while also offering tough challenges for the higher skill players.
Of course the downside of this, is that it results in more work for you.
Since you need to include extra options in order to have enough options for both sides.

But if you don't want that extra work to be done, focusing on lower skill players first is the better option in most cases.
So better stick with that. At least, it's what I HIGHLY recommend.

But in the end, it's your decision as to where your priorities lie.


Fans and Fanboys/Fangirls
Now this is dangerous topic. So it's VERY IMPORTANT that you read through it.
While having a fanbase can be good, in many cases it is not as good as it you might think it is.
There is a saying that goes: "If you have a large fanbase, you can expect most of them to be idiots!"

A very harsh saying, yes. But sadly, it turned out to be true. Again and again and again...
It applies to nearly every fanbase out there.

Because of that, companies like "Nintendo" decided to NOT listen to the fanbase and just to their thing, regardless of what the players think.
That's one way to deal with the situation. And Nintendo does seem to stay on track with their franchises, even after all those years.
But in case you do happen to mess up, there will be no one to push you back on the right track. Unless it comes from the inside.
At least, if you go this way.

So the best solution would be to listen to the fans. BUT ONLY TO RATIONAL FANS, WHO KNOW WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT!!!
That last sentence is VERY important.
Like the saying above states, generally most people in fanbases are idiots. So people you SHOULD NEVER listen to.
They will only lead you to your doom!

So now, what makes a fan a rational fan?
There are many different factors:
- Does a fan grasp the basic theme of your games?
- Does he accept criticism towards you?
- Does he give criticism?
- Does he act maturely?
- Does he accept or respect different opinions?
I guess those are the most important factors.
If you can answer those questions with "Yes.", you've got yourself a rational fan.
So in the end, a rational fan is a respectful person, who knows what your games are about and who will always give criticism if you messed up, ensuring that you stay on track and learn from your mistakes.
IT IS IMPORTANT TO LISTEN TO THOSE KIND OF FANS ONLY!!!
They are the insurance you need to be successful.

Sadly there are also extremistic or even fanatic fans around, who are so emotionally attached to the game, that they will never accept anything that doesn't suit their liking and always try to silence such opinions. Which is just wrong!
There are many different terms for them. But the most appropriate should be FANBOYS or FANGIRLS!
Which perfectly represent the kind of fans YOU SHOULD NEVER EVER LISTEN TO!
Seriously, DON'T DO THAT!

Unfortunately, they can be really SEDUCTIVE. Since those people will be pleased with ANYTHING you produce, regardless of how crappy the result is.
Thus giving you money for little to no effort.
RESIST THE URGE!!! DON'T GET SEDUCED BY THEM!
REMEMBER YOUR ARTISTIC VALUES!!!
Get seduced by them and you will become a DISGRACE for all true artists.
It's like you sold yourself to the devil!

Seriously. Only listen to rational fans! Never listen to fanboys and fangirls!
PERIOD.


Critique and Suggestions from 3rd Parties
In order to be a true artist, YOU MUST BE OPEN FOR CRITIQUE!!!
Seriously. It's wrong to have a high horse.
YOU AREN'T A GOD! YOU ARE STILL HUMAN!
There is NO shame in doing mistakes.
And because human's do tend to make mistakes from time to time, it is important to have someone to get you back on track.
Who is this "someone"? THE CRITICS!
People who point out flaws and present them to you. So that you know what needs to be improved. And that you may do it better next time!

That's the whole concept behind critique! IT'S NO FLAMING!
It's important to say that, since some fans (namely "Fanboys") think that critique equals bashing. WRONG!
People who post critique only want to help.

Some people might even give you ideas on what to add or improve to make future games better.
Generally, I ADVISE you to listen to any and all feedback.

That being said though, NEVER do it without critical eyes yourself.
If you read feedback, think HARD whether or not the critique and/or suggestions are valid.
A critique is valid if it indeed points out flaws, that damage the game's quality or theme.
Think hard, whether or not this is the case when you read it.
You should ESPECIALLY listen to critique, if it points out minor things as well.
Even the tiniest things can affect the game in great ways.
Many people tend to stamp this as "Nitpicking", as nothing worth your time!
DON'T DO THAT! When it comes to criticism "Nitpicking" doesn't exist.
It's only a poor excuse. That ultimately makes you look like a lazy bastard, who doesn't want his artwork to flourish.
And since a true artist wants his creation to become as perfect as it possibly can, even minor things are important.

As for suggestions though:
CAUTION!
When it comes to suggestions, you need to think even harder, if the suggestions are valid.
Once again, you need to ask yourself, whether or not the suggestion agrees with the theme of your game.
Does it agree with the way you wanted the game to take?
If not, then it's okay to brush it aside.
The same thing counts for criticism, if it's not valid.

So bottom line: Listen to all feedback. And consider applying it, if it's valid.
If it's not valid though, then you can brush it aside.


Changes/Transitions
Of course, when you make a game series, you will always need to change or add things, in order to make a game not feel like the exact same game from before.
But which kind of changes are acceptable?
Of course, the answer is quite simple. Any kind of change is acceptable, as long as the game still feels like one from the series.
In a series, neither of the main games should EVER feel like a completely different game! But it shouldn't feel like the same game all over again either.

When it comes to the transition from 2D to 3D however, things can get more complicated.
Some games might work with it well, while other games need an overhaul to work.
For example: Super Mario 64!
It was Nintendo's first attempt at a Mario 3D-Game. Many of the features from the predecessors were removed.
Like the transformations or ?-Blocks, etc.
While new features were added. Such as Punches and Kicks and stuff.
And yet, for a first attempt, it still was an amazing game. It was a crucial first step for Mario, into the third dimension.
And it did it well, despite missing things from the 2D-games.
In fact, when it comes to transitions from 2D to 3D, it might be best to take things easy. Since you are only at the beginning of the 3D-experience.
And then, when you think the game did it well, you can evolve from there and make the sequels better.
Nintendo did the very same thing. Since in later games, many features from the 2D-games would return.
And yet, Super Mario 64 still felt like a Mario-game. The basic theme was kept, despite adding many new features and leaving behind features from the 2D-games.

Another thing that you might want to consider to change are where the game is taking place. Or adding new races/beings and stuff.
Just always remember that it MUST agree with the basic theme of the series.

And another thing are characters, especially villains. Recurring characters and villains are nice and all. And you can reuse them as many times as you see fit.
However, it's recommended to add new ones every once in a while. Yes, even for the villain-role.
Otherwise it might get old. Even Mario and Zelda-games had a different villain every once in a while, to make the series feel fresh.
Of course if you really want for characters and/or villains to remain the same that badly, you can do that.
It's just a general advice to change characters and villains every once in a while.
NOTE: With "characters" I am not referring to the main characters. While new main characters are nothing bad, they should NEVER overshadow other established major characters.
And especially the MAIN CHARACTER should generally NEVER be stripped of his or her role of the main hero or heroine.

Now there is one last thing I want to mention there.
You may have noticed that some sites tend to criticise games, that generally stick to their gaming-style.
For example: IGN criticised Mario for "not evolving".
I can only say: DON'T LISTEN TO THOSE IDIOTS!
They are a bunch of precocious morons, who do not know what they are talking about!
Evolving DOES NOT mean that you change the gameplay-style from one sequel to the next.
Nintendo nailed the 3D-formula perfectly with "Super Mario 64" and sticked with it.
The evolved it by adding more elements to it and stuff.
There is no need to change the gameplay.
Or in other words: "Don't fix what's not broken!"

With this, IGN has proven that they are just a bunch of **** who don't know at all how video game evolution works.
So DO NOT LISTEN TO THEM!

So much for changes...


Spin-Off's
However, now comes the exception for many rules here.
Spin-Off's are NON-CANON games, that have no relevance to the main series whatsoever.
Meaning that here you have much more freedom to experiment. In fact, here you can do whatever you want.
You can totally twist characters personalities, you can try out different game genre's or even do crossovers.
Of course, just a few of all the things you can do when you do a spin-off game.
Mario for instance has a lot of Spin-Off's. The Sport-Games, the "Mario Kart"-series, the "Mario Party" series, RPGs, etc.
All of them feature Mario in a genre, different from the (canon) main game series.
But a few of them changed more than that. Most of the spin-off RPGs took a much darker approach in terms of story, even featuring death and drama at some points.
(Granted. I don't like it personally. But it works for spin off's.)
In "Super Mario Strikers", the personalities of the Mario-characters were twisted, making them appear much more hostile and aggressive than in the main games.
Some other spin-off's however stick to the overall gameplay-style of the main series. But that have other features, such as crossover.
An example for it would be the "VS-series" from Capcom. That added the tag team feature but overall remained the same as the main "Street Fighter" games.
But the most notable Spin-Off feature here, is the fact that those games are CROSSOVERS.
And art-style, personalities, etc. are adjusted accordingly.
Some games may even have another character as the main hero, with the character that normally is the main hero playing a smaller role.
The prime example for this would be "Luigi's Mansion" or "Super Princess Peach", where the main hero is actually the person that you must save.

So in Spin-Off's you have complete freedom and don't have to stick to the main theme for once.
However, that also means that you CANNOT use stuff from Spin-Off's in your main games.
(Unless you can implement them in a way, that the main theme of the main games is not damaged.)


Story-Changes/Retcon's
What are retcons? That's simple.
It means that you re-write and completely change stories that you already established in earlier titles of the series.
What do you need to keep in mind about it?
That's simple too: NEVER RETCON!!!
Seriously, DON'T DO THAT!
There are reasons for that:
1. Retcon's ALWAYS alienate at least one rational fan.
And rational fans are the kind of people you DO NOT want to alienate. EVER!
2. You damage the stories (and maybe some other content) of already established games.
3. You probably end up damaging the main theme that you established.
4. You break the pact you made with your game(s)!
Back then with the first game of the series, you made your choice on which way you wanna go. And that includes story as well.
And it's a golden rule to always stay on that way, no matter what!

Story-Changes on the other hand can mean a lot of things.
Like a game that used to be light-hearted now takes a darker, more serious approach
Or an enemy suddenly becomes an ally.
Or characters that become supernatural all of a sudden.
etc. etc.

So for those story-changes and retcons alike, I tell you: THEY ONLY WORK FOR SPIN-OFF'S!
Some examples:
Most "Mario" RPG's took a darker approach. They normally do not suit Mario AT ALL!
But since they are NON-CANON spin-off's with no relevance to the actual main plot of the series, it works.
Also in some of the RPG's from Mario, Bowser actually becomes an ally.
Once again, something that is normally unacceptable. But the spin-off's are non-canon. So it works.

Okay, there are actually cases were story-changes can work in the main plot.
In the "Metal Gear" series for example, Solid Snake used to be a normal human. While Big Boss used to be a megalomaniac villain.
That changed in "Metal Gear Solid" where they tool a more original route, where it turned out that Solid Snake is actually a human experiment and that Big Boss only wanted to save the world from corruption and that he hid this fact through acting like a madman.
While it indeed caused a change in nature, it still worked. Since the original two "Metal Gear" games were not retconned and they didn't rule out those possibilities.
Of course, it still didn't come without controversy. Since some fans were actually alienated by this change in nature.

Some other changes however do work better.
Like in X-Men, where Magneto becomes an ally. Since he isn't truly evil, it works.
His personality agress with this change, whem there is a good reason.
(Yes, I know X-Men is a comic book series. But since we are talking about story, it is a good example.)

For more drastic changes, you may be better off doing them in spin-off's only.
But some other's might actually work for the main plot.
However, you must think about it HARD. Especially about the consequences.
What it would mean for the characters, etc. in the long run.


Bases and Rip-Off's
Now both involve taking something from already established content from other games. (Games that you did not make!)
That alone however is not necessarily bad.
In fact, one of those two things is good. While the other thing is bad.
Now which is which? Well, smart people should already know the answer.
Bases = Good, Rip-Off = Bad
But where lies the difference in the two?
Well, BASES refer to a content that has been taken from a game and that had so much changed or added, that it become a brand new artwork.
An example would be the game "Okami". Whose gameplay was obviously based on the 3D-"Zelda"-games.
And yet it felt like a brand new game. Much ORIGINAL content was created and added to the base. And the result was a wonderful, creative game.

RIP-OFF's however refer to content completly carried over and with NO or BARELY ANY original content added whatsoever.
In short, rip-off's make the game pretty much feel just like the other one, only with different characters or something.

So in short: It's okay to take something from other games. As long as you have the creativity to turn it into something unique/original.
However there are some exceptions.
For example: 2D fighting games!
There probably isn't much you can change on the engine, without screwing up.
Which is why most 2D fighting games end up resembling or even feel like "Street Fighter".
But that's how this engine is. It is perfect the way it is. So there isn't much you can change on it.
So as long as you add unique characters and with unique abilities and make a good story for it, if you want it to follow a story, than it should be all goood.
But that's just one example.
If a base however leaves you with A LOT of freedom to experiment and be creative, you SHOULD make use of it!


Cliches and Bandwagons
Those things are generally something you should NEVER follow!
Since they represent content and stuff that gets re-used over and over and over again.
In other words, they are completely unorignial, unimaginative and boring. They require little to no creativity.
And since art is all about creativity, you should ALWAYS avoid these!

But now what are cliches
Well it includes real-life cliches ("Jobless people are lazy, anti-social parasites", "Jouth's are brutal, aggressive and violent-loving entities that constantly violate innocent people.", etc.)
... and stereotypes ("Russians are violent, obsessively patriotic and always drink Vodka", "Spanish people always have roses with them and are beauty-loving imbeciles", etc.)
Of course, those things are bullsh!t. And you should NEVER make use of them.
There might be some exceptions where stereotypes can work. Like in "Punch Out" with a more kiddy and humor-oriented direction.
But like it was with the story-changes, you only get away with it, if you are really lucky,
And even then, it never comes without controversy.
So for the sake of originality (and rational humanity as well), you are better off not resorting to stereotypes.
And cliches generally are wrong to resort to.

There are also game-cliches.
So, game/story-exclusive stuff that gets used over and over again. Equally bad to resort to have the real life cliches.
Since they too represent unoriginality, unimaginativeness and anti-art at its finest!
One example should be your generic "Marine/Military-Shooter".
Seriously, almost every First-Person Shooter out there is about generic military-stuff.
Is it so overused by now, that it has become a cliche of its own.
And merely re-using that cliche automatically breaks the game, in the eyes of rational people.
Since it got old a long time ago.

Of course, it's just one of many examples. And I don't want to give more than that.
Since my point should be perfectly clear by now.

Of course, some cliches so happen to have a fanbase of their own.
But I shall speak more about that in the next point.

Anyway, I think you heard of the line "jumping on the bandwagon".
Since it basicly means that you leave your way and follow others, just because their way seems to be more successful.
However, anyone who does that betrays their own ideals. Their own artistic values.
Something a true artist shouldn't even dream of!
Popularity must be earned. And you only earn it properly, by doing it with your own work, your own creativity!
And not by simply copying others.
You may not get greatly popular by staying on your own way. Unless you are really lucky. (Like "Nintendo")
But then you have a fanbase to be proud of. Since then it loves your work, your creativity. And not copycats.

Or in other words:
A true artist doesn't jump on bandwagons. He makes his own!


"Dark Characters" - The greatest Cliche in VG history!
While there are many cliches out there, none of them amounts to unoriginality, unimaginativeness AND overuse of this one.
Which is why I give this one a category of its own.

But before I really start I want to give example on what I DO NOT mean with "Dark Characters"
Example 1: "Wario"
While this one is obviously based on Mario in some sense, he still isn't a "Dark Character".
He barely looks like Mario. Has his own unique abilities and overall is more like a parody of Mario.
And while he is based on Mario, he still is overall an original character.

Example 2: "Metal Sonic"
This is a robotic version of "Sonic the Hedgehog", built by "Dr. Eggman/Robotnik".
While that doesn't sound really original, he still has his own unique traits, despite overly being an "Anti-Sonic".
It fits however, given how "Eggman/Robotnik" is a robot-genius, who eventually tries to beat Sonic with his own weapons.
On top of that, it fits with the original "Nature vs Technology" concept that the classic games followed.
So he fits as well.

Two great examples. And yet they still represent of character that may gets old with overuse.
(There is a reason why "Waluigi's" fanbase is almost non-existant)

But now to the topic at hand. The "Dark Characters"!
Now what is a "Dark Character"?
To put it simply, it is a Recolor/Clone of an already established character.
Mostly serving as a "Dark Side" of a certain character.
In many cases, the character barely has any original abilities and has the exact same abilities as the original.
So like I said above, it's a recolor/clone. Recolor since it's basicly a character created through recoloring an already established one.
And clone in th sense of (mostly) having the exact same abilities as the original character.
Examples for this are: Shadow Mario, Dark Link, Dark Samus, Gouki (aka Akuma), Evil Ryu, Shadow the Hedgehog, etc.

And just by looking at the sheer number of all dark characters in existence, you should instantly know what I mean by "overuse".
Dark Characters require the creativity of an infant!
Recoloring is something that even a 3-year old can do. There is NO creativity behind it whatsoever.
Which is EXACTLY why those characters are AUTO-FAIL Characters!
They are the worst cliche out of all of them. And like the rest of them, they should NEVER EVER be used!
Simply of how unoriginal, unimaginative and unartistic they are!

However, "Dark Characters" actually end up being the most popular characters in many cases.
But in the end, it should just give you an idea how INFINITELY DUMB most "fans" are.
And they don't even grasp the importance of originality and creativity in video games.
They just blindly consume everything that the companies produce and take everything uncritical.
And such dumb people also are among the kind of fans you should NEVER LISTEN NOR CATER TO!

And I guess it perfectly goes to show that just because something is popular, doesn't mean that it's good.
It's NEVER worth gaining popularity through something that's so obviously bad.
So once again, NEVER use cliches. ESPECIALLY "DARK CHARACTERS"!
They represent UNORIGINALITY, UNIMAGINATIVENESS and ANTI-CREATIVITY!
A true artists worst enemies!


About Character Selections
Of course, it should be self-explanatory to you by now, what it means to create a good character.
Design, Personality, Role... It's important to nail all this.
But of course, simply by know which kind of character you MUST NOT create, you already know most of it.
There are still a few things about characters. But I will point them out in one of the later categories.
So for now, we're all good.

Now let's talk about games with an entire cast of characters, that give you the choice which one of them you want to be.
The first thing to note is the PERSONALITY.
Of course it's important to give each character his or her own unique personality.
And they should express it properly in a game.
This is easy, if a game is story-driven. Since the personality should then show itself in the cutscenes and stuff.
But that isn't always possible. Especially in game where story either plays a minor rule or where there is no story at all.
Especially for those kind of games, it is important that the personality of each character is still properly expressed.
That can be done in various ways.

It can be done through the things they say, through how they behave, through what they are doing, and so on.
Let me give you some examples:
First "1080° Snowboarding".
In this game, the characters don't act any different from each other in-game, other than their yells and screams.
They even have the same victory-animations.
But Nintendo still managed to give each character a personality. They did it through the "Character Select Screen"
Where you are in a Ski Hut and can select your characters. And here you can already see the differences in personality.
By seeing how the behave and how they are reacting, if you select them.
The japanese guy is the silent type, while the canadian is the adventurous type and the American is the badass-type.

In "Street Fighter" or "Super Smash Bros" however, the personalities are expressed in-game through how they behave and how they fight.
Especially the intros, taunts and victory-animations definte the personality of your character.
There are many different approaches you can take, as you can see.

Another thing to note are the ABILITIES.
It is important that each character has his/her own unique abilities.
In racing-games, it is pretty much a given that each characters has his/her own strengths and weaknesses.
Some accelerate fast, but have low top speed. While some others may handle well but have little durability, etc.
In fighting games on the other hand, while stats can play a role as well, the abilities are defined by the different attacks they have.
Each character has his/her own unique attacks in those games.

Then there are some games where each character is supposed to have the same moves. Like in "Mario Party".
But then it is essential for each character to have his or her own animations at least.
So that they at least don't feel all the same.

There are many different ways to define the abilities of a character. It depends on the genre.

And one last thing I want to point out is the GAMEPLAY.
Like I said before, it is okay for each character to have his own unique stats.
But one thing that is important, or rather that I HIGHLY recommend, is that the basic controls SHOULD be ALL THE SAME.
To make every character equally accessible for everyone.
Pretty much every player doesn't pick the character, only because he or she plays well.
No. They make their selection depending on the PERSONALITY, ABILITIES and overall STYLE of the characters.

An example for how it SHOULDN'T be the done, are the "Street Fighter" games, where every character pretty much has their own controls for special moves.
Some characters have easy and quick commands, while others have slow working commands and some with commands that are just impossible for normal players.
(Generally I think that 6-button config is too much. The VS-games did it much better from "Tatsunoko VS Capcom" on.)

It's just stupid to punish some players with bad controls, only because they didn't pick the 'right' favourite character.
And because of that, you shouldn't introduce a different control-scheme for other characters.
It'd alienate many players. And rightly so.
Pick one control-scheme and go with that, instead of using several ones and thus cluttering the game with them.
It makes the game unnecessarily inconvenient.

So much for characters. Next...


Extremistic Views/Bad Criticism and Censors
With those I am referring to people who hate stuff for the wrong reasons.
Mostly people who feel insulted or get so worked up over something FICTIONAL with NO RELEVANCE TO REALITY whatsoever.
OR companies who censor stuff for the most stupid reasons. Limiting your artistic freedom in unreasonable ways.
Here are some examples:

- Racism
Of course, it is not recommended to resort to stereotypes, cliches and prejudices.
However this is NOT the case, if there is a good reason for them to look bad.

Example: "Resident Evil 5"
The game is set in Africa. It's normal for most people to have black skin there.
What really made oversensitive people angry, is the fact that the "zombies" in this game were black people, that you had to shoot.
Chris Redfield, one of the protagonists, is from USA (while skin) who shoots a bunch of black-skinned zombie.
It's clear that people with (stupid/obsessive) starry-eyed idealism instantly got all butthurt and raged at Capcom.
Sadly, Capcom made the wrong choice to listen to those NUTCASES and changing everything, instead of taking a stand and explain themselves.
I mean, really. THEY ARE FREAKING ZOMBIES! The skin-color shouldn't matter here. If there is a zombie trying to nibble on you, you shoot it.
That's how it works. Common sense should tell you that.
The african people here are actually victims. They are controlled by a parasite with no way to remedy it.
So the only thing you can do, is to put them out of their misery.

Either way, people who complained here are clearly idiots. Who probably lack common sense or even a properly working brain.

- Religion
Another group of people that tends to act like a butthurt baby over trivial stuff (trivial to reality that is), are religious people.
Even if content is implemented in a "good" or "neutral" way!

And example would be the ORIGINAL FIRE TEMPLE SONG for "Zelda: Ocarina of Time".
It wasn't removed due complaints at least. But still, look at any online-portal (like YouTube) and pick the song and you will see a lot of people either being angry that Nintendo even did such a song in the first place or being grateful that it was replaced with another (lamer) version.
Why people are angry over it in the first place, I seriously can't understand.
(But maybe it's because that kind of stupidity is just beyond my comprehension.)
Another example for people getting worked up over something for no reason.

- Sexism
Though people don't complain, it is often censored.

For example: Ports of "Final Fight" on Nintendo-consoles.
The character "Poison" was replaced with an entirely different enemy in both the "outside Japan" ports on SNES and GBA.
Reason was that "Poison" was too revealing. And in her "Getting Hit" animation, you could even see the underside of her boobs.
So Nintendo basicly forced Capcom to do something about that.

Another, more extreme, example would be "Dead and Alive Dimensions" on the 3DS.
The "Anti-Sexist" view from Nintendo charged again. This time even more extreme than before.
The game was BANNED ENTIRELY from one country in Europe, simply because they thought than the females were "too inappropriate/sexistic" in this game.

In all seriousness, Nintendo is overdoing it here.
If you want to be all family-friendly, then it's your thing.
But FORCING that on other companies as well, if they want to release stuff on your console, clearly goes too far.
Either Nintendo are purists, who want their consoles to be clean of EVERYTHING they consider bad.
Or they think it would harm their image, if they would allow stuff like that to be released on their consoles.
Why the frakk would it harm your image, Nintendo? YOU DIDN'T MAKE THE **** GAME! YOU HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH IT.

Either way, this is just ridiculous.

- Dictatorship and References
This is less of an issue, but people still get worked up over it nontheless.
The perfect example would be GERMANY! Keywords: Hitler and Nazi-Germany!
It sure was a horrible time full of injustice. No doubt about that.
But it seems like some people are so hellbent on trying to erase that part of history, that they even ban or alter any kind of media that has any kind of reference to it.
(Games that have the Swastika-emblems have been banned from Germany, for example!)
However, every country had its own dark ages. And it'd do no good to pretent as if it never happened.
We cannot erase that part of our history, no matter how hard we try.
By the end of the day, we have stand for it and accept that fact that we will get reminded, even in a 100 years.
This also counts for any other kind of dark historic events, that some people get so worked up over it and try to get it banned or at least altered.
And that can't be.

- Politics
Another thing that might isn't hated as much, but still hated by some parties nontheless, is if some games represent politics in a way that some parties don't agree with.
It might includes military as well.
Of course, it's the usual 'get upset and try to get it altered or banned' deal.

I don't have a good example for it unfortunately. Since the only kind of media that really provoked politics so far, are movies.
But if you have a game that did piss off some butthurt political parties, then feel free to tell me. Wink


Either way, I guess it should be clear what I want to say.
Extremism and Bad Critcism and the changes that might come along with it, pretty much are equally ridiculous as cuts and bans in movies.
In both cases, it is an unreasonable restriction for the freedom of the arts.
In fact, any kind of restriction is bad restriction. Artists should have absolute freedom in creativity by default!
Art does have many different sides and directions, that all are liked and disliked by certain people.
I am not a fan of every direction either. But I am not acting like all crazy over it and try to ban everything I don't like.
I do respect the freedom of opinion and freedom of the arts. For EVERY artist!

They can even take a really sick approach, a la "The Human Centipede".
And ultimately, that's one side of art as well, that we have to live with.
And if you don't like the game because of that, SIMPLY DON'T PLAY IT!
But trying to do a campaign against the artists for taking a direction you don't like, is just ridiculous.
And it makes you look like a butthurt idiot, with the mentality of a little butthurt kid.

We are (mostly) living in a democracy, where everyone has complete freedom to shape their art into anything they desire.
Banning it would mean, that we would return to the good old Dictator-ways.
And this just can't be right.
Either way, artists should have complete freedom. And NO ONE has the right to take it away from them.
If you don't like it, simply ignore it. Is it really that hard?


Have Courage
What do I mean with that? I am referring to two things.
1. Have the courage to try something new. (At least every once in a while)
2. Have the courage to continue a series, even if it doesn't have as many supporters as your other series.

I see that many companies only keep supporting the franchises that bring the most money.
Nintendo keeps supporting Mario, Zelda, Metroid and so on. But franchises like Wave Race or F-Zero seem to have been abandoned.
Even worse is that they some of their franchises so novercal. Like the Mother-Series.
And that is something that can't be right.

Sega completely abandoned all of their other franchises and only do seem to Sonic-games these days.
Capcom also focuses on their fighting games only now, abandoning their other franchises, EVEN THEIR MASCOT (MegaMan)!

And that is something you should never do.
As long as a series has its supporters, you should keep making games for it.
The only exception is, if you really think that the series is complete and that your work is done with it altogether.
But in that case, you should be honest with your fans and TELL THEM! So that they don't end up making false hopes.
True they might be disappointed about such a decision. But in the long run, they will accept the decision.

Another thing you should do every once in a while is DOING SOMETHING NEW!
I mean, creating a new game series.
True, it's good to support your main series. But delivering something fresh and widen your horizons can never be wrong.

So the bottom line is: Don't just focus on your mainstream-games. Also keep supporting your other series, if you can.
And also produce completely new games, every once in a while.
Have the guts to do something, that the other companies lack. And you are much better than them!


Rules for Marketing
Of course, I am not marketing expert. But I can still tell some things about it!

The first point should also refer to the "Have Courage" category.
- NEVER cancel a series because it is not as 'successful' as the other games you produce!
With that I am referring to the cancellation of many great game series for the WRONG reasons.
Here are some examples:
Nintendo abandoned many of their franchises (Wave Race, F-Zero, etc.), because apparently they don't bring nearly as much money as their mainstream-games (Mario, Zelda, etc.)
Some games they even treat utterly novercal (like Mother/Earthbound).
Sega only focuses on Sonic these days and abandoned all of their other franchises long ago, just because Sonic brings the most money (sadly).
Capcom also abandoned many of their franchises INCLUDING MEGAMAN. And now it looks like their are about to drop EVERYTHING in favor of their fighting games.
Isn't that pathetic? OF COURSE IT IS!

I dunno what high standards those companies are having (despite the great job that Nintendo still makes, as well as bringing back some of their forgotten franchises recently. They still treat franchises like 'Mother' with low respect though).
But you should get your priorities straight!
Video gaming is NOT a means to gain yourself a Ferrari, a mansion or whatever luxury rich people are into.
And a success of a video game should NEVER be measured by how much money you earn for your own personal dreams or wishes.
No. A video game should be considered a commercial success, if the income defrays the running costs (including employee-payment and the money your need for your bread and butter).
And that alone is determining for the success of your company. Since it ensures that you get enough money to continue to produce video games.

And as long as you have enough money to produce video games, you should continue to produce games even for your not so successful franchises.
(Unless you decided to no longer produce games for them, because you consider the series in question complete. NOT because of the lack of income!)

I could understand this, if you were in a financial crisis. Then I understand that you bet on your best horse.
But once you have enough money again, you should continue to support those franchises.

- If region-locked, either release EVERYWHERE or not at all!
Many people consider region-locking as a pointless, costumer-unfriendly feature of video game consoles.
Which is what they are indeed.

If you release a game for a region-free console, you can get away with not releasing it everywhere.
Since then players could still import and play it, without expenses.
However, this is not the case for region-locked consoles. Since then players will either be forced to modify their console (illegal), buy the same console again from another region to be able to play the game or give up about it.
And that cannot be right. That players either need to do something illegal or pay MUCH more than they need to for a GAME in order to play it.
That is why you MUST release a game everywhere, if the console you release it on is region-locked.

Let's just hope that this utterly costumer-unfriendly feature will die out soon. Its existence makes no sense. It never did!

- NEVER release the same game over and over again!
I am NOT referring to ports to other consoles!
What I mean is releasing a game that you will still work on and release again later on.
Prime example: What Capcom is doing with "Street Fighter IV" and "Marvel VS Capcom 3" (and probably will do with "Street Fighter X Tekken").
Why is that wrong? BECAUSE IT'S RIP-OFF!

The default price for a game is normally 60 bucks!
This is what both "Street Fighter IV" and "Marvel VS Capcom 3" cost. Everything alright so far.
However, now with "Super Street Fighter IV" and "Ultimate Marvel VS Capcom 3" released, the original games are rendered obsolete and ultimately A WASTE OF MONEY!
And it doesn't help if the new version cost only half the price of the original games.
Since owners of the original games will either be forced to buy or stick with an outdated version.
And thus they need to pay AGAIN, if they want the latest updates.
60 bucks for the original game PLUS the 30 bucks the new version, results in a whopping 90 bucks.
So those players essentially pay 90 bucks FOR THE SAME GAME!

It clearly is over the normal price. In other words: It is RIP-OFF!
A game should NEVER cost more than the default price for video games. (60 bucks on big consoles less on handhelds)

Fans are already alienated by this greedy approach of Capcom. Causing UMvC3 to not sell nearly as well as MvC3 did.
Capcom is pretty much digging their own grave here.
So you see, in the long run, it just doesn't pay off to get greedy. So DO NOT DO THAT!

(In fact, I would gladly pirate both "UMvC3" and "SSFIV", if I could. I already payed my 60 bucks with "SFIV" and "MvC3" each. They ain't getting anymore from me than that!)

- The thing about DLCs
The same thing counts for DLCs. If they cost anything, they too raise the price of the game and thus it also is a form of rip-off.
It is okay, IF they are only a few and only cost a few cents or bucks.

HOWEVER if you have a lot of DLC, they SHOULD be FOR FREE! Otherwise they end up making the game much more expensive.
UNLESS you release the game at a cheaper price. In that case, the cost for the DLCs would balance out the price!
But other than that, it's the same deal as with the "Releasing the same game over and over".
It ends up raising the price and making the game much more expensive than a normal game. Once again, it's RIP-OFF!

- DELAY, if you cannot get it done in time!
VERY IMPORTANT!
Many companies seem to think that the absolutely have to stick to the time they set for themselves, no matter what.
And if they can't everything done in time, release it anyways.
However, if you can't get it done in time, then DELAY THE RELEASE!
Seriously, there is NO SHAME in that!

Nintendo has done it plenty of times already. And in the end, it always turned out to be right decision.
The results that we got were well worth the wait.

Shigeru Miyamoto himself once said:
A delayed game can be good eventually. A bad game will be bad forever!
Words of Wisdom!
Words that you seriously need to keep in mind.
If you rush things, the game will probably be bad. And if a game incomplete, chances are that it will be bad as well.

So ultimately, YOU SHOULD ALWAYS TAKE YOUR TIME!
Like I said before, a true artist spends all the time he needs for his creation to reach perfection.
That also means delaying the release, if the creation has yet to reach its full potential.
Never forget!


So much for the marketing.

...

TO BE CONTINUED IN THE NEXT POST!!!


Last edited by Paragon-Yoshi on Sun Oct 21, 2012 2:34 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Sun Oct 21, 2012 11:26 am

CONTINUATION OF THE FIRST POST!
...

...
List of other mistakes!
We are almost at the end. But before I started with my final words, here is a list.
It lists all the mistakes that didn't find their place in the previous categories, but should be mentioned regardless.
So read them carefully, so you DON'T make the same mistakes as they did.
Here we go:

- Too much Convenience is game-breaking!
I said before, that Convenience is an important thing. While this may be true, be sure to NOT overdo it.
An example: MODERN SONIC THE HEDGEHOG GAMES!
The main GAMEPLAY-flaw about them, is that they are too AUTOMATED! Where you pretty much have to press one button or two and you pretty much win the game.
They feel more like an interactive cutscene, instead of a video game.
One of many reasons is the HOMING ATTACK. Which automatically teleports Sonic to the next enemy and destroys it.
Which completely negates the challenge that it could've offered.
(If you want to get a more detailed analysis about the Homing Attack go here: http://sonicresistance.blogspot.com/2012/01/homing-attack-it-sucks-and-it-needs-to.html )

Point is: A game should still offer some challenge and require SKILL to beat it.
In the Mario-games, it still requires skill and timing to beat the enemies.
A game can start out easy, or even be easy altogether if you really want it to be.
But it should still take skill to beat it.
There is NO skill behind just pressing one or two buttons and then the game does the work for you.
That's NOT how a game should work.

Convenience is nice and all, and definitely important. No doubt!
But be sure not to overdo it. Or otherwise you will end up creating a completely automated game that doesn't feel like a game anymore.
Something you do not want to do!

- Spamming is NOT a Pro-Technique
Seriously, many people are annoyed that in certain games, you can win by spamming the same attacks over and over again.
And that criticism is justified. Since there it NO SKILL AT ALL behind spamming.
And yet, some companies seem to think of it as a legit "tactic". Which it isn't!
One of those companies is CAPCOM. And in their main fighting games ("Street Fíghter" and "VS-series"), they ALWAYS encouraged spamming.
Many people hated it. But instead of including some sort of punishment for using special attacks over and over again, the critique is completely ignored by them and they stick to their delusional ways.
In Smash Bros Brawl on the other hand, a system was included that actually punishes spammers.
Which is a system that is welcomed.

Either way, you should realize that spamming the same thing over and over again, requires no skill or even tactical thinking (what those idiots at Capcom apparently think).
And it should be punished in some way.

- Careful about the Competitive scene
If you paid attention, I said that a certain group of fans MUST NOT be listened to.
Another group of "fans" that you should be EXTREMELY careful about, is the COMPETITIVE scene.
Why?
Well to be really blunt, it seems to be a really dubious community.
Most gamers among the competitive scene no longer play to have fun, they only play to win at any cost to bash the casuals.
Apparently living out their sadistic traits in the process.
And those people generally don't give suggestions to "balance the game" or anything.
No. They only give suggestions to change the game to their favor. So that they may bash the casuals forever.
They just aren't satisfied, unless they can use a game as an excuse to humiliate people and live out their sadism.
(As evidenced by their attempts to turn games competitive, even if they aren't made for it. Like "Smash Bros."...)

Okay. There may be indeed some rational people in the competitive scene. And those are the ones I personally respect.
But the vast majority (at least 90%) are UNFRIENDLY, ARROGANT, DICTATORIAL, OBSTINATE and SADISTIC.
They constantly use games to bash people and on the other end, they see themselves as worldly video game gurus or something.
And they think they have the right to lecture, belittle and insult anyone, who isn't worthy to them.

And in many cases, Casuals actually have a better idea of what a game should be like.
Be sure to keep that in mind...

- Don't be a ****!
Something that should be a given. And yet companies still tend to act like ones.
Example 1: CAPCOM
In all honesty, it is unbelievable how Capcom acted recently.
Constantly lying and trolling the MegaMan-fans.
Of course, there should be more than enough examples out there.
But just to list a few...
- Capcom said MegaMan was not in high demand for UMvC3. Which is a shameless LIE!
(MegaMan X was at the top of Capcom's poll with 2568 votes. Classic MegaMan was 9th with 967 votes, Bass.EXE 10th with 889 votes and MegaMan.EXE was 19th with 548 votes.)
- Capcom cancelled the two MegaMan games, apparently because there was no fan-demand. Which also is a LIE!
(Fans have been outraged about the cancellation of both games. And for a good reason. The low interest was AMONG THE CAPCOM STAFF, NOT THE FANS!)
- MegaMan X has only been added to UMvC3 as an alternate skin for Zero. A half-hearted gesture, just to shut the MegaMan fans up.
(Of course, it didn't work!)

Example 2: SEGA
Of course, with Sonic Generations, Sega actually tried to make Classic Sonic fans happy.
While it was indeed a step into the right direction, it still left a lot to be desired.
Instead of taking the crticism seriously, Sega constantly bashed them and officially called them "Fans that are hard to please".
Which is a huge insolence!
Not only are they obstinate, but they also CONSTANTLY MISINTERPRET any kind of criticism.
Of course, they are backed up by a totally corrupted fanbase.
Just stupid.

- Fan-Games are Fan-Art! NOT A COMPETITION!
Something that has grinded my gears for some time now.
I just can't believe how some companies react to fan-games.
With Fan-Games, fans want to express their dedication towards your franchise.
THEY DO NOT WANT TO COMPETE WITH YOU! Fan-Games are free. So they make NO MONEY OUT OF IT!

And yet, high-quality fan-games are ALWAYS seen as (unwanted) competition to most companies.
The prime example should be: STREETS OF RAGE REMAKE!
Which is a fan-game that actually rivals the quality of official 2D-games.
Sega used the copyright as an excuse to get it off the net, the instant is was released.
Apparently the saw it as dangerous competition. But obviously they were JEALOUS that fans actually can make games that are good (as opposed to them).
Whoever treats Fan-Games like this, are a bunch of DISRESPECTFUL BASTARDS!

Seriously. You should be happy that fans actually spend so much effort into a project, to express their dedication towards you.

- Piracy is overrated!
Of course, Piracy is annoying. And I wouldn't blame it, if companies want to go against it.
HOWEVER, if they go against it AT THE EXPENSE of their loyal customers, it's NOT right.
FOr example: Nintendo made updates for the WII-console, whose ONLY purpose was to get rid of anything unwanted.
It didn't update anything, actually.
Some updates even damaged some consoles, that were actually clean.
And if you consider all that, it should be obvious that Nintendo are a bunch of purists, who want their consoles purified from any piracy.
They'd do anything to achieve that.

Seriously, DO NOT DO THAT!
As long as you still make enough money, you should be fine.
Of course, there are people who pirate things. But they will always be there.
And I am afraid their is nothing you can do about it.
That's why you should take it easy and be happy with your honest customers.


Those were the final mistakes I wanted to mention.
Now for the final words.


Be a Paragon!
While some companies indeed are successful with original and creative games (mostly Nintendo), most companies are successful by being a disgrace for all artists.
Aka, constantly jumping on bandwagons, copying stories, characters and such and relying on pretty much every video game cliche in existence (mostly the "Dark Characters").
But of course, this only comes back to the customers. Who don't grasp the importance of artistic values.
They just consume blindly and take everything totally uncritical. Some of them even hunt down any kind of criticism and negative response, like some kind of dictatorship.
To put it simply: Fans a generally dumb!
And because of that, it doesn't take much effort to be successful.

However, that is NOT the way of a true artist. Only the way of a greedy bastard.
As a true artist you should LECTURE the dumb fans. And teach them the true value of video games.
This is my personal plea to EVERYONE who reads this and wants to become a video game artist.
Lecture the fans and stay true to your artistic ideals! And resist the seductive urge to become a greedy bastard, who only abuses video games to make money.

And if everyone who reads this does this...
Maybe someday even the dumb fans come to realize that video gaming is art. That its true potential lies within creativity, originality and its endless possibilities.
And that copycats, cliches and "Dark Characters" are utterly lame, unartistic and dispensable.
And then companies, who stick to their greedy ways, will no longer be successful by constantly copying everything.
They will either be forced to become creative or die out. Either way is fine.

But until then, we need artists and companies to set an example.
And maybe then, companies will finally make use of the true potential of video games.
This is the last advise I want to give you on your way.



And with this, we have reached the end.
I hope you enjoyed this little "rulebook" and found it helpful.
If so, give feedback and spread the word.

Is there anything off? Or anything that should be added?
Feel free to let me know.
I am open for feedback.

Thank you!
And good luck on your way to a true video game artist. Smile
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Re: Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by .Luke on Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:09 am

Wow, that just about crams all the things that should be common knowledge, both in the industry and in the hobby sector, all in one giant wall of text! (Congrats to being the first to break the character limit, btw. =P) There's nothing I disagree with; it brings up all the right points that need to be made. How long did it take you to type all of that, Paragon?

I wonder if I could post a link to this on GameFAQs somewhere without being called a troll. XD This definitely needs to be spread around, it's a good read, especially for hobbiests just now diving into game projects.
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Re: Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:34 pm

I am surprised that there is nothing to fix.
Cuz I kinda expected that. o.O

But yeah, like I said, it's been a long time since I wrote this.
Took me a few weeks. Razz
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Re: Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by .Luke on Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:35 pm

I'm sure you'll probably think of things to add to this later on, but as it is, this guide nails down exactly how developers and publishers should listen to their fanbase's feedback in a fair and balanced way, as well as how to avoid splintering fanbases with drastic changes in a new series. It all makes sense while cutting straight to the matter at heart. Now if you want me to point out typos, that's another story, but they're so few it doesn't matter anyway. XD

As far as what the Wii firmware updates did, I do think it actually fixes things, but for the most part it just patches up security bugs to block out common homebrew exploits for a time and flush out anything already installed on the system, like you said. It's quite rare that firmware updates on the Wii added functionality, like the time Nintendo included USB keyboard support with a firmware update.
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Re: Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by Paragon-Yoshi on Fri Oct 26, 2012 1:57 pm

Well, that's good to know.

As for WII's upgrades: I checked the changelogs of the updates.
And the last two or three updates only removed unwanted content and did nothing else.
At least that's what was written in the logs... :/
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Re: Paragon's "Rulebook" for video game developers...

Post by .Luke on Fri Oct 26, 2012 7:06 pm

All it did was just flush out unofficial software in the latest updates? Sounds kinda silly, since Wii consoles were already getting a lot cheaper when the Homebrew scene started taking off, so anyone who wanted to have their homebrew and online play at once could just buy separate consoles and keep one of them offline. (Or you could use simple exploits that load from an SD card, and keep all your homebrew self-contained away from the Wii on that card.) I doubt the updates you mentioned would actually affect any serious homebrew users.

Nintendo never ceases to amaze me with their consistent disposition towards unofficial products. XD It was understandable back in the 80's when the industry crashed and needed a quality bar, i.e standards, to go by, but nowadays it's just stopping people from repurposing their old consoles for more than just playing games all day. (Not talking about installing WADs, though, which is not only legitly illegal but can also damage your system, easy. Just pure homebrew like WiiLinux or emulators.)

I think I'm getting off-topic here, but yeah, it makes me scratch my head to think they would send out an update just to "clean up" your console without patching any security holes. XD
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