Posted by : Jameson Durall Friday, October 14, 2011

Today's question is from Terry Vallo who asks: "Can you play a game you created and enjoy it-as a player not a designer?"

The last few months of getting a game ready for ship are some of the most grueling times a developer can have. If you've done your job right, not only have you spent hundreds of hours playing and fine tuning the areas that you are responsible for, but you also have played through the entire game many times.  Focusing on the entire game experience near the end allows you to give valuable feedback to other developers as well as ensuring that your parts fit well within the whole.

So, for me, I generally have played the game so much once it is finished that I tend to not have much desire to go through it all again.  Early in my career, I didn't play the games at all once they were done.  Occasionally I will play the game with someone else or show it to them when they came to visit, but rarely just sat down to experience it again on my own.

There are a few of things that will encourage me to the game after ship:
  1. Multiplayer - In the case of Godfather 2 and Red Faction: Armageddon I got enjoyment out of experiencing the multiplayer modes with friends and family who were excited to play a game with me that I had worked on.  Since this is an entirely new experience each time...I generally enjoy doing that.
  2. Achievements - They have changed the way we game forever.  I will now blast through a game I've worked on as quickly as possible with the sole motivation of getting every achievement that I can.  This is usually pretty easy since I know exactly how to get them, but seeing that gamer score tick up is always appealing.
  3. Hardest Difficulty - I generally play games on normal or hard mode as I am working on them since that helps me balance based on the most amount of consumers.  Since I rarely get to play the game on it's highest difficulty, there's a new challenge there that I often have fun experiencing once the game is released.
I guess what it boils down to for me is that I have to find a way for the experience to be new since I've just spent so many days and hours focusing on the project.  I've yet to work on a game that wasn't very story and path driven, so I might feel very different if the game was a strategy game or something with tons of choice during each play.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Thanks man! Good info.

    Achievements have really changed the way each and every gamer games. It will continue to evolve till we hit a point where we may be able to showcase it more widely than on a console / internet. I think of the Blizzard keychain Authenticator as a glipse into the future. Instead of Authenticating accounts, it will move to more real-time date (friends, achievements ect.)

  2. Shawn Williams says:

    Could you imagine IRL Achievements? +20 irlPoints for remembering to walk the dog! ;) Haha.

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