Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Concentrating your Focus

Hey guys,

So this topic may sound familiar to those of you who already know a fair amount of business elements - whether from studying or so on. Those of you studying Game Design likely have heard something similar as well - it is part of the reason as to why many indie developers succeed now a days. This goes by many names, be it segmentation for business or in game design it often involves picking a mechanic - and doing it very well. In essence - both these boil down to your focus.

Aside from ensuring that your game [or product] is something you not only believe in and are passionate about - you should ensure you focus your attention carefully. In game development - there is always the issue of balance between performance, art, and many other aspects that are all interlinked and depend on each other. Next generation graphics? Slow or weaker game play. Amazing gameplay? Often graphics need to sacrifice some ground. This isn't because of talent (All be it optimisation is a skill in itself) but at some point you need to realise that hardware up to now can handle so much. This is more particular if you aim to gather a larger audience.

This applies to a general business side - think less resource based [Although resources play a huge part as to why you want to focus your product's specifications to a particular market's needs] and notice that you cannot - or should not attempt to please everyone. Same applies to game development - a strategy game is not the same as a FPS game. Moreover, an RTS game is not the same as a Turn-based strategy game. This is because the game play is different and more often than not the audiences that play these games play them for different reasons. The game play experience is not the same - and this counts for all the elements of the game such as art and story. You might say then what should I be focusing on if everything counts towards this idea of targeting a 'niche' [A niche is a small segment of a market that share a number of characteristics that are relevant to your product]?

Well that's completely up to you. Games are an art form -  you have music, sounds, visual and literature and finally interaction which helps define games for me. Interaction being the element that defines games over other art forms for me. Many triple A publishers prefer to keep towards what they know works, games like Call of Duty and Fifa don't change much because the goal of the publisher isn't to innovate. Money is all well and good - but you as a designer, more so as an entrepreneur likely seek more than just money, I would hope at any rate. Don't be discouraged just because a large chunk of people don't want to play your game or buy your product; take any construct criticism but remember you need to keep in mind what your trying to achieve. Otherwise your just trying to please everyone. You can apply this to practically any product or element in your life - be it music, game design, business, painting and so on. Focusing allows you to as the term says it, funnel your effort and resources towards whatever vision you have in mind, it also helps to keep you on track when criticism comes in. 

I hope this gave you an idea of what focusing your attention towards a particular direction can help you achieve. It is all well and good if you want to create a large project that tries to capture a lot of mechanics and themes - but are you sure it's what you want to do ? Keep in mind the workload and resources - and ultimately if your planning on making the product for a market, what the market requires and wants. Steve Jobs said it best - people don't know what they want until you show it to them. But I hope you played enough games to realise when too much is too much - and this goes to everything, be it complexity, flashy effects and just general precision. Understand what your trying to achieve and push for that - if your game is meant to be complex, go for it just make sure you believe in it and are ready to work to get it done. 

Until next time,

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