informa
2 MIN READ
News

Slime Rancher dev: Give players a place to feel 'cozy' and they'll keep coming back

�It's like eating mac-and-cheese in video game form.� Nick Popovich says that capturing that comfort-food feeling is key to bringing players back to your game time and time again.

"Any game you are going to spend time in that is not totally linear … there’s this idea of home that is super important for the player."

- Nick Popovich argues that, even if they’re not aware of it, a “homey” space can keep players engaged in the long term.

When Slime Rancher lead developer Nick Popovich suggests that games should try and capture the feeling of “home”, he’s not talking about a literal home like an in-game house or a hub world. Rather, Popovich says that non-linear games benefit from giving players a cozy, comfortable gameplay space that lets them feel productive without imposing major demands.

During an insightful livestreamed interview last week, Popovich elaborated on how nailing that homey essence can be the key to keeping players coming back even after they’ve already invested a significant amount of time into a game. 

“Is there a part of a game that you send a certain amount of time in that feels cozy? It might be suboptimal, compared to what you should be doing in the game right now, but it feels good to be there,” explains Popovich. 

“A great example, in Destiny, is the Tower, the home base. That’s not home. Home is the patrol missions where you’re just wandering around and getting [experience], getting quest rewards, all of those things, and you’re waiting for your friends to come online. You’re going through the motions.”

Popovich says that, in his personal experience, games that manage to capture that homey feeling help to alleviate the choice paralysis that hits players when they sit down and try to find something to play since there’s always that comfortable gameplay space waiting for them to jump right back in.

“It's like eating mac and cheese in video game form. If your game can have some part of it that feels that way, that’s a really great path to, when someone sits down on their couch or in-front of their computer, to get them to play your game that night.”

Be sure to check out the full interview with Popovich for prototyping advice, development lessons, and design tips gathered from his time working on the recently released Slime Rancher. While you're there, be sure to subscribe to Gamasutra's Twitch channel for more developer interviews, editor roundtables, and gameplay videos. 

Latest Jobs

Xbox Game Studios

Redmond, Washington
10.5.22
Technical Lighting Artist

Innogames

Hamburg, Germany
10.5.22
Game Designer - Elvenar

Six Foot

Houston, TX
10.3.22
Six Foot Director, Player Relations

Hometopia Inc.

Remote
10.7.22
Lead Engineer
More Jobs   

CONNECT WITH US

Explore the
Subscribe to
Follow us

Game Developer Job Board

Game Developer Newsletter

@gamedevdotcom

Explore the

Game Developer Job Board

Browse open positions across the game industry or recruit new talent for your studio

Browse
Subscribe to

Game Developer Newsletter

Get daily Game Developer top stories every morning straight into your inbox

Subscribe
Follow us

@gamedevdotcom

Follow us @gamedevdotcom to stay up-to-date with the latest news & insider information about events & more