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Devs share their own personal game design rules

While there are no hard set rules to abide by in the world of game development, there are certainly a few unspoken ones to follow when making sure a game is playable (and hopefully enjoyable).

While there are no hard set rules to abide by in the world of game development, there are certainly a few unspoken ones to follow when making sure a game is playable (and hopefully enjoyable). 

Outside of making sure their games can run, what are some game development rules developers actually live by? 

Richard Rouse III, developer behind the upcoming game The Church in the Darkness, sought to answer that question and prompoted his fellow game-makers: What’s their personal rule of thumb when it comes to game dev? 

Warren Spector (best known for Deus Ex) chimed in first, noting that devs should never judge the player.

"Let players play & solve problems the way they want to, not the way you require them to," he continues. "Don't pre-determine what's good and bad for them."

Creative director of Wood Fired Games Stuart Jeff followed up, explaining that a player's intuition that something is wrong is usually right, but their solution to fixing the problem is usually wrong. 

Alejo Silos of TequilaWorks said that no matter how detailed designs are (either mechanic or level), they will almost never work in practice. Iteration is key.

Design director at Crystal Dynamics Will Kerslake offered a few of his personal rules ranging from tuning variables to setting up AI, and encouraged other devs to keep track of why certain things were cut from a game. 

Other helpful rules were offered in the Twitter thread as well, like paying close attention to playtesters or knowing what constraints there are (whether technical/financial/etc.) before prototyping.

Interested developers can check out the entire thread here to read through all the responses. It's well worth taking a quick look! 

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