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The difficulty with game difficulty: Advice from the 2015 Game Career Guide

Looking for advice on how to tackle game difficulty? Klei Entertainment designer and programmer James Lantz offers a slew of practical advice on the topic, in our free-to-download Game Career Guide.

Looking to advance your career in the video game industry? We've got some good news for you: The free annual Game Career Guide for 2015 is now available!

Looking for advice on how to tackle game difficulty? Klei Entertainment designer and programmer James Lantz offers a slew of practical advice on the topic: "The goal of this article is not to help you get your game’s difficulty just right, hitting a perfect sweet spot that combines accessibility and depth," Lantz writes.

He tackles everything, including the notoriously difficult Dark Souls, "praised so often for its difficulty, not because it’s particularly well-balanced, but because it’s a perfect example of difficulty built into the game’s core. Dark Souls’ difficulty is a centerpiece, and the game is designed to support and highlight its absurd challenges."

More interesting (and broadly applicable) is his advice on designing games that give players the tools they need to complete them, whatever their difficulty: "every game can work hard to give its players a working model of the game’s systems and make those systems as transparent and intuitive as they can be, so that when players hit the difficulty wall, they have the tools to stay grounded and understand what to try next time, giving them a sense of improvement even after their failure."

It's a comprehensive look at the topic and will provide an excellent grounding for new game designers, while offering experienced designers a framework for considering difficulty as a topic.

There's much more advice from Lantz and many other game industry experts in this year's Game Career Guide. Download it today!

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