My game is looking very girly but it had until last week mainly battles as content. So I figured how to put narrative sequences into the game without making them annoying or game flow breaking. (judged by my own opinion only so far)
Challenge Flow (Game mechanics)
So within each chapter I have 4 levels, in order to create a drama I increase the difficulty from 1 to 4.
Ending most Chapters with a boss which means an enemy with more HP, which is a longer battle.
Together with some Dramatic music we have a gameplay chapter climax.
Problem: By playing trough I realized even if the challenge tension varies, the player still does not get any breaks. And my game is very action oriented, it felt kind of exhausting.
Solution: So I decided to put Emotions Sequences in, a lot of game design knowledge today tells you that it is very bad to make „none skippable cinematic scene“ between the game flow. I disagree the point is simply they should not feel like interruptions, they should be introduced as rewards. I remember back then in a game like final fantasy it felt very rewarding to lean back after a challenging boss and look at the movie.
The 3 Main Story Sequences in Sha Cat (so far):
Intro (pre-level 1)
Create enter point to the drama and introducing the characters – showing their relation.
Flash back – Baby Dragon Story (pre-level 4)
Create an emotional bound between dramatic past and the cute dragon eyes.
Flash back – Birth of Love (pre-level 9)
Empathize the strong relation bound between the two cats.
Easy to learn hard to master
This is one of the famous game designer phrases that gets slammed right in your face if you put your nose into the gaming industry.
It is primarily referring to game mechanics, but also can be put in relation to the overall game experience. Since your overall game challenge curve should also rise from the bottom up.
For me good games have game mechanics with depth but almost none intial confronting complexity therefore they are easy to pick up.
Example Street fighters:
Depth Layer 1: Hands on! You can just start playing the game by mashing some buttons, you don’t have to understand what a single button does and immiediet can start bash the shit out of opponents.
Depth Layer 2: The basics! You will get an advantage by learning what each button does and getting a feeling for the timing and the range of your moves.
Depth Layer 3: Mastery! Due the exact timed button combinations you can fire off powerful combos and transform yourself into a wild tornado of destruction, which rewards your time investment into the game.
Time Well Spend!
Beeing able to become better at a game, or to accumulate more virtual goods is an important key motivator for long term player engagement.
You want to be able to show off your time spent (very phylsophical).