What do you want from a game?

Hi all

I worked on an iPhone game using blender a while back using Blender called iRis AG. Anyway, we currently have a survey going to try and get some ideas about what to do next, and if you’ve got 5 minutes we’d love to hear what you think makes a game worth buying. Here’s the link:


Thanks! If you don’t have the time for a survey then leave a comment instead. :cool:

What do you want from a game?

Well, if it an Electronic Arts game I usually just want my money back. DRM sucks, and so does EA.

I can’t tell you what I want other than “just make it fun, and easy to learn”. Fun should be priority #1, Bug free #2, and good graphics #3.

If you are doing an iPhone game, i would suggest using the tilt sensors as controls, having onscreen controls are very lame usually, and take up valuable screen space.

Things I don’t want in games:

–TITLE SCREENS YOU CANNOT ESCAPE OUT OF. (eat me EA! you suck!, and Ubi soft comes in #2 as far as suck-e-ness is concerned)

–DRM of any type, when I buy a game, I like to think of it as MY GAME, not something I am just paying the privilege to have in my possession.

–More than 1 confirmation for quit game, preferably with a bind-able bosskey (hotkey) so I can exit the game when my wife or boss comes in the room. GRID and DIRt, and DIRt2 and just about every other codemasters game makes you go through over 5 prompts, and re-loading the main menu, to get out of the game. CM you suck too!!!, I will never buy another game from them for the poor menu system (Codemasters my ass, more like “scriptkiddies who like menus” if you ask me). When people want to quit the game, does not mean they want to sit there for 2 minutes waiting for the menu to load… Quit means QUIT!

–Signing in to play single player games (blo me EA!, and Valve)

–Anything with microsoft live involved.

–Anything that deals with “micro-payments” to make your avatar look non-generic.

This list can go on forever. All I want is to just play a fun game. i do not want any cooperate bull$#%^.

Good luck with your game, right now is an excellent time to be an indi developer.

I think if you could make a small RTS game, that’d be pretty sweet.

You’re pretty hostile there Commander Taco. DRM sucks, but in my opinion your bar is way too high. Simply buying a game won’t make it yours. You don’t actually buy the game, you only buy the right to play it. Have you ever read the license agreement?

As for the topic. I’m a fan of adventure and RPG so the single most important thing for me is the story and everything around it. A good compelling story does cover a lot of problems. This of course includes the environment (not graphics, but the way it’s presented) and music. I personally forgive a lot if the story is good enough.

Here’s a list of what I think is important (in that order):

  • Story and how it’s presented (includes characters, the world, etc.)
  • Gameplay (Mostly controls and menus)
  • Bug free / stability
  • Graphic

I don’t understant people who think graphics are the most important thing. There is a limit of course on how bad graphics I would be willing to pay for, but for me, the graphics aren’t that important. Heck I’m still playing FF7 and the graphics suck, but as I said, the story is more important.

Currently I’m trying weed out of games - after playing it, you really haven’t achieve much that will benefit your life or show for, except maybe a bit of relaxation, burning off steam and such.
So a game that will see me achieve something is good. But what ?
As I like Age of empires type of games, and play mostly aoe, how’s that ?
I do know that in future I will have to give lessons to young’uns so that will be good.

Still playing FF7…man. It’s time to move on! I like rts games and rpg games. Age of empires series is my favorite. So in a strategy game:


In rpg games, like Final fantasy series:


In that order. For shooting games, which I sometimes play to kill time. (Modern warfare 2) Maps where you can use the sniper…big maps! Modern warfare failed a bit for me, since all the maps are so small. Battlefield bad company 2. Is a perfect shooter game.

For adventure games 3rd person. Which I don’t play anymore…well Spyro and crash bandicoot is a good example of awesome 3rd person adventure games. Online 3rd person games, should be like Jedi knight III academy.

For mobile games…well maybe chess or Sudoku works on those tiny screens. No but seriously making games for cell phones is a waste of time. No one plays them…

Good luck with the game!


Come one… FF7 is the king! :stuck_out_tongue: Bad graphics, but awesome story. Besides, Final Fantasy is kind of important for me. I got the first spark for novel writing from FF9.

You’re pretty hostile there Commander Taco

Yea, sorry, i just got Bioshock 2, and found out that I have to be logged into both steam and Microsoft live.
DRM is a sort of touchy subject for me right now.

As far as the game being My game, I meant that I would have the freedom to install and play the game on any device I am currently using. I am not asking for the right to re-sell the game, or anything silly like that.
The only thing serial numbers, and DRM hinders are the people who actually bought the game. People who want to steal the game via piracy don’t have to deal with the DRM or serial code, because the hackers remove it!! It is just completely backwards in my opinion. I think the game companies like it beacuse it gives them an idea of how much the games they are selling are really being played.

Well I completely agree with you there Commander Taco. All the antipiracy is actually just encouraging people to get illegal copies. It would be different if it actually worked, but as we all know, it doesn’t. The limited installations are pretty much the worst thing ever invented.

It depends on the game really, and it’s not so black and white. An exceptionally good story and atmosphere can make up for bad gameplay, and likewise amazing gameplay can make up for not having a real story. Nobody plays Silent Hill for the gameplay and nobody plays Peggle for the story, but both are great games. That said, I can’t play games like FF7 because regardless of their story, the gameplay is extremely boring for me… but I don’t fault people who still play it, because I understand that people have different tastes.

For iPhone games, if you’re making something strictly for the iPhone then you’d be silly not to take advantage of tilt, touch screen, and whatever else the hardware offers. Maybe try not to use them in a gimmicky, cliche way but definitely use them. Have you played a Wii game that doesn’t use the motion controls? It feels like it defeats the purpose of having a Wii over some other console or PC. I’d also say to try more for addicting, quick gameplay with a lot of replayability (a casual game like Bejeweled is a good example) over something with an epic storyline. Are people really going to spend hours playing an iPhone game, or is it something to do while waiting for the bus? Your iRis game seems to have the right idea, though from the video it looks a little disorienting and difficult to play

As far as graphics go, I don’t think it’s so much prettiness that matters but instead consistency. I’ve played games where you can clearly identify that different artists worked on different parts of the game. I’ve also played games that don’t have “modern graphics” but still have wonderful graphics. VVVVVV is a stellar example of a game with “bad graphics” that secretly has amazing graphics simply because of how well it’s executed (it’s also pretty fun, too!)

If you are doing an iPhone game, i would suggest using the tilt sensors as controls, having onscreen controls are very lame usually, and take up valuable screen space.

Amen! Ben, if there is one thing I’d recommend–make sure the game takes advantage of what the iphone has to offer control-wise. Don’t try to replicate control schemes on other systems. If you really want to do that, just develop on those systems.

There are a lot of really interesting replies here.

For sake of a shameless bump, here is a promo code for our iRis AG game: 4ALN499M466W (note: Only works in US iTunes store)

I really appreciate you all taking the time to do our survey. We’ve already gotten a large number of responses and hopefully we can start seeing some trends forming soon. :slight_smile:

I did want to take a second to reply to a few things that I thought were interesting:


In a game that has a long storyline, this is a double edge sword. What I have heard of people doing is clicking out of the cut scenes and then getting to a point where they have no clue as to what is going on, then get online and write negative reviews. Part of the development effort within a storyline heavily revolves around ensuring an interesting plot with an interesting twist. That takes time and effort to develop, and when people miss it, well, they miss a core point of what the game is doing that may make the entire game feel “absent minded”.

So, what we’ve done (and this is in the “hidden intro screens” in iRis AG) is make you watch it at least once, and then after that you can click through it. I think this has a really nice balance, especially for those replaying the game who already know what’s going on.

> --DRM of any type
> --Signing in to play single player games

We subscribe to the gamer bill of rights, which limits the amount of intrusive DRM at work. Another person had mentioned that some companies cough EA cough go overkill and have all these special things that hackers just take out anyways (so why even put them in in the first place? Which we agree with).

To really defeat piracy and recover a bit of sales (which I estimate to be maybe in the 5% range of pirated copies), you have to change the entire storage mechanism to a server based entity (e.g. MMO, freemium, etc.). This has been known for a long time though, but again, our gamer bill of rights says a single player game should be able to be played whenever and wherever. So, we don’t recover that 5% in this case, oh well.

> --More than 1 confirmation for quit game, preferably with a bind-able bosskey

This is actually in Apple’s HIG that when the home button is pressed it has to immediately exit. So no worries here.

> --Anything with microsoft live involved.

This could also mean anything with “corporate_identity_here”. Tricky slope.

> --Anything that deals with “micro-payments” to make your avatar look non-generic.

This goes into the freemium aspect. I know of a few other indie developers that are going to experiment with their next title being that sort of way. We currently aren’t moving that direction yet, but do want to see what our potential customers think of such a move (hence why it’s on the survey).

> Come one… FF7 is the king! :stuck_out_tongue: Bad graphics, but awesome story.

I also loved FF7.

But… At the time though the graphics it had were pretty amazing. This notion that it is an either-or world with graphics and gameplay (and/or storyline) simply doesn’t hold a lot of weight when you look at today’s sales numbers.

I mean, by today’s standards, super mario brothers (the very first one on NES) could be said has having horrible graphics - but at the time it was AMAZING. It had both, and it become huge.

Not that there aren’t games out there where the graphics aren’t the greatest but they still have popularity, but they are the exceptions.

We live in a time where it is a both-and world - you need great gameplay and great graphics. The great graphics adds to the overall polish and presentation, which means everything to that initial sale. The great gameplay adds to the overall validity and notoriety of a title, which means everything to that long term brand loyalty (or creation of that brand loyalty).

Without both, you’re screwed (or if neither, think Superman 64). We already learned this lesson, and other Indie teams have to learn this lesson over and over again. IMHO, people who are saying “graphics don’t matter” are on the end of the spectrum looking back at games they did enjoy that no longer have good graphics comparatively to today’s standards but did back in those day’s standards.

While there are always exceptions, and there will always be plenty of people crying that graphics don’t matter as much as gameplay… The sales numbers say otherwise. Graphics do matter.

That’s why I came to this forum first, and eventually grabbed Ben. :stuck_out_tongue:

Again thanks to everybody for taking the survey. Really appreciate your input. :slight_smile:

I want I feel Physical Fitness from Games. My favorite game is Football.

all my request to iphone game is make it free and less ads,simple and I am sure if the game really good many people will play it

Normally i play games to get enjoy and to cover my free time. So a good game is that which all types of quality which makes a game perfect…


  1. Great physics: Bullet drop, shooting through certain materials better than others (gun limited)
    2.Great single player (with extras/options for replay-ability, so I don’t go through it once then never touch it again)
  2. Great multiplayer, multiple classes for multiple roles, accurate on roles (smg users are not great at long range etc.)
  3. Maps to accomodate all classes and styles of playing (open areas, closed buildings/urban areas)
  4. Vehicles are a nice touch when you can get them just right like EA did with their battlefield games
  5. ANIMATION!!! When I’m strafing I don’t want the animation for running forward, I want to see the difference between shoulder and hip fire of others. REALISM!!!


  1. FOR CHRIST SAKE READ THIS ONE! I don’t know what is wrong with all racing games, they must think simple is better and no one likes to see progress and enjoy everything turning into an endurance race half way through. (This is what not to do!)
  2. Cars should be upgradable, no I do not mean Engine lvl 1, 2, 3, etc. I want to be able to put dome pistons, a four barrel carb, better headers, exhaust, bigger valves, high rise intake, NOS, Turbos, Superchargers (all types), etc. Not just body work.
    3.Again… realism, physics.
  3. DIFFERENT MODES. Whether you like it or not, not every wants to drive around a track all day making nothing but left turns (damn you nascar games) DRIFTING IS FUN, ALMOST A MUST!!! different race modes (for racing types see Dirt and Grid, while the games aren’t particularly spectacular, they do have quite a plethora of modes) Demolition derby’s are cool too, Along with specifically having to take out a car as part of an objective.
  4. Open map driving is quite fun too. (some game on ps2 that I really don’t remember the name of…)
  5. Seriously, just go look up Forza 2, not gran tourismo or anything else, Forza 2, it has my first 3 things at least.

Most other games:

  1. See #6 from shooters
  2. loads of things to do, get something new almost every level (see runescapes skill system, really only thing good that game has)
  3. Huge areas (if applicable to game, see WoW for MMO)
  4. Ways to move from area to area at a faster than normal pace (running DOES get old, believe it or not)
  5. (RTS only, maybe very select few others, I think) A sandbox mode. Be able to play around with all the stuff at your own pace without having to worry about rushing cause you’re going to get owned by mobs in 2.2 seconds from the beginning

I honestly think that’s all I’ve got at the moment, I tried to stress critical points.

!!!Oh, and graphics of course!!! This goes for everything except the very rare intention 2d Arcade game.

I’ll make myself unpopular and go against the flow here… this list is what I think a game needs for commercial success, not necesarily what the consumers of the game would admit to!

first thing to get right is to have a genuinely compelling and fresh idea, it doesn’t have to completely new, just be a strong hook. (that can be conceptual, visual, technology or gamplay innovation)

If it’s a “genre” game then it needs to have a clear reason for people to play it over all the others in that genre, something that your customers can latch onto and communicate to their friends in a single phrase… a clear “point” that the players get means that they tell their friends and market your game for you! (this “tell your friends” model is extremely exploited by social networking sites so having the game reward you for telling your friends is a very clever way to expand your market)

Next most important thing is GRAPHICS… (or rather great style!) good graphics are not about being the most realistic or the most technologically advanced, they are about having great polish, appeal and above all defining a unique look. walk through a game shop you see the box first… or just check out the covers of games magazines we see the games visual style long before we play it! Good graphics and art style are the first tool to draw you in.

Right then, you have a unique idea with a cool visual look to it, a look that draws people in to actually want to know more about the product… the next most important thing is that the game should ENTERTAIN the player. A lot of this is about the game communicating to the player… what they are doing and making them feel rewarded about that.

A big mistake is for a game to be great if the person who made it explains it to you, but general users are in the dark…

I’ll be controvertial and say that gameplay as most people see it is un-important… a game that can equally entertain a player of any skill level is perfectly balanced… the “challenge” must always be felt… the balancing just needs to be clever enough to be beyond the perception of the player… the secret is that the challenge may not even exist in any real sense at all…as long as the player is entertained and feels good about playing the game!

no one tells their friends about a game that they think they’re bad at playing!

“gameplay” is a meaningless term these days, it’s all about entertainment.
I’m sure that many will think this is a cynical view, I just think it reflects the state of the market right now…

…beyond that is reading the market, timely execution, getting the right marketing strategy, delivery, building a buzz beating others to market and “oening” your concept so much that all other games that follow will forever be compared to you!