- Fun first, then balance
At the outset of any design focus on what makes the element fun. Balance is important and it’s fine to consider how the design will integrate with the rest of the game, but that comes later, after you’ve determined that your idea is fun.
- Pursue depth, avoid complexity
A deep game lures players ever onward as they continue to refine their understanding of the core mechanics. A complex game can turn players off by confusing them while they are still learning how to play. We want players to have fun playing our game long enough for them to begin to understand the core mechanics.
- Emotional design matters
Find opportunities to make users feel welcome, happy and surprised while playing. Pay attention to the emotional state of the player while they are engaged with all aspects of your product. If one player’s fun comes at the expense of another player’s fun consider methods of appeasing both players. Celebrate the player’s little victories within the game.
- New players need to have fun right away
What is fun about the game in the first ten seconds? What about the first thirty seconds? People need to grasp what is fun about the game right away, and we need to reinforce that feeling.
- Create a sense of value
Where possible we should be doubling down on the perceived value of objects in our game. Weapons should feel physical, structures should have animations or special effects. Things should shine, glow and ripple so long as we don’t distract the player from the experience.
- Embrace familiar shapes
Don’t shy away from using familiar shapes and terminology in development. Players understand what Health is, but they may not understand Fortitude.
- Speak candidly and build bridges
Provide candid criticism sensitively. Do not look to score cheap points by denigrating a team member, but also do not turn a blind eye to problems that arise. Always be looking for opportunities to engage the team and make everyone feel like an important part of the process.