Preface

Colleague of mine who works with me in my current workplace as a Lead Designer noticed one thing missing in my Postmortem of Unholy Showdown – I need more analytical approach to design issues.

I’ll try to cover this topic in following post.

Issues Identified:

Here is the list of major issues that I managed to identify with testers at various stages of development:

Unclear gameplay

Most of the testers played the game as a single player even though my primary design decision was to base the game on local multiplayer. This caused confusion and unclear feedback the game gave to players on many stages. The solution was either to redesign the game to single player only or implement an online turn based multiplayer. The problem here again was with getting the feedback too late. I consider this as the worst design “sin” of mine.

No time pressure

Paper / Rock / Scissors is based on time pressure and simultaneous players decisions. This game is turned based but each player can take as long as they want to make the choice and then pass the phone to another player. This made the gameplay simply boring. Again, it was too late to make a change with the resources and time I had to finish the project.

Solution?

  • add a timer to each player rounds
  • redesign the game so players must make up their mind in the same time

No random or “Cheat” factor

The beauty of Paper / Rock / Scissors game is the art of bluff. The game was not giving that psychological super power of allowing players to “fake” their moves. This could give interesting results combined with the time pressure factor.

Solution?

  • hide buttons during time pressured rounds while players make choices in the same time.

Conclusion

This was a great learning experience. I leveled up my technical skill but I must focus more on the design aspects during my next game making process and get feedback sooner. At some point I ventured into sort of a dead end, call it “the point of no return”. I strongly encourage anyone with gamedev aspiration to do such a task as well. The next project will be definitely better and more solid design-wise.

[EDIT Comment by Michał Rudziński]

“I would point out some other problems, from a pure design standpoint. I didn’t mentioned it before, because you said that Gameplay isn’t subject to change, and to be honest rock paper scissors in it’s simplest form (contrary to systems used in some RTS games where units follow rps philosophy) is deeply flawed even in it’s real time version, even so called psychological meta game is only a illusion built on randomness without any real choice or strategy”