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  • Making People Understand And Care About Your Game

    [10.08.19]
    - Victoria Tran

  • 2. Favorable Points of Difference

    Favorable Points of Difference is focused on making sure the player knows all the positive differences your game has compared to the next best thing. Why should someone play Stardew Valley over Harvest Moon, if they could only pick one?


    Stardew Valley

    Consists of

    All the positive differences your game has compared to the next best alternative. Format it as a list, an excel sheet, whatever works for you! This is valuable not only for the player, but for you too. It'll give you a good hint at how to pitch your game, what its hooks are, and also REALLY makes you think about what (and how many!) benefits your game has over a competitor.

    Answers the player question

    "Why should I play your game instead of another similar game?"

    Requires

    Knowledge of what your game offers AND what the next best alternative game offers.

    Potential pitfalls

    Value presumption. This is a very dangerous trap to fall into - essentially it's assuming YOUR differences actually matter to the player, when what they actually like is what your competitor offers. Sure, you can boast that you have the sharpest shooty mechanics compared to any Shooty McShootface game, but what players actually primarily cared about were the 50 new gun types you made. (Clearly I do not play shooters, but you catch my drift.)

    3. Resonating Focus

    Think about the things about your game that people should focus on, because it would bring them the most enjoyment. Pick only a few things. It can be that there is something different about your game (e.g. never-before-seen features, graphics, etc.) OR a similar thing, but vastly improved upon (e.g. a platformer, but with incredibly tight jumping mechanics.) And a note here: it doesn't actually need to be THE MOST UNIQUE GAME in the world - just unique to the player's mind.


    Celeste

    Consists of

    The key difference (or parity!) whose improvement will bring the greatest value to the player. Not ALL the benefits you listed in the All Benefits section will be applicable or create the same level excitement in the people you're trying to appeal to. So you need to narrow down your focus, and figure out which key ideas are the one you'll push the most.

    Answers the player question

    "What is the most worthwhile thing for me to keep in mind about your game?"

    Requires

    Knowing how your game delivers its superior values, compared to the next best alternative.

    Potential pitfalls

    Requires researching what relevant players value. Basically, you need to know your target audience. Not just their age/what platforms they're on or whatever, but what they like. This information is aided by the competitor research you do for the "Favorable Points of Difference" section of the CVP. You need to truly understand what the general public likes about a game and how to PROPERLY communicate that part, because more often than not they're not actually aware of the technicalities we as game developers often think is cool. (E.g. we think it's cool that something is "procedurally generated", but what people like is that something is "different everytime".)

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