Fire up your games on shitty gear

I have already written about the availability in game design, among others here. Now I would like to focus on one aspect that is often overlooked by creators. The equipment on which your player runs the game may differ significantly from yours. Keep that in mind.

However, it is hard to believe that some game producers keep forgetting that they live in a technological bubble. Players may use worse equipment, worse internet connection, worse external conditions and this should affect the way we approach game design.

Persona – remember who you are making the game for

It is worth taking a step back and remembering who is the user of our game. How old is he, what are his problems, when and how he reaches for our entertainment. Does he do it on his way to work in a crowded subway (mobile games), or does he sit down to his gaming PC in the comfort of his home? Or maybe he hides under the covers and plays so that his parents do not wake up.

There are many players’ archetypes. You should remember that you’re not designing a game for everyone, but for specific players. With specific problems and expectations. How and where they benefit from the goodness of your game is crucial.

The smartphone market is moving forward, but is it for everyone?

There is a temptation to take advantage of the benefits of technological progress by handfuls. Make large games that use extremely large internal / external memory resources and consume a lot of data. But what do your players say? Do they actually have the latest iPhones and Pixels too? Or maybe they have Father’s old work phone on which they barely fire up Chrome + TikTok …

What about this internet?

The fact that the game runs smoothly on your test tube is certain. Remember that there is no such thing as ubiquitous optical fiber and cheap LTE. How much data is your application consuming and if it is doing really well on unstable links.
The minimization of data transfer should not only concern mobile games. Anyone who has played online knows that nothing is more annoying than lag. Well, maybe except for a hyperactive 12-year-old.

Sight, Hearing, Touch – technologies should go wide

Just as the earlier topics indirectly touch on accessibility, here we are getting closer to the heart of the topic. Your player may have physical, technological, or environmental problems with the game’s reception. It can concern both eyesight (contrasts, colors, screen matrix, incident light) as well as hearing or touch.

Make accessible games or die

Get out of the studio. See how your players use the platform on a daily basis. Watch them in their natural habitat. Remember that the quality of the equipment varies. That’ll be fine.

Note that accesibility is practically the first choice in recent AAA productions. This is already the standard, so it’s time to follow it.