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Blog: Picking a platform – Bottom-up vs top-down thinking


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The ideas and critiques expressed are the ones of the creator and now not Gamasutra or its mother or father corporate.


 

It is a collection of articles I am writing as a longer postmortem of classes drawn from operating on my sport, Stacks On Stacks (on Stacks). You’ll be able to wishlist the sport on Steam right here.

A chart outlining choosing a target platform, bottom-up vs top-down

With our remaining two video games, I’ve approached opting for platforms as “bottom-up”. I get started with a prototype of a sport I wish to make and use the sport’s design to make a choice a goal platform:

  • “A 2 participant board sport? Lay a pill or telephone down and the contact display screen turns into a virtual board. Put this sport on iOS and Android” [Sature]
  • “A shiny coloured sport that households can play in combination? This is smart on a couple of controllers and a big TV display screen. Center of attention on consoles.” [Stacks On Stacks (On Stacks)]

Backside-up considering considers your sport’s perfect interface (manner of enter, show, and so on.) then unearths the most productive platform for matching that interface.

As I turn out to be extra skilled, I to find myself extra continuously making an allowance for platforms “top-down”. The place are the areas that I, as a writer, need to make video games in? What types of expectancies do folks in the ones areas have for video games and am I in a position to fulfill them? Most sensible-down considering comes to making an allowance for the tradition of gamers on platforms, the strategies of distribution utilized by platforms, your responsibilities to mentioned platforms, and the sport genres and kinds the ones audiences reply to.

Listed here are some imaginary top-down examples:

  • “Steam customers revel in video games with top complexity. Those marketplace examples display that they spoke back undoubtedly to those three technique video games with less-than-impressive artwork. I’m fascinated by opening my building extra, and I might cherish to do this thru Steam Early Get admission to and feature a constant replace agenda. Liberating on Steam, I will lower a few of my time on artwork polish and center of attention in on my sport’s mechanical programs that are what I excel at. Steam customers will also be brutally detrimental and judgmental, so I wish to be cautious about how I provide my sport and emotionally ready for the opportunity of poisonous reactions to my sport.”
  • “The console marketplace is increasing briefly. Indie groups are getting larger and larger and the extent of polish of featured video games at the retail outlets is escalating. There are alternatives right here to be an indie darling and feature a top stage of appreciate from different builders, however it’ll take a large number of paintings to post to gala’s and display at occasions. Multi-console improve calls for a ton of time porting and doing QA on every platform. I more than likely wish to shape a group so that you could create video games on this house so I will succeed in a top stage of polish and end ports successfully.”
  • “The cellular house is very aggressive, however smaller video games are appropriate right here. My sport will have a shorter dev cycle which reduces some chance, however I additionally wish to bear in mind that getting into this house calls for a top funding in take a look at gadgets and a willingness to stay my apps updating to fulfill repeatedly converting platform requirements. I will have to be expecting my video games to exist as a provider, and feature mechanics for encouraging indefinite play. If I input this house, I will have to be expecting to be right here some time, and I will have to be expecting to make a better quantity of video games to check out to get some to stay.”

You might disagree with the above checks, however unquestionably you’ve a few of your individual. If you do not you will have to do extra analysis prior to choosing a platform!

What pursuits me is that those examples don’t finish with, “I will have to make this actual roughly sport.” As an alternative, top-down considering continuously ends up in figuring out what processes you need to use to thrive on a given platform. Backside-up considering says, “Can I make this sport?” Against this, top-down will get you considering, “How do I wish to be making video games?” I’m hopeful that drawing near opting for a platform with extra top-down concerns will result in a greater high quality of existence are compatible for me as a developer.

Your sport does now not wish to be a precise are compatible of the participant tradition and marketplace of the platform, however it’s just right to spot precisely how your sport is a disruptor on a given platform and what advantages and dangers come from that. Being a distinct segment sport in a style or taste that doesn’t get a lot consideration on a platform could also be a receive advantages, however you should even be operating in opposition to a tradition of gamers that don’t like video games of your sort.

Opting for a platform has far-reaching repercussions on how your building procedure will function this is solely unbiased of what your sport concept is. Understanding what the ones repercussions are will have to be a big a part of your platform choosing procedure.

I’ve now not thrown out considering bottom-up solely. I nonetheless have a pocket book filled with sport concepts and I muse about the place those concepts highest are compatible. On the other hand, after I first began Stacks, I used to be some distance too ignorant in regards to the video games business for top-down considering to be a part of how I picked a platform.

I now imagine choosing a platform is ready opting for the advance house you wish to have to function in, now not simply discovering the most productive are compatible for a selected sport.

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