The funny thing about product development is that, for the most part, it becomes a very incestuous affair. It really does. People who are in the game design industry talk to game developers, who then talk to game producers.
What’s wrong with this picture? It involves people who are all dipping from the same water. They’re all basically in the same field and it can get quite incestuous. There’s really no feedback from the “real world.”
What is the real world? Well, it’s the world of people who actually buy your games. These are people who trade in their hard earned dollars so they can enjoy the experience that your game supposedly brings to the table.
Most game developers, sadly, do not listen to these people. Instead, they are engaged in this global echo chamber of game development symposiums, game development forums, while reading all sorts of industry publications that talk to no end regarding the intricacies of game development.
Something is lost in translation when this industry then cranks out title after title that the market doesn’t really want. Why? It’s not relevant to people. It doesn’t deliver the experience that was promised. These titles, for the most part, do not live up to the hype.
To solve this problem, you only need to listen to the people that truly matter the most. These are not the owners of game development companies. These are not the game designers, the voice-over artists, even the game mechanic engineers. These are people who buy games. That’s the people you should listen to.
If you are looking for any sure fire way to improve FPS games, you need to start with the actual customers. In fact, I would take that advice one step further. You should start and finish with customers.
In other words, you should engage in initial consumer intelligence. Get a lot of questionnaires out, develop some protocols based on questionnaire answers, and then do focus groups.
Once you get enough data from the focus groups as people actually play with the rudimentary or preliminary versions of the games, you get the actual consumer intelligence data points that you need to keep refining the game experience until you are able to deliver that experience like clockwork. That’s how you produce high quality games.
Let’s face it, anybody can take a wild guess, but guesses are a dime a dozen. Successful games are, sadly, quite scarce. You know what you need to do.
What makes this all challenging is that it is easy to get distracted. Seriously. You don’t even have to try. Why? Well, game designers just like with any community of geeks all over the world tend to suffer from group think. A trend catches and it seems everyone and their dog want to get all over the trend and apply it to games it doesn’t even apply to. It seems that everyone is so afraid of being left behind that they don’t stop and think and regain their common sense. End result? Trendy games with all sorts of features that don’t really help game mechanics.