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edit How to make a better game

edit Types of games

Okay, the first thing you need to consider is what kind of game you are wanting to put together. Are you after a role playing type game, strategy, arcade, first person shooter? It doesn't really matter too much, as with the joys of wikimedia to create a game here you are very limited in what you can do. Fortunately, there are various tricks that you can implement to extend those limitations, which is what this is all about.

However, games follow a few basic principles-

Interactivity - At the moment you are reading a web page that is created in wikimedia which is in turn a light version of HTML. HTML was designed to be a way of accessing documents from a network. 

What this means in n00b terms is that what you are accessing is an electronic book. So you have mo flashy lights, no moving parts, but you can set up links, which are - to stretch the metaphor - different page numbers in a book. 

Now this leads into what you can do as a game is effectively a "Choose your own adventure" book. Now older readers will know what I mean, but for those youngsters out there who are unaware, this is a book that you choose the path the story follows. They read something like this -

You have come to a fork in the road. The path to the left is well made and looks easy to walk down, but appears to wind around the hills. The road to the right is steep and poorly paved, but looks like the more direct route to your destination. 

To go to the left, turn to page 34
To go to the right, turn to page 56

This is the most basic form of interactivity, and gives you an idea of how to create the most basic of games - the text based adventure

Chance - Some of the most popular of games relies on random chance, sometimes with an element of skill involved. Examples of this are Craps, Poker, and Is this hooker diseased?

One of the first games that children are taught is snap as it helps develop counting skills, and also gets them hooked on gambling. This is a pure chance game. 

Getting further down the spectrum in complexity is role playing games, the classic of course being Dungeons and Dragons. This has the dual elements of chance and adventure. This brings us neatly to 'games of chance.

Speed - Involved in a lot of games, from Pacman through to Call of duty, is the need to race against the clock. 

Now her comes the saddening side of this tutorial. It is extremely difficult to work a time limit into any games in wikimedia. I'm more than happy to be proven wrong on this account, but there are very few timer elements that can be built into games. 

This is not to say there is no possible way to build a timed game, just extremely difficult. So as a result a game with any timing element has to be, by it's nature, very simple. So timed games are, for the most part, out of the question. 

Graphics - a good image is worth a thousand words. A game with good graphics does not need to be texty. 

(Actually, that ratio is not necessarily accurate. A word is generally 6 characters in length, plus there are spaces and punctuation. Using an 8-bit character system, a word then works out to be about 7.5 characters, or bytes. A thousand words then would be around 7.5 kilobytes, whereas an image could be significantly larger, depending on size, dpi, format, and various other variables. None of this paragraph has anything to do with getting your game working.)

So, with all that in mind, you need to remember that although you may have a fantastic idea for a game, you are limited by the format here. 

One notable exception to this rule. Flash is supported by Wiki standards. If you want to create something in flash and upload it here, you can. What I would suggest though is that there are other sites that would be more appropriate. The only reason I would put a flash game on uncyclopedia is because it is uncyclopedic in style. 

edit Planning

Okay, we've covered a little about what makes a game a game. The next step is to plan the game. The dump here is littered with the bones of games that were created with no idea in mind of where the game is starts with an okay idea and them goes nowhere. 

Firstly, different games mean different types of planning. Adventure games usually consist of start point and then a landscape that someone goes through as well as items that they hold along the way.

So what you need to have mapped out is-

  • Landscape - where can the character go?
  • Inventory - what items can the character hold?
  • Story - what is the character trying to achieve

Now a major part of an uncyclopedia game is that it does not need to be winnable. Game:Alone in the dark is a perfect example of all of the above. 

  • Landscape - the character can go forward, backward, left and right in the game proper, and up to 7 moves in a particular direction. Each of these is different in result. 
  • Inventory - the character starts with 2 items, and can "collect" a third one along the way. Each item has a description and a purpose.
  • Story - the character is given a back story the explain where they are and what they are trying to do. 

But Puppy, that's not enough to make a game. you may ask. And to that I say, stop talking to your computer, I can't hear you. 

The other thing I would point to is [1]. although done in flash this is a game that works well, even though there are only a dozen or so locations or angles, half a dozen items, and very little in the way of environments that can be manipulated. This means it is a low cost in regards to options, but is still a challenging game. 

Say you wanted to create this game in wikimedia. 

  • Landscape - the interior of a room - say the cardinal points (N, S, E, W), and looking up and down on each of these. So far we have 4 * 2 options - 8 in total
  • Inventory - Say for the sake of argument we have 8 items. So far we have 8 locations by 8 items that can be in one of two states - held or dropped. 8 * 8 * 2 is 128
  • Story - in this case we'll say there are 16 elements you can manipulate, and again they can be done in 2 states.  That's 128 * 16 * 2 options. That's 4,096 different states this game can be.

Okay, now you have a plan you have just got to make 4,096 pages to support it!

Or you can cheat. I'd opt to cheat if I were you. 

Now, before you read on, there are a few things that you should look at. The first is Alone in the Dark. Yes, I wrote it and I'm proud of it, but more than anything I want you to get a good idea of how the game works before you read any spoilers further down. 

edit Putting it together - the interface

Now we've been through all that I'm going to mention some classic text based adventure games. Or rather, I'm going to talk about Zork and Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy

These are two text based adventures that work on a very limited interface but are successful and enjoyable, even with the limitation. 

What makes them so good? The humor behind them. You don't need to have the best possible graphics and a totally immersed environment to make playing enjoyable. 

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