Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Triangle of Weirdness

I'm sure most of you are familiar with the "triangle of quality" - a model that can be applied to any project or product. It often comes to my mind during the course of a game's production. Time, Money, Quality - pick two and forget about the third.

Well, I have my own triangle model - pertaining to the initial stage of game creation. You see, game designers are creative people - sometime too creative for their own good.

Jaded folks that game designers are, they would prefer, particularly with new IP, that everything to be new and different. The problem is, that most people don't have a good frame of reference to everything being new, so I have found that the best strategy is to pick one thing in your game to concentrate all the weirdness on otherwise things become unrelatable to the player.

To illustrate this point, I present The Triangle of Weirdness:

I tell developers to think about which of these three aspects is the weirdest in the game? The Main Character, the activities or the world they are in? It's ok to push the envelope in one direction but if you go off in more than one weirdness direction, you risk alienate your audience.

Let's take some movies for example:

Star Wars (the original one) has a weird world, but the main characters and the activities they do are pretty relatable.

Toy Story has weird main characters but their activities and world are based in reality.

Monty Python has pretty normal (albeit silly) main characters and a real world but things they do in it are bizarre.

Feel free to apply the Triangle Of Weirdness to your own game and see if it isn't the reason why people are having trouble getting into your game!