Learning from Games

For the past few weeks I have been playing a lot of games and trying to learn a few things about how to make better ones.

I’ve been dissecting games like Simpsons Tap Out, Pocket Planes, Skylanders, Paradise Cove and DragonVale. And it’s been very educational. Besides learning about what makes them tick technically I have also put some effort into reverse engineering the game play elements and reducing them to the core game mechanics.

When coming from a perspective of how to program one of these types of games myself there are a lot of questions that come up. Every small detail requires work to program so it has to be justified.

One of the surprising things I’ve been learning from playing these games is actually more of a real life lesson. The value of investing revenue producing assets.

In an effort to get up through the game levels as quickly as possible and unlock everything to learn more about these games I have had to strategize and play them as best as I can. Optimizing cash flow is a big part of these games and it’s been re-affirming a key idea which is just how important it is to have a multitude of ways to make a steady flow of income. It is quite amazing to see how quickly money accumulates.

My real-life comparison is with the apps that I’ve been making. Each app that I publish is a small asset that I have to invest time into which then will make a small amount back each month. In many ways it’s a lot like building a house or store in these games. The importance of these assets in the game is obvious, real-life is a lot more complex, but I believe the payback is still there.