The Four Elements of Games
The Fifth Element
The Four Elements of Games. If you were thinking, "Earth, Air, Fire, Water" then you've been playing too much Final Fantasy. When I speak of four elements of games, I'm referring to the four key elements that make a game (more specifically an RPG) a game. An RPG isn't an RPG without the following four elements: Gameplay, Music, Storyline, and Graphics. These four key elements (along with a hidden Fifth Element, which I'll explain later) are key to making a game work. Only when all four of these elements are used well will a game be truely up to "commercial" grade. Lacking in one area or another will degrade from the overall game, and make it less "professional."
So why focus only on these four? Why not get into all aspects of gameplay, like character development and different battle systems and originality? Well, first of all, almost all components of an RPG and generally fit into these four catagories. Character development is a piece of designing a good story. A unique battle system is a concept under gameplay. However, I would like to take a moment and mention originality. Though originality isn't a "tangable" piece of an RPG, it certainly is an important part, and it applies to all four of the above mentioned "elements of a game." Originality in every aspect of your game is something you should strive for. Though there are exceptions. Ripping graphics can at times be acceptable. Basing your story or characters loosly off Final Fantasy 4, though this isn't good, isn't all that bad either. Taking music from various other sources and putting it in isn't a bad thing either, or basing your battle system off of Final Fantasy 7's "materia" system. A good rule of thumb, though, is to try to keep ripping down to a minimum. A good, "veteran" OHR game designer should never have more then one of the four sub-catagories be ripped (ie: if your rip, either rip from music, graphics, story, or gameplay, not combinations of two or more), though this gesture is certinaly recommended for all game designers. Basically you should strive to be as original as possible, even if it seems worse then what you might accomplish when ripping. Originality is what makes a game yours rather then someone elses, which is certainly a good thing.
Oh yeah, this article has a lot of text, and nothing interesting to hear or spiffy graphics to see (unlike my other articles), but I have done my best to make it an interesting read nonetheless. So, sorry. You might want to pop in a CD and listen to it while reading. I'd recommend Final Fantasy 4: Celtic Moon, but the choice is yours. :D
Ok, here we go. I've specifically started with the least important thing and rise up to the most important thing. "But Shadow!" you might say, "You silly wombat (wombat?!)!! Everyone KNOWS that graphics are the most important thing in an OHR game! I mean, they are what everyone sees, and seeing is really important! Plus, if my graphics wow someone to insanity, they are sure to love my game!" Well, you have a few truths in there, but overall that statement isn't very true you silly wombat XD. Graphics are certainly nice, and they DO add quite a bit to your game, including atmosphere and initial appeal. But here is somthing I want you to always remember, because it is really important. This is the true use of grpahics in an OHR game, and I have decided to share my immense wisdom with you, the lucky article reader. Your lucky day, huh? :P Here it is:
Graphics in an OHR game are there to lead the player by the hand into the rest of your game
Yeup, that is just about it. Why, you might ask? Simple, really. When you first start off a game, there is only two things a player will notice: graphics and sound. You may have some amazingly awesome story written up, but the player isn't going to read the entire story in the first three minutes. You may have the best battle system in the world, but the player probably won't maxamize it to its full potential in the first half hour. And, though music certainly is important, it in itself cannot force a player to keep playing a game. So what is left? Graphics, of course! Graphics have to be visually appealing, so that as the player is gradually eased into your game, and he or she gets used to your battle system, and reads your fantastic story, he or she doesn't just quit in the first five minutes because the game is ugly. A great example of this in action is two totally different games, but both are excellent examples of what I am trying to convay. The two games are Bliss, and Final Fantasy H.
Now, I know many OHRers have heard of the latter of these two games, though not many have heard of the first. And the reason is simple. Bliss, though it has one of the best stories I have ever seen on the OHR, has very poor graphics (and bad gameplay, but I'll get into that later). When the player starts the game and is wandering around, he sees nothing but bad graphics (well, they weren't horrible, but they weren't OHR average either), and thus has no incentive to continue the game. He will probably quit after five mintues, before the amazing conclusion of this game is revealed to him. Though Bliss had a fantastic story and amazingly well done original music (well placed too, I might add), the player couldn't be "lead in" because the graphics were shoddy.
Now lets look at Final Fantasy H, Fenrir's behemoth of a game. Final Fantasy H has a majority of ripped graphics, but overall the game is still pretty darn beautiful. Plus, it has one of the coolest OHR titles screens ever, which certainly has helped in its overall download count. :) Ok, so you downloaded it, choose your hero (LOLSOKEWL), and you start up the game. Wow! Those graphics are amazing! So what if the music isn't wonderful, man! I love those graphics! So off you go, exploring and fighting and buying overpriced accessories, until about the Elf town it hits you: this game has annoying gameplay. It has a story, but it is kinda buried under all the FF1isms. And the music, though nice, soft, piano Final Fantasy renditions...is dull. But the graphics...oh so beautiful...thats why I've played it up to here...And then you realize what you have been doing, save and quit. The graphics did what they should do: they lead you into the game until you could realize the game's elements to a full extent. But after that point, graphics basically came in last place in the race for importance in this game. Well, shoot, and it was going so nicely too!
Some games die faster then others. Take Motherland, for example. Now, this game has perhaps the most beautiful pixelations I have seen IN MY LIFE. These things are downright gorgous. I mean, look at its screenshot! It is so...amazing! And all pixelated! Holy cow! So you download it, boot it up aaaaaaaand...poor dialogue and REALLY DULL GAMEPLAY make you quit probably before beating the first town. Even the graphics (which are the OHR's best to date in my opinion) couldn't save this game. They certainly lead me in, but I just couldn't bear through the rest. I feel a little bad about it, too, because the story did seem somewhat interesting, I just couldn't stand that gameplay...:(
Ok, so is that all graphics are good for? Well, there are actually two other things I have found them to be good for, though they are second to the graphic's main purpose (see the italic thing above...you'd better remember what it is or you are a MORON. :P). First off, the better your graphics, the more likely that your game will be downloaded, regardless of its score, gameplay, music, or anything else. The CP "Top Download" list is living proof of this. Why do people download games with better graphics? Because all they know about your game is what you put in that little sreenshot you submitted when uploading your game (which is why I discourage title-screen images...but back to the article). So, if you posted up something so beautiful it knocks the person's socks off, they probably won't bother to read your comments that you wrote like "This game is the most boring game in existance" or "No File: Discontinued". They'll just hit that "download" button and BAM, you got another hit (DER YAY). This is, of course, unfortunate, because then some great games with bad graphics (Bliss, &And, Magnus) don't get downloaded, and the authors get discouraged (when they shouldn't; they made a great game. Eh.)
The second thing is a bit more complex, but it does make sense. When an OHRer boots up Game.exe after not having played OHR games in a while, which OHR game do you think he or she will try again first? I can almost guarantee it will be one that had beautiful graphics. Why? Well, first off, usually graphics are the only thing good about OHR games (as Pepsi Ranger stated, the "OHR's Curse"), plus most people don't get past the "leading in" portion of OHR games, so they really only SEE the graphics. So, what games do they boot up? Motherland, Final Fantasy H, Time Flies, etc. Games with renouned beautiful graphics. Of course, if the games don't have anything fulfulling the player will probably quit after a while, but still...they DID reconsider the game. This is why I have downloaded Motherland probably five times or more since its inital release. Not because it was updated, but because after I had played it, disliked it, and deleted it, a few months later I thought "well, it can't be THAT bad gameplaywise, I mean LOOK AT THOSE GRAPHICS!?!?!" and downloaded it again. Aaaand, lather, rinse, repeat quite a few times.
So, basically, graphics help you achieve three things:
They lead the player into the rest of your game
They increase hits/initial opinion
They make the game better remembered
The final thing I'd like to mention is that graphics, obviously, set atmosphere, create scenes, etc. But I'm trying not to focus on what they do in-game, rather I'm focusing on what they do to the player when they are either good or bad. Graphics and music are essential to setting atmosphere in a game, but luckily most OHRers manage to get graphical atmosphere right (dark colors in creepy areas, light colors in villiages).
Next on our agenda is story. Many game designers consider THIS to be the single most important aspect of a game, and I'll admit it is basically a tie between story and music (but gameplay is still more important). Why isn't story more important then gameplay? It is simple really: good games don't need a story. Take Tetris, for example. Where is the story? That's what I thought...THERE ISN'T ONE. Tetris is Gameplay, Graphics, and Music....but it is still a game. It isn't an RPG, of course, but it IS a game. "Oh yeah?! Shadow, you are a zany zebra (ZEBRA?! WHAT!?)! Tetris is a dumb example. All that matters in RPGs is the STORY, because the STORY has to do with the CHARACTERS and that is what makes the game memoriable!" Well, sorry, you zany zebra but that isn't true. If you want the story to be most important, with graphics/gameplay/music on the side, then just write a book, because that is basically what it is. A story falls behind gameplay in games for obvious reason: gameplay is what makes a game a game. Even an RPG is a game, so story is still second to gameplay.
Ok, now that we are finished with THAT, we can move on to why you need a good story in your OHR game. If you ask anyone who has played or made any RPGs, they'll probably tell you that "every RPG needs a good, original story." Now, this may be true, but when you consider what is really important, and what will attach the player to the game, it really boils down to this: the characters.
The player will associate with and remember the characters more then the story.
What is this? Oh no, not ANOTHER Shadow rant, complete with bizzare animal references! "Shadow, you clutz cat (this is the last one, I swear)! Characters?! Who cares about them! I've written this deep, philosophical story about the meaning of God, life, nature, and the origin of man. Who needs good characters!?" Well, I'd have to say, that is very nice of you to write such a great story. But consider this: who is traveling through this story and making these observations? The player, obviously, but more importantly: the in-game characters. Since the characters are what are guiding the player through this story, they need to be interesting enough and (more importantly) REAL enough that the player will enjoy traveling through these vast worlds you've concocted with the main hero and his or her army of sidekicks.
Another reason character development is obviously important is that getting a player to associte himself or herself with a particular characters is the key to having an interesting and successful RPG. Naturally when playing an RPG, the player will normally pick a "favorite" character (example: Kain from FF4, Shadow from FF6, Zell from FF8, Frog from Chrono Trigger, etc.) and usually have him or her in his or her party the entire time. It may not be the main character. All that matters is that the player really enjoys a particlar character enough to be interesting in the character's upkeep, and following how the character is doing. Good games will have you associate with not just one, but all of the characters (think Final Fantasy 6). Bad games will make characters too distant to really relate to (think Final Fantasy 7 or Chrono in Chrono Trigger). Once the player really enjoys a character, you have him. The player will keep playing the game just to see how this character turns out in the end. You could say good characters are to your story as graphics are to your overall game. Characters will pull them in, then you'll force-feed (through your chracters) the story. This is why interesting, real, and "cool" characters are so important.
Ok, you have great characters. Hopefully you have enbedded much of their personallities and pasts into your story, so you SHOULD have a basic framework designed. Usually generic RPG storylines go like this:
1. Hero and co. decide to fight against some empire/corporation/initial bad thing
2. Hero and co. defeat the bad thing to some degree, but then realize that the bad thing isn't the REAL bad thing
3. Hero and co. go off to defeat the real bad thing. A bunch of people die, the bad guy almost gets what he wants, etc.
4. Hero and co. fight the final boss, win, and live happily ever after
This is about as basic as you can get. RPG's with lousy storylines (ie Legend of Dragoon) will probably repeat the first two parts over and over, thinking that all these "plot twists" will make the story interesting. If you have to do that, don't ever do it more then twice. After that the player will only get confused and not understand who is the REAL bad guy, and who was bad but isn't AS bad.
Of course, that is a very simple example. Thrown in there is all the character development, side-quests, crap about crystals and what-not, etc. etc. Here is perhaps the most generic storyoutline ever, from my first "game," The Crystal Globe. It is a rather unoriginal storyline, and basically the only way I managed to "save" this game (which was never made...ARGH) was by adding a ton of depth to each character. But it is a good idea to check it out to see how a generic, unoriginal, stereotypical RPG storyline is. And, if I saw this in someone else's OHR game, I'd honestly probably think it was a decent storyline.
The Crystal Globe's story was pretty simple. Basically, this evil warlord decides he wants to take over everybody (don't they all?), but to do so he needs the four globes. Each of the four globes contain the power of (can you guess?) Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. There was also a "Dark" globe created, and if all four globes were brought together at the right time (they were in the prologue), they would merge into "The Crystal Globe." Also, each globe (Earth, Air, Fire, Water, Dark) had a corresponding physical Elemental Being, who were basically bosses (except the Dark one, "Dark Shade"). In the prologue, the evil warlord (about ten years before the game begins) made the dark globe and killed the original globe wielders, but the son of one of the globe guys was some kid gifted with the power to "merge" the globes, so he made the Crystal Globe and beat the crap out of the warlock. Yay. Anyway, the game starts, the hero wakes up, and lo and behold, his beautiful little town is burning down. So off he goes on his quest to kick the warlord's butt. On the way he meets a girl, who happens to be the daughter of...well you'll see (she is the only other person with a direct link to the overall story. All the other characters are there simply to have their own pasts, etc. Think Final Fantasy 6: Who was really linked to the whole Esper thing? In truth, only Terra. The others hung out to kick some Empire butt, but in truth Terra was the only one with a tangable link to the Espers and, in that case, the main storyline. Anyway...). So off they go, and have a huge adventure. They eventually make it to the Dark Portal, where all four globes are locked away in different places in time and space. So off they go and get all four. Then the CRAZY PLOT TWISTS BEGIN!! The warlock returns with Dark Shade and the re-forged Dark Globe, but you've got the four globes! Also, during the story, the main hero had no memory (gee wiz, how original is THAT?!), but he manged to recall pieces of his past when he was near the girl (significant...just wait). So, when they confront the warlock the learn the truth: that, when the globes were originally merged, the sixth elemental being was created: the crystal element. LO AND BEHOLD it turns out to be the girl, and another LO AND BEHOLD the hero turns out to be the boy from ten years before. The evil warlock, along with Death Shade, then merge the crystal and dark globes (thus merging the heroine [against her will] and death shade) into...the Nightmare Globe! And Doom Flame! OMFG OMFG FINAL BOSS?!? So Doom Flame goes nuts, destorys half the world, and you obviously gotta go kick his butt. There was some other plot twist, like the warlock was actually the heroine's father corrupted by the globe. And, this weird thing I added, where the new Doom Flame uses Nightmaer Globe on the Dark Portal and sucks you into the future where it sucks under Death Flame's rule. So you go WITH the warlock to take out the Doom Flame dude, and...the warlock gives his life to save his daughter, you get all CRYSTAL GLOBIZED (tm), and lots of sub-characters do tragic and emotional things, and the game ends.
OK, I made the story sound bad, but that is your GENERIC RPG STORYLINE. It has twists. It has the "crystal fetching quest." It has everything that is part of a stereotypical RPG storyline. This WOULD WORK for a storyline. Basically all the story has to do is hold the character's attention, hopefuly shock them a few times, and resolve somewhat decently. If you still want to know what a good story is, read a high-quality fantasy novel (Lord of the Rings, The Face in the Frost, A Wizard of Earthsea, The Dark is Rising series, etc.) and study it's plot and characters. I'm sure you'll learn something.
So, overall, what do we do? First off, we make good, real, and interesting characters to attach the player with the story. Then we create a story that is decent enough not to make the player wander off. In truth, great chracters CAN save a poor storyline. If the characters are good enough to keep a player attached, then they will probably sit through the dull story (for the same reasons I stand those stupid "Filler" episodes in Naruto; the characters are interesting enough to keep my interest up until something cool comes along).
I already wrote a huge article on music and its use in the OHR and games, so I'd recommend you mossie on over there and read it like a good game designer. But I do have a few more things to say, so come back after you've read it and we'll continue.
Back? What, you never went?! Nice try, now get on over there and read it!
Ok, NOW have you read it? Good! Here is a brief quiz... JUSSSST kidding! Anyway, here are the few points I'd like to make that aren't really in that article. You are probably wondering why music is higher up on the list then graphics and story. I mean, the player doesn't really play a game for its music. It is the three other elements that the player really enjoys that makes him get in and keep going. Music is, in truth, just the enhancer for the rest of the elements. Of all the things, music is the one thing that really is seperate from the game. It isn't a part, it is just add-on to enhance the overall experience. Why do you think we can buy Final Fantasy 7 Soundtracks, but we can't find just the gameplay in a little box? Or a book containing the story? We don't buy screenshots for the game either. Music is seperate from the other three elements in that it is on a different level. It could easily stand alone from the rest of the game and work just fine without being altered. Because of this, it is just the enhancer. It emphasises the graphics and atmosphere. It sets the mood for critial story moments. It makes gameplay upbeat and exciting. Music basically helps set the player's emotional mood about the game, and this helps enhance the other elements of the game.
Because of this, music should never be left out. Becuase music is what will set the player's mood, it is more important then the story or the graphics. Music needs to be well thought out, well designed, and well placed. If you are going to get the player's attention to your game, remember the first two things he or she will notice when they load up your game is: graphics and music. So you need to think carefully about what you want the player's feelings to be at certain times. Battles? Upbeat, happy, envigorating. Swamps? Gloomy, tired, slimy. During a tragic scene? Shocked, horrified, sad. The music is what takes the emotions portrayed by your characters and links them with the player. What if the Opera in Final Fantasy 6 had no sound? That would have KILLED the game! What if, when (spoiler) Tellah gave his life in Final Fantasy 4, that beauiful "Cry of Sorrow" hadn't kicked in? (end spoiler) The characters have emotions. The story did this. To make the emotions link to the player is music's job, so you'd better make sure it does it well.
Ah, Gameplay, the most important of the four elements. Why? Because gameplay is what makes a game desirable to play. Gameplay is what makes a game a game, not a book or a movie or a music cd. The interaction between you and your computer/playstation/etc. is how you play a video game, just like interaction with your friends/neighbors/arch-rivals/etc when playing normal games (baseball, etc.). As Chris Crawford noted in Chris Crawford on Game Design (one of the best game design books ever. Anyone even considering game design should read this book), games differ from things in some ways. Games are Creative Expression, Entertainment, Playthings, have Challenges and Conflicts (concept taken from p. 6, Chris Crawford on Game Dwsign). Thus, gameplay in RPGs consists of not only challenges, but conflicts as well. However, there are some specifics about gameplay in OHR games I'd like to get into.
Ok, so lets go back into that whiny, quotes guy. "But SHAAAAADOW!!! You [insert animal reference here]! How can gameplay be most important? It is just what the player does! I mean, story tells the story of the characters, while music enhances the mood, and graphics make the game look cool! I can have crappy gameplay!" Listen, you little [insert profane animal reference here], that is completely untrue. Gameplay is by FAR the most important thing in your game. This is because gameplay in itself can make a game, while none of the other three elements can. Take, for example, Tetris. It has music, but I have it on my calculator and it is silent. My calculator also only has two colors: black and no color, so the graphics suck too. Why did I spend quite a few hours playing this game then? Because of its gameplay. Because, being a game, and having good gameplay, I enjoyed playing it even when the rest of the elements were lacking. This is especially important in OHR games.
The OHRRPGCE engine is a great engine. It lets you produce 256 color games, with BAMS (kinda "diluted" midis so to speak) and tell the story with textboxes. However, when compared to most professional games, even Game Boy Games, the OHRRPGCE could be said to be behind the times in terms of technology. So why do people keep making games on it? And, more importantly, playing games on it? I mean, why play Ends of the Earth 2 or Wandering Hamster when you could play Final Fantasy X-2 or Endless Saga? The answer is simple: because those games have excellent gameplay, even better then a few commercial games. Why do you think Tetris keeps getting re-incarnated? There is an XBOX version for crying out loud! The XBox, the most powerful gameing system currently, is running a game that I am playing on my old gray Game Boy. It is because, if a player likes the gameplay, he or she will play the game again and again and over and over. That, in truth, is what gameplay "does."
Gameplay makes a player keep playing your game. It also makes the player consider re-playing the game after completing it.
An excellent example of this is Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, an amazing game that has an excellent amount of gameplay. I really like the beginning of that game ("Final Stage: Bloodlines"), and I just love starting a new game and playing it up to basically the first save point then quitting. Why? Not only are the first few songs you encounter some of the best in the game, but also the gameplay at the beginning is really fun. Sure, people like getting the X-Calaber sword and killing every enemy in one swipe, but it is more fun to actually interact in the battles. This is why gameplay needs to not only be balanced, it needs to be reasonably difficult. Lets look at the three possibilities, and which is the best for what game.
Easy - Easy battles and easy gameplay certainly work. I know quite a few OHR games that are easy. The good part about easy battles is it lets the player focus more on other things, especially the story. Using easy battles and gameplay is a good idea if you'd rather have the player's attention be focused on other things during that part of the game. Take, for example, Crescent Dream, a new game that only has a few minutes of opening in it. The game's battles are easy, so that rather then focus completely on fighting during this early part of the demo, they rather get attached to the characters and the overall feel of the game. Using easy battles as a tactic is an excellent idea early on. Remember Final Fantasy 6? Were any of the first battles when you were in the Magi-tech armor difficult? They weren't suposed to be. The game was easing you into the characters, world, and battle system. The easy battles, though a breeze, still managed to teach you the basics of Final Fantasy 6, without dragging you through a huge tutorial. Early battles early on are an excellent idea. Just be sure not to make the easy battles be through the entire game. An easy game is fun for a while, but quickly becomes very dull.
Medium - Medium battles are basically the average battles you'll be fighting around the world map. These obviously get more difficult as you continue through the game, but if you manage to keep them balanced enough the player should enjoy them. An excellent example of polished battles during the game is Wandering Hamster, as well as Ends of the Earth 2. Ends of the Earth 2, in particular, has perhaps the most polished random battles I have seen in an OHR game. The battles run smoothly, you have a decent selection of abilities to choose from, and enemies are niether too hard nor to difficult. Gameplay like this should be in majority in your game. These battles are fun, fast-paced, and make the player think (though not as much as hard battles). If you can master overall battle balance (Halloween Quest, as well as most of RMZ's other games come to mind), then you have it made when it comes to RPG gameplay.
Hard - Hard battles tend to be "all the rage" with "veteran" games, so I've noticed. Take Wingedmene or Fantasy Under a Blue Moon X for example. These battles are difficult! These battles are slow! These battles would make excellent boss battles, but not for random encounters! AAAH! There is a major difference between "hard" gamplay and "tedious" gameplay. Hard gameplay is like Ends of the Earth (1). It has difficult battles, but they aren't all that dull and CAN be overcome. "Tedious" gameplay would definatly be reserved for The Curse of Dracula (though the game does offer quite a bit of abilities to make the game less tedious, after the first thirty or so battles it gets dull). Tedious battles are ALL OVER in many OHR games, usually because someone forgot to make player's speed fast enough to be exciting, or someone didn't bother to playtest their game. You must play your own game and make sure it works out of you are going to have hard battles throughout the game! Hard battles are on a fine line between enjoying the stratigy and frustration. Hard battles are generally reserved for bosses or difficult dungeons. Make sure you test out your battles so you don't get in trouble.
Before I move on to the Fifth Element of RPGs and Games, I'd like to comment on Non-RPG OHR games. You know, games like Mr. Triangle's Maze Madness or Pitch Black. These games you are basically on your own; I can't really advise you on how to do this, because your idea will probably be unique. This also applies to minigames, etc. inside RPGS. Just be sure to playtest, playtest, playtest until you get them perfected. This may or may not be more difficult then RPGs for you, but I honestly don't care as long as it is fun for ME, the player. Keep that in mind: if the player is having fun, then your goal is most certainly accomplished here.
The Fifth Element: Fun
So, about now you were expectiong "Fu...sion...HAAAA!!" and all the four elements merge into your game (Oh my...I just used a Dragon Ball Z reference...where is my life HEADING?!), but there is ONE little thing I'd like to emphasize before finishing up. That is, after you've finished your game and played through it, and there is nothing wrong technically with it...it is time to play the game like a player. Play it like you've never seen it before. Play it like your original intentions were to love it, or to hate it. Figure out what parts aren't as fun as others, and how to make it all even out. Fun is the most important element in the entire game design process. Though it isn't tangable like the four elements, Enjoyment is by far the most difficult to achieve, and is also by far the most important.
Enjoyment is a bit of the combination of all elements. The graphics lead the player in, and the music sets the theme. The player realizes who the main character is, and fights his first battle. Is the player enjoying the game thus far? Have you done your best to make the overall effect one that is enjoyable? Will you have fun playing this game if you hate RPGs? Have you made it so that the majority of RPGers will have fun with this game?
Out of all the aspects, this is the one that will definatly make or break your game. If your game is fun, then it doensn't matter if the story sucks. It doesn't matter if the graphics are crap, or if the gameplay is lousy. If a player enjoys your game, then you have suceeded. You have created something that someone will enjoy wasting spending their time on, and you have contributed to the OHR community. Congrats!
There are no tips in making a game "Fun," besides doing your best in the other four elements. If you have maximized your potential in the other four elements, and kept it all as original as possible (the hidden "sixth" element, so to speak), then you probably have done your best. Granted, some games are wonderful in all four areas and still get scorned (Final Fantasy 8 for instance), but the odds have certainly increased that your game will be loved.
So, what have we learned? We learned Shadow like to make bizzare animal insults. We learned that he must never use a DBZ reference again or he will be forced to hurt himself. And we finally learned how the four elements of game design are not Earth, Fire, Air, and Water, and they don't merge into a crystal orb. Hopefully if you read this entire thing you'll take it seriously and try as hard as you can to become a better game designer. As a reviewer, I can tell if people read my articles because my scores in the various aspects of game in my review rise. Keep up the good work, make good OHR games, and have fun doing it!
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