As someone who plays a lot of games, I like finding new games to play. That's something I already want. So I'm grateful that other game businesses are putting themselves and their games out there for me to discover. When I find a new game I really love (like Slay the Spire), I don't feel tricked. I feel like I used my money to show appreciation for a group of people who created something that made my life better. It's awesome! (Shoutout to Fridge fans Bubbalubber and TurboGFF for directly and indirectly introducing me to that game.)
- Find a good idea.
- Actualize the good idea.
- Show everyone your actualization of the good idea.
Each of these steps is obviously far more complicated than they appear. First, you've gotta find a good idea, meaning something that meets people's needs or wants. Something that makes people say "That sounds awesome!" or "I could really use one of those" when you tell it to them. If it's not something people actually want (and to be fair, sometimes they don't know they want it, if it's a brand new concept), then it's not a good idea.
Then you've got to actualize the good idea. Make it real. Create the game or the product. This part takes the most work. You've basically got to transform the good idea into a physical incarnation of that very idea, in the purest form possible, and that means different things for different types of products.
To use an example from the development of Swords & Souls, our first few versions of the game were survival games. You wanted to be the last player standing. That meant defensive cards were the most useful cards in the game, and stocking up on as many of those as possible was the way to win. Naturally, that made the game kinda boring. My original intention for the game--the good idea--was a game where players are quickly throwing cards down onto the table, chaining off of each other in a cloud of aggressive but manageable chaos. A whirlwind of weapons and magic spells, not a staring contest. So my actualization wasn't matching my idea. When we changed the win condition to being the first to kill 3 opponents, and allowed players to respawn after dying with no penalty, suddenly the focus shifted. Now it was indeed a game about being as aggressive as possible. The actualization came closer to matching the idea.
Artwork is also part of showing off your idea. If your game doesn't look like your good idea incarnate, even if it is, then it will be hard to keep anyone's attention. We're busy and distracted! Almost no one has time to spare for a closer look at something that might be different than it appears. Again, I think Swords & Souls could use a face lift. Right now, the box just has a simple vector logo on the front, and while I do like it, I don't think it says enough about the gameplay. When I have a bit more money, I'm hoping to commission another artist to do some heavily stylized comic-style art showing the game's characters engaged in that "whirlwind of weapons and magic spells" I mentioned earlier.