Give your players a great single-player game and they'll play for a month, or maybe two.
Give them room to express themselves (via robust character creation options, cosmetic items, etc.) and many of them will keep playing your game for years, wringing every ounce of enjoyment out of it.
Back in 2011, veteran game dev and Tiger Style (Waking Mars) cofounder Randy Smith took the stage at GDC to deliver a great talk that touches on just this issue: how do you design a great game that gives players room to express themselves creatively -- and once you've accomplished that, how do you listen to and respond to that creativity?
Smith explored these questions in more detail than we can get into here, so if you missed seeing it live (or just want a quick refresher) make sure to watch it now that it's freely available on the official GDC YouTube channel!
In addition to this presentation, the GDC Vault and its accompanying YouTube channel offers numerous other free videos, audio recordings, and slides from many of the recent Game Developers Conference events, and the service offers even more members-only content for GDC Vault subscribers.
Those who purchased All Access passes to recent events like GDC or VRDC already have full access to GDC Vault, and interested parties can apply for the individual subscription via a GDC Vault subscription page. Group subscriptions are also available: game-related schools and development studios who sign up for GDC Vault Studio Subscriptions can receive access for their entire office or company by contacting staff via the GDC Vault group subscription page. Finally, current subscribers with access issues can contact GDC Vault technical support.
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