Chocolate Covered Pepperoni Sushi Loaf Ice Cream a.k.a. Frankenstein

Chocolate Covered Pepperoni Sushi Loaf Ice Cream, heretofore referred to as CCPSLIC, is a combination of many delectable delights. The whole is more delicious than the sum of its parts. Can you just imagine all of those individual flavors combining to make the most beautiful dish you have ever heard of? Your nose will twitch with excitement at the wonderful aroma. Your taste buds will rejoice with glee at the wonderful taste.

And/or you will immediately throw up. Just because everything that goes into a dish tastes delicious doesn’t mean that you can combine all of the ingredients into something that tastes good. In fact, that combination can be significantly worse than just sticking with the individual elements, or creating a meal out of just a few of those individual elements.

Not to mention, the more of those individual elements of a dish that have to be created, the lower the quality of each to begin with (because chefs don’t have infinite time on our Earth), and the lower the overall potential quality of the CCPSLIP if it doesn’t already create a nasty Frankenstein dish.

The CCPSLIC applies equally well to game design for massively multiplayer online games (or any other game, really). You can take half a dozen great features, put them all in one game, and end up with a horrid amalgamation of junk… a monstrosity of a game that nobody will want to play.

If you took each feature out and put it in a game of its own, each might be successful by itself. Or, you could pull a couple of the great features out and combine them to make something that can actually work well together.

For example, “we need racing like Gran Turismo, with shooting like Counter-Strike, two person fighting like Street Fighter, adaptive game mechanics like fl0w, Civilization-like turn-based strategy gameplay, an open environment like Grand Theft Auto, the simulated life aspects of The Sims, the collectible aspects of Pok√©mon, all set to a Beetles-driven soundtrack with voiceovers by Morgan Freeman.” That’s CCPSLIC (even though it sounds like it could be fun…).

Quite honestly, as a game designer it’s tough at first to not make CCPSLIC. We’ve all developed preferences for specific features we’ve seen in other games or have come up with ourselves. Some of us like classes, some of us like skills, some of us like a hybrid, and others like something else altogether. But, we need to use the one that’s right for the situation.

You have to realize that not all features are destined for your game, and not all features will work together well. That’s just one reason why the much-hated Vision must exist, and must be adhered to. Only put features into the game if they make sense for the game and work with the existing features (and if you have time to do them right, of course).

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