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malevolent design weblog

This blog is now defunct, but you can find more stuff over at my personal site

Zero Instructions

This is something I’ve always been keen on, yet usually haven’t put enough effort into implementing myself: ensuring a game doesn’t require the player to read anything before starting to play.

It’s easier to bung a ‘How To Play’ button on the main menu and show a screenful of text, but if you can introduce the story, controls and mechanics during gameplay then it’s almost always better (if there are several training steps, make sure adept players can get through them quicker so they don’t feel like they’re playing Steamshovel Harry).

Some of my past Flash games conform to the Zero Instructions approach (e.g. The Alien at the Bottom of the Garden), as does the latest one I’ve worked on, and I’ll be trying to stick with it in future.


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