Game Balance is a crucial component of game design and development. The crux of balancing a game is not to allow domination of a particular game character or strategy throughout the entire scope of a game. This entails a framework or gaming environment which adds complexity to continue providing the player with an active and engaging gaming experience. There is no practical application of what is known as a perfectly balanced game design where there is no clear dominance of one character or plot over another. In reality, there is a subtle amount of imbalance that is always naturally incorporated in the system. Whether it is a single player game or a game comprising two or more players, game balance comes in as a deliberate method to add challenges to add to game complexity.
There are several game developers and designers in the market creating unlimited numbers of games. Most of these games heavily attach themselves with the aesthetics of it such as the audio-visual experience the game provides. While such games grab a huge player base, most often they do not make it to the top. Game balancing is a critical component of the game development process along with gamification which lends the final finishing touches to your game. While the market place is flooded with game developers, it is critical to find a game developer who knows about the concepts of game balancing. Juego Studios provides a one stop solution for any game development needs. Not only does Juego have an expert team of game designers and developers who come with a whole suite of technological skill sets, they also have the necessary knowledge to make your game a success.
Important Principles for Game Balancing
When considering game balancing, one typically approaches it from three broad perspectives as discussed below.
A game is fair if both or multiple parties playing the game stands an equal chance of winning. This deals with the notion of probability. However, since most games could have an inherent first mover advantage, it is the role of the designer to come up with design components that allow either the weaker player to start first or allow for reinforcement learning to remove any bias. For example, the weaker player gets access to certain resources that could be more powerful than his opponent.
A typical game should ideally start out with negative outcomes at the start, somewhat better results as the game progresses and better than that as the game advances. This makes the game stable through the different stages of it being played.
A critical component of a balanced game design is in keeping the players engaged. Engagement is accomplished through inserting randomness in strategies offered through different stages of a game. Also, the game needs to allow for multiple strategies that a player should have disposable at any point of time.
Importance of Game Balancing
Game balancing is a crucial component of any game design and needs to be separately addressed for each and every game. The concept of game balance heavily relies on the subject of Game Theory and deals with conceptual understanding of probability theory, Nash equilibrium and Pareto efficiency. While the end result looks an interactive environment with a certain placement of objects that come up with a visual appeal, there is a lot of effort that goes into balancing a game which results in the ultimate gaming experience.
1. Game Balance in Single User Games
Often you would see that as the game advances, the complexity of the game increases. This allows the players to adaptively learn to overcome challenging obstacles. The term for such a technique where the complexity advances as the game level progresses is called pacing. However, an interesting challenge facing any game designer lies in coming up with a game balance that caters to all of the game’s player base. Each player is different and unique with respect to gaming experience. While some players might find a level pretty easy to complete, others could find the same extremely difficult to accomplish. If the gamers are segmented based on age groups, similarly, the gaming experience and complexity levels would be different. The real challenge therefore lies in the game developer’s striking the right balance in the game so that it does not get heavily biased towards one particular genre of player.
2. Multi-User Game Balance
In games which are played by multiple users, there is always an asymmetry that is inevitable. In reality finding games which are absolutely symmetric is hard. What is meant by symmetry in the gaming parlance refers to players starting out with exactly the same level or set of resources. However, the case of multi-user games introduces a very interesting perspective about game balance. In a symmetric game where both players start out with the same set of resources, the primary question that would arise is the need for game balance. Although in such a scenario, both players or more than two players start out at the same level, however, this does not imply that the notion of game balance does not hold true in this situation. Consider the situation where there is a first mover advantage inherent in the game design such that whoever starts out first and plays the initial move stands a slightly better chance of winning the game. Therefore, game balance becomes extremely critical even in the case of multi-user games.
Game balancing is a critical determinant of your game’s overall success both in terms of its player base as well as the user experience. While there are a lot of games being developed, it is game balance primarily that separates out some games from the others. Hiring a game designer is just one part of the entire broad spectrum of game development process. It is important for you to find out a team of developers or designers who have showcased their expert ability in handling game balancing techniques. At Juego Studios, game balancing gets a lot of emphasis in the entire game development process.