Over on his blog, Soren Johnson (lead designer of Civilization IV) has a double post up on “8 Things Not To Design In A Game”.

He starts off with “designing for the hardcore crowd”, which means making the game hard for everyone else. His suggestion is to include difficulty levels as a way to make games more accessible to everyone.

A lot of games (in various genres) already do this, but perhaps not enough? I do know that some players have been complaining, for instance, that Bioshock is “too easy”. Doesn’t it have difficulty levels?

Another peeve is “too much stuff”, be it units in a strategy game or monsters in a shooter or weapons. “SuperMage, the game with 10 million spells!”. Most of which you’ll likely never use.

He also touches on the inanity of copy protection methods that force players to jump through hoops. We’ve already talked about that one, so I mention it in passing only.

The one that caught my eye was his last point: putting story in the wrong places. This, of course, is a controversial matter. He does have some right on his side, though.

I agree that games don’t need a lot of boring cut scenes, stereotypical NPCs, or idiotic dialogue. He may even be right that story has no place in strategy games.

But I think what he’s really complaining about is not really story, but poorly implemented story in games. Something that has been discussed here several times in the past.

In any case, check out the two posts and see what you think.

8 Things Not To Do, Part I

8 Things Not To Do, Part II