There’s always at least two ways to go when designing: punish – reward, easy – hard, simple – complex, visible – invisible, big – small, casual – hardcore, and so on. If you’re not sure which one between the two would work, maybe try them both. Or if one side is not working, try the complete opposite. Especially with smaller elements of the game this can really help out. It’s easier to see the effects of big design changes in comparison to small subtle ones.
For a long time Circles felt too punishing. I tried dialing it back with some iterations, but it didn’t have much effect. At some point I made a build where it was impossible to lose. Playtesting was a disaster, but it was a new starting point. From there I experimented with various ways to make it a bit more punishing again. There was one iteration where the player could touch a circle, could still go on, but would lose it as a reward at the end of the level. This turned out to still be too forgiving, but the idea of rewarding the player this way stuck and made it into the final game.
http://www.jeroenwimmers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Naamlo2os.png00Jeroen Wimmershttp://www.jeroenwimmers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Naamlo2os.pngJeroen Wimmers2017-10-20 22:02:582017-10-20 22:10:36When in doubt, go extreme
Sometimes you’re so wound up in your own game, you forget to look at others for possible ideas or solutions. Not every design problem is as unique as you might think, don’t reinvent the wheel when you don’t have to. Look at other games and how they solved it, ask for advise, watch game breakdown on Youtube, read post-mortems or one of the many great articles on Gamasutra.
And also outside games there’s lots of inspiration to be found. Books, movies, theater shows, expositions, they can all leave you with new unique insights.
http://www.jeroenwimmers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Naamlo2os.png00Jeroen Wimmershttp://www.jeroenwimmers.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Naamlo2os.pngJeroen Wimmers2017-10-19 21:44:552017-10-19 21:48:19Look everywhere for ideas or solutions