This handy checklist from the folks at Mantacore Games is one of the most concise, soup-to-nuts overviews of just about everything you need to check for before publishing a game. Although this guide is geared towards games played in 3D space, most of these rules apply to any kind of game. You can find the original article here.
- The game has an ending.
- The game restarts at the end of a round.
- The game has a way to win
- The game has a way to lose.
- Players can tell if they won or lost.
- There is content to give players closure at the end.
Progress and Improvement
- Players have a way of knowing how they did in the game.
- There is a way for players to improve if they play again.
- Players can compare their performances to other players.
- Players can test different methods and see if they improve performance throughout the game.
- Players can see a comparison of their performance over time.
- There are rewards to distinguish top players.
- Players have all the abilities they need to play when they connect to the game.
- Items that need to be picked up can be picked up.
- Special player abilities are enabled or disabled at the correct times.
- Players can or can not fly.
- Players can or can not swim.
- Players can or can not ride a mount.
- The game shows players what they should be able to do in an intuitive way.
- Players can choose an alternative way to do extremely challenging movements.
- Players can access every space they need to play the game
- Players cannot go places that are not part of the game.
- There are no parts of the map where players can accidentally get trapped.
- Players can clearly distinguish where they are able to go.
- Different areas of the map offer different experiences.
- Places players cannot go still look interesting and support the feeling of the game
Multiplayer and Networking
- The game has been tested with different numbers of players.
- The maximum number of allowed players can all play the game together easily.
- The maximum and minimum number or players are adjusted based on how many people are usually playing to allow games as often as possible.
- Players are divided evenly into teams.
- Players can tell what team they are on.
- Players can tell which points on the map are assigned to each team.
- Score and User Interface information quickly identify the relevant team.
- Objects with associated scripts are networked.
- Props and scenery that do not have interaction are not networked.
- Objects that players can interact with regardless of other players are in the client context.
- Objects that can be interacted with by players in a way that affects other players are in the server context.
- Players can see the goals of the game from the interface.
- Players can see the current status of the game.
- Players can tell who each other are, using nameplates or other game-specific labels.
- Players can read about how to play the game.
- Players can refer back to tutorial information throughout the game.
- There are hints for players who get stuck.
- Important information is given to players in more than one way.
- When colors are used to distinguish game elements, the colors have a different brightness.
- Audio elements are supported with visual elements, and visual elements also have audio elements.
- Text is big enough to read during gameplay.
- There is enough contrast between text and the background to read it.
Visuals and Audio
- The lighting allows players to see all the important elements of the game.
- The lighting draws players’ attention to important parts of the game.
- The lighting supports the mood of the game.
- Visual effects are working as expected.
- The visual effects make gameplay easier to understand.
- There are no visual effects that are confusing or distracting except by design.
- Audio works and is not too soft or too loud.
- Audio helps players understand what is happening.
- Audio supports the feel of the game.