I am an indie game developer (on my own) and i an just hoping to release my first independent game. I have finished all the programming and I am just making the levels. My question is, to get good appeal, how hard should i make it and how should the difficulty progress?
I think designing should take into account at least 2 or 3 modes from easy to difficult (or from normal to difficult). In Hightailed game there’s total of 4 difficulty modes in the latest version. One is extremely easy, two others are bit harder and the last one is made as difficult as possible.
Making game progressively more and more challenging is a good approach – the same that you can use for player to learn the rules . There’s excellent article that points out Ten ways not to make a casual game and gives lots of excellent insight on how to design your game. I really recommend checking it out.
Summary: You could make the game progressively more difficult. Or you could have 2 or 3 difficulty modes (if possible). Don’t make it too difficult in the beginning.
Edit: Excellent information in the comments:
Casual game designer says he disagrees (and also agrees if you read the whole entry) with me, and I must say that he has a point in his approach. Difficulty modes should not be the automatic answer. In Hightailed it works okay because the difficulty levels change how intelligently AI makes his moves. I’d say the same approach will work in games like chess very well.
Thomas added: “The best way to tune the difficulty I think is to get all sorts of different people to play it and tell you how they found it :)”