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Designing Interactivity for Different Game Types: Ways to Think About Interactivity and What Works

Updated: May 24, 2023

Muxy's mission is to make all video games interactive on Twitch. We call it a "Twitch-Friendly" approach. In this blog, we're going to cover some best practices and thoughts around adding interactivity to different types of games.

Types of interactivity are all about the game and genre on the surface, but right below that there are a series of design choices and decisions that will shape your game’s Twitch lifecycle. Interactivity can come in many different forms and each type of game will be best served by a different type of interactive options. Matching the type of interactivity to the feel and pacing of your game is critical to a successful Twitch activation.

Designing Interactivity for Strategy, 4X, and Similar Games

Congruence between gameplay pacing and extension pacing is the best way to go. For example, slower paced games like strategy and turn-based games, will be well suited for informational extensions, as viewers have the time and the curiosity to dig into the details of the game and learn about the complex systems. However, these games are also a suitable candidate for lower impact interactions, like giving the players extra resources or allowing viewers to select dialogue options. Similarly, many strategy or 4x games have visual elements that can be personalized by chat, like building appearances or names. The gameplay impact is low, but it allows chat to alter the game visually - temporarily or permanently. These forms of interactivity are easier to implement and design because they do not considerably change gameplay elements.

Slower-paced gameplay is ideal for:

Informational Extensions that help viewers learn more about gameplay systems
Low-Impact viewer actions, like dialogue voting, drive continued viewer engagement
Visual gameplay effects, like building appearance or naming, let audience become part of the game

Designing Interactivity for Action, Fighting, FPS and Similar Games

Action games, fighting games, and shooter games depend on fast-paced action to keep viewers and players engaged. Tailoring an extension experience to enhance those elements is ideal for these types of games. If the games are competitive in nature, you can also add Extension-Enhanced Matchmaking into the game, allowing streamers to play their viewers directly. With fast-paced games, there are a multitude of helpful and hindrance options available that create dramatic stream moments. The shorter length of gameplay loop means doing things like emptying the streamer’s ammo or lowering their health could very quickly bring about a lot of fun (In the Dwarf Fortress sense). Similarly, dropping enemy heath or applying unlimited ammo could help a streamer through a particularly difficult sequence. Like in strategy games, audiences enjoy naming characters on the game map, however, it’s even more exciting when they can spawn and name enemies, letting everyone watching know they’re the one responsible for making the streamer’s game tougher. Overall, these viewer actions take an already fast-paced environment and make it even more chaotic and thrilling.

Fast-Paced Gameplay is Ideal for:

Twitch vs Streamer matchmaking or other types of matchmaking
High gameplay-impact help or hinder actions
Audience naming and spawning of enemies

Designing Interactivity for Puzzle, Social, and Similar Games

Puzzle games, social games, and other games in the more peripheral genres for Twitch or that defy standard classification are positioned for the most interesting interactivity treatment. Interactive options for these games abound, from moving the control of gameplay over to the viewers to allowing the viewers to pick an entirely new game. These games often lack “Advanced” content or “Endgame” content. This means that the gameplay stays at the same pacing and within the same gameplay loop for the duration. Once the game is predictable, major game changing interactions are more fun and easier to get away with.

Within a repetitive gameplay loop like this, here are some major ways to impact the gameplay. At the beginning of gameplay, viewers can select challenges like game mode, difficulty, map, or your in-game character. Viewers can also set challenges for players that reward them like finishing in a fixed amount of time or reaching a high score. During gameplay is when it can get really thrilling for viewers. If you let them flip the puzzle, drop in more balls, or invert controls, it can turn a streamer’s usual game loop on its head. Viewers also can be given the ability to dynamically increase or decrease the amount of time allotted for timed game loops.

Similar gameplay loops are ideal for:

Twitch vs streamer matchmaking or other types of matchmaking
Challenges for the streamer to beat
Changing the gameplay and the current game around

The most important aspects of choosing a type of interactivity are making sure it's compelling and makes sense. Only you know how to best integrate interactivity with your game and Muxy knows how to get you there.

Stop by our Discord if you have any ideas or questions.

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