What makes a good simulation game?


If Goat Simulator taught us anything, it taught us that you can make a sim game out of literally anything. So, what makes a sim game actually worthwhile and good? Discuss.

What do you think?

There isn’t any one right or wrong answer to this. What makes any game good? What makes any thing good? What makes a painting good? What makes a photograph good?

It’s all subjective. Maybe some people want a hyper-realistic flight simulator. Maybe other people want a ridiculous simulator with rockets attached to goats. The best thing you can do is make the game that you would want to play.

In what sense is Goat Simulator an actual “simulator”? It doesn’t simulate anything realistic.

Thanks to Goat Simulator we finally know how a goat attached to a rocket behaves like in real life. :slight_smile:

I wouldn’t call Goat Simmulator a simulator, i guess it’s sarcasm.

I don’t completely agree with KevinWorkman. While “good” usually is subjective, in this context it is pretty objective.
A simulator should be as realistic as possible, an unrealistic game can’t be called a “good simulator”, even if you like the game itself.

One that accurately portrays real life.

When you’re asking what makes a good simulation game, you’re actually asking two things at once and hoping they have the same answer:

  • What makes a good simulator?
  • What makes a good game?

However, realism very rarely aligns itself with fun, so at some point, you’re going to have to pick one or the other. If you set out to make an accurate simulator, it probably won’t turn out as a very fun game, and vice versa.

eg: Goat Simulator is a good game and a terrible simulator.

My motto for game development is to make games as if you were only able to play the games that you created.

Well my Norse simulator is fun to write but I am not so sure it will be fun to play. For example, even though you can speed up world time 10x, it still means moving between settlements is very slow going. And being in the right place at the right time will be tricky - the world unfolds without any reference to the player character. Did your mercenary character miss out on a giant battle between rival kingdoms? You should have spent more time gossiping in the ale houses…

And getting an economic system that doesn’t crash is hard in a game (and even harder in real life) so at some point you have to stop simulating and and add in pressure valves to keep the world running.

On the other hand, with all entities acting as peers, the architecture facilitates multiplayer experiences. (At some distant point in the future).