Okay, so maybe 10X is a bit of an exaggeration, but I’m still convinced that this trick will help you dramatically if you haven’t thought about it. It’s a severely underrated and most oftentimes overlooked trick. In fact, many game developers don’t even realize that this is what they’re missing from their games. I actually never paid attention to this for quite a long time, much to my own detriment. Here it is — the juicy trick that you’ve been waiting for…
If your game has an element that impacts the state of a visible object in a significant way, it must have audio and visual feedback that’s clearly represented to the player.
For example, let’s say you have a top down shooter where your gun can only shoot once every 5 seconds. Make that completely obvious to the player by having a visual indicator on the gun that looks different when it’s on cooldown. Then, have a distinctly audible and visual cue when it’s ready to fire again. Seems like a small detail, but this is night and day when it comes to making your game feel well produced and polished.
Another example could be a platformer with a character who can jump. Without audio feedback, it would just feel wrong — but let’s get beyond just the basics. The goal here is to make sure that the game looks and feels responsive to the player. You can’t just slap on a jump sound and call it done, you’ll have to consider the jumping animation, landing animation, and the landing sound effect as well.
Important Takeaway: The small details matter a lot more than you think. Every single state change in your game must be accompanied by proper cues, or else your game won’t have the juice and polish required to compete with modern games. This rule also applies for menu elements.