Train2Game News: First 15 minutes “key” to game design says Civilization creator Sid Meier

The first fifteen minutes of a video game being enjoyable is one of the key rules of game design. That’s according to veteran game designer Sid Meier, the man behind the Civilization and the founder of Firaxis Games.

“One of the key rules of game design is the first 15 minutes. These introductory minutes have to be fun, satisfying, and exciting. You are letting players know they’re on the right track, you should reward them, and let them know cool stuff will happen later.” Meier told, before admitting mistakes with this when it came to his early games.

“In early Civilization games, I made Civ real-time, which meant everything happened in real-time: My first mistake was to make it real time.” he said.

“I modelled some elements of the game from SimCity, which was real-time. It was inspiring. But what we found was that in real-time gaming the player becomes the observer. Our mantra is that, “it’s good to be king.”

“When we made Civ a turn-based game, the player became the star, they made things happen.” Meier added.

The full interview with Sid Meier on game design, his career and the industry as a whole is here.

As previously reported by Train2Game, the Civilization creator believes there are more opportunities than ever to be a game developer.

Meier’s Firaxis Games are currently working on a reimagining of XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and there’s more about the studio here on The Train2Game Blog.

Do you agree with Sid Meier that the first fifteen minutes are a key part of game design? What games gave you the most memorable first quarter of an hour?

Leave your comments here on The Train2Game Blog, or on the Train2Game forum.

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