Prerequisites

Before explaining The Great Game Filter you need to know what The Great Filter is. Read the Wiki Page or watch the Kurzgesagt video:

The Great Game Filter

Mapping

  • The universe is the internet, the place where all the game stores are found.
  • A planet is just a place where that genre could be found, a steam page id, another store online, Google Play, and so on.
  • The technological evolution of a species is a game’s success.
    • Bare planets are stores that don’t sell that game genre
    • Bacteria are games that flopped
    • Alien animals are games that got a moderate success.
    • Space civilizations are games that got successful and sold million of copies.
    • Ruins of space civilizations are games that got successful very fast and abandoned in few weeks.
  • Humans are you: your game idea.

Examples

  • if you can’t find any store or place on the internet (sterile planets) that sells your game genre it means that the great filter is at the beginning, it’s very hard to create a game of that genre and start the development.
  • if you find only flop games around (bacterias) it means it’s very easy to create that genre, so the filter is not at the beginning, but a bit later on, maybe it requires a big budget that you didn’t predict.
  • if you find successful games that got abandoned very soon (ruins of space civilizations) the great game filter is something so terrible that can destroy even a successful game, maybe a performance problem that requires the rewrite of the engine? Maybe keeping it interesting?

Real examples

  • Bare planets: RTS games, very rare to find on the web, the main roadblock is probably that they encopass all gamedev categories: AI, good level design, performance, multiplayer and so on; very hard to start development, an indie would never start with a RTS.
  • Bacteria: probably horror games, the great filter is not creating one, it’s actually pretty easy, but after you have created one evolving from “that boring horror generic game” to something original is the real filter
  • Ruins of a space civilization: some battle royale games already fell and will fall very soon into this category, the great filter is not creating a battle royale, it’s not making it funny and original, but it’s actually keeping it interesting in the long run, after 2 weeks you have probably already played all the possible matches

Conclusions

  • Well and alive space civilization aliens are very old games that are still successful and played today: it means that they probably won against their great filter; those are the games that deserve the most respect, the ones that are still played today after years, not the ones that were successful but no one plays and creates mods for in this day and age.
  • These are just small examples, but with some thinking you can apply the great filter to anything, even to generic software.