We see expansive, open-world endeavors almost like clockwork nowadays (with the most recent and egregious addition being No Man’s Sky), and so we’re almost attuned to wanting that. Side-quests that have you going across sprawling kingdoms, paths that go from one town to the next to the next with landscapes between—it can be nice, but I’m sure you’ve experienced a sort of “open-world fatigue.”
You know the feeling: you walk through alleys upon alleys of vanilla buildings, and all of the trees and rocks and hills start to blend together as a generic open experience. To make matters worse, even in places that are supposed to function as destinations, there’s no difference between one and the next!
This video by Mark Brown of the Game Maker’s Toolkit covers how keeping a game’s worldspace small can actually benefit the gameplay. It’s an especially good theory to follow for a club like VGDC, where we have to revel in our small-scale development, and I highly recommend watching it and applying the concepts to your own games: