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Game Design, September 24th, 2013
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Game Design, September 24th, 2013

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  • 1. TODAY 1. Check in: how’s the Game Design Document experience? Can I help? 2. Immersion: What? 3. The Rise of the “f!ckwad” 4. Oh that sweet, sweet swag! 5. How does that matter to our design work? 6. Homework/reminder
  • 2. Next class, your design documents are due, in PDF or hard copy media. You and your group will read, talk, deliberate and debate. As you come toward the finish line with those documents, can I help with any advice/answer any questions?
  • 3. Avengers Alliance This week, your play experience is to check out this browser- based, most-popular- on-FB (at one point) game. It’s basically turn-based combat.
  • 4. As you play AA, ask yourself the following questions: 1)It’s a “social” game– does it feel like your friends could make it better/more fun? 2)Why do people play? What’s the hook? 3)Does it make you want to keep playing?
  • 5. Today’s Readings The readings we did for today address some of the varied issues related to gaming and psychology. I’m going to toss some concepts and some questions up here for us to consider.
  • 6. Immersion:
  • 7. Duh!
  • 8. But seriously…
  • 9. The essence of immersion is that a game allows/or entices the user to become absorbed into the game world, essentially leaving the real world.
  • 10. Some claim this is a bad thing. Those people apparently never read a good book. #DrPhillZinger
  • 11. An example: for me, the first game to do this was the Legend of Zelda.
  • 12. It doesn’t look like much now, but the world of Zelda allowed me to become so involved in my play, so absorbed, that I didn’t think about he outside world.
  • 13. Discussion Question: What was the first game YOU found immersion in? What was the most recent game you got immersed in?
  • 14. Topic switch.
  • 15. Next slide:NSFW
  • 16. Disclaimer: the Penny Arcade guys are sort of jerks, too.
  • 17. This is, of course, a simplification. But multiple studies show that given anonymity, a majority of people will behave in ways they wouldn’t IRL.
  • 18. Commonly Cited Reason 1: Because they CAN’T do that in their real life. In other words, the guy “pwning noobs” in Gears of War 3 takes flack from his boss ALL DAY LONG.
  • 19. Commonly Cited Reason 2: Because faceless people aren’t real. In other words, mom and dad taught you to always look people in the eye and show them respect. No eyes=no soul (to quote a scholar in my field).
  • 20. Commonly Cited Reason 3: Because people really aren’t as nice as they act. In other words, read Lord of the Flies. Everyone wants to have power, and no one cares about people they don’t know. As Early on Squidbillies puts it: “if you ain’t like me, go hang from a tree.” Early… needs help.
  • 21. Commonly Cited Reason 3.5: Because that’s what we really think. In other words, this is the sadist’s take, but many psychologists believe it’s true. We operate, as John Locke said, by the social contract. But the social contract is out the window when you can’t see me, ergo, I call you names and take your virtual stuff.
  • 22. Commonly Cited Reason 4: because we need to vent. In other words, life is rough, yo? Many researchers think that gamers– particularly female gamers– are like that Smashing Pumpkins song and that despite all their rage they are still just a rat in a cage (metaphorically speaking). Games are a chance to scream hellfire and loose the dogs of war without looking like a violent person.
  • 23. Commonly Cited Reason 5: because the game made you do it. In other words, games make you violent. Also, you can’t think for yourself, and if I didn’t tell you Grand Theft Auto wasn’t real you’d jack me outside for my 2007 Hyundai with the dented passenger door. Thank goodness none of you played POSTAL.
  • 24. Commonly Cited Reason 6: because you think it’s cool. In other words, growing up taught you that picking on people is funny, and the coolest kid in school was the one who took no crap from no one, no how. You want to be Fonzie in the digital world, only now Fonzie sucks. Let’s go frag him.
  • 25. Discussion question: how do you behave in anonymous space? Be honest!
  • 26. Topic switch.
  • 27. An element of immersion, something that can bring out the bad side of others in gaming, is sweet, sweet, delicious loot.
  • 28. In an MMO, like World of Warcraft, the immersion AND the anonymity can make loot a deadly prospect.
  • 29. During my WoW research, a number of people fought, profanity blasted their headsets, and in one extreme case logged off and LEFT THE GUILD over loot decisions.
  • 30. And so, as the reading said… we will keep playing and playing, seeking out the epic loot.
  • 31. This is true in many games, though– even single-player games.
  • 32. Discussion question: what’s an item/piece of loot you kept playing well beyond the “normal” narrative scope of a game to obtain? Why?
  • 33. Bringing it home.
  • 34. Today we’ve looked at 3 major elements of game psychology. Why are they important to us as designers?
  • 35. Reason 1: A good game gets you out of the world for a while. We don’t play to feel like we’re stuck in the life we’re stuck in. We play to escape, or to explore.
  • 36. Reason 2: A good game accounts for our lesser angels. We might be playing to be something we aren’t in our real lives. We should, on occasion, have the chance to steal cars or decapitate zombies. We’re not going to go outside and do it. Right?
  • 37. Reason 3: A good game rewards us. Ooooh… shiny! Dr. Phill WANT!
  • 38. Reason 4: But really, a GREAT game makes us happy. And to understand how to make us happy, you have to understand how we think. Oh no, Sigmund Freud was onto something.
  • 39. Remember: Your game design documents are on Thursday. Make sure to bring them to class in some format that can: 1. Be shared with classmates 2. Leave with me