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  • 1. Lesson One: What is a Video Game
  • 2. What Is A Video Game • Elements of a Game – Active Participation • Playing a game versus playing with a toy • Involves players (one or more) • Players Control the Game – Goals To Achieve (Winning) • Not a fixed outcome – Dynamic and Changes • Players need to make decisions which will cause the game to change
  • 3. Genres of Games • • • • • Arcade Games – Reaction speed is the key factor. – Easy to make and can do well with 2D graphics. Puzzle Games – Clever thinking is the key factor. – Easy to make and can do well with 2D graphics. Role Playing Games (RPG) – Development of the character the player controls is the key factor. – Better suited for 3D graphics, but 2D graphics can work. Strategy Games – Player usually controls the game indirectly. – Very difficult to create and require some artificial intelligence. Management Games – Key is building up an empire. – Very difficult to create.
  • 4. Genres of Games Continued… • • • • • • Adventure Games – Storyline is crucial to the game. – Games can be either 2D or 3D. First-person Shooters – Fast pace reaction and speed is the key factor. – Requires a 3D World to create a realistic view. Third-person Shooters – Player controls a character through a hostile world. – Many have a story line to enhance play and can be done in 2D. Sport Games – Existing sport is simulated. – Tough to create in 2D unless you consider making it like a cartoon. Racing Games – Considered a type of sport game, but specific to racing. – Can be either 2D or 3D. Simulators – Realistically simulates a mechanism (like flying an airplane). – Rather difficult to create because you need to know how the machine works (inside and out).
  • 5. What is A Good Game • Goals: – Challenging – as you progress through the game, the goals get harder to achieve. – Sub-goals that work towards the final goal. – With failures, the expectations is that it is the players fault and not the games fault. – Goals should not be based on luck (good or bad). • Decisions: – Interesting Decisions leads to interesting games. – Decisions should be more complicated as the players moves along in the game. – Reward and Punishment are based on the type of achievement or failure of the decision. • Example: Death could result from a major decision failure or a combination of several small failures.
  • 6. What is A Good Game Continued… • Balance – Balance Between Players. • • Best Player Should Win. Make Winning Achievable for Both Players. – Balance Between Player and Game Play. • • • Game play should help the player, not hinder them. Strikes a good balance with what the game does for the player and the player must do for themselves. Player should control the important aspects of a game, while the game should do the trivial items for the player. – Balance Between the Features of the Game. • • • • Rewards – – – – – Good features are ones that result in a decision to be made. Counteract a good aspect of a feature with a bad one to help with interesting decisions. Balance powers of the player with powers of computer controlled players. Temporary rewards are given for achieving minor goals. Permanent rewards are given for achieving major goals. Predictable rewards versus Random rewards. Player needs to be able to notice what rewards they have received (i.e. sound or graphics). Player needs to understand the relationship to getting the reward and what they did to get it.
  • 7. What is A Good Game Continued… • Flow – – – – – • • The more balanced the flow, the better the game. When challenges are all too easy or hard, the game is boring. In general, when challenges start easy and progress to hard, the game is more interesting. Best games give moments of hard challenges and then a break with some easy ones. Keeping the game in the flow is dependent of the players ability. Presence and Immersion – Great games make the player feel they are immersed in the game. – Key aspects are the story line, the surroundings, the way the characters look and act, the music and any special effects. – Some simple graphic games can be more fun than a more complex 3D graphics game. Story – Stories give meaning to the actions the player is performing and enhances the satisfaction of the player when they reach their goals (Meaningful play). – The criticality of a good story depends on the type of game you are creating: • • First Person Shooter (FPS) games do not need a detailed story. Adventure games need more of a story line to help guide the player along.
  • 8. What is A Good Game Continued… • Game World – Can be complex 3D or simple 2D depending on the type of game • • • FPS games need more complex game world in order to simulate what a person would see. Adventure games do well with simple 2D game worlds to enhance the playing experience. – The more realistic a game is, the more detailed the game world should be. – Adapt the representation of the game world to the game play. Main Characters – Needs to evolve a sense of emotion to the player (like or hate) – Personality needs to be balanced with the type of game. • • • Stronger personalities are needed for Adventure games. FPS games need to have the player connect with the character he is playing. Music and Special Effects – – – – Music and Special Effects can have a dramatic effect on players. The right music should be used with the right situation. Background sounds can help guide the player. Special effects should be used sparingly so that the player doesn’t ignore them.
  • 9. Things to Think About • • • • • • You Are Creating a Game for Others to Use. – Keep the player in mind when designing your game. – Pick the type of game for the audience you intend to use your game (children/adults; beginners /experts) A Game Needs a Goal Which Is Challenging to the Player – Striking the right type of reward with an achievement if key to a great game. – Create the right balance of predictable and random rewards. Choose Decisions and Effects Wisely – Marginal effects cause frustrations – Balancing decisions and their effects makes games more satisfying to play Control of the game should belong to the player and not the game – More freedom for the player, the better the game is Balance the amount of resources/objects a character can have /control with their use. – Avoid too many resources (guns, food, etc.) with little use – Keep in mind the type of game with the amount of resources (i.e. strategic or simulation games) Avoid combining multiple genres into one game.
  • 10. Exercise • Start thinking about what type of game you want to create. • Keep in mind that you should start simple. • Jot down some notes as to what you want your game to have: – Storyline/Plot – Characters (Good and Bad) – Goals/Decisions – Rewards
  • 11. Additional References • Books/Articles: – – – – – – – – – – • Jacob Habgood and Mark Overmars, The Game Maker’s Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners, Apress, 2006, ISBN 1-59059-615-3. Brathwaite, Brenda and Ian Schreiber. Challenges for Game Designers: Non-Digital Exercises for Video Game Designers. Course Technology, 2009. ISBN 1584505808. Crawford, Chris. The Art of Computer Game Design. Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984. ISBN 0131460994. This classic book, one of the first ever published on the subject, is long out of print. A complete etext is available at: Crawford, Chris. Chris Crawford on Game Design. New Riders, 2003. ISBN 0131460994. Fullerton, Tracy. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games. Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. ISBN 9780240809748. Phillies, George and Tom Vasel. Design Elements of Contemporary Strategy Games. Third Millennium Publishing, 2006. ISBN 193265769X. Rouse, Richard. Game Design: Theory and Practice. Second Edition. Wordware, 2005. ISBN 1556229127. Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press, 2004. ISBN 0262240459. The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology. Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman, editors. MIT Press, 2006. ISBN 0262195364. Schell, Jesse. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. Morgan Kaufman, 2008. ISBN 0123694966. Websites: – – – YoYo Games Website: Gamasutra: Game Developers Network: