LAFS Game Design 1 - Dynamic Elements


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Level 5 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Design 1 class.

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  • There are three categories of rules, all important to a successful play experience:

    Setup involves things you do once at the beginning of a game
    Progression entails what happens during a game
    Resolution indicates the conditions that cause the game to end and how an outcome is determined based on the game state.

    Mechanics are a collection of rules that form a discrete chunk of gameplay.

    Systems are collections of mechanics that make up the biggest chunks of the game.

  • Objects with no relationships between them is a collection, not a system
    Relationships can be fixed and linear, or loose, interacting with them based on proximity or other variables
    Relationships can be determined based on rule sets or chance
    Changes in relationships can be introduced based on choices made by the player
  • How Did He Get Involved With Computers: His mom bought a computer for him, and he studied computing at Louisiana Tech. He also programmed robots for fun.
    Never graduated from college.

    First Game: Raid on Bungling Bay Game. Economic simulator behind it. Didn’t sell well in US due to piracy.

    Sim City: Broderbund didn’t like that there wasn’t a win/lose. Formed his own company, Maxis. Once Broderbund saw finished version, they wanted to publish it. Big hit with critics and gamers. Women make up 35% of players. Part of the appeal was isometric graphics. Strategy game about topic everyone knows about. Aims are protect the environment.

    Sim Earth a disappointment (220 page manual), but overall line does well. EA buys Maxis.

    The Sims came about because Wright wanted to do a game about the people in Sim City. EA wasn’t enthusiastic about the concept. By June top-selling PC games of 2000. Game becomes tool of expression, where people can act out what happens in their daily lives.

    Design approach: Spends a lot of time in the design phase.

    Sims: Best-selling PC Game of All time.
  • LAFS Game Design 1 - Dynamic Elements

    1. 1. Level 5 David Mullich Game Design 1 The Los Angeles Film School
    2. 2. Systems A set of interacting elements that form an integrated whole with a common goal or purpose.  Movement  Scoring  Combat Examples  Economics  Artificial Intelligence  Multiplayer
    3. 3. Hierarchy of Elements  Rule  Mechanic  System
    4. 4. System A, B, C’s  Components: game objects the player can interact with  Attributes: qualities or attributes that define the physical or conceptual aspects of components  Behaviors: potential actions that a component might perform in a a given state
    5. 5. What Is A Chart? A chart is a two-axis grid of information. Along the left column is a list of components in your systems. In each column are the attributes in your game. This is the most useful tool a designer has for designing a system. Enemy Radius Normal Speed High Speed Damage Hit Points Womp Rat 5 3 5 1 5 Vorpal Bunny 10 10 20 2 8 Bug Bear 20 5 10 10 15
    6. 6. Literal Values Literal values are the actual numeric qualities of an object’s properties. However, just because the numeric value of one object is twice the numeric value of the other, that doesn’t necessarily mean the object is twice as good! There may be other factors involved. Enemy Radius Normal Speed High Speed Damage Hit Points Womp Rat 5 3 5 1 5 Vorpal Bunny 10 10 20 2 8 Bug Bear 20 5 10 10 15
    7. 7. Relative Values It may be difficult to quantify properties early on in the design phase, so sometimes we use relative values to express how things should relate to each other. Enemy Radius Normal Speed High Speed Damage Hit Points Womp Rat LOW LOW LOW LOW LOW Vorpal Bunny MEDIUM HIGH HIGH LOW MEDIUM Bug Bear HIGH MEDIUM MEDIUM HIGH HIIGH
    8. 8. Pro Tips  Make separate charts for each system.  Make separate charts for each rule in the system.  Make charts to compare two or more properties you are trying to balance.
    9. 9. State Machine The more attributes and behaviors a component has, the less predictable its actions are.
    10. 10. Relationships Components interaction with each other can be fixed or fluid. Fluid relationships can based on:  Rules (such as state or proximity)  Player choices  Chance
    11. 11. Information Structure For players to make choices about how to proceed in a game, they need information about the state of the game objects and their current relationships to each other. How information is structured in a game has a large influence on how players come to their decisions.
    12. 12. Open Information An open structure emphasizes player knowledge and gives full disclosure on the game state. It will generally allow for more calculation- based strategy.
    13. 13. Hidden Information A hidden information structure does not reveal certain data to players about their opponents. Players do not receive certain data about their opponent and allows for strategy based on social cues and deception or bluffing.
    14. 14. Open and Hidden Information Many games have a mix of open and hidden information. The amount of information that players receive about their opponents’ states often changes during the course of the game. This provides an ever-shifting balance between strategy based on knowledge and strategy based on cunning and deceit.
    15. 15. Indirect Control Some games, like SimCity, do not allow players direct control over many game components. The player can change certain game attributes to see what impact that has on the behavior of game components not under their direct control.
    16. 16. Designer Perspective: Will Wright G4 Icons Episode #9: Will Wright
    17. 17. Reasons For Randomness  Variety and Surprises  Excitement and Suspense  Equalizing Players of Unequal Skill
    18. 18. Probability Using a 6-sided die, what’s the probability of rolling a one? A six? A seven? Not three?
    19. 19. One Die Probabilities Probability Of Something Not Happening = 1 – Probability of It Happening
    20. 20. One Die Probabilities What’s the odds of rolling a 1 or a 2? Hint: OR means ADD the probabilities.
    21. 21. Ways To Represent Probability
    22. 22. Probability Is Zero To One – That’s It!
    23. 23. Random Number Use Example #1 Random (6) Creature Encountered 1 Deer 2 Bear 3 Orc 4 Elf 5 Unicorn 6 Dragon
    24. 24. Random Number Use Example #2 Random (100) Creature Encountered 1-40 Deer 31-60 Bear 62-80 Orc 81-95 Elf 96-99 Unicorn 100 Dragon
    25. 25. Multiple Random Numbers Using two 6-sided dice, what’s the probability of rolling a one? A six? A twelve? Graph it!
    26. 26. Multiple Random Number Use Example
    27. 27. Gombauld’s Law Geeks Love Showing Off
    28. 28. Pro Tips  Use randomness to give players excitement, challenge, and opportunities to take interesting risks.  Don’t use so much that gives players feelings of hopelessness and lack of control.  When in doubt, ask a math geek for help with probability.
    29. 29. Economics Many games allow for the exchange of resources (money, gold, raw materials, manufactured goods, property) either within the system (such as with Monopoly) or among players (such as in World of Warcraft).  Faucets: Ways To Earn Money  Sinks: Ways To Spend Money
    30. 30. Pro Tips  Players should have enough ways to spend and earn money.
    31. 31. 1. Download GD1 5 Resources from the LAFS GD1 website Session 5 page 2. Create a Lemonade Stand game