LAFS Game Design 1 - The Player Experience


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

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  • 3 keys of being a successful entrepreneur:
    Devotion: Devotion is a word usually reserved for spirituality or an athlete’s dedication.  You need to be disciplined about what you do, devoted to the cause of making your career succeed.
    Persistence: Being persistent is a habit that will allow you to be one of the rare people not to rely on luck, but to create their own luck. Luck is opportunity X preparation.
    Reinvention: Re-invention results in new habits. Habits are learned behaviors that become the way you do things. Maintaining GOOD habits forces you to constantly try to adapt, change, watch for opportunity, watch your competition, and maybe most of all, watch yourself getting settled into doing things the same way just because you are comfortable doing that. Get used to getting OUTSIDE of your zone of comfort.

  • He who has the gold makes the rules!
  • Game designers take on many different roles:

    Builders make worlds to explore.
    Engineers make systems and mechanics that link together into a complete picture
    Scientists test new ways to improve the play experience
    Teachers teach players what to do and how the rules of the game work
    Dreams create new, unique, amazing experiences.
  • LAFS Game Design 1 - The Player Experience

    1. 1. Session 1 David Mullich Game Design 1 The Los Angeles Film School
    2. 2. Who Am I?  David Mullich   @David_Mullich   Instructor at LAFS  Game Designer at Electric Sheep Game Consulting  Co-creator of Boy Scouts of America Game Design Merit Badge
    3. 3. How to Succeed in LAFS  Be your own Career Entrepreneur  3 Keys:  Devotion  Persistence  Re-invention
    4. 4. How To Succeed in Game Design 1  Show up for class  Turn in the assignments on time  Turn in all parts of the assignments  Do what the assignment requires  Manage the scope of your work  Remember, this is a design class, not a programming class
    5. 5. “I just want to do the minimum to pass this class” Classes are not kidney stones. If you think about them in these terms, maybe you’re on the wrong career path?
    6. 6. Creativity Within Contraints If you can’t be bothered to:  be creative  strive for originality even within established norms or constraints  look beyond your initial idea  actually enjoy and actively want to do the above Then get used to the phrase “Would you like fries with that?”
    7. 7. Impressions Your colleagues and faculty will most likely be your doorway into the industry. How do you want them to think of you? Leave a professional and lasting impression. They’re your first referees, either on paper or via word of mouth.
    8. 8. Drop Box You will be invited to the instructor’s DropBox folder “Game Design 1”. There is one subfolder for each class assignment (for example, “Assignment 1”). Save each class game or written assignment into a subfolder with your name. For example:  Dropbox  Game Design 1 ○ Assignment 1  Laura Croft game.exe report.pdf
    9. 9. Make It Easy To Review Your Work Sending bosses or potential clients or instructors files in a format they can’t open will just make them angry! And you don’t want angry people evaluating you! So, always send documents in PDF format! And send game executables in EXE format!
    10. 10. The Golden Rule
    11. 11. Send an email to from your lafilm email account
    12. 12. Designer Perspective: Warren Spector G4 Icons Episode #30: Warren Spector
    13. 13. Players vs. Designers Players want the fun of playing a game as well as the enjoyment of being with their friends. Game designers are focused on how the game works:  How do you make it, and how to you break it?  What are the different elements and how do they fit together?  What skill level does a player need to successfully play and win?  Does each player have an equal chance of winning and a fair chance of experiencing all that the game has to offer?
    14. 14. Roles  Builder  Engineer  Scientist  Dreamer  Teacher  But NOT Boss
    15. 15. Main Role The game designer’s main role is to be an advocate for the player. In some ways, designing a game is like being the host of a party. It’s your job to get everything ready and then open your doors to guests to see what happens.
    16. 16. Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 16 - So You Want To Be A Game Designer (7:36)
    17. 17. Discussion  Why is communication the game designer’s core skill?  What other skills does a game designer need?  Why is “idea guy” a poor definition for what a game designer does?  Why shouldn’t game designers get too attached to their ideas?  What is the number one cause of failed games?
    18. 18. A game is FUN! Duh! So what’s fun?
    19. 19. The Lens of Fun Fun is desirable in nearly every game, although sometimes fun defies analysis.  What parts of my game are fun? Why?  What parts need to be more fun? Jesse Schell, Lens #3
    20. 20. Play Play can be thought of the freedom of movement within a more rigid structure. In the case of games, the constraints of the rules and procedures are the rigid structure, and the play within that structure is the freedom of players to act within those rules – the opportunity for emergent experience and personal expression.
    21. 21. The Nature of Play  It helps us learn skills and acquire knowledge  It lets us socialize  It assists us in problem solving  It allows us to relax  It makes us see things differently  If induces laughter and fun, which is good for our health But it can also be serious – a process of experimentation, pushing boundaries and learning new things.
    22. 22. Fundamental Types of Play Free-form play Rule-based play Competitive play Unregulated Athletics (foot racing, wrestling) Boxing, billiards, football, chess Chance-based play Counting-out rhymes Betting, roulette, lotteries Make-believe play Children’s initiations, masks, disguises Theater, spectacles in general Vertigo play Children “whirling”, horseback riding, waltzing Skiing, mountain climbing, tightrope walking
    23. 23. The Lens of Pleasure  What pleasures does your game give to players? Can these be improved?  What pleasures are missing from your experience? Why? Can they be added? Jesse Schell, Lens #17
    24. 24. Aesthetics of Play Game Designers Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek divide aesthetics within games into 8 categories:  Sensation: Game as sense-pleasure  Fantasy: Game as make-believe  Narrative: Game as unfolding story  Challenge: Game as obstacle course  Fellowship: Game as social framework  Discovery: Game as uncharted territory  Expression: Game as soap box  Submission (or Abnegation): Game as mindless pastime
    25. 25. Aesthetics of Play Extra Credits: Aesthetics of Play (9:41)
    26. 26. Discussion  What are Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics?  Which does a Game Designer handle first when creating a game?  What does a player experience first when playing a game?  So what does Extra Credits think Game Designers should focus on?
    27. 27. Layers Between Game And Player
    28. 28. Player Experience A game designer does not create games. A game designer creates experiences.  What experience do I want the player to have?  What is essential to that experience?  How can my game capture that experience? Jesse Schell, Lens #1
    29. 29. What Experience Do I Want The Player To Have?  Immersion: the illusion that you are another person or in another place.  Novelty: New or unexpected experiences.  Challenge: meaningful “work” where the player can make clear progress and has incentive to try again if s/he fails.
    30. 30. What Experience Do I Want The Player To Have?  Stimulation: the emotional element of play: victory, defeat, humor, suspense.  Harmony: Player-to-player engagement.  Threat: when the player feels tension, danger, provocation and humiliation.
    31. 31. What Is Essential To That Experience?  Immersion: premise, environment, character, story.  Novelty: fantasy, artistry, surprises.  Challenge: difficulty, order, obligations, achievements.  Simulation: pace, thrills, joy, multiplayer.  Harmony: competitiveness, trust, glory, integrity, help.  Threat: tension, gloom, danger.
    32. 32. How can I capture that experience?  Game mechanics  Goals  Obstacles  Story  Art  Audio
    33. 33. The Lens of Endogenous Value Think about your player’s feelings about the items, objectives, and scoring in your game.  What is valuable to the players in my game?  How can I make it more valuable to them?  What is the relationship between value in the game and the motivations for playing it? Jesse Schell, Lens #5
    34. 34. Let’s Have Fun Making A Game!
    35. 35. 1. Download Game Maker 8.1 for Windows Installer from from the LAFS GD1 website Session 1 page 2. Download GD1 1 Resources from the LAFS GD1 website Session 1 page 3. Create a Bounce The Ball game
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