LAFS Game Design 1 - Structural Elements

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Level 3 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Design 1 class.

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  • Videogames engage the eyes and ears with large amounts of art, visual effects, music and sound effects. All of these sensory experiences can add depth to a game and make it more immersive to the player.

    Role-playing games can tell engaging stories. Sometimes the most fun part of a game comes from experiencing a unique storyline and play sequence, meeting characters, and interacting with them as they overcome tough challenges or go on amazing adventures
  • How does the Magic Circle relate to Immersion?
    What elements of a game create an immersive experience?
  • Single-player: one player vs. game system. Most video games are of this player format.

    Head-to-head: one player vs. one player: Fighting games are an example.

    Cooperative: many players against vs. the game system. This is common in online games like World of Warcraft.

    One against many: one player vs. multiple players. In the Nintendo Land game Luigi’s Ghost Mansion for the Wii U game system, one player takes the role of a ghost trying to scare the other players while they work together to trap the ghost with their flashlights.

    Free-for-all: One player vs. one player vs. one player vs…. Perhaps the most common player structure for multiplayer games, this can be found everywhere from board games like Monopoly to the basic mode in most competitive first-person shooter games.

    Team Competition: Multiple players vs. multiple players (including pair vs. pair). This is found in most team sports games.




  • Why do they say that the creative process doesn't end when the game designer finishes their work?
    What is the role of the storyteller and the role of the listener in games? Why is it important to look at this?

  • What is the difference between depth and complexity?
    How does pace of play affect complexity?
    What is iirreducible complexity?
    How does complexity limit depth?
    What makes games elegant in terms of depth and complexity?
  • What were his trademarks? (Moving cabinets and realism)
    Where does his inspiration come from? (Things outside the game world)
    Why did programming interest him? (They were like Deo-blocks)
    First project he managed was Hang-On. What was its invitation to play? (Motorcycle)
    Out Run had car physics, suspension, breaking, skidding out . What structural elements are those? (Rules)
    What made Virtual Fighter distinctive from Street Fighter (3D)?
    How did he make Virtua Fighter seem so real? (Traveled to China to learn martial arts. Added strategy and tactics).
    How did the Sega home version tie into the arcade version. (People would practice their moves at home and then show them off their skills in the arcade).
    What was different about Shenmue? Wide-open world, with story. Full Reaction Eyes Entertainment.
    What happened with the Senmue series? Dreamcast didn't do well, and it bothered him that all his hard work went down with the Dreamcast.
    He actually did leave Sega after serving in a diminished role for a couple of years.
    Why is he called the Michaelangelo of the game industry? (Programming, art).
  • LAFS Game Design 1 - Structural Elements

    1. 1. Level 3 David Mullich Game Design 1 The Los Angeles Film School
    2. 2. Play Play can be thought of the freedom of movement within a more rigid structure. In the case of games:  Freedom of movement = player actions (mechanics)  Rigid structure = structural elements of a game
    3. 3. Structural Elements of a Game  Players  Objectives (Goals)  Procedures  Rules  Resources  Conflict  Boundaries  Outcomes
    4. 4. Invitation to Play One of the most important elements of a game is the invitation to play. It can take a number of different forms:  Start Button  Title Screen  Theme Music  Guitar Hero Controller
    5. 5. Immersion  Immersion creates the illusion that you are another person or in another place.  An immersive experience can be achieved through theme, story, character, graphics, and audio.
    6. 6. The Magic Circle The Magic Circle - How Games Transport Us to New Worlds - Extra Credits
    7. 7. Number of Players A game designed for one player is different than one designed for 2, 3 or 4 players. A game designed for a specific number of players is different from one for a variable number of players.
    8. 8. Player Format  Single Player vs. Game (Player vs. Environment)  Player vs. Player (Head-to-Head)  Multiple Individual Players vs. Game  Unilateral Multiplayer (One vs. Many)  Multilateral Competition (One vs. One vs. One… or Free-For-All)  Cooperative Play  Team Competition
    9. 9. Player Format Single Player vs. Game (Player vs. Environment)
    10. 10. Player Format Player vs. Player (Head to Head)
    11. 11. Player Format Multiple Individual Players vs. Game
    12. 12. Player Format One Player vs. Many Players (Unilateral Multiplayer)
    13. 13. Player Format One vs. One vs. One vs. One vs. One… (Multilateral Competition or Free-For-All)
    14. 14. Player Format One vs. One vs. One vs. One vs. One… (Multilateral Competition or Free-For-All)
    15. 15. Player Format Cooperative Play
    16. 16. Player Format Team vs. Team
    17. 17. Player Format
    18. 18. Levels of Engagement  Spectator Play: Risk is minimal  Participant Play: Active and involved, and the most directly rewarding  Transformational Play: A deep level of play that actually shapes and alters the player’s life.
    19. 19. Player Roles  Sports: Team Leader vs. Team Mate  Mastermind: Codemaker vs. Codebreaker  D&D: Fighter, Magic User, Cleric or Thief  MUD: Achievers, Socializers, Explorers or Killers
    20. 20. The Role of the Player Extra Credits: The Role of the Player
    21. 21. Objectives (or Goals) Objectives give players something to strive for. They define what players are attempting to accomplish within the rules of the game.
    22. 22. Categories of Objectives  Short-Term  Long-Term  Ultimate
    23. 23. Types of Objectives  Capture  Chase  Race  Alignment  Rescue  Escape  Solve  Outwit  Beat the Clock  Collect  Build  Destroy  Explore  Advance Story
    24. 24. Pro Tips Goals should be:  Clear  Concrete  Achievable  Challenging  Rewarding  Immediately replaced with new goals
    25. 25. Procedures Procedures are the methods of play and the actions players can take to achieve them. One way to think about procedures is: Who does what, when, where and how.
    26. 26. Types of Procedures  Set Up or Starting Action: How to put the game into play.  Progression: Ongoing procedures after the starting action.  Special Actions: Available conditional to other elements or game state.  Resolution, or Resolving Actions: Bring gameplay to a close.
    27. 27. Rules Rules define game objects and allowable actions by the players. In video games, rules can be explained in the manual or they can be explicit in the game itself.
    28. 28. Rules Defining Objects Video games can have objects made of a fairly complex set of variables that the player might not be aware of.
    29. 29. Rules Restricting Actions Rules restriction actions can fix loopholes in a game. Chess players are not allowed to place their king in check.
    30. 30. Rules Restricting Actions Restrictions might also keep a game from becoming unbalanced in favor of one of the players. Construction tree requirements in strategy games.
    31. 31. Rules Affecting Procedures When a player can’t answer question correctly, other players have a chance to answer. Used for gameplay variation.
    32. 32. Rules Affecting Procedures When the players run out of health, return them to the nearest waypoint. Used to get the game back on track.
    33. 33. Complexity vs. Depth Complexity is the amount of information (including rules) the player needs to keep track of to play the game. Depth is the number of choices a player can make in a game.
    34. 34. Complexity vs. Depth Extra Credits: Depth vs Complexity
    35. 35. Pro Tips  Games should be easy to learn but difficult to master.  Maximize depth (player choices) but minimize complexity (info to be remembered).  Leaving rules unstated or poorly communicated might make players feel confused or alienated.  Rules should be consistent with the game’s theme.
    36. 36. Resources Resources are assets that are used to accomplish the game’s goals. Managing resources and determining how and when to control player access to them is a key part of a game designer’s job.
    37. 37. Examples of Resources  Lives  Health  Currency  Actions  Energy  Mana  Time  Moves  Turns  Power-Ups  Building Materials  Combat Units  Inventory Items  Spells  Territory  Special Terrain  Information
    38. 38. Pro Tips Resources should be:  Useful  Scarce
    39. 39. Conflict Conflict keeps players from achieving their goals directly through rules, procedures, situations, and obstacles. Conflict makes a game more enjoyable by creating a sense of competition or achievement.
    40. 40. Sources of Conflict  Obstacles  Opponents  Puzzles  Traps  Dilemmas  Poor Odds  Incomplete Information
    41. 41. Skills Required To Resolve Conflict
    42. 42. Pro Tips  Skills required to resolve conflict should create the target player experience  Players should have opportunities to improve their skills  Conflict difficulty should correspond to player skill level
    43. 43. Boundaries Boundaries separate the game from everything that is not that game. These boundaries can:  Physical or conceptual  Discrete or continuous  2D or 3D  Have subspaces
    44. 44. Outcome The outcome of a game is its end state – usually a win, loss or sometimes, a draw. Zero Sum Games always have one winner (+1) and one loser (-1).
    45. 45. Outcome There are a number of ways to determine outcome, but the structure of the final outcome will always be related to the player interaction patterns and the objective.
    46. 46. Pro Tips  The outcome of a game must be uncertain to hold the attention of players.  Endless games must reward players in other ways to keep them playing.
    47. 47. 1. Draw three dots randomly on a piece of paper. (Choose a player to go first) 2. The first player draws a line from one dot to another dot. 3. Then that player draws a new dot anywhere on that line. 4. The second player also draws a line and a dot. • The new line must go from one dot to another, but no dot can have more than three lines coming out of it. • The new line cannot cross any other line. • A line can go from the dot back to the same dot so long as it doesn’t break the “no more than three lines rule.” 5. The player takes turns until one player cannot make a move. The last player to move is the winner.
    48. 48. 1. Players: How many? Any requirements? Special knowledge, roles, etc.? 2. Objective: What is the objective of the game? 3. Procedures: What are the required actions for play? 4. Rules: Are there any limits on player actions? Rules regarding behavior? 5. Conflict: What causes conflict in this game? 6. Boundaries: What are the boundaries of the game? Are they physical? Conceptual? 7. Outcome: What are the potential outcomes of the game?
    49. 49. Designer Perspective: Yu Suzuki G4 Icons Episode #22: Yu Suzuki
    50. 50. Pro Tips  Creative inventive and balanced maps  Give your player a variety of weapons  Give enemies interesting behaviors
    51. 51. 1. Download GD1 3 Resources from the LAFS GD1 website Session 3 page 2. Create a 1945 scrolling shooter game

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