LAFS Game Design 6 - Conceptualization

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Level 6 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Design 1 class.

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  • Influenced by cars, games, theme parks.
    First game, programmer of Girl's Garden for SG1000.
    Sonic came about in reaction to Mario, and competition between Sega and Nintendo. Worked with character designer Oshima. Wanted it to be playful, and built characters to match this. Also wanted a smooth surface that the character can run fast on -- in contrast to Mario and jumping.
    Character that conveys sense of speed and has attitude. Mari was just an old man.
    Big success- and a good mascot for Sega.
    Consciously decided to go for the teenage market.

    Nights became a critical hit but commercial disappointment. Art as well as entertainment.
    Burning Rescue - because a lot of kids want to be firefighter.
    ChuChu Rocket - Morocca shaking character
    Phantasy Star Online - First MMORPG for consoles. Lowered bar for broader audience.
    Although hardware sales stopped, continues making software.
  • LAFS Game Design 6 - Conceptualization

    1. 1. Level 6 David Mullich Game Design 1 The Los Angeles Film School
    2. 2. Let’s deconstruct a game most of us have played. Analyze:  Player Experience: Aesthetics  Foundational Elements: Mechanics  Structural Elements: Procedures, Rules, Objectives, Resources, Conflict, Outcomes  Dramatic Elements: Challenge, Premise, Character, Story  Dynamic Elements: Objects, Properties, Behaviors, Relationships Review of Past Concepts
    3. 3. Playcentric Design Process Involving the player in your design process from conception to completion.  Setting Player Experience Goals  Prototyping and Playtesting  Iteration Tracy Fullerton
    4. 4. Prototyping and Playtesting 1. Brainstorming 2. Physical Prototype 3. Presentation 4. Software Prototype 5. Design Document 6. Production 7. Quality Assurance
    5. 5. Step 1: Brainstorming  Set player experience goals  Come up with game concepts or mechanics  Narrow down the list to the top three  Write up short, one page description of each  Test your written concepts with potential players
    6. 6. Step 2: Physical Prototype  Create a playable prototype using pen and paper and other craft materials  Playtest the physical prototype  Modify physical prototype until it meets player experience goals  Write 3-6 page gameplay treatment
    7. 7. Step 3: Presentation  Presentation is often made to secure funds to hire the prototyping team  Your presentation should include demo artwork and a solid gameplay treatment  If you do not get funding, get feedback from your funding sources about what to modify or start over again
    8. 8. Step 4: Software Prototypes  Create rough computer models of gameplay  Playtest the prototype  Modify prototype until it achieves your user experience goals
    9. 9. Step 5: Design Documentation  Use the notes you’ve been taking during prototyping (you have been taking notes, haven’t you?!) to create a first draft design document  Work with team members to make sure the design is achievable and correctly described in the design document  Some designers now prefer creating a wiki to a static design document
    10. 10. Step 6: Production  Staff up and create real artwork and programming  Don’t lose sight of the playcentric process during production! Continue playtesting!  If the designer waits until production to really start designing the game, it can lead to all sorts of problems!
    11. 11. Step 7: Quality Assurance  Quality Assurance, or QA, is the testing of your game by professional testers  Make sure your gameplay is solid before your game goes into QA!
    12. 12. Your Class Project 1. Write A Concept Proposal 2. Prototype The Core Mechanic 3. Add Structural Elements 4. Add Dramatic Elements 5. Balance the Dynamic Elements
    13. 13. Ideas All games start out as ideas. Some games come from one powerful idea, but most are formed by combining many ideas to create a unique whole. It’s very possible that initial ideas will be (or should be) abandoned, and lots of new ideas will be considered during the process.
    14. 14. Inspiration Ideas don’t come out of thin air. Game designers are influenced by personal interests and hobbies. Spend a significant part of every day doing something other than playing games:  Read a book  Go see a play  Listen to music  Exercise, draw or sketch  Study a new language  Volunteer at a neighborhood organization
    15. 15. The Lens of Infinite Inspiration Stop looking at your game idea, and stop looking at games like it. Instead, look everywhere else.  What is the experience I have had in my life that I would like to share with others?  In what small way can I capture that experience and put it in my game? Jesse Schell, Lens #11
    16. 16. Game Designer’s Notebook Many designers carry a journal for jotting down their ideas and analyzing games they’ve played.
    17. 17. Stages of Creativity Psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the classic stages of creativity:  Preparation: Becoming interested in a topic  Incubation: Period where ideas “churn around” in your subconscious  Insight: The “aha!” moment, where an idea comes together  Evaluation: Deciding whether the insight is worth pursuing  Elaboration: Fleshing out the idea
    18. 18. Elaboration on Elaboration Having an idea for a game does not simply mean saying, “I want to make a game about studying Chinese!” Games are formal systems, and an idea for a game usually includes some aspect of that system. As you work through your idea, elaborating on its unique elements, it might turn out no one would recognize your language interests in the final experience.
    19. 19. Designing For Innovation  Design games with unique play mechanics – think beyond the existing genres of play  Appeal to new players – people who have different tastes and skills than hardcore players  Try to solve difficult design problems like:  Integration of story and gameplay  Deeper empathy for characters in games  Creating emotionally rich gameplay  Discovering the relationships between games and learning  Ask difficult questions about what games are, what they can be, and what their impact is on us individually and culturally
    20. 20. Designer Perspective: Yuji Naka G4 Icons Episode #37: Yuji Naka
    21. 21. Brainstorming A group creativity technique to find a solution to a specific problem by gathering a list of ideas spontaneously contributed by its members. In games, brainstorming is used to generate a large number of ideas about game's concept, mechanics, setting, characters, etc.
    22. 22. Brainstorming Done Right Brainstorming Done Right!
    23. 23. Brainstorming Osborn’s method of brainstorming has four general rules:  Focus on quantity  Withhold criticism  Welcome unusual ideas  Combine and improve ideasAlex F. Osborn
    24. 24. Brainstorming Best Practices  State a Challenge  No Criticism  Vary The Method  Playful Environment  Put It On The Wall  Go For Lots of Ideas  Don’t Take Too Long
    25. 25. Six Creative Ways To Brainstorm Six Creative Ways To Brainstorm Ideas
    26. 26. Idea Methods  Create Numbered Lists  Index Cards  Mind Map  Stream of Consciousness  Change Your Perspective  Change Your Environment  Mix and Match Categories  Research  Surrealist Games
    27. 27. Exquisite Corpse  Write an article and an adjective on a piece of paper  Fold the paper to conceal it and pass it to their neighbor  Write a noun on the the paper you were handed, fold it, and pass it to your neighbor  Repeat with a verb; article and adjective; finally repeat with a noun  Everyone unfolds their paper and reads the poems they are holding
    28. 28. Now brainstorm your own idea! Break into two groups of 3-6 and brainstorm some game ideas. The challenge is to come up with ideas for games you can make with GameMaker and can be done by the end of the term. Try to generate 100 ideas in 60 minutes.
    29. 29. Reasons To Reject A Game Idea  Technical Feasibility  Market Opportunity  Artistic Considerations  Design Experience  Innovation Needs  Marketing Goals  Business and Cost Restrictions
    30. 30. Editing Session Hold an Editing Session on a different day than your Brainstorming Session. Edit your list down to the top 5 to 10 ideas and discuss each thoroughly. Be positive and discuss the strengths of each idea. Narrow your list down to 3 ideas and schedule brainstorming sessions to focus on features and define the creative center of your game.
    31. 31. Take your list of 100 game ideas you came up with earlier today and narrow it down to your group’s 10 favorites.
    32. 32. Game-Defining Concepts A “game-defining” concept is as a component, mechanic, or other design element that is so closely connected to the identity of the game that it is inevitably talked about when the game is brought up.  “King” mechanic in Checkers  Letter-tile combinations in Scrabble  Polyhedral dice in Dungeons & Dragons  Running and gunning in Doom
    33. 33. Game-Defining Concepts What makes a concept “game defining”?  Presenting clever, elegant, or unusual resolutions to in-game issues.  Showing information in a concise, centralized, or attractive manner.  Creating tension, or acting as a game’s primary demand for strategy.  Taking common elements and implementing them in an original manner.
    34. 34. Creative Center Your game’s creative center consists of two elements:  The Razor: Determines which features belong and don’t belong  The Slogan: A catchy phrase that gets potential players (and the marketing department) interested in your game
    35. 35. Come up with a Razor and Slogan for:  Grand Theft Auto  Call of Duty  World of Warcraft  Candy Crush
    36. 36. Take your list of 10 game ideas you came up with earlier today and narrow it down to your 3-6 favorites (one for each member of your group). For each one, come up with:  Game Title  Core mechanic (action/purpose)  Razor (statement defining appropriate game features)  Slogan (statement describing the game’s play value) Present your ideas to class, and the class will choose their favorite from each group.
    37. 37. Elevator Pitch An elevator pitch is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a product and its value. The name "elevator pitch" reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes. The term itself comes from the scenario of accidentally meeting someone important in an elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, then the conversation will continue after the elevator ride or end in the exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.
    38. 38. Elevator Pitch Structure for Games Game Title is a game genre set in premise for target player. It features core game mechanics that bring play value. Unlike competition, this game unique differentiation.
    39. 39. Example Pitch Somehow it always falls to Mustachio to rally his friends for their many adventures. Run and jump through a side- scrolling world made of and inhabited by blocks. With mustaches. A world full of action, puzzles and arbitrary danger that Mustachio faces boldly with his mustache-fueled power to make block duplicates of himself. What? Cloning AND mustaches?! You betcha!
    40. 40. Tips For A Successful Pitch  Get In The Door  Show You Are Serious  Be Organized  Be Passionate!!!  Assume Their Point Of View  Design The Pitch  Know All The Details  Exude Confidence  Be Flexible  Rehearse  Get Them To Own It  Follow Up Jesse Schell
    41. 41. Storyboarding The most powerful way to explain your new features is to storyboard them.
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