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LAFS Game Design 6 - Conceptualization


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

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

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  • 1. Session 6 David Mullich Game Design 1 The Los Angeles Film School
  • 2. Designer Perspective: Yuji Naka G4 Icons Episode #37: Yuji Naka
  • 4. 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.
  • 5. 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
  • 6. The Lens of Infinite Inspiration To use this lens, stop looking at your game, 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
  • 7. The Lens of the Problem Statement To use this lens, think of your game as the solution to a problem:  What problem, or problems, am I trying to solve?  Have I been making assumptions about this game that really have nothing to do with its true purpose?  Is a game really the best solution? Why?  How will I be able to tell if the problem is solved? Jesse Schell, Lens #12
  • 8. Game Designer’s Notebook Many designers carry a journal for jotting down their ideas and analyzing games they’ve played.
  • 9. 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 subconcious  Insight: The “aha!” moment, where an idea comes together  Evaluation: Deciding whether the insight is worth pursuing  Elaboration: Fleshing out the idea
  • 10. 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.
  • 11. 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
  • 12. 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.
  • 14. The Core Mechanic A core mechanic encapsulates what the spirit of a game is really about at its heart. Usually it is the action that the player uses most frequently in the game.  Core Action: The thing you actually do in the game  Core Purpose: The reason why you are doing it
  • 15. The Core Mechanic Game Core Action Core Purpose Chess Position pieces to capture opponent’s pieces Candy Crush Match 3 pieces to destroy them Tetris Rotate pieces to create lines Super Smash Bros Attack to knock opponent back Doom Run and shoot to kill enemies World of Warcraft Fulfill quests to improve character abilities
  • 16.  Write down the names of an activity of any kind.  Come up with a verb, based on this activity, that you think would make a good basis for a game.  Identify:  Core Action  Core Purpose
  • 18. 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.
  • 19. Brainstorming Done Right Brainstorming Done Right!
  • 20. Brainstorming Osborn’s method of brainstorming has four general rules:  Focus on quantity  Withhold criticism  Welcome unusual ideas  Combine and improve Alex F. Osborn ideas
  • 21. 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
  • 22. Six Creative Ways To Brainstorm Six Creative Ways To Brainstorm Ideas
  • 23. Idea Methods  List Creation  Index Cards  Mind Map  Stream of Consciousness  Shout It Out  Research  Surrealist Games
  • 24. 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
  • 25. 15 More Tips  The Write Answer  Write or Type?  Sketch  Toys  Change Your Perspective  Immerse Yourself  Crack Jokes  Spare No Expense  The Writing on the Wall  The Space Remembers  Write Everything  Number Your Lists  Mix and Match Categories  Talk to Yourself  Find a Partner Jesse Schell
  • 26. 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.
  • 28. Reasons To Reject A Game Idea  Technical Feasibility  Market Opportunity  Artistic Considerations  Design Experience  Innovation Needs  Marketing Goals  Business and Cost Restrictions
  • 29. The Lens of the Eight Filters  Does this game feel right?  Will the intended audience like this game enough?  Is this a well-designed game?  Is the game novel enough?  Will the game sell?  Is it technically possible to make this game?  Does this game meet our social and community goals?  Do the playtesters enjoy this game enough? Jesse Schell, Lens #13
  • 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.
  • 32. 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
  • 33. Come up with a Razor and Slogan for:  Grand Theft Auto  Call of Duty  World of Warcraft  Candy Crush
  • 34. Let’s deconstruct a game most of us have played Analyze:  Formal Elements: Procedures, Rules, Objectives, Resources, Conflict, Outcomes  Dramatic Elements: Challenge, Premise, Character, Story  Dynamic Elements: Objects, Properties, Behaviors, Relationships
  • 35. Focus on the Formal Elements  What is the conflict in my game?  What are the rules and procedures?  What actions do my players take and when?  Are there turns? How do they work?  How many players can play?  How long does a game take to resolve?  What’s the working title?  Who is the target audience?  What platform will the game run on?  What restrictions or opportunities does that environment have?
  • 36. And Then Consider…  Define each player’s goal  What does a player need to do to win?  Write down the single most important type of player action in the game.  Describe how it functions  Write down the procedures and rules in outline format  Only focus on the most critical rules  Leave out the other rules until later  Map out how a typical turn works. (Using a flow-chart is the most effective way to visualize this)  Define how many players can play  How do these players interact with one another? Tracy Fullerton
  • 38. 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 a business card or a scheduled meeting.
  • 39. Elevator Pitch Structure for Games Game Title is a game genre for target player. It features core game mechanics that bring play value. Unlike competition, this game unique differentiation.
  • 40. 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!
  • 41. 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
  • 42. The Lens of the Pitch  Why are you pitching this game to this client?  What will you consider “a successful pitch”?  What’s in it for the people pitching to you?  What do the people you are pitching to need to know about your game? Jesse Schell, Lens #95
  • 43. Storyboarding The most powerful way to explain your new features is to storyboard them.
  • 44. Game Pitches and Other Projects Extra Credits: Mailbag #4