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LAFS PREPRO Session 1 - Brainstorming and Game Pitches
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LAFS PREPRO Session 1 - Brainstorming and Game Pitches


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Design Lecture for Session 1 of The Los Angeles Film School's Game PreProduction course.

Design Lecture for Session 1 of The Los Angeles Film School's Game PreProduction course.

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  • A game begins with a concept. Most,everybody already has lots of ideas for games they want to work on. And not just the designers. Programmers, managers, artists, executives, testers, marketers, salesmen - they ALL have game ideas. Perhaps they all chat up their ideas, perhaps some of them have written concept papers to present their ideas.Some examples of possible sources of game concepts:Brilliant inspiration - a designer or artist or someone on the team has an idea for a game, usually one that's revolutionary and not yet done to death in the marketplace. Most industry outsiders probably think this is the main source of game ideas, but that ain't necessarily so. The license hook - Perhaps the game company has acquired the license for (the rights to make a game based upon) a movie or personality or book or whatever. Star Wars, Tony Hawk, Hollywood Squares. Jackass, Junkyard Wars, Battlebots, Martha Stewart. (Okay, so nobody has made a Martha Stewart game yet, but you get the idea.) If the company has spent a lot of money to acquire a license, you can bet that they're going to want to make a game based on that license. The technology hook - Perhaps the engineers have spent a lot of time, energy, and money to create some game technology (an engine or a way of making a game machine do something new, like water or fog). Perhaps the decision makers decide they want to make a game that takes advantage of this technology. Filling a gap - The company's marketing wizards might analyze the market and decide that there is a genre or platform that is under-represented (either by the industry as a whole, or by the company itself) and that it would be a good idea to make that kind of game. Following coattails - The executives look with awe upon the success and profitability of a particular game (made and published by another company), and decide to ride the tailwind of that game by making something similar. Orders from above - Perhaps the boss gets an idea for a game (it might be his pet idea or it might just be a passing fancy), and the designer is set to work on the details. Sequels - self-explanatory.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Session 1 David Mullich Concept Workshop - Game PreProduction The Los Angeles Film School
    • 2. 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.
    • 3. Inspiration Ideas don’t come out of thing air. Game designers are influenced by personal interests an 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
    • 4. Game Designer’s Notebook Many designers carry a notebook for jotting down their ideas.
    • 5. Game Idea Sources  Brilliant Inspiration  Licensing Hook  Technology Hook  Filling A Gap  Following Coattails  Orders From Above  Sequels
    • 6. Brainstorming A group creativity technique to find a conclusion 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.
    • 7. Brainstorming Osborn’s method of brainstorming has four general rules:  Focus on quantity  Withhold criticism  Welcome unusual ideas  Combine and improve ideasAlex F. Osborn
    • 8. Advice About Ideas  Come up with more ideas than you’ll need  Never rule out an idea as bad until you’ve tested it  Never accept an idea as good until you’ve tested it  Do not get emotionally attached to ideas
    • 9. Pitch Presentation A pitch is a concise verbal (and sometimes visual) presentation for a film, TV series, or game, made by the producer to an executive in the hope of getting the financing to do development. "Pitch" is a contraction of "sales pitch."
    • 10. 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
    • 11. 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.
    • 12. Elevator Pitch Structure for Games Game Title is a game genre for target player. It features game mechanics that bring play value. Unlike competition, this game unique differentiation.
    • 13. 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!
    • 14.  Receive 3 game mechanics from your instructor  Brainstorm a game using these three mechanics.  Present an elevator pitch for your game, including:  Game Title  Target Player  Game Genre  3 Game Mechanics  What Makes It Fun (Play Value)  Competition  What Makes It Unique
    • 15. Concept Pitch vs. Design Doc Concept Proposal Game Design Documents PowerPoint Slideshow Wikispaces Wiki Summary Details Sizzle Steak
    • 16. Greenlighting To green-light is to give permission to go ahead to move forward with a project. The term is a reference to a green traffic signal, indicating "go ahead". In the context of the game industry, to green-light something is to formally approve its production finance, and to commit to this financing, thereby allowing the project to move forward from pre-production to production.
    • 17.  Create Game Design Document Wiki pages  Overview  Ideal Play Session  Inspirational Media  Game Play  Systems  User Interface  Narrative and World  Game Levels  Create Technical Design Document Wiki pages  Controls  Camera  Character  Main Game Loop  Staff  Risks  Create Art Document Wiki Pages  Color Palette  Mood Board  Environments  Characters  Props  Music  Art Assets  Audio Assets
    • 18.  Find 3 games to use as inspiration  Create Inspirational Media Page Wiki Page  For each of the 3 games 1. Screenshot 2. Link 3. Genre 4. Game Mechanics 5. Goals 6. Resources 7. Obstacles 8. Play Value (What Makes It Fun) 9. What Inspires You About This Game