Making a Game: Start with Constraints

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How to use constraints to design a game quickly and painlessly.

When you don't have a lot of time to make a game, you need to limit the scope of the game.

What kind of constraints do you need to consider and what kind of options do you have?

- Goals
- Audience
- Features
- Platform

Talk by @devilherdue on 9/9/2013 @hacknjill Build'n Play Park 1.

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Making a Game: Start with Constraints

  1. 1. Make Your Life Easier. Start with Constraints! Nicole Leffel @devilherdue
  2. 2. Hi! I’m Nicole. This time last year, I went from: ~10 Employees
  3. 3. Hi! I’m Nicole. This time last year, I went from: ~10 Employees ...more than 1000 times that.
  4. 4. Hi! I’m Nicole. This time last year, I went from: ~10 Employees ...more than 1000 times that. Well, sort of.
  5. 5. Hi! I’m Nicole. This time last year, I went from: ~10 Employees ...more than 1000 times that. Well, sort of.Thanks Naomi!
  6. 6. 2013: Six New Games QUANTITY
  7. 7. 2013: Six New Games QUANTITY SCOPE
  8. 8. 1) Goal Constraint What do you want the game to do?
  9. 9. 1) Goal Constraint What do you want the game to do? • Make money?
  10. 10. 1) Goal Constraint What do you want the game to do? • Make money? • Teach the player something?
  11. 11. 1) Goal Constraint What do you want the game to do? • Make money? • Teach the player something? • Change a player’s behavior?
  12. 12. 1) Goal Constraint What do you want the game to do? • Make money? • Teach the player something? • Change a player’s behavior? • Just be fun?
  13. 13. 1) Goal Constraint What do you want the game to do? • Make money? • Teach the player something? • Change a player’s behavior? • Just be fun? Our Goal: Build a game that encourages players to engage with the brand.
  14. 14. 2) Audience Constraint Who do you want to play your game?
  15. 15. 2) Audience Constraint Who do you want to play your game? Conventional “wisdom”... • Women: Casual Puzzle Games • Men: Casino Card Games
  16. 16. 2) Audience Constraint Who do you want to play your game? Conventional “wisdom”... • Women: Casual Puzzle Games • Men: Casino Card Games DO NOT GET TRAPPED HERE.
  17. 17. 2) Audience Constraint Who do you want to play your game? Conventional “wisdom”... • Women: Casual Puzzle Games • Men: Casino Card Games Our Audience: Changes with brands, but generally more female skewed. DO NOT GET TRAPPED HERE.
  18. 18. 3) Feature Constraint What can’t your game live without?
  19. 19. 3) Feature Constraint What can’t your game live without? • Location-based Play • Sync Multiplayer • Accelerometer Controls • Branching Narrative • Realistic Physics • Procedural Generation
  20. 20. 3) Feature Constraint What can’t your game live without? • Location-based Play • Sync Multiplayer • Accelerometer Controls • Branching Narrative • Realistic Physics • Procedural GenerationMake a big ole list. Then pick a couple.
  21. 21. 3) Feature Constraint What can’t your game live without? • Location-based Play • Sync Multiplayer • Accelerometer Controls • Branching Narrative • Realistic Physics • Procedural GenerationMake a big ole list. Then pick a couple. Our Features: We wanted a player vs player game that could be easily re-skinned.
  22. 22. 4) Platform Constraint What platform does your game need to be on?
  23. 23. 4) Platform Constraint What platform does your game need to be on? • Web-based • Tabletop • Mobile • Console and PC • Physical Space
  24. 24. 4) Platform Constraint What platform does your game need to be on? • Web-based • Tabletop • Mobile • Console and PC • Physical Space Our Platform: We wanted a mobile game and felt confident going with iOS only.
  25. 25. 4) Platform Constraint What platform does your game need to be on? • Web-based • Tabletop •Mobile!!! • Console and PC • Physical Space Our Platform: We wanted a mobile game and felt confident going with iOS only.
  26. 26. Our Constraints Goal: Have players engage with USA brand. Audience: Female skewing, but not too gendered. Features: Multiplayer and easily reskinnable. Platform: Mobile.
  27. 27. Our Constraints Goal: Have players engage with USA brand. > Solution: Card decks for each show. Audience: Female skewing, but not too gendered. Features: Multiplayer and easily reskinnable. Platform: Mobile.
  28. 28. Our Constraints Goal: Have players engage with USA brand. > Solution: Card decks for each show. Audience: Female skewing, but not too gendered. > Solution: Familiar casino-like game without casino-like graphics. Features: Multiplayer and easily reskinnable. Platform: Mobile.
  29. 29. Our Constraints Goal: Have players engage with USA brand. > Solution: Card decks for each show. Audience: Female skewing, but not too gendered. > Solution: Familiar casino-like game without casino-like graphics. Features: Multiplayer and easily reskinnable. > Solution: Game only playable with other people. Card assets are super easy to swap. Platform: Mobile.
  30. 30. Our Constraints Goal: Have players engage with USA brand. > Solution: Card decks for each show. Audience: Female skewing, but not too gendered. > Solution: Familiar casino-like game without casino-like graphics. Features: Multiplayer and easily reskinnable. > Solution: Game only playable with other people. Card assets are super easy to swap. Platform: Mobile. > Solution: We went iOS only to focus on animations.
  31. 31. Our Team Created... USA Character Cards (available in the App Store!)
  32. 32. Four Main Constraints 1) Goal 2) Audience 3) Feature(s) 4) Platform
  33. 33. Four Main Constraints 1) Goal 2) Audience 3) Feature(s) 4) Platform Questions? :) Nicole Leffel @devilherdue

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