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Final assignment presentation by Wilhelm Person for the course Introduction to Game Design.

Final assignment presentation by Wilhelm Person for the course Introduction to Game Design.

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Person Wilhelm Slides Person Wilhelm Slides Presentation Transcript

  • Game Analysis: Desktop Tower Defence Wilhelm Person wilper-8@student.ltu.se May 23, 2009
  • Introduction During the course I studied the Flash game Desktop Tower Defence, check it out at www.handdrawngames.com. My final assignment investigated the properties of causal and (hard)core games and how they apply to Desktop Tower Defence.
  • Causal games - Jonathan Greechan’s factors Low barrier to entry or easy to learn game play. Simple controls, point mouse and left click for most causal games on the PC platform. Forgiving game play, allow the player to make some mistakes without immediately losing the game. Carefully crafted ramp-up in game play complexity that guides the player into the intricacies of the game. Inclusive rather than exclusive themes, gender neutral, non-offending themes rarely involving overt violence or sexuality. Provide fun and relaxation , rather than the adrenaline or sensual stimulation typically served by core games. Lower production budget than core games. Short incremental play that does not force the player to commit to extended periods of time to play.
  • Core games - Ernest Adams Finding similar characteristics for core games was harder, but Ernest Adams characterises the core gamer with: “Well, they play games a lot. A lot. For core gamers, game software is their favorite entertainment medium, surpassing television and the movies. Core gamers spend a great deal of their leisure time playing games, and if they’re not playing, they’re reading magazines about games, surfing the web for information on games, or hanging around the game store. They write walkthroughs and build websites devoted to their favorite games. They discuss them on bulletin boards.”
  • Core games - Al Yang Al Yang offers a different perspective on core gaming: “The ’hardcore’ level of games are born from the investment of the players not the game itself, for instance a casual game can become a hardcore game not from a change in the mechanics of the game itself, but from the inherent energy invested in the game by the player. For instance, something as simple as Tetris can be both a ’casual’ and ’hardcore’ game depending on the investment of the player.”
  • Tower defence games Luke Mitchell explains tower defence games with: “Tower Defense games are all about... well, defending with towers. Specifically, setting up guns, turrets and other types of defense towers to try and prevent attacking enemies from successfully destroying their target.” The genre also includes games where the objective is to prevent the enemies (creeps) from escaping. They enter the play field and the player’s task is to stop them from leaving it again. There is usually an economy mechanic where the player gets more funds for killing enemies and gets options on what kind of towers to build, and possibly to invent new towers or upgrade existing ones. The first tower defence game was Rampart, then similar games became popular as mods on other games.
  • Desktop Tower Defence Desktop Tower Defence was one of the first Flash games in the tower defence genre. Basing the game on Flash technology exposed it to a large segment of causal gamers. It was a huge success and it had over 12 million plays in two months when it was released. The player gets to build several different kinds of towers. There are several different kinds of enemies, some have special abilities, like speed, flight or invulnerability to certain weapons. The objective of the game is to keep enemies from escaping the play field. The game has a very friendly feel with cheerful sounds and cartoonish graphics.
  • Results Desktop Tower Defence is clearly causal in it’s nature, matching all the properties of a causal game given by Greechan. But it has also attracted a core following, there are strategy guides online, movies on YouTube, forums and a multitude of articles and blog-posts on the game. Some factors that have contributed to it’s success in core gamer circles are the many different ways to compete in the game. The game has it’s own forum right on the site with the game. There is also a scoreboard where players can compare their results to those of other players.
  • Conclusions The assignment started out with the objective of classifying Desktop Tower Defence as either a causal or core game. But this had to be abandoned since it is popular in both categories of players. It would be interesting to compare it to other games in the tower defence genre and to see what features exactly that have drawn in causal and core gamers. There could be simple measures that a game designer can take to make sure a game is appreciated by both core and causal gamers, giving it a wider appeal.