Various Topics on Game Design
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  • 1. Various Topics on Game Design Martin Ruskov Blender for Game Artists Aug-24, TOSMI2009
  • 2. Game Development
  • 3. Sample Game Design Document ● Game overview – Game concept – Target audience ● Gameplay and mechanics ● World, story and characters ● Levels ● Interface ● Everything else
  • 4. The Player
  • 5. Play In addition to providing structured environments for challenge and achievement, games can also provide opportunities for players to use imagination, fantasy, inspiration, social skills, or other more playful types of interaction to achieve objectives within the game space. The play might be serious, like the pomp and circumstance surrounding a Grand Master match in chess, or it might be charged and aggressive, like the marathon play environment of a Quake tournament. It might also be an outlet for fantasy, like the rich online worlds of EverQuest and Dark Age of Camelot. Designing for the type of play that will appeal to your players is another key consideration for keeping players engaged with the game. – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 6. Types of Players ● Achievers: Players give themselves game-related goals, then vigorously set out to achieve them. Build cities, accumulate treasure ● Explorers: Use communication facilities for role- playing or to converse and interact with others ● Socializers:Try to find out as much as possible about the game. Search areas and mechanics, fight every monster, do every quest ● Killers: Provide game tools to cause distress on others. Usually involves applying a powerful sword to another players' head – Richard Bartle
  • 7. Types of Players ● Competitor: plays to best other players, regardless of the game. ● Explorer: curious about the world, loves to go adventuring. Explorers seek outside boundaries-physical or mental. ● Collector: acquires items, trophies, or knowledge, the collector likes to create sets, organize history, etc. ● Achiever: plays for varying levels of achievement. Ladders and levels incentivize the achiever. ● Joker: doesn't take the game seriously-plays for the fun of playing. There's a potential for jokers to annoy serious players. On the other hand, jokers can make the game more social than competitive. ● Artist: driven by creativity, creation, design. ● Director: loves to be in charge, direct the play. ● Storyteller: loves to create or live in worlds of fantasy and imagination. ● Performer: loves to put on a show for others. ● Craftsman: wants to build, craft, engineer, or puzzle things out. – Dr. Stuart Brown and David Kennard
  • 8. Player Interaction Patterns – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 9. The Interface
  • 10. The Message of Colors – Brent Fox
  • 11. Simple but Fun
  • 12. Exploit your Tools ● What can you do with a physics engine? ● What are enjoyable and easy controller uses? ● How do you organize game menus? ● Do you need a HUD (head-up display)?
  • 13. Flow – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 14. The Development Process
  • 15. Principles to keep in mind ● The game needs a good interface. ● The user should get instant visual feedback from game actions, with sound feedback for major events. ● The user should have a score or some other way of keeping track of how well he or she is doing overall. ● There should be clear goals for the game and a clear termination point. ● There have to be advances and setbacks. ● Doing well should involve strategy as well as manual dexterity and quick reactions. ● You may want to give the user the possibility of using different tools. ● Things should happen at a human pace, that is, not too slow or not too fast. In particular, things shouldn't change instantaneously. – Rudy Rucker
  • 16. Iterative Process Diagram – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 17. Prototyping Prototyping lies at the heart of good game design. The word “prototyping” means to create a working version of the formal system that, while playable, includes only a rough approximation of the artwork, sound, and features. Think of it as a crude model whose purpose is to allow you to wrap your brain around the game mechanics and see how they function. – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 18. Tuning and Balancing As mentioned earlier, the only way to fully understand a system is to study it as a whole, and that means putting it in motion. Because of this, once a game designer has defined the elements of their system, they need to playtest and tune their system. They do this first by playing the game themselves, possibly with other designers, and then by playing with other players, who are not part of the design process. There are several key things that a designer is looking for when balancing a game system. – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 19. Stages of Game Development – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 20. The Concept
  • 21. Games are Fun ● What is a game? ● What is fun? ● What is the challenge? ● What do you learn?
  • 22. Know your Topic ● Study the subject ● Think of parts of it that are attractive ● Don't bore your players
  • 23. Tuning and Balancing ● First, she needs to test to make sure that the system is internally complete. This means that the rules address anyloopholes that could possibly arise during play... If players are arguingover how the rules should deal with a particular situation, it’s probably because the system is not internally complete. ● Once the system is judged to be internally complete, the designer will next test for fairness... If one player has an unfair advantage over another, and that advantage is built into the system, the others will feel cheated and lose interest in the system. ● Once a system is internally complete and fair for all players, the designer must test to make sure the game is fun and challenging to play... When testing for fun and challenge, it’s important to test the game with its intended audience of players. Generally, this is not the designer or the designer’s friends. – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 24. The Game World
  • 25. Cartoony Art – Scott McCloud
  • 26. Realistic vs Believable ● Realism ● Believability – Actual – Consistent – Real-world – Fantasy – Mimicry – Creation
  • 27. Immersion ● Tactical immersion is experienced when performing tactile operations that involve skill. Players feel "in the zone" while perfecting actions that result in success. ● Strategic immersion is more cerebral, and is associated with mental challenge. Chess players experience strategic immersion when choosing a correct solution among a broad array of possibilities. ● Narrative immersion occurs when players become invested in a story, and is similar to what is experienced while reading a book or watching a movie. – Ernest Adams
  • 28. Fourth Wall "The truth was a burning green crack through my brain. Weapon statistics hanging in the air, glimpsed out of the corner of my eye. Endless repetition of the act of shooting, time slowing down to show off my moves. The paranoid feeling of someone controlling my every step. I was in a computer game. Funny as hell, it was the most horrible thing I could think of." – Max Payne
  • 29. The Story
  • 30. Storytelling ● Mind and stories ● The storytelling tradition ● Interactive storytelling ● Games and storytelling
  • 31. Storytelling The basic structure of a good plot was discovered a long time ago. It’s called the three-act structure. Aristotle first identified it in his Poetics, which gives it the kind of halo that sometimes makes ideas seem unapproachable. But his point is very simple: A story must have a beginning, a middle, and an end. – Bob Bates
  • 32. Aristotelian Dramatic Arc – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 33. Interactive Story – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 34. Simulation – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 35. Scope – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 36. Game Design The game designer envisions how a game will work during play. She creates the objectives, rules, and procedures, thinks up the dramatic premise and gives it life, and is responsible for planning everything necessary to create a compelling player experience. In the same way that an architect drafts a blueprint for a building or a screenwriter produces the script for a movie, the game designer plans the structural elements of a system that, when set in motion by the players, creates the interactive experience. – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman
  • 37. The Pioneers
  • 38. Chris Crawford I was driven by one thing and that was “blind” play. I was very concerned that, no matter how you looked at it, with board games you could always see what the other guy was up to. And that always really bothered me, because it was horribly unrealistic. It just didn’t seem right, and I thought the games would be much more interesting blind. And, in fact, when we did them, they were immensely powerful games, far more interesting than the conventional games. And as soon as I saw that, I knew that this was the way to go. And board-play technology has never been able to match that simple aspect of it. It was so much fun sneaking up behind your opponent, and, as they say, sending 20 kilograms up his tail pipe. It was really impressive stuff, very heady times.
  • 39. Sid Meier “Ifind it dangerous to think in terms of genre first and then topic. Like, say, “I want to do a real-time strategy game. OK. What’s a cool topic?” I think, for me at least, it’s more interesting to say, “I want to do a game about railroads. OK, now what’s the most interesting way to bring that to life? Is it in real-time, or is it turn-based, or is it To first figure out what your topic is and first-person . . . ” then find interesting ways and an appropriate genre to bring it to life as opposed to coming the other way around and say, “OK, I want to do a first-person shooter, what hasn’t been done yet?” If you approach it from a genre point of view, you’re basically saying, “I’m trying to fit into a mold.” And I think most of the really great games have not started from that point of view. They first started with the idea that, “Here’s a really cool topic. And by the way it would probably work really well as a real- time strategy game with a little bit of this in it.””
  • 40. Will Wright I just got infatuated with games. As a kid I spent a lot of time building models, and I bought some of the very early games, such as the very first version of Flight Simulator with the wire-frame graphics. You had to write your own machine But just the idea that you language patch to get it to run, that was funny. could build your own little micro-world inside the computer intrigued me. So I saw it as a kind of modeling tool. At some point I just got so into these things that I decided I would try to make one myself, and that was right around the time the Commodore 64 was first coming out... So, I bought a Commodore as soon as it came out and just dove into it, and learned it as quickly as I could. And that’s what I did my first game on.
  • 41. The Literature
  • 42. References – John Feil & Marc Scattergood – Richard Rouse III: Game Design Theory & Practice – Brent Fox: Game Interface Design – Tracy Fullerton, Christopher Swain and Steven Hoffman: Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games – Dr. Stuart Brown and David Kennard: The Promise of Play – Richard Bartle, Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players Who suit MUDs – Rudy Rucker: Software Engineering and Computer Games – Scott McCloud: Understanding Comics – Steven Conway: A Circular Wall? – Ernest Adams: Postmodernism and the Three Types of Immersion – Background: http://www.flickr.com/photos/unthinkingly/3012273104
  • 43. Further Reading – Chris Crawford: The Art of Computer Game Design – Raph Koster: A Theory of Fun for Game Designers – Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman: Rules of Play