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Gameplay Design Patterns
A language to support game design

Staffan Björk
Interactive Institute & Gothenburg University
Takeaway


The idea behind Gameplay Design Patterns



How these can be used to externalize your
knowledge



How these...
Who am I?







Associate Professor,
Gothenburg University
Senior Researcher,
Interactive Institute
Gamer
Not so much...
What do I do?
The need for a Gameplay
Design Language
10/58
Differences between Design and Craftwork


Knowledge transferal








Crafts are primarily learned
by imitation
Pra...
Challenges in Gameplay Design












Exploit new platforms and technologies
Understanding differences betwee...
Design is typically a Wicked Problem


Characteristics of Wicked Problems









Not understood until after solu...
Design Languages


Convey meaning





In design process
In product

Components
 Collection of elements
 Principles ...
Gameplay


The goal-driven activities related to a game system
whose values are solely described in direct relation to
th...
Gameplay Design
Patterns
Gameplay Design Patterns


A way to describe reoccurring design choices






A guide of how to make similar design ch...
Gameplay Design Pattern Examples


Power-Ups




First Person Views




Sequences of storytelling where players canno...
But what about Game Mechanics?


“methods invoked by agents, designed for
interaction with the game state” (Sicart, 2008)...
What is the difference?!?


Basically, relations


Sicart does talk about the need to trace
relationship but does not ar...
Gameplay Design Pattern Relations


Small changes in a game can have large effects on
gameplay and overall game experienc...
Types of relations


Can Instantiate








α(β)→ α⃰

High Score Lists ( Tiebreakers ) → High Score Lists⃰

Potentia...
Relations between GDPs
Surprises

Limited Foresight

Analysis Paralysis

Randomness

Luck

Fixed Distributions
Drawing Sta...
Mechanics, Dynamics,
Aesthetics
http://algorithmancy.8kindsoffun.com/
Marc LeBlanc
(Ultima Underworld II, System Shock, Fl...
The MDA model

Code
Processes
Requirements

Rules
Game Sessions
“Fun”

Mechanics
Dynamics
Aesthetics
MDA - Eight Kinds of "Fun"
1. Sensation
Game as sense-pleasure

2. Fantasy
Game as make-believe

3. Narrative
Game as dram...
Different Levels of Patterns


Patterns fit into the MDA framework


Mechanical gameplay patterns




Dynamic gameplay...
Thematic
Consistency

Spectacular
Failure
Enjoyment

Tension

Replayability

Higher-Level
Closures as
Gameplay
Progresses
...
Examples of other uses of
patterns
Identify Design Spaces within Games


Basically analyzing games to see how well
they contain features some theory describ...
Classify Games Based on Patterns


Pervasive Games



120 game examples
a set of 75 possible
patterns
CRPGs genres using combat patterns


40 games/series
300+ patterns…



Four main categories








Ubiquitous
Clus...
Iteration #4
Dark Patterns


“Patterns used intentionally by a
game creator to cause negative
experiences for players which are
agains...
Advantages of Design Languages









Explain values of novel game concepts
Understand differences between games...
Thank you!

Questions?
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30
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  • 321 patterns, 279 new
  • 321 patterns, 89 patterns to describe genre names, 41 games
  • Transcript of "Gameplay design patterns presentation at dragon's lair, stockholm, sweden 2014 01-30"

    1. 1. Gameplay Design Patterns A language to support game design Staffan Björk Interactive Institute & Gothenburg University
    2. 2. Takeaway  The idea behind Gameplay Design Patterns  How these can be used to externalize your knowledge  How these can be used to develop game concepts
    3. 3. Who am I?     Associate Professor, Gothenburg University Senior Researcher, Interactive Institute Gamer Not so much game designer  Made one game – a paperrock-scissors pancake game where all game components are eatable…
    4. 4. What do I do?
    5. 5. The need for a Gameplay Design Language
    6. 6. 10/58
    7. 7. Differences between Design and Craftwork  Knowledge transferal     Crafts are primarily learned by imitation Practitioners can not motivate why one does things one way Unintentional trial-and-error experiments Information about designs are only recorded in the produced artifact
    8. 8. Challenges in Gameplay Design          Exploit new platforms and technologies Understanding differences between games Explore value of different design possibilities Explain values of novel game concepts Gain understanding within teams Communication between developers and stakeholders Depersonalize intended gameplay Describe gameplay problems Specify foci of gameplay evaluations 13/58
    9. 9. Design is typically a Wicked Problem  Characteristics of Wicked Problems        Not understood until after solutions are found Have no stopping rule Solutions are not right or wrong Every problem is essentially novel and unique Every solution is a 'one shot operation' Solutions have no given alternatives How to Mitigate Wicked Problems?   Methods Language to discuss aspects or parts of the problem
    10. 10. Design Languages  Convey meaning    In design process In product Components  Collection of elements  Principles of organization  Qualifying situations 15/58
    11. 11. Gameplay  The goal-driven activities related to a game system whose values are solely described in direct relation to that game system  Boundaries     Not Diegetic Aspects Not Interfaces Aspects Not Narrative Aspects But these are often interrelated in game designs
    12. 12. Gameplay Design Patterns
    13. 13. Gameplay Design Patterns  A way to describe reoccurring design choices    A guide of how to make similar design choices in game projects     Offers possible explanations to why these design choices have been made Codify unintentional features so they can be intentional choices in later designs What is required to make a pattern emerge What consequences do a pattern have? Not only problem solving Gameplay Design Patterns a way to describe components on all levels within the design language
    14. 14. Gameplay Design Pattern Examples  Power-Ups   First Person Views   Sequences of storytelling where players cannot act Parallel Lives   The act of taking aim at something and then shooting at it Cut Scenes   Players are shown the game world as if they were inside it Aim & Shoot   Game elements that activate time-limited advantages when collected Game elements that when individually lost do not interrupt gameplay, but do so when all are lost. High High Score Lists  The storing of scores after games have finished so the they can be compared
    15. 15. But what about Game Mechanics?  “methods invoked by agents, designed for interaction with the game state” (Sicart, 2008)   “game mechanics are best described with verbs” (Järvinen, 2008)   Inspired by OO-programing Move, Attack, Climb, Take, Push, etc. Agents not only players
    16. 16. What is the difference?!?  Basically, relations  Sicart does talk about the need to trace relationship but does not argue for documenting general relations   Only specific ones found in specific games Patterns includes more abstract phenomena   Not only verbs Observable features and experiences
    17. 17. Gameplay Design Pattern Relations  Small changes in a game can have large effects on gameplay and overall game experience   This due delicate balances, risk/reward, meaningful choices, etc. Patterns related to each other      Explains effects of having a pattern Proposes possible causes for a pattern to be in a design Provides alternatives how to make a pattern emerge in a design Suggests ways of modifying patterns Alerts of possible incompatibilities
    18. 18. Types of relations  Can Instantiate     α(β)→ α⃰ High Score Lists ( Tiebreakers ) → High Score Lists⃰ Potentially Conflicting With  α←β Cut Scenes ← Dedicated Game Facilitators Can Be Modulated By  β(α)→β⃰ Game World ( First-Person Views ) → Game World ⃰ Can Be Instantiated By   Parallel Lives → Attention Swapping Can Modulate  α→β First-Person Views ≠ God Views α≠β
    19. 19. Relations between GDPs Surprises Limited Foresight Analysis Paralysis Randomness Luck Fixed Distributions Drawing Stacks Cards D4 Dice D6 D8 D10 D12 D20
    20. 20. Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics http://algorithmancy.8kindsoffun.com/ Marc LeBlanc (Ultima Underworld II, System Shock, Flight Unlimited, Terra Nova, Thief I-II, Deus Ex, NFL 2K2, NBA 2K2, Oasis, Field Commander)
    21. 21. The MDA model Code Processes Requirements Rules Game Sessions “Fun” Mechanics Dynamics Aesthetics
    22. 22. MDA - Eight Kinds of "Fun" 1. Sensation Game as sense-pleasure 2. Fantasy Game as make-believe 3. Narrative Game as drama 4. Challenge Game as obstacle course 5. Fellowship Game as social framework 6. Discovery Game as uncharted territory 7. Expression Game as self-discovery 8. Submission Game as pastime
    23. 23. Different Levels of Patterns  Patterns fit into the MDA framework  Mechanical gameplay patterns   Dynamic gameplay patterns   E.g. Power-Ups, Aim & Shoot, Cut Scenes E.g. Red Queen Dilemmas, Choke points Aesthetical gameplay patterns  E.g. Player Adaptability, Camaraderie
    24. 24. Thematic Consistency Spectacular Failure Enjoyment Tension Replayability Higher-Level Closures as Gameplay Progresses Stimulated Planning Luck Emotional Engrossment Instakills Helplessness Surprise Attacks Stealth Micromanagement Challenging Gameplay Combat Enemies Roaming Enemies Movement Budgeted Action Points Loss of Control Risk/Reward Avalanche Effects Randomness Line of Sight Uncertainty of Information Time Limits Save-Load Cycles Tradeoffs Irreversible Events Character Development Positive Feedback Loops Inventories Equipment Slots Rotate In Place Transfer of Control Time Unit System Lingering Effects Equipment Poison Fog of War Exploding Objects Levels 2-phase Actions Incompatible Goals Progress Evaluations Achievements Permadeath Difficulty Levels Technology Trees Privileged Abilities Talent trees Increased statistics Ironman Mode Most patterns mention from X:EU and X:UD (Green indicates presence in both games, red only in X:UD, and blue only in X:EU). Solid lines indicate instantiating relations and dashes lines modulating ones. Boxes without outlines are mechanics.
    25. 25. Examples of other uses of patterns
    26. 26. Identify Design Spaces within Games  Basically analyzing games to see how well they contain features some theory describes    Identifies specific design possibilities Lacking features are also design possibilities Examples  Designing believable NPCs    Own agenda, Dissectible bodies… Social NPCs Dialogue systems
    27. 27. Classify Games Based on Patterns  Pervasive Games   120 game examples a set of 75 possible patterns
    28. 28. CRPGs genres using combat patterns  40 games/series 300+ patterns…  Four main categories      Ubiquitous Cluster Distinguishing Flavor Meta
    29. 29. Iteration #4
    30. 30. Dark Patterns  “Patterns used intentionally by a game creator to cause negative experiences for players which are against their best interests and likely to happen without their consent.”  Examples  Grinding Playing by Appointment Pay to Skip Pre-Delivered Content Monetized rivalries Social Pyramid Schemes Impersonation      
    31. 31. Advantages of Design Languages         Explain values of novel game concepts Understand differences between games Gain understanding within development teams Communicate with stakeholders Exploit new platforms and technologies Depersonalize intended gameplay Describe gameplay problems Specify foci of gameplay evaluations
    32. 32. Thank you! Questions?
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