Designing sideways<br />Adam Russell<br />B-Block Studios<br />
Every game provides variety.<br />
Every game provides variety.<br />
Every game provides variety.<br />
Designers need methods of managing this variety.<br />
The tools look similar…<br />But how is the variety organised?<br />
This talk is about that question.<br />
There are two options.<br />
1. Bottom-up<br />
There are few types of thing...<br />
But they have many copies.<br />
Rules apply everywhere…<br />
But only control a few elements.<br />
Designers seeking ‘emergence’ will use this approach.<br />Also called ‘systemic level design’.<br />
Bottom-up design helps us reuse content.<br />It scales well.<br />
Bottom-up design gives the player more control.<br />It supports creative play.<br />
Bottom-up design allows new combinations of existing rules.<br />It feels open-ended. <br />
Bottom-up scenarios are all variations on a theme.<br />This can get boring.<br />
Bottom-up scenarios are also hard to control.<br />This frustrates designers.<br />
2. Top-down<br />
There are many types of thing...<br />
But few of each type.<br />
Rules apply in specific cases...<br />
But can control all elements.<br />
Top-down design can be used to control complex scenes.<br />It supports narrative.<br />
Top-down design allows us to plan the mode of presentation.<br />It supports a cinematic style.<br />
Top-down design delivers more unique moments.<br />It provides a rich experience.<br />
Top-down design reduces potential for content reuse.<br />This doesn’t scale well.<br />
Top-down design gives a similar experience each time.<br />This reduces replay value.<br />
Bottom-up design isn’t enough.<br />We sometimes need puppets.<br />
Top-down design isn’t enough.<br />The player is free to mess it up.<br />
It’s not always clear which approach is better.<br />We need to deliver both.<br />
3. Sideways<br />
Sociology has a problem they call “agency vs. structure”.<br />
Agency theories claim that the individual explains society.<br />This is like bottom-up design.<br />
Structure theories claim that society explains the individual.<br />This is like top-down design.<br />
Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu provided a sideways view.<br />He called this the Habitus.<br />
Sideways design should draw on Bourdieu’s perspective.<br />We must structure all behaviour.<br />
Draw no distinction between scripted and unscripted.<br />
Focus on the problem of coordinating multiple NPCs.<br />
Allow for layering of multiple scripts simultaneously.<br />
Make sure your content is declarative, not imperative.<br />
Thanks!<br />adam@bblockstudios.com<br />
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Designing Sideways : integrating emergence with authorship

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This talk examines the tension between bottom-up or systemic game design and more traditional top-down scripting of unique narrative experiences. Market and design trends have been pushing triple-A games towards a combination of these approaches for some years now. However, many designers still see bottom-up emergence as a magic bullet, and vainly hope to integrate this with heavily scripted sequences without considering the deep implications of trying to do so. In the second half of the talk we will explore game design approaches that are neither bottom-up nor top-down, but both at the same time, which we call 'sideways design'.

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Designing Sideways : integrating emergence with authorship

  1. 1. Designing sideways<br />Adam Russell<br />B-Block Studios<br />
  2. 2. Every game provides variety.<br />
  3. 3. Every game provides variety.<br />
  4. 4. Every game provides variety.<br />
  5. 5. Designers need methods of managing this variety.<br />
  6. 6. The tools look similar…<br />But how is the variety organised?<br />
  7. 7. This talk is about that question.<br />
  8. 8. There are two options.<br />
  9. 9. 1. Bottom-up<br />
  10. 10. There are few types of thing...<br />
  11. 11. But they have many copies.<br />
  12. 12. Rules apply everywhere…<br />
  13. 13. But only control a few elements.<br />
  14. 14. Designers seeking ‘emergence’ will use this approach.<br />Also called ‘systemic level design’.<br />
  15. 15. Bottom-up design helps us reuse content.<br />It scales well.<br />
  16. 16. Bottom-up design gives the player more control.<br />It supports creative play.<br />
  17. 17. Bottom-up design allows new combinations of existing rules.<br />It feels open-ended. <br />
  18. 18. Bottom-up scenarios are all variations on a theme.<br />This can get boring.<br />
  19. 19. Bottom-up scenarios are also hard to control.<br />This frustrates designers.<br />
  20. 20. 2. Top-down<br />
  21. 21. There are many types of thing...<br />
  22. 22. But few of each type.<br />
  23. 23. Rules apply in specific cases...<br />
  24. 24. But can control all elements.<br />
  25. 25. Top-down design can be used to control complex scenes.<br />It supports narrative.<br />
  26. 26. Top-down design allows us to plan the mode of presentation.<br />It supports a cinematic style.<br />
  27. 27. Top-down design delivers more unique moments.<br />It provides a rich experience.<br />
  28. 28. Top-down design reduces potential for content reuse.<br />This doesn’t scale well.<br />
  29. 29. Top-down design gives a similar experience each time.<br />This reduces replay value.<br />
  30. 30. Bottom-up design isn’t enough.<br />We sometimes need puppets.<br />
  31. 31. Top-down design isn’t enough.<br />The player is free to mess it up.<br />
  32. 32. It’s not always clear which approach is better.<br />We need to deliver both.<br />
  33. 33. 3. Sideways<br />
  34. 34. Sociology has a problem they call “agency vs. structure”.<br />
  35. 35. Agency theories claim that the individual explains society.<br />This is like bottom-up design.<br />
  36. 36. Structure theories claim that society explains the individual.<br />This is like top-down design.<br />
  37. 37. Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu provided a sideways view.<br />He called this the Habitus.<br />
  38. 38.
  39. 39.
  40. 40.
  41. 41. Sideways design should draw on Bourdieu’s perspective.<br />We must structure all behaviour.<br />
  42. 42. Draw no distinction between scripted and unscripted.<br />
  43. 43. Focus on the problem of coordinating multiple NPCs.<br />
  44. 44. Allow for layering of multiple scripts simultaneously.<br />
  45. 45. Make sure your content is declarative, not imperative.<br />
  46. 46.
  47. 47.
  48. 48.
  49. 49.
  50. 50.
  51. 51. Thanks!<br />adam@bblockstudios.com<br />

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