LAFS Game Design 1 - The Player Experience


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Level 1 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Design 1 class.

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  • Devotion: You need to be disciplined about what you do
    Persistence: The game industry is competitive, and opportunities are rare. Luck is opportunity X preparation.
    Reinvention: Learning new behaviors and skills

  • He who has the gold makes the rules!
  • DISCUSSION: What do you think a game designer really does? What is their day like?
  • Why is communication the game designer’s core skill?
    What other skills does a game designer need?
    Why is “idea guy” a poor definition for what a game designer does?
    Why shouldn’t game designers get too attached to their ideas?
    What is the number one cause of failed games?
  • Builders make worlds to explore.
    Engineers make systems and mechanics
    Scientists test new ways to improve the play experience
    Teachers teach players what to do
    Dreamers create new, unique, amazing experiences.
  • What was his background before becoming a game designer?
    What role did luck play in him getting into game design?
    Why do people say he’s someone who loves to take chances?
    What made Ultima Underworld feel like a real world? (Lots of things you can do)
    What made System Shock so revolutionary? (Role-playing + Shooter)
    What advice did he have for Thief’s developers (Don’t make for MIT grads like you)
    What made Deus Ex more than just a “damn shooter”? (Hybrid game allowing player to make choices that really affected outcome.)
  • Or is it really that simple?

    DISCUSSION: What do you think makes a game fun?

    Fun is desirable in nearly every game, although sometimes fun defies analysis.
  • What are Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics?
    Which does a Game Designer handle first when creating a game?
    What does a player experience first when playing a game?
    So what does Extra Credits think Game Designers should focus on?
  • LAFS Game Design 1 - The Player Experience

    1. 1. Level 1 David Mullich Game Design 1 The Los Angeles Film School
    2. 2. Who Am I?  David Mullich   @David_Mullich   Instructor at LAFS  Game Designer at Electric Sheep Game Consulting  Co-creator of Boy Scouts of America Game Design Merit Badge
    3. 3. How to Succeed in LAFS  Be your own Career Entrepreneur  3 Keys:  Devotion  Persistence  Re-invention
    4. 4. How To Succeed in Game Design 1  Show up for class  Complete the assignments on time  Follow the instructions  Do all parts of the assignments  Manage the scope of your work  Remember, this is a design class, not a programming class
    5. 5. Course Outline 1. The Player Experience 2. Foundational Elements 3. Structural Elements 4. Dramatic Elements 5. Dynamic Elements Mid-Term Exam
    6. 6. Course Outline 6. Conceptualizing 7. Prototyping 8. Playtesting 9. Balancing 10. Polishing Final Exam / Game Fair
    7. 7. Tests There will be a mid-term exam during Level 6 and a final exam during Level 10. If you see this symbol on a slide there will probably be an exam question about it.
    8. 8. “I just want to do the minimum to pass this class” Classes are not kidney stones. If you think about them in these terms, maybe you’re on the wrong career path?
    9. 9. Creativity Within Constraints If you can’t be bothered to:  Strive for originality despite the rules  Improve upon your initial idea  Actually enjoy and actively want to do the above Then get used to the phrase “Would you like fries with that?”
    10. 10. Impressions Your classmates and faculty will most likely be your doorway into the industry. How do you want them to think of you? Leave a professional and lasting impression.
    11. 11. Make It Easy To Review Your Work Sending bosses or potential clients or instructors files in a format they can’t open will just make them angry! And you don’t want angry people evaluating you! So, always send documents in PDF format! And send game executables in EXE format!
    12. 12. The Golden Rule
    13. 13. Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 16 - So You Want To Be A Game Designer (7:36)
    14. 14. Roles  Builder  Engineer  Scientist  Dreamer  Teacher  But NOT Boss
    15. 15. Main Role The game designer’s main role is to be an advocate for the player. In some ways, designing a game is like being the host of a party. It’s your job to get everything ready and create a fun experience for the player.
    16. 16. Designer Perspective: Warren Spector G4 Icons Episode #30: Warren Spector
    17. 17. Why Do We Play Games?
    18. 18. Because they’re FUN! Duh! So what makes a game fun?
    19. 19. Types of Players  The Competitor: Plays to best other players  The Explorer: Curious about the world; loves to go adventuring; seeks outside boundaries  The Collector: Acquires items, trophies, or knowledge; likes to create sets, organize, etc.  The Achiever: Plays for varying levels of achievement  The Joker: Doesn’t take the game seriously; plays for the fun of playing.
    20. 20. Types of Players (cont’d)  The Artist: Driven by creativity, creation, design  The Director: Loves to be in charge  The Storyteller: Loves to create or live in worlds of fantasy and imagination  The Performer: Loves to put on a show for others  The Craftsman: Wants to build, craft, engineer or puzzle things out
    21. 21. Aesthetics of Play Game Designers Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc and Robert Zubek divide aesthetics within games into 8 categories:  Sensation: Game as sense-pleasure  Fantasy: Game as make-believe  Narrative: Game as unfolding story  Challenge: Game as obstacle course  Fellowship: Game as social framework  Discovery: Game as uncharted territory  Expression: Game as soap box  Submission (or Abnegation): Game as mindless pastime
    22. 22. Levels of Game Experience  Mechanics: Actions players perform in a game  Dynamics: Feedback in response to those actions  Aesthetics: Feelings players experience in response to that feedback
    23. 23. Aesthetics of Play Extra Credits: Aesthetics of Play (9:41)
    24. 24. Take-Away A game designer should focus on the aesthetics (the play experience) and pick the best mechanics (and other game elements) to create that experience.
    25. 25. Player Experience A game designer does not create games. A game designer creates experiences.  What experience do I want the player to have?  What is essential to that experience?  How can my game capture that experience? Jesse Schell, Lens #1
    26. 26. What Experience Do I Want The Player To Have?  Immersion: The illusion that you are another person or in another place.  Novelty: New experiences or surprises vs. the familiar and predictable.  Challenge: Meaningful “work” where the player can make clear progress and has incentive to try again if s/he fails.
    27. 27. What Experience Do I Want The Player To Have?  Stimulation: The emotional element of play - victory, defeat, humor, suspense.  Harmony: Player-to-player engagement – cooperation vs. competition, helping vs. harming  Threat: The risk of losing progress or face, resulting in feelings of tension, danger, and humiliation.
    28. 28. Layers Between Designer And Player
    29. 29. For each of the following game elements, choose a domain that use of the element each game gives a high or low experience in.
    30. 30. Game Mechanics How are these experiences different?
    31. 31. Goals How are these experiences different?
    32. 32. Resources How are these experiences different?
    33. 33. Obstacles How are these experiences different?
    34. 34. Feedback How are these experiences different?
    35. 35. Number of Players How are these experiences different?
    36. 36. Theme How are these experiences different?
    37. 37. Story How are these experiences different?
    38. 38. Art/Audio How are these experiences different?
    39. 39. How To Create The Experience You Want  Immersion: story, art/audio.  Novelty: story, art/audio, mechanics, obstacles.  Challenge: goals, obstacles, resources.  Simulation: pace, obstacles, multiplayer.  Harmony: goals, obstacles, multiplayer.  Threat: art/audio, mechanics, obstacles.
    40. 40. Let’s Go Make A Game!
    41. 41. 1. Download Game Maker 8.1 for Windows Installer from from the LAFS GD1 website Level 1 page 2. Download GD1 1 Resources from the LAFS GD1 website Level 1 page 3. Create a Bounce The Ball game