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
Game Design 1
The Los Angeles Film School
Who Am I?
Instructor at LAFS
Game Designer at Electric Sheep
Co-creator of Boy Scouts of America
Game Design Merit Badge
How to Succeed in LAFS
Be your own Career Entrepreneur
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
1. The Player Experience
2. Foundational Elements
3. Structural Elements
4. Dramatic Elements
5. Dynamic Elements
Final Exam / Game Fair
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
“I just want to do the minimum to
pass this class”
Classes are not kidney
If you think about them
in these terms, maybe
you’re on the wrong
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
Then get used to the phrase
“Would you like fries with that?”
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.
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!
Extra Credits, Season 1, Episode 16 - So You Want To
Be A Game Designer (7:36)
But NOT Boss
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
Because they’re FUN!
So what makes a
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
The Joker: Doesn’t take the game seriously; plays
for the fun of playing.
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
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
Levels of Game Experience
Mechanics: Actions players perform in a
Dynamics: Feedback in response to those
Aesthetics: Feelings players experience in
response to that feedback
Aesthetics of Play
Extra Credits: Aesthetics of Play (9:41)
A game designer should focus on the
aesthetics (the play experience) and pick the
best mechanics (and other game elements)
to create that 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
What Experience Do I Want The Player To
Immersion: The illusion that you
are another person or in another
Novelty: New experiences or
surprises vs. the familiar and
Challenge: Meaningful “work”
where the player can make clear
progress and has incentive to try
again if s/he fails.
What Experience Do I Want The Player To
Stimulation: The emotional
element of play - victory, defeat,
engagement – cooperation vs.
competition, helping vs. harming
Threat: The risk of losing progress
or face, resulting in feelings of
tension, danger, and humiliation.