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LAFS Game Mechanics - Randomness and Risk


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Level 7 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Mechanics class.

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LAFS Game Mechanics - Randomness and Risk

  1. 1. Level 7 David Mullich Game Mechanics The Los Angeles Film School
  2. 2. Game State  Game State  Game State Overview  Closure Point
  3. 3. Information Quality  Perfect Information  Imperfect Information  Red Herring  Uncertain Information
  4. 4. Information Distribution  Symmetric Information  Asymmetric Information  Public Information  Communication Channels
  5. 5. Information Objects  Alarms  Hints  Extra-Game Information  Communication Channels
  6. 6. Boss Battle Time! There will now be a test on Levels 4-6!
  7. 7. Randomness Effects or events in the game that cannot be easily predicted.
  8. 8. Input vs. Output Randomness Input Randomness: Informs the player’s decision Output Randomness: Determines the outcome of the player’s decision
  9. 9. Output Randomness 3 Minute Game Design: Episode 6
  10. 10. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  11. 11. Why Designers Use Randomness  Excitement and Tension  Make Consequences Less Predictable  Balance Weak and Strong Players  Prevent Perfect Information  Limit Foresight and Planning  Force Players to Adapt to Changing Circumstances Are these Input Randomness or Output Randomness?
  12. 12. Probability Using a 6-sided die, what’s the probability of rolling a one? A six? A seven? Not three?
  13. 13. One Die Probabilities Probability Of Something Not Happening = 1 – Probability of It Happening
  14. 14. One Die Probabilities What’s the odds of rolling a 1 or a 2? Hint: OR means ADD the probabilities.
  15. 15. Ways To Represent Probability
  16. 16. Probability Is Zero To One – That’s It!
  17. 17. Random Number Use Example #1 Random (6) Creature Encountered 1 Deer 2 Bear 3 Orc 4 Elf 5 Unicorn 6 Dragon
  18. 18. Random Number Use Example #2 Random (100) Creature Encountered 1-40 Deer 31-60 Bear 62-80 Orc 81-95 Elf 96-99 Unicorn 100 Dragon
  19. 19. Multiple Random Numbers Using two 6-sided dice, what’s the probability of rolling a one? A six? A twelve? Graph it!
  20. 20. Multiple Random Number Use Example
  21. 21. Randomness Design Considerations  How is randomness used?  How is randomness generated?
  22. 22. Luck The feeling that random events are not random, but favorable for the player.
  23. 23. Why Designers Use Luck  Give player the Illusion of Influence  Creates Tension in actions with delayed effect. Warning! Luck can:  Give deceptive Smooth Learning Curves  Prevent Predictable Consequences  Prevent Game Mastery
  24. 24. Luck Design Considerations  Does the game master or game system cheat to benefit players?  Can the player manipulate any random elements in the game?  Are there any Near Miss Indicators to show how close players were to danger?  Can players based risk/reward decisions on how much luck they feel they have?
  25. 25. Surprises Events and consequences that are unexpected by players and disturb their actions.
  26. 26. Sources of Surprise  Randomness  Imperfect Information  Limited Foresight  No Game State Overview
  27. 27. Why Designers Use Surprise  Disrupt Player’s Attention  Emotional Immersion in Narrative Structures  Support Exploration Goals Warning:  Can reduce player’s Perceived Chance to Succeed and Illusion of Influence  Difficult to combine with Predictable Consequences and Replayability
  28. 28. Surprises Design Considerations  Do players or the game system cause the surprise?  What makes the surprise surprising?  What are the consequences of the surprise?  Are the effects of the surprise irreversible?
  29. 29. Easter Eggs Surprises in the game that are not related to the game.
  30. 30. Why Designers Put in Easter Eggs  Surprises  Allows Optional Player-Defined Goals  Promotes Exploration  Provides Trans-Game Information  Increases Replayablity  Protest against Management Warning:  May suspend belief in In-Game Reality
  31. 31. Easter Eggs Design Considerations  Where in the game world does it exist?  What does it contain or do?  Are there any clues for it?
  32. 32. Remember What Sid Said “Games are a series of interesting decisions”
  33. 33. What Else Besides Information Do You Need To Make Decisions?
  34. 34. Predictable Consequences Players can predict how the game state will change if they perform actions.
  35. 35. Predictable Events  Damage and Penalties  Investments  Surprises (after first encounter)
  36. 36. Why Game Designers Want Predictable Consequences  Builds Anticipation  Promotes Experimentation  Increases Perceived Chance to Succeed  Supports Strategic Planning  Required for Investments Warning! Can lead to:  Analysis Paralysis
  37. 37. Predictable Consequences Considerations  How predictable is the game system when performing actions and influencing events?  How predictable are players when performing actions and influencing events?  How does the game’s complexity affect predictability?
  38. 38. Perceived Chance To Succeed Player’s believe, whether correctly or not, that they do have a chance to succeed with actions in a game.
  39. 39. Why Designers Want Perceived Chance To Succeed  Illusion of Influence  Emotional Immersion  Tension Warning! May conflict with:  Surprises  Leaps of Faith  Narrative Structures
  40. 40. Perceived Chance to Succeed Design Considerations  What are the ways that the player can succeed at achieving goals?  How does the player form a perception of the chance of success at these various ways?  How will actual difficulty be balanced?
  41. 41. Trade-Offs The player must choose between several different options and compare them against each other.
  42. 42. Examples of Trade-Offs  Budgeted Action Points  Resource Management  Camera Views  Combat  Attention Swapping  Stealth  Bidding  Supporting Goals
  43. 43. Why Designers Use Trade-Offs  Encourages:  Cognitive Immersion  Strategic Planning  Perceived Chance of Succeed  Game Mastery  Balances Difficulty Warning! Can cause:  Analysis Paralysis
  44. 44. Trade-Offs Design Considerations  Are the trade-off choices linked to a committed goal?  What are the risks and rewards of each choice?  How quickly do players need to make trade-off decisions?  Do the trade-offs have extended effects?
  45. 45. Exploration The goal of learning the layout of the game world, or locating specific parts or objects in it.
  46. 46. Exploration In Games Extra Credits: Four Ways Players Discover Joy
  47. 47. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  48. 48. Types of Discovery  Geographic  Mechanical  Content  Narrative
  49. 49. Opportunities for Exploration  Hidden Resources  Levels  Imperfect Information  Narrative  Illusionary Rewards  Construction
  50. 50. Why Designers Use Exploration Goals  Encourages players to move to new game spaces  Supports:  Gain Information Goals  Memorization  Varied Gameplay  Game World Navigation  Surprises  Emotional Immersion Warning! May conflict with:  Replayability
  51. 51. Exploration Design Considerations  What does the player need to find?  To what extent does the player know what must be found or where it is located?  Is the area to be explored predetermined, randomly generated, or constructed by another player?  Are there supporting goals providing partial information about what needs to be found?
  52. 52. Stealth The goal to move through a certain area and perform and action without being detected.
  53. 53. What Makes A Good Stealth Game? Extra Credits: Like A Ninja
  54. 54. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  55. 55. Making Stealth Games Engaging  Puzzles with multiple solutions  Success despite being low-powered  Rewarding escapes after discovery  Minimal downtime after failure
  56. 56. Why Designers Use Stealth Goals  Makes Delivery, Rescue, and Reconnaissance Goals more difficult  Encourages:  Movement  Tension  Strategic Planning  Area Control
  57. 57. Stealth Design Considerations  What stealthy action(s) must player perform?  How and when does the player hide those actions from other players or enemies?  How can those actions reveal the player to other players / enemies?  What are the tradeoffs between risk and reward for these actions?
  58. 58. Choose one of the following games to play: EXPLORER  Amazonas (3-4p, 50m) (Explore)  Lost Cities (2p, 30-60m) (Explore)  Oceana (1-2p, 10-30m) (Explore) STEALTH  LotR: The Confrontation (2p, 30m) (Bluffing)  Scotland Yard (3-6p, 45m) (Stealth)
  59. 59. Group Quest Design an analog game prototype using mechanics supporting the following goals:  Exploration  Stealth
  60. 60. Rewards The players receive something perceived as positive, or is relieved of a negative effect, for completing the game’s goals.
  61. 61. Why Designers Use Rewards  Creates Anticipation in Single Player games  Creates Tension and Competition in Multi- Player games  With Abilities, promotes Character Development and Narrative Structure  Promotes Strategic Knowledge if Reward has long-term value  A form of Collecting
  62. 62. Rewards Design Considerations  What action or goal is rewarded?  Does the reward either advance the player’s chances in the game or provide enjoyment outside the game?  Is the reward individual, shared, or distributed among players?  Can players choose their rewards?  Is the reward embedded in another element?
  63. 63. Illusionary Rewards The player receives something is perceived as a reward but does not quantifiably help in completing a formalized goal in the game.
  64. 64. Why Designers Use Illusionary Rewards  Congratulatory Messages  Visual Effects  Musical Fanfares  Narrative  Player Stats  Social Status  Player-Defined Goals
  65. 65. Illusionary Rewards Design Considerations  What is the illusionary reward?  Why does the player perceive it as a reward?  Is it intentionally created, or an unintended consequence of the game design?
  66. 66. Penalties Players are inflicted with something perceived as negative or stripped of an advantage due to failure to meet a requirement of the game.
  67. 67. Sources Of Penalties  Damage  Deadly Traps  Failure to Complete Goals
  68. 68. Penalties vs. Rewards Penalties Rewards Causes Tension Causes Anticipation More Predictable Less Predictable More Continuous More Distant
  69. 69. Why Designers Use Penalties  Discourage rule-breaking  Create Tension  Create negative Social Status  Prevent Betrayal Warning! May restrict  Freedom of Choice
  70. 70. Penalties Design Considerations  What actions or events initiated by the player are penalized?  What actions or events not initiated by the player are penalized?  Is the penalty a predictable consequence of the action or event?  What is the penalty’s effect?  Are penalties individual or shared among players?
  71. 71. Risk/Reward The chance for receiving a reward in a game is linked to some risk of receiving a penalty if the player fails to acquire the reward.
  72. 72. More Risk/Reward Examples  Risking Danger to Gain Rewards or Perform Actions  Choosing which New Ability to get  Investments and other Resource Management  Choosing which of several areas to Guard  Selecting a Spawning Location
  73. 73. Why Designers Use Risk/Reward  Create Tension  Encourage  Trade-Offs  Strategic Planning  Cognitive Immersion  Game Mastery
  74. 74. Ways To Introduce Risk Randomness Wrong Actions Other Players
  75. 75. Risk/Rewards Design Considerations  How is risk introduced?  What is the reward?  What is the probability of getting the reward?  What is the penalty?  What is the probability of receiving a penalty?
  76. 76. Create a game mechanic of your own choosing that involves a risk/reward decision.