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LAFS Game Mechanics - The Core Mechanic


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

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LAFS Game Mechanics - The Core Mechanic

  1. 1. Level 1 David Mullich Game Mechanics The Los Angeles Film School
  2. 2. Class Topics 1. Core Mechanics 2. Progression Mechanics 3. Tactical Mechanics 4. Resource Management Mechanics 5. Social Mechanics 6. Information and Game Mechanics 7. Randomness and Game Mechanics 8. Narrative and Game Mechanics 9. Balancing Game Mechanics 10. Replayability and Game Mechanics
  4. 4. Class Grading  20%: 10 Labs  30%: 10 Assignments  30%: 3 Tests  20%: Professionalism* 2% Extra Credit for playtesting Game Fair games * 35%+ absences is an automatic fail.
  5. 5. Labs Game development is a team sport. Each of your labs is a group assignment in which everyone must participate.
  6. 6. Come Prepared Having one of these is a minimum requirement. At all times.
  7. 7. Assignments Do your homework assignments on the LMS (Learning Management System).
  8. 8. Word Counts Word counts are there for a reason. Use them wisely and avoid:  Padding  Going off topic  Repeating yourself  Padding by stating the obvious in a way that takes quite a lot of words but really isn’t saying anything new  Repeating yourself but in a different way  Padding, wadding, lining, extemporising, extraneous content or going on any other kind of Synonym Safari TM
  9. 9. Deliver Work On Time Develop a habit of delivering work on time. In the game industry, when work is late, people don’t get paid. Pssst....Sometimes developers make false internal deadlines to avoid calamity such as missed milestone payments. Maybe you could do the same if graduation is at stake?
  10. 10. Tests  Study for your tests! Refer to the slides.  If you see on a slide, it will probably be on the test.  If you don’t know the answer to a test question, guess!  There are no points deducted for wrong answers on multiple-choice questions  I will award some points for clever or knowledgeable answers on short-answer questions, even if they weren’t the answer I was looking for.
  11. 11. First Rule of Success: Show Up  DON’T BE TARDY But if you know you will be late, EMAIL ME!  DON’T BE ABSENT But if you know you will be gone, EMAIL ME!
  12. 12. School Is Your Job Yes, these are important:  Part-time work  Family  Friends  Fun But don’t neglect your school work!
  13. 13. Impressions Your colleagues and faculty will most likely be your doorway into the industry. How do you want them to think of you? ZERO HERO
  14. 14. The Golden Rule
  15. 15. What Is A Game Mechanic?
  16. 16. Game Mechanic  Action: What players actually do in the game  Purpose: The reason why players are doing it
  17. 17. The Core Mechanic(s) The action(s) that the player uses most frequently to progress in the game.
  18. 18. Examples of Core Mechanics Game Core Action Core Purpose Chess Position pieces to capture opponent’s pieces Candy Crush Match 3 pieces to destroy them Tetris Rotate pieces to create lines Super Smash Bros Attack to knock opponent back Doom Run and shoot to kill enemies World of Warcraft Kill to earn experience
  19. 19.  Write down an activity of any kind – related to work, school, fun, chores, anything.  Come up with a verb, based on this activity, that you think would make a good basis for a game.  Identify:  Core Action  Core Purpose
  20. 20. The Core Loop ACTION Actual Action of the Mechanic REWARD Reward for Executing the Action TRIGGER Event that Triggers the Action
  21. 21. Behavior Psychology Volition: The power of using one's will. Operant Conditioning: A type of learning where behavior, or volition is controlled by consequences. B.F. Skinner
  22. 22. Skinner Box
  23. 23. Reward Ratios Frequency Effectiveness Constant (Fixed) Poor Intermittent (Fixed) Good Random (Variable) Best
  24. 24. Does a fixed reward or a variable reward produce the highest rate of activity?
  25. 25. Does Behavioral Conditioning Work On People?
  26. 26. Reward Ratios In Games A player must shoot down approximately 20 enemy fighters to gain an extra ship, but the precise number is randomly generated each time.
  27. 27. Reinforcement with Extrinsic Rewards  Primary Conditioners: A reward that satisfies a biological need.  Secondary Conditioners: A reward associated with a primary reward.
  28. 28. What Would Be A Primary And Secondary Conditioner In Games?
  29. 29. Chain Schedule What happens if there are multiple stages to the reward? Example: Kill 10 orcs and take each one’s loot before entering the dragon’s cave, where it is guarding a treasure.
  30. 30. Extinction What happens if you stop providing the reward? Example: The player suddenly stops receiving gold for killing orcs.
  31. 31. Avoidance What happens if the reward is to keep bad things from happening?  Ultima Online: Visit house to prevent decay.  Farmville: Harvest crops before they wither.
  32. 32. Behavioral Contrast What happens if expectations change?  Player receives 1 gold coin for killing orcs, and then later starts receiving 10 gold cold coins.  Reward is then switched back from 10 gold coins to 1 gold coin.
  33. 33. The Skinner Box Extra Credits: How Games Condition Us To Play More
  34. 34. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  35. 35. What Are Better Ways Of Fostering Engagement in Games?
  36. 36. Intrinsic Rewards  Flow  Mental Challenge  Mastery  Mystery  Narrative  Novelty
  37. 37. Remember This? Novelty The Five Domains Of Play Challenge Stimulation Harmony Threat
  38. 38. Player Center Designed
  39. 39. Where Mechanics Fit In
  40. 40. Mechanics and Structure Elements Mechanics:  Allowed by Procedures  Follow Rules  Consume or Produce Resources  Impeded by Challenge  Occur within Boundaries
  41. 41. Procedures  Starting Action  Progression of Action  Special Actions  Resolving Actions
  42. 42. Rules Affect Procedures
  43. 43. Rules Limit Actions
  44. 44. Resources “Fuel” And Are Produced By Actions
  45. 45. Conflict Impedes Actions
  46. 46. Boundaries Restrict Actions
  47. 47. Movement The action of moving game elements within the game boundaries.
  48. 48. Why Designers Use Movement  Game World Navigation  Progress Indicator  Dexterity-Based Actions  Puzzle Solving  Supports Race, Capture, Stealth, Herd, Delivery, Traverse, Collection goals
  49. 49. Movement Design Characteristics  What Can Move?  How Does It Move?  What Can Enhance Movement?  What Can Limit Movement? Design Analysis: Movement Characteristics
  50. 50. Focus Loci The game elements through which the player’s actions are taken. In-World Avatars In-World Units Beyond World God’s Finger Physical Component s Cards, Dice
  51. 51. Why Designers Use Focus Loci  Cognitive Immersion  Spatial Immersion  Sensory-Motor Immersion  Area Control  Ownership Design Analysis: Focus Loci Uses
  52. 52. Focus Loci Design Characteristics  In/Beyond World  Number  Actions  Attributes  Persistence  Camera Perspective (Avatars)  Personality (Avatars) Design Analysis: Focus Loci Characteristics
  53. 53. Lives The number of chances a player has in a play session before it is terminated.
  54. 54. Why Designers Use Lives  Balance Game Elements:  Threat  Combat  Session Length  Balance Game Goals:  Survival  Last Man Standing  King of the Hill (with elimination)
  55. 55. Life Design Characteristics  Causes for Loss  Consequences  Number of Lives  Replenishment Design Analysis: Lives Characteristics
  56. 56. Obstacles Game elements that hinder players from taking the shortest route in the game.
  57. 57. Obstacle Design Characteristics  Paths Blocked  Size  Inaccessible Area Boundary  How Bypassed  Other Penalties Design Analysis: Obstacle Characteristics
  58. 58. Why Designers Use Obstacles  Game World Navigation Paths  Non-Deadly Movement Limitations
  59. 59. Deadly Traps Game events that kill avatars and units if they are within the trap’s area of effect.
  60. 60. Deadly Trap Design Characteristics  Effects  Time Delay  Detection  Trap is visible and effects are clear  Trap and effects can be detected by examination  Trap and effects can’t be detected before activation Design Analysis: Deadly Trap Characteristics
  61. 61. Why Designers Use Deadly Traps  Deadly Movement Limitations  Inaccessible Area Limitations
  62. 62. Inaccessible Areas Parts of the game world that the player can perceive but cannot currently enter.
  63. 63. Inaccessible Area Design Characteristics  How Blocked  What Has Access  When Is It Accessible  Affecting Actions Design Analysis: Inaccessible Area Characteristics
  64. 64. Why Designers Use Inaccessible Areas  Movement Limitations  Enlarge Game World
  65. 65. Privileged Abilities Abilities that let players perform actions not readily available to all other players.
  66. 66. Timing of Privileged Actions  Beginning of Game or Turn  During Game or Turn  During Particular Time Intervals  With Power-Ups and Other Game Elements
  67. 67. Privileged Ability Design Characteristics  What Action  Which Focus Loci  When Usable  What Players  Team Play Impact Design Analysis: Spellcasting Characteristics
  68. 68. Why Designers Use Privileged Abilities  Balances Movement, Combat, and Construction
  69. 69. Budgeted Action Points Resource used to determine what and how many actions can be performed during a player’s turn.
  70. 70. Budgeted Action Points Design Characteristics  Actions  How Budgeted Design Analysis: Budget Action Points Characteristics
  71. 71. Why Designers Use Budgeted Action Points  Balance Movement  Balance Privileged Abilities
  72. 72. Survive Trying to avoid being killed by the actions of other players and events in the game.
  73. 73. Survive Goal Characteristics  Surviving Elements  Danger  Avoidance  Consequences of Death  Lives Design Analysis: Survival Characteristics
  74. 74. Traverse The goal to try to move a game element from one position in the game to another.
  75. 75. Traverse Goal Characteristics  Which Element  Game Space Paths  How Does It Move?  Known Goal Point Location? Design Analysis: Traverse Characteristics
  76. 76. Choose one of the following games to play:  En Garde (2p, 20-30m)  Forbidden Desert (2-5p, 45m) *  Hey, That’s My Fish! (2-4p, 20m)  Lost Cities (2-6p, 30-60m)  Space Alert (1-5p, 30m)
  77. 77. Group Quest Design an analog game prototype based on mechanics supporting one of the following goals:  Survive  Traverse
  78. 78. Maneuvering Controlling the movement of game objects in real-time games.
  79. 79. Maneuvering Design Characteristics  Obstacles or Pick-Ups  Speed  Number Design Analysis: Meneuvering Characteristics
  80. 80. What Is The Difference Between Moving And Maneuvering?
  81. 81. Why Designers Use Maneuvering  Game World Navigation  Dexterity-Based Actions  Spatial Immersion
  82. 82. The Mechanics of Movement Game Maker’s Toolkit
  83. 83. Design a maneuvering mechanic on the LMS.