Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us

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I recently gave an hour long webinar on casual game design for the International Game Developers Association. The talk touched on some of the ground I cover in my book, "Casual Game Design." (http://bit.ly/aFDxd7) I also gave a very brief analysis of some of the design decisions that informed our iPhone Gigaputt. The slides provide a visual guide to the ideas illustrated in the talk (though they make much more sense with the audio). If I can get the audio from the IGDA I will post it here as well.

In the presentation I try to define casual games and define some defining characteristics of casual play. I also touch on the importance of developing a mental model to explain games before going into the process of being a game designer. After laying this initial groundwork I look at some specific games and the mechanics that comprise the gameplay.

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  • The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition --- http://amzn.to/22qEWFt
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  • Game Programming Patterns --- http://amzn.to/1R7QYMZ
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  • The Ultimate Guide to Video Game Writing and Design --- http://amzn.to/1Rtdhi8
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Casual Game Design: Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us

  1. Designing Play for the Gamer in All of Us<br />
  2. What do I mean by casual games?<br />
  3. A history of casual games in three parts<br />
  4. Principles of casual game design<br />
  5. 1. Rules & goals must be clear.<br />
  6. 2. Reach proficiency quickly.<br />
  7. 2. Game adapts to player’s life & schedule.<br />
  8. 4. Borrow from the familiar.<br />
  9. We all know what games are, right?<br />
  10. A mental model of games<br />
  11. Intrinsic<br />
  12. System of Rules<br />
  13. Goal<br />
  14. Extrinsic<br />
  15. Voluntary<br />
  16. Separate<br />
  17. Uncertain<br />
  18. Then there’s the succinct definition:<br />
  19. “Voluntary effort to overcome unnecessary obstacles.”<br />Bernard Suits<br />
  20. The role of the game designer.<br />
  21. Transform the moment of play<br />
  22. into a game.<br />
  23. Core idea<br />
  24. Clear goals<br />
  25. Spec/write the rules<br />
  26. Build<br />
  27. Playtest<br />
  28. Iterate<br />
  29. Have a broad appetite<br />
  30. Journey to the End of the Night<br />
  31. Hopscotch Highways<br />
  32. Ran some, ransom<br />
  33. Mechanics<br />
  34. Matching<br />
  35. Too little.<br />
  36. Too much.<br />
  37. New games from tweaks to old mechanics<br />
  38. Never forget<br />
  39. Constraints are crucial.<br />
  40. Sorting<br />
  41. Limited choices<br />
  42. More legibility<br />
  43. More choices<br />
  44. Less legibility<br />
  45. No replacement<br />
  46. With replacement<br />
  47. Bouncing, Tossing, Rolling & Stacking<br />
  48. Exploring the system<br />
  49. Exploring the system<br />
  50. Exploring the system<br />
  51. Gravity<br />
  52. provides<br />
  53. drama.<br />
  54. Variability allows for skill.<br />
  55. Beyond games<br />
  56. People love collecting stuff<br />
  57. And they like recognition<br />
  58. Play to the completist<br />
  59. An example of our design process<br />Make a casual real-world game<br />
  60. Our challenges<br />
  61. Our goals<br />
  62. Our answer<br />
  63. Study the mechanics<br />
  64. Evolve new systems<br />
  65. Today’s casual player<br />
  66. Is tomorrow’s hardcore gamer.<br />
  67. That’s it. Any questions?<br />
  68. www.giganticmechanic.com<br />gtrefry@giganticmechanic.com<br />

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