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Game Design Principles and Inspiration

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Great innovative design is essential to any game. Raise the bar of engagement for your games by putting to use some proven principles gleaned over many years of game design efforts. Find inspiration as we explore some great examples of innovation and originality in games both past and present. The goal is to both enable and inspire future innovation that will bring satisfaction and success in your career as a game designer.

Delivered at Casual Connect Asia, May 2012.

Game Design Principles and Inspiration

  1. 1. Game Design Principles & Inspiration John Say CEO Say Design (USA & China) Best Contact Methods: Email: john@saydesign.com Skype: johnsay Linkedin.com/in/johnsay Facebook.com/saydesign QQ: 1794662346
  2. 2.  How the Passion Started  Squandered time in Arcade  Game Console Addict   Pong, Atari2600, Coleco TRS-80 Color Computer  Learned to Code BASIC 2
  3. 3. About Say Design  23 Years in Business for USA  Last year, made the move to Shanghai!  Areas of Focus:   Virtual Worlds / MMO’s  Serious & Educational Games  Original IP Development  Help Bring Games to Western Audiences   Cross Platform (Mobile/Browser/Console) Theme Park Rides Many Partners & Clients Globally Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 3
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  5. 5. Why is Game Design SO Important? The World Needs Fun Games! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 5
  6. 6. Gamer’s are a Passionate Audience And They DEMAND Fresh Innovate Gameplay. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 6
  7. 7. What Kind of Game Developer do you Aspire to be? Jedi Game Master Game Cloner 7
  8. 8. Choose Wisely… You Must.. Or a Game Design Jedi, You will not be. 8
  9. 9. Design Principles You Must MASTER  Know what it means to INNOVATE  Keep your Creative Juice FLOWING with INSPIRATION  Make Sure your games have FUN MECHANICS.  K.I.S.S. Principle  GROW ORGANICALLY for Better Long-term Results.  REPLAY VALUE  Solve Real-World Problems with Games Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 9
  10. 10. Firstly.. Exactly What is a Game?  They are Goal driven activities or EXPERIENCES.  They challenge players in a FUN way that let’s them grow or learn.  They REWARD player’s achievements with positive reinforcement and a sense of PROGRESSION.  All of the above are what make up occurrences in everyday life! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 10
  11. 11. THE KEY TO INNOVATION 11
  12. 12. Iterative Innovation  Most Common  Gradual  Often “improvement” increase in complexity  Decreasing  Healthy  Less of complexity or simplifying for industry Risky than more radical innovation Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 12
  13. 13. Iterative Innovation: DoodleSky (OF3D)  Adding A “Twist” to an existing Genre  DoodleSky: Added Twist to Flight Control Games…  The ability to Shoot down enemy planes  Inspiration: Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 13
  14. 14. Game Trailer 14
  15. 15. Radical Innovation Radically New, Genre Defining  Donkey Kong (Platform Game)  Rez (Rhythm Shooter)  Braid (Time Distortion Platformer)  Much Harder to Pull Off Now than Before  But Not Impossible! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 15
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  18. 18. Simplification  Take a difficult game (a core game) and remove what makes it too challenging for Casual players.  You will appeal to core gamers.  And bring something new to casual gamers.  Examples:  Tower Defense -> Plants Vs. Zombies  Crush the Castle -> Angry Birds  Red Alert -> Social Game: Empires and Allies  SimCity -> Social Game: CityVille Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 18
  19. 19. RTS: HardCore 19
  20. 20. Tower Defense: Casual Core 20
  21. 21. Plants vs. Zombies: More Casual Brighter & More Humor 21
  22. 22. Crush the Castle: Casual Core 22
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  24. 24. Angry Birds: Casual 24
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  26. 26. Extending into Real-World Innovations  Game Extending Technology  GPS – Global Positioning -> Location Based Games  AR – Augmented Reality  Cameras  Motion Tracking  Toys and Drones  Gyroscopes Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 26
  27. 27. ARDrone by Parrot: iPhone Game + Drone  Games that Combine Virtual Reality and Actual Reality Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 27
  28. 28. Because the CIA can’t be having ALL of the Fun! (Trailer) Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 28
  29. 29. First Real-Time & Location-Based MMORPG for iOS/Android Parallel Kingdom is a mobile location based massively multiplayer game that uses your GPS location to place you in a virtual world on top of the real world. (trailer) Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 29
  30. 30. FUSION INNOVATION  Combining 2 or more game aspects together  Crystal Castles = Fusion of Pacman + Isometric Playfield Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 30
  31. 31. Fusion Innovation! On the Airplane!  A Couple playing Sudoku on the Plane   Single Player, bah!  I looked at this as a design opportunity.  Used Fusion Innovation:  Hey 2-player Tic-Tac-Toe has similar Grid! What if… =? + Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 31
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  33. 33. HOW ABOUT FUSING THESE TOGETHER? Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 33
  34. 34. Click for Trailer 34
  35. 35. What about Tempest + Bubble Bobble? + Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 35
  36. 36. CANDY SHOT Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 36
  37. 37. 37
  38. 38. Thematic Innovations  NanoTroopers (internal project) First Person Shooter Meets Anatomy & Medicine Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 38
  39. 39. a Frag’em up game where players are Immersed into the body as Formidable Nanites to save the World.  Just Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 39
  40. 40.  Not Reinventing the FPS… but rather… the Environment and the whole Meta-game Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 40
  41. 41. INSPIRATION DRIVES INNOVATION! How can you keep your Creative Juices Flowing? 41
  42. 42. Inspiration Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 42
  43. 43. Inspiration requires free flow of undistracted thought. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 43
  44. 44. Inspirational Game Designer Quote to Ponder “Doing things that you think people need but are missing always leads to innovation. Doing things that are popular and making money doesn’t.” 44
  45. 45. Inspiration from Experimental Games  Flash Game Portals are FULL of experiments and innovations!  Kongregate.com, AddictingGames.com, TheGamesList.com  Top Performing, AppStore & Facebook Games!  As long as you build on what others have done, and innovated, it’s NOT the same as CLONING. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 45
  46. 46. Blast to the Past!  Arcade Classics  Old Consoles Games  Emulators  Many Forgotten Gems! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 46
  47. 47. Inspiration from Traditional Toys & Games  Board Games  Puzzles  Toys Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 47
  48. 48. Inspiration from Arts & Crafts  Paint by Numbers Game Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 48
  49. 49. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 49
  50. 50. Everyone can Innovate Game Ideas!  KIDS! are full of inventive ideas, and go largely untapped!  Colleges and Universities full of students with Fresh new ideas!  Internships  Contests and Competitions    Joey Betz won 3 competitions at Local Univ. First Say Design Intern: Did Crush the Castle (w/c inspired Angry Birds Game Designer) Game Builder Tools & Communities (no coding req.)  PlayCrafter.com (trailer)  GameSalad.com Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 50
  51. 51. EA’s National Invent-A-Game Challenge  Dan Slutz, 17, of Canton Ohio Wins! (all 3 ideas made top 5) Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 51
  52. 52. Link to interview / article Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 52
  53. 53. WHAT ARE FUN MECHANICS?
  54. 54. IT DEPENDS….
  55. 55. ON YOUR AUDIENCE Game Designers Must Understand their Audience!
  56. 56. Casual Gamer: Prefers Simplicity (K.I.S.S.) Good Forget about it 56 Dream on
  57. 57. Hardcore Gamer: NEED T.K.A. (total kick ass) Outstanding!... But… Hey! No Haptic Gloves & 3D VR Glasses?
  58. 58. What if you have Multiple Target Audiences?  Super Casual  Casual  Casual Core  Core  Hard Core  Troubled Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 58
  59. 59. And these 3 are your primary targets…  Super Casual  Casual  Casual Core  Core  Hard Core  Troubled Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 59
  60. 60. Which do you worry most about leaving behind?  Super Casual  Casual  Casual Core  Core  Hard Core  Troubled No Gamer in Intended Audience Is Left Behind (FACT: Hard Core Gamers Love to Play Angry Birds & Doodle Jump too, just privately LOL) Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 60
  61. 61. TIPS FOR CREATING GOOD GAME MECHANICS  At first Try multiple mechanics  Experiment Liberally  Rapidly Prototype in Flash or Unity3D, etc..  Watch Game Testers and see if they “Get It” without coaching.  Evaluate On these criteria:  Easy  Fun to Learn? to Master?  Can it provide variety of gameplay without overcomplicating the core User Interaction?  Let’s Illustrate with Angry Birds… Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 61
  62. 62. Angry Birds: Easy to Learn  Core Mechanic Is Simple and doesn’t change… It’s familiar to anyone who has flung a rubber band.  Pull Back & Let Go! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 62
  63. 63. Angry Birds: Challenging yet Fun to Master  The Challenge isn’t limited to ability to Aim  But your MASTERING EACH BIRD!  One Player’s Assessment of Each Bird’s Funfactor Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 63
  64. 64. Angry Birds: Challenging yet Fun to Master  The Challenge isn’t limited to ability to Aim  But your MASTERING EACH BIRD!  One Player’s Assessment of Each Bird’s Funfactor Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 64
  65. 65. Angry Birds: Each Level Is like a New Game  Level’s start off easy  Gradually ramping up difficulty!  Allowing rapid replay to achieve 3 stars! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 65
  66. 66. Eventually you’re forced to Mighty Eagle  BLASTED! .99 please ;-)  W.T.C. (what the crap?) Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 66
  67. 67. The K.I.S.S. Principle Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 67
  68. 68. K I S S E E P T I M P L E T U P I D That’s not name-calling  Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 68
  69. 69. K.I.S.S. Principle???  Just because we can, doesn’t mean we should!  All Games benefit from Simplicty  UX & GameFlow even in Hardcore Games  China is still learning this concept   Don’t take it from me… Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 69
  70. 70. “Simplicity Is the Ultimate Sophistication” -Leonardo Da Vinci 70
  71. 71. K.I.S.S. Principle in PacMan  Give visual clues and “hints” to guide the user  Did PacMan Require a Guidebook or Tutorial?  What kind of Clues?:   aural   visual Ai Behavior If Player didn’t figure it out, Minimal Instructions the game didn’t punish them, it allowed them to continue. Ultimate Goal Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 71
  72. 72. PLEASE MEMORIZE THIS: 72
  73. 73. Give Players a Sense of Context & Progression  Players want to explore, but also need to know:  Where  they’ve been Where they are  Where they are heading  Progress  they’ve made. How to do this?  Maps  Achievements  Quest Lists  Experience Points & Leveling Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 73
  74. 74. Organic Development! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 74
  75. 75. Organic Growth of Games  The Game Design Document is NOT LAW.  Start with a SEED of the game.   Remember what that is? Allow TIME for the seed to be NURTURED TO MATURITY!  Experiment EARLY  Observe Audience reactions & response  Refine & Polish  REMOVE  unnecessary complexities / confusion REPEAT ITERATION TO PERFECTION Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 75
  76. 76. SPOCK’S WARNING: Don’t Become Emotionally Attached To a Game Design To continue to work on a game that’s not truly satisfying to your Audience.. Is.. Well… ILLOGICAL. 76
  77. 77. TIPS FOR REPLAY VALUE  Multiple Modes of Play  Multiple Difficulty Settings  Level Rankings (★★★) (how many times reply an AngryBird Level?)  Variety is SPICE of LIFE  Clever Level Design (don’t just leave it to the coders)  Allow for User Generated Content ie. Level Editors (crush the castle)  Virtual Currency & Items  RPG Aspects (Improving Attributes) Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 77
  78. 78. TIPS FOR REPLAY VALUE  Goals and Achievements  Score & Achievement Rankings  Allow to Repeat Levels to Improve Ranks (perfect rank achievement)  Memorable Story and Characters they can be drawn into.  NEVER Underestimate Humor!  Minion Mayhem ->  Improving Launcher, Mutating Minions, Multiplayer/Community Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 78
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  80. 80. Can Games Change the World? Indeed!  Games can be used to Solve Problems.  Getting People to organize around a common Goal  People more willing to get involved “IF IT’S A GAME”  Encourage Cooperation and Camaraderie  If Mapped to Real World Results or Effects can impact Reality!  A new and noble challenge for Aspiring Game Designers! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 80
  81. 81. Games that Solve Problems Scientists Cannot  FoldIt: Teaching the world Protein Synthesis, and letting the world come up with solutions through a GAME! 81
  82. 82. Games that Rehabilitate  UC Davis Mind Institute Co-Development Project: Making games to stimulate Brain for improved Spatial Resolution for Kids with Neurological Disorders. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 82
  83. 83. Virtual Worlds that Educate!  Games & Tablets will have deep impact on education Globally. Be prepared!  Korea’s Ministry of Education has mandated schoolbooks be replaced by Tablets and Digital Education by 2015. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 83
  84. 84. Virtual World Middle & High Schools  S.T.E.M.,  Academic Language, Social Studies, and more Achievement Rewarding and Fun  Multiplayer and Collaborative  Foster Peer-to-Peer Learning  Teacher / Student Interaction  Virtual Cooperation between different schools. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 84
  85. 85. Edison Virtual School
  86. 86. Inspirational Pop Quiz: Name That Innovation & Say WHY  If Iterative (what was was the inspiration)  Radical (was there real-world inspiration?)  Simplification (what did they simplify?)  Pacman  Ladybug  Zaxxon  Chuzzle  flOw  Lightopus  Crush the Castle  Angry Birds  Shadow of the Colossus Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 86
  87. 87. Games for Health!  FamScape: Challenges and Reward driven village game designed to help families focus on active and healthy lifestyle. Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 87
  88. 88. Some Homework! http://casualconnect.org/magazine-archive/ Excusive Interview Jonathan Leaders What Games Can Learn from an Innovation Leader (On Culture & Traits of Innovation)! Copyright 2009 Say Design Incorporated. All rights reserved. Say Design confidential. 88
  89. 89. Thank You! Q/A or SHARE 谢谢 Let’s Exchange Cards! Grab/Leave One B4 U Leave Best Contact Methods: Email: john@saydesign.com Skype: johnsay Linkedin.com/in/johnsay Facebook.com/saydesign QQ: 1794662346 EMAIL ME FOR THE SLIDES & See you at the PARTY!: (WILL HAVE CHINESE VERSION READY IN A FEW DAYS!!!)

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