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Engineering Fun in Game Design

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The Idaho Game Developers, Drake Cooper's Back Stage Pass program and Trailhead Boise are teaming up to host this event. We will have a meet and greet, a presentation on mobile game design by Michael Wilson of Ponywolf, and a look at Boise's newest collaboration space.

The talk is about the basics of game design and structure while applying those principles to modern digital design.


This is theory and methodology, not practice, but we may reference design and programming principles, so rudimentary experience in design or development will be useful. 

Published in: Design
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Engineering Fun in Game Design

  1. 1. GAME DESIGNENGINEERING FUN IN DESIGN
  2. 2. OVERVIEW Today I want to talk about the basics of game design and structure while applying those principles to modern digital design. 
 This class is theory and methodology, not practice, but we may reference design and programming principles, so rudimentary experience in design or development will be useful.
  3. 3. . . . . . . . . . . . . MICHAEL WILSON
 @STOPWILSON | WWW.PONYWOLF.COM PRESENTED BY
  4. 4. . . . . . . . . . . . . INTOAPROCESS? CAN WE TURN FUN
  5. 5. GAMES ARE DESIGNED
 TO BE ADDICTIVE Photo used under Creative Commons from Jeff Kubina
  6. 6. GAME MECHANICS • Achievements • Behavioral Momentum • Bonuses • Cascading Information • Combos • Community Collaboration • Countdown • Discovery • Epic Meaning • Infinite Gameplay • Levels • Loss Aversion • Lottery • Ownership • Points • Progression • Quests • Reward Schedules • Status via http://gamification.org/wiki/Game_Mechanics
  7. 7. . . . . . . . . . . . . METHODOLOGY? SO WHAT IS THE PROBLEM WITH
  8. 8. IT’SASET OF FEATURES Progress Bars Achievements Badges Scoreboards Socialization Competition Challenges etc. }METHODOLODY
  9. 9. THAT DON’T EQUATE TO FUN Progress Bars Achievements Badges Scoreboards Socialization Competition Challenges etc. }= FUN/
  10. 10. SO HOW DO WE
 MANUFACTURE
 FUN?
  11. 11. . . . . . . . . . . . . GAME? WHAT IS A
  12. 12. THERE IS A HIERARCHY OF EXPERIENCE
  13. 13. Experience Toy Puzzle Game
  14. 14. EXPERIENCE Photo used under Creative Commons from Blender Films
  15. 15. TOY Photo used under Creative Commons from stevendepolo
  16. 16. A TOY IS DESIGNED FOR PLAY
  17. 17. PLAY = INTERACTION
  18. 18. INHERENT “RULES” OFATOY • Interaction • Physical/Environmental Rules • Expectations • Feedback (Light, Sound, etc.) • Discovery • Manipulation • etc. TOY
  19. 19. VISUAL FEEDBACK
  20. 20. SURPRISE,
 DELIGHT,
 RANDOMNESS,
 POSSIBILITIES
 (BUT NO GOAL)
  21. 21. PUZZLE Photo used under Creative Commons from fdecomite
  22. 22. A PUZZLE IS FUN AND HAS A RIGHT ANSWER --SCOTTKIM,PUZZLEMASTER(THENEXTTETRIS)
  23. 23. IMPLICIT RULES OFAPUZZLE • Puzzles are a form of play. • Puzzles have a goal or objective. • Puzzles are “tricky.” • Puzzles imply needed ingenuity. PUZZLE
  24. 24. EXPLICIT RULES OFAPUZZLE A PUZZLE 
 HAS RULES
  25. 25. A PUZZLE IS FUN AND HAS
(ATLEASTONE)
 RIGHT ANSWER
  26. 26. SURPRISE,
 DELIGHT,
 RANDOMNESS,
 POSSIBILITIES
 (NOW WITHAPURPOSE)
  27. 27. GAME Photo used under Creative Commons from Muffet
  28. 28. A GAME IS A PLAY ACTIVITY WITH RULES THAT INVOLVES CONFLICT --INTERNATIONALGAMEDEVELOPERSASSOCIATION
  29. 29. RULES OFAGAME • Games are an activity. • Games have rules. • Games have conflict. • Games have goals. • Games involve decision making. • Games have an uncertain outcome. GAMEPortions of text used under Creative Commons from Ian Schreiber
  30. 30. RULES OFAGAME, MAYBE? • Games have Players? • Games have Winners and Losers? • Games are purposely inefficient? • Games have outcomes? • Games involve systems? • Games are...? GAME
  31. 31. A GAMES ARE STORY MACHINES
  32. 32. STORY Photo used under Creative Commons from DeusXFlorida
  33. 33. STORY Photo used under Creative Commons from StuSeeger
  34. 34. THE PIECES OF OUR STORY MACHINE ARE CALLED MECHANICS
  35. 35. GAME MECHANICS ARE CONSTRUCTS OF RULES INTENDED TO PRODUCE AN ENJOYABLE GAME OR GAMEPLAY
  36. 36. WHAT ISAGAME? Experience Toy Puzzle Game Lacks Interaction Explicit Rules Inherent Rules Outcome Has
 Interaction Objectives Conflict
  37. 37. . . . . . . . . . . . . FUN! DIALING IN THE
  38. 38. DESIGNING FUN
 IS ABOUT DESIGNING BALANCE
  39. 39. BALANCE Photo used under Creative Commons from cho45
  40. 40. WHAT TO BALANCE? Risk Luck Random Completion …This Reward Skill Predictive Endlessness That… vs. vs. vs. vs. vs.
  41. 41. THESE ARE THE BIG THREE,
 BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHERS
  42. 42. RISK
 VS.
 REWARD
  43. 43. RISK
  44. 44. RISK VS.REWARD • Think of RISK and REWARD as a mechanic to drive MEANING. RISK = EFFORT
 EFFORT + REWARD = MEANING
  45. 45. CHALLENGE & DIFFICULTY According to human nature, it is inevitable that a person will learn and gain more skill presented a challenge and a chance to grow— therefore a game must increase in difficulty as the player progresses in order to continue to be challenging
  46. 46. MORE CHALLENGE = MORE EFFORT = MORE RISK
  47. 47. SO, A GAME 
 WITHOUT RISK WILL INHERENTLY MAKE IT UN-FUN
  48. 48. LUCK
 VS.
 SKILL
  49. 49. Photos used under Creative Commons from dupo-x-y & Muffet LUCK SKILL
  50. 50. ALL GAMES HAVE SOME LUCK
  51. 51. ALL GAMES HAVE SOME SKILL
  52. 52. SOURCES OF LUCK • Random Number Generators (Dice, Coins, etc.) • Simultaneous Choices (Rock, Paper, Scissors) • Hidden Information (Cards, Stock Market) • Environment (Weather, imperfections, etc.) LUCK
  53. 53. LUCK LEVELS THE PLAYFIELD
  54. 54. LUCK IS INCLUSIVE
  55. 55. SKILL TAKES EFFORT
  56. 56. SOURCES OF SKILL • Physical (Exercise, Practice, etc.) • Intelligence (IQ, Problem Solving, etc.) • Familiarity (Experience, Practice, etc.) • Endurance (Willpower, etc,) SKILL
  57. 57. SKILL ADDS MEANING
  58. 58. SO, A GAME WITH OUT LUCK WILL INHERENTLY MAKE IT UNFAIR
  59. 59. MANIPULATING LUCK
  60. 60. WHEN SKILL GETS AN ADVANTAGE, DIAL UP THE LUCK
  61. 61. RANDOM
 VS.
 PREDICTIVE
  62. 62. Photos used under Creative Commons from dupo-x-y & Muffet RANDOM PREDICTIVE
  63. 63. RANDOMNESS ISN’T
 LUCK
  64. 64. PREDICTIONS ARE
 ODDS
  65. 65. CHESS IS VERY RANDOM • The Shannon number, named after Claude Shannon, is an estimated lower bound on the game-tree complexity of chess • Shanon’s number is estimated at 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,00 0,000,000,000,000,000,000 (1046.7) games • More than the estimated number of atoms in the Universe via http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shannon_number
  66. 66. Photos used under Creative Commons from Muffet
  67. 67. CHESS IS PREDICTIVE }IN BOOK IN BOOK IN BOOKIN BOOK IN BOOK IN BOOK IN BOOK IN BOOK NOVELTY IN BOOK INBOOK INBOOK INBOOK INBOOKINBOOKINBOOK INBOOK INBOOK
  68. 68. KNOWING THE POSSIBLE OUTCOME MAKES VARIATIONS MORE EXCITING
  69. 69. WHO WINS? i i
  70. 70. PREDICTIVE OUTCOMES CREATE UNDERDOGS
  71. 71. PREDICTIVE OUTCOMES CREATE RIVALRIES
  72. 72. WHO IS THE UNDERDOG? Photo used under Creative Commons from Mike_fleming
  73. 73. SO, A GAME WITH OUT PREDICTIONS WILL INHERENTLY MAKE IT BORING
  74. 74. . . . . . . . . . . . . TOGETHER BRING IT
  75. 75. ARE YOU CREATING CONFLICT?
  76. 76. ARE YOU CREATING MEANING?
  77. 77. ARE YOU CREATING BALANCE?
  78. 78. Q&A

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