Download
getting started in game design n.
Skip this Video
Loading SlideShow in 5 Seconds..
Getting Started in Game Design PowerPoint Presentation
Download Presentation
Getting Started in Game Design

Getting Started in Game Design

219 Vues Download Presentation
Télécharger la présentation

Getting Started in Game Design

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Presentation Transcript

  1. Getting Started in Game Design Dr. Lewis Pulsipher Copyright 2007 Lewis Pulsipher

  2. Who am I • Designed my own games while a teenager • Began playing commercial wargames in 1963 • Played the original Atari 2600 and have played some PC games heavily, but rarely play any video games these days; never owned a game console • Designer of six commercially-published board wargames (most recently February ‘06) • Active designer of board and card games (playtesters solicited!) • My main job is teaching networking, Web development in college

  3. Reality Check • Almost no one makes a living designing games • Most who do work for a game company, not freelance • You could spend the same time as profitably by picking up bottles and cans for deposits and recycling! • Most publishers don’t make a lot, either—and it’s risky • Many publishers exist largely to self-publish their own games

  4. Reality Check 2 • So if you design games, do it because you like to, or because you must, not because you want to make money • Alan R. Moon, two German “Games of the Year”, would have had to get part-time job if not for Ticket to Ride winning • Recognize that your “great idea” is probably not that great, not that original, and not that interesting to other people • Finally, it’s extra-hard to get into video game design

  5. OK, How much do you make? • In my experience, royalties are a percentage of the publisher’s actual revenue • 5% is most common • Publisher sells to distributor at 40% of list price or less; distributor sells to retailer for 10% more • Internet sales are becoming significant—then publisher makes 100% • Shipping costs may be subtracted from revenue

  6. Royalty example • $40 list game, 5% of $16 = 80 cents • Per 1,000 copies, $800 • $20 game, $400 per thousand • Wargame typical printrun is a few thousand • “Euro” games might go up to 10,000 • Most games sell poorly after first six months, most are not reprinted • German “Game of the Year” might sell 250,000 or more, after award

  7. What about the biggies? • In general, the really big companies have staff to design their games • Many will not even accept outside submissions • Virtually all will require you sign a statement relieving them of all liabilities • At least one only works through agents • In USA, Hasbro owns all the traditional boardgame publishers such as Parker Brothers, Avalon Hill

  8. Do I need an agent? • Whatever for? • Yet, I did for my first game back in the 70s, in England • Unfamiliarity • I could meet and talk with him locally (London) • Shady “agents” and “evaluators” abound • Don’t ever get an agent who wants a fee “up front”

  9. Practice and get others to evaluate • Diplomacy variants and D&D material in my case • Post such things on your or other Web sites • Analogy: • Jerry Pournelle (SF writer) says be willing to throw away your first million words on the road to becoming successful SF writer • Similarly, be willing to make lots of games/mods that don’t make any money on the way to making (some) money as a game designer

  10. Intellectual Property Rights • Ideas are not important, and not valued! • Ideas are a dime a dozen: execution is what counts • Copyright now inherent • Forget that “mail to myself” idea • Registered copyright makes suits much easier to pursue and more remunerative • Ideas cannot be protected, only expression of an idea

  11. The idea is not the game • Novices tend to think the idea is the important thing • Ideas are “a dime a dozen”. It’s the execution, the creation of a playable game, that’s important • The “pyramid” of game design: • Lots of people get ideas • Fewer try to go from general idea to a specific game idea • Fewer yet try to produce a prototype • Fewer yet produce a decently playable prototype • Very few produce a complete game • And very, very few produce a good complete game

  12. Licensed Properties • Tie-ins with movies, comics, books, etc.? • Much too expensive • Not even worth the IP owner’s time to do the processing for a boardgame—there’s not enough money in it

  13. Boardgame Developers • You don’t control your own game! • My experiences –see http://www.pulsipher.net/gamedesign/developers.htm • See also http://www.pulsipher.net/gamedesign/designingvsdevelopment.htm • Some publishers are different (e.g. GMT)

  14. Submitting Games • Read the publisher’s requirements • Some require you to sign a form and seal it in an envelope • Some won’t accept unsolicited proposals at all—this is common • Expect it to take a long time • Expect to get rejected • May have nothing to do with how good your game is • Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings rejected many times

  15. Two forms of game design • Video games and non-video games • Scale is different • “big time” video games are produced by dozens of people, cost millions of dollars • “big time” non-video games produced by a few people with budgets in the thousands • Yet a few sell more than a million copies

  16. Prototypes—”testing is sovereign” • To best improve a game, you must have a playable prototype • Firaxis’ Sid Meier-Civilization series, Pirates • The sooner Firaxis got a playable version of Civ 4, the more they could learn • A playable prototype includes “artwork” or physical components, and rules or programming • The rules for a non-video game are the equivalent of the programming of a video game • Programming must be precise and is very time consuming (game engines may help in the future) • A playable set of rules can be much less precise, relying on the mind(s) of the designer(s), and notes • It’s also much easier to change the non-video prototype to test different approaches • It’s much easier to produce the physical prototype, than to create the artwork for a video game

  17. Learning to design • So we can have a playable, testable non-video game much more quickly than a computer game of similar scope or subject • Consequently, it’s much easier to learn game design with physical games than with video games! • Kevin O’Gorman’s concurrence

  18. Art vs. Science • As in many other creative endeavors, there are two ways of approach • These are often called Romantic and Classical, or Dionysian and Apollonian • Or: art and science • Some people design games “from the gut” • Others like to use system, organization, and (when possible) calculation • Mine is the “scientific” approach; and that is more likely to help new designers • Game design is 10% art and 90% science

  19. Who is the audience? • A game must have an audience • What are the game-playing preferences of that audience • Short or long? • Chance or little chance? • Lots of story or little story? • “Ruthless” or “nice”? • Simple or complex? • There is no “perfect” game

  20. Genre • Video games are more limited by genre than non-video games • Most video games and many others fall into a clear genre category • Each genre has characteristics that come to be “expected” by the consumer • Much easier to market a video game with a clear genre

  21. How to design games • Limits lead to a conclusion: • Characteristics of the audience (target market) • “People don’t do math any more” • Genre limitations • Production-imposed limitations • “Board cannot be larger than X by Y” • Self-imposed limitations • “I want a one-hour trading game”

  22. Publisher-imposed limits • Some are publisher preference, some are market-dictated • For example: many publishers want nothing that requires written records in a game • Another example: consumers strongly prefer strong graphics, whether in a video or a non-video game

  23. Self-imposed limits • You have your own preferences • Don’t design a game you don’t like to play yourself • If you don’t like it, why should anyone else? • Limits/constraints improve and focus the creative process • Great art and music is much more commonly produced in eras of constraints, rather than eras without constraints • Example of a limit: I want to produce a two-player game that lasts no more than 30 minutes

  24. Do it! • Too many people like to think about designing so much, they never actually do it • Until you have a playable prototype, you have nothing • (Which is what makes video game design so difficult) • It doesn’t have to be beautiful, just usable

  25. Design vs. “development” • “Development” has two meanings • In video games, it means writing the program • In non-video, development (often by a person other than the designer) sets the finishing touches on a game, but may include significant changes • Development takes longer than design, in either case

  26. The designer’s game vs. the game that’s published • Video games are often overseen by the publisher, who is paying the bills; so it is modified to suit as it is developed • Non-video games are often unseen by the publisher until “done”; some publishers then modify them, often heavily

  27. Self Publishing • Do you want to design, or do you want to be a businessperson? • But often it’s the only way your game will be published • Most self-publishers will lose money NOT counting the time they spend • Virtually all lose money if you count the time they put into the business • See http://www.costik.com/selfpub.html

  28. Brief “What’s Important” on the business side of game design • Most people in the business are honest and try to do good • It’s too small a business to get tricky, word gets around • It really is a small business, and mistakes are common • Barring long apprenticeship and great good luck, you won’t make a living at it

  29. Resources about the business • Game Inventor’s Guidebook by Brian Tinsman • “All about publishing” thread on ConsimWorld • Lots of books about video game publishing • Come to my seminar on Saturday at 2 about process of game design

  30. Questions?