Game Design Game Elements Mr. Hughes
Assignment • Assignment: Analyzing Game Elements • 20 points • In this assignment, you will take the information from the previous unit and use it to analyze several games you find to play online. Use the links below or find three games to analyze. The only rule is that the games must be free games played online. • http://www.gamezarena.com/adventure/games/escape_from_somnus/ • http://www.gamezarena.com/classic/games/8-ball/ • http://www.gamezarena.com/classic/games/beany_pacman/ • Play the three games found in the links above. Feel free to check out the other games on the Web site. After completing the game play, analyze the game elements in each game. • Use the worksheet to record your thoughts and ratings. Follow the instructions on the worksheet
Why Game? • We all play games. However, not just humans play games. Many other species with whom we share our planet participate in games. • Why do we need to play games? The human brain is tricky to understand without studying a lot of psychology and human anatomy! It's the indecipherable nature of the brain that has fascinated us and continues to fascinate us. On the surface, gaming seems to be a fun subject, but it's not all just about the pumping adrenaline and sweaty palms. • Some of us may know the difference between the cerebrum and cerebellum. These may seem like terms which “nerds” would use. But the cerebrum takes care of the cognitive aspects or thought processes. The cerebellum executes actions. When we play games we engage both of these parts of our brain. As old-timers might say, “It's all in the mind.” So, when you look at your gaming console next time, think about the billions of neurons in your brain which go into a frenzy every time you “chill out” on gaming!
Game Elements • As seen in the previous unit regarding different genres of games, the designing aspect seems to vary with the genre at hand. • While strategy and arcade games seem more based on logic and cognition, shooting and racing games seem to rely more on reflexes. • At the onset, the most important element of game play seems to be the visuals, but game play is too complex a concept to be explained by just the mix and match of a few pixels. • While designing a game, a lot of thought goes into the things that don't meet your eye. • Be it a generalized prologue before the onset of the actual game play or an undercurrent of the theme running throughout the game, the design is the single common thread that keeps the gamer glued to the game. • This may explain why hardcore gamers find games addictive and just can't take their hands off their game controllers!
Game Elements • The basic design of game play can be explained easily with a real life example. And by a real life example, we do mean a real "life" example; the story of our growth from a toddler to an adult. • When we were kids our goals were simple: to go to school, study, come back home, play for a while, and go to sleep. • The next phase involves high school which normally means setting "higher" goals that range from science projects to meeting a significant other. • As we move on to full-fledged adulthood, the responsibility level increases and the "goals" get pushed a lot more.
Game Elements • As a game designer, you have to keep the interest of the gamer. • A game play design should be very similar to our lives—the events of the story lead to a finale or accomplishment of goals and in the meantime the challenges faced test our ability to achieve them. • The events leading up to the final “accomplishment” are generally not as difficult as attaining the goal itself. • The “grand finale” or the final challenge right before achieving the goal is the most difficult. • Game play design starts from the top and moves its way down… • i.e. start from the goal and then design the appropriate steps to get to that goal all while keeping the gamers' interests.
Super Mario Brothers • Many games offer a lot of advantageous gaming options to the player at each higher level. Take, for example, Super Mario. The player takes the role of Mario or Mario's brother Luigi. • The player races through the Mushroom Kingdom facing many challenges from opposing forces to save the princess. • Mario or Luigi can be hurt with just a touch from the enemy. The Mario Brothers' primary means of attack is simply jumping on top of their enemies. • Some enemies, though cannot be defeated by stomping; these enemies can only be defeated by using a turtle shell or fireball. Mario and Luigi can also obtain extra lives called “1-ups” as they collect the icon or by collecting 100 coins
Super Mario Brothers • Aiding the Mario Brothers in their quest are several powers or abilities, which they can attain. If Mario or Luigi collect a mushroom, they will become Super Mario or Luigi with their size being relatively large, thus able to take two hits before losing a life. Collecting a Fire Flower changes the player into Fiery Mario or Luigi, granting the ability to throw fireballs. • If Mario takes a hit or the time runs out he falls into a pit and loses a turn. He must start over in that level. The point where Mario continues from after losing a life depends on how far he ran through the level before dying and the number of checkpoints he crossed: either from the very beginning or at the invisible "checkpoint" partway through the level. As the player progresses through the world, there are fewer or even no checkpoints. • Mario or Luigi can also collect a starman and become invincible for a limited amount of time and he can simply run into enemies to defeat them but will still die, if he falls in a pit or lava, or if time runs out. • Take some time to play the online version of Super Mario at:http://onlinesupermario.com/mario-world.php
Super Mario Brothers Analysis • So, what makes Super Mario a successful game? See if you can answer the questions below. • What is the goal of the Super Mario game? • How is the player's interest held through the game? • What would make a more advanced gamer interested in this online version? • It would likely take you a while to play this game through to its end, but what do you think the later levels would be like? • Is there one game design element that is more important than another? • The original game for Nintendo was probably successful because it included the key elements of game play that make players stick around. The plot is good, the level of difficulty increases as the game progresses, there are specific challenges to each level, and it was down-right addictive! You will need to keep these types of elements in mind when you are designing your games.