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Chapter 2.2 Game Design

Chapter 2.2 Game Design

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Chapter 2.2 Game Design

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  1. Chapter 2.2Game Design

  2. Overview • Game design as… • full-time occupation is historically new • field of practical study – even newer

  3. Overview • Folk games [Costikyan] • “Traditional” games with cultural origins • Examples: • Tic-Tac-Toe (Naughts and Crosses) • Chess • Go • Backgammon • Poker

  4. Overview • This introduction covers: • Terms • Concepts • Approach • All from a workaday viewpoint

  5. Overview • There is no one “right” way to design • There are many successful approaches • Specific requirements and constraints of each project and team determine what works and what does not. • This introduction is but a scratch

  6. The Language of Games • Game development – a young industry • Standards are still being formulated • Theory • Practice • Terminology

  7. The Language of Games • Debate continues over high-level views • Lack of standard (concrete) definitions • Game • An object of rule bound play • Play • An activity engaged for the purpose of eliciting emotions • High-level concepts tricky to articulate

  8. The Language of Games • Workplace differences usually low-level • Working terminology • Example • “actors” instead of “agents” • “geo” instead of “model” • Workflow – how things get done • Individual responsibilities • Processes under which work is performed

  9. The Language of Games • Why do we play? • Not a designer’s problem • What is the nature of games? • Not a designer’s problem • How is a game formed of parts? • A designer’s problem

  10. The Language of Games • Our simplistic high-level definitions • Easy to modify to fit multiple cultures • Practical over metaphysically true • play • game • aesthetics

  11. Play and Game • Play • Interactions to elicit emotions • Game • Object of rule-bound play • General enough to cover everything

  12. Aesthetics and Frame • Aesthetics • Emotional responses during play • Naïve practical approach, not classical • Frame • The border of a game’s context • Inside the frame is in the game • Outside the frame is real life

  13. Approaching Design • Computer games are an art form • Game design practices can be taught • Nothing “magic” about game design • All you need is desire and dedication, practice, and the willingness to work methodically are all that are truly • Technical discipline like music, film, poetry • The art of making dynamic models

  14. Mental/Cognitive Concepts Beliefs Maps Examples: Locations Relationships Mathematical Equations Formulas Algorithms Approaching Design • A model represents something

  15. Approaching Design • Abstract model • Conceptual and idealized • A tool for investigating specific questions • Simplifies thinking to help understand problems • May include assumptions thought to be false • Abstract game • One rule • The piece is moved to the open square

  16. A Player-Game Model • A model of the player – game relationship

  17. A Player-Game Model • Mechanics • Things the player does • Interface • Communication between player and game • System • Underlying structure and behavior

  18. Control and State Variables • Defined by Isaacs in Differential Games • Control variables • Inputs from players • State variables • Quantities indicating game state

  19. Play Mechanics • Gameplay • Feelings of playing a particular game • Activities engaged in a particular game • (Play/game) Mechanics • Specific to game activities • “What the player does”

  20. Execution Intention to act Sequence of action Execution of action sequence Evaluation Evaluating interpretations Interpreting perceptions Perceiving states Seven Stages of Action

  21. Seven Stages of Action • A goal is formed • Models the desired state • The desired result of an action • Examples: • Have a glass of water in hand • Capture a queen • Taste ice cream

  22. Seven Stages of Action • Goals turned into intentions to act • Specific statements of what is to be done

  23. Seven Stages of Action • Intentions put into an action sequence • The order internal commands will be performed

  24. Seven Stages of Action • The action sequence is executed • The player manipulates control variables

  25. Seven Stages of Action • The state of the game is perceived • State variables are revealed via the interface

  26. Seven Stages of Action • Player interprets their perceptions • Interpretations based upon a model of the system

  27. Seven Stages of Action • Player evaluates the interpretations • Current states are compared with intentions and goals

  28. Seven Stages of Action • Donald Norman’s approximate model • Actions not often in discrete stages • Not all actions progress through all stages

  29. Seven Stages of Action • Scales to… • …an individual mechanic • A “primary element” • Examples: • Move • Shoot • Talk • …an entire game • A generalized model of interaction

  30. Designer and Player Models • Systems are built from designer mental models • Design models may only anticipate player goals

  31. Designer and Player Models • Players build mental models from mechanics • Based upon interactions with the system image • The reality of the system in operation • Not from direct communication with designers • Player and designer models can differ significantly

  32. Core Mechanics • Typical patterns of action • Fundamental mechanics cycled repeatedly • Examples: • Action shooters – run, shoot, and explore • Strategy game – explore, expand, exploit, exterminate • referred to as the “four X’s”

  33. Premise • The metaphors of action and setting • Directs the player experience • Provides a context in which mechanics fit • Players map game states to the premise

  34. Premise • Story is the typical example of premise • Time • Place • Characters • Relationships • Motivations • Etc.

  35. Premise • Premise may also be abstract • Tetris operates under a metaphor • The metaphor: arranging colored shapes • Encompasses all game elements • Player discussions use the language of the premise

  36. Premise • Games are models • Activities being modeled form premise • Actions may appear similar in model • Usually are fundamentally quite different • Sports games are good examples • Playing video games isn’t like playing the sport

  37. Premise • Goes beyond setting and tone • Alters the players mental model • Basis of player understanding and strategy

  38. Premise • Possible • Capable of happening in the real world • Plausible • Possible within the unique world of premise • “Makes sense” within the game’s premise • Consistent with the premise as understood

  39. Choice and Outcome • Choice • A question asked of the player • Outcome • The end result of a given choice • Possibility space • Represents the set of possible events • A “landscape” of choice and outcome

  40. Choice and Outcome • Consequence or Weight • The significance of an outcome • Greater consequences alter the course of the game more significantly • Choices are balanced first by consequence

  41. Choice and Outcome • Well-designed choice • Often desirable and undesirable effects • Should relate to player goals • Balanced against neighboring choices • Too much weight to every choice is melodrama • Orthogonal choices – distinct from others • Not just “shades of grey”

  42. Qualities of Choice • Terms in which to discuss choices • Hollow – lacking consequence • Obvious – leaves no choice to be made • Uninformed – arbitrary decision • Dramatic – strongly connects to feelings • Weighted – good and bad in every choice • Immediate – effects are immediate • Long-term – effects over extended period • Orthogonal – choices distinct from each other

  43. Goals and Objectives • Objectives • Designed tasks players must perform • Rigid requirements – formal • Goals • An intentional outcome • Notions that direct player action • Scales all levels of motivation • From selecting particular strategies… • …to basic motor actions (e.g. pressing a button)

  44. Goals and Objectives • Objectives and goals can differ • Players goals reflect their understanding of the game • Designers must consider how the game communicates with players • Affordances – the apparent ways something can be used

  45. Resources • Resources • Things used by agents to reach goals • To be meaningful, they must be… • Useful – provide some value • Limited – in total or rate of supply

  46. Economies • Economies • Systems of supply, distribution, consumption • Questions regarding game economies: • What resources exist? • How and when will resources be used? • How and when will resources be supplied? • What are their limits?

  47. Player Strategy • People usually reason with commonsense • A view of linear causation – cause and effect • Complex systems do not behave linearly • Players need information to support linear strategy

  48. Game Theory • Game Theory • Branch of economics • Studies decision making • Utility • A measure of desire associated with an outcome • Payoffs • The utility value for a given outcome • Preference • The bias of players towards utility

  49. Game Theory • Rational Players • Abstract model players – not real people • Always try to maximize their potential utility • Solve problems using pure logic • Always fully aware of the state of the game

  50. Game Theory • Games of skill • One-player games • Outcomes determined solely by choices • Games of Chance • One-player games • Outcomes determined in whole or part by nature (chance) • Games of Strategy • Competitions between two or more players