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ITB/ITN751 Games Production Lecture 2 Game Conception and Design

ITB/ITN751 Games Production Lecture 2 Game Conception and Design

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ITB/ITN751 Games Production Lecture 2 Game Conception and Design

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  1. ITB/ITN751 Games Production Lecture 2Game Conception and Design Ross Brown

  2. Lecture Contents • Game Conception and Design • Guest Lecture – Morgan Jaffit

  3. Readings • Textbook Chapters: • 6 Game Design and What Producers Need to Know about Designing • Websites: • http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/1524/the_chemistry_of_game_design.php • http://www.gamasutra.com/features/19991019/ryan_01.htm • http://www.gamedev.net/reference/articles/article273.asp

  4. Conception • “Vision - It reaches beyond the thing that is, into the conception of what can be. Imagination gives you the picture. Vision gives you the impulse to make the picture your own” - Robert Collier

  5. What is Game Design? • A Game Design is a blueprint for a game [1] • A game designer creates this blueprint • The blueprint is for the creation of a series of interesting decisions • This is known as a game…

  6. What is a game? [1] • A game is a play activity comprised of a series of actions and decisions, constrained by rules and the game world, moving toward an end condition • The rules and the game world are delivered by electronic media and are controlled by a digital program • The rules and game world exist to provide a framework and content for a players actions

  7. What is a game? • The rules also exist to create interesting situations to challenge and oppose the player • The player’s actions, his decisions, choices, and chances, really, his journey, all comprise the “soul of play.” • It is the richness of context, the challenge, excitement, and fun of a players journey, and not simply the attainment of the end condition, that determines the success of the game – explains Rupert Murdoch I guess…

  8. Designing Games • At this point, a reality check • If you wish to learn how to design games, you should do the design major, coordinated by Penny Drennan • We will look at the technology and processes that go into the creation of a game design

  9. Life Cycle Stages • The design, by and large, is obviously at conception and design stage • However, designers are still required during the entire life cycle of a game, but they will be focussed on a new game • They also engage in the design of new levels for persistent online world games

  10. Conception Design Phase • Biggest outcome is the blueprint, known as the Design Document • Brainstorm and develop concepts • Including those handed down by publishers

  11. Conception Design Phase • Often core idea is from external source, as in movie tie-in • Works with programmers on scripting tools and other provisions for the production stage • Develops many design documents: from broad brush strokes to fine details on levels

  12. Pre-production Phase • Works with developers on scripting tools • In order to facilitate the insertion of new features

  13. Production Phase • Designers script gameplay • Work with art and programming to make sure the game is consistent with design documents • Part of evaluation and testing

  14. Production Phase • May refine design documents from evaluation results – used for later QA • Arms race of features can occur, due to competitors new feature announcement

  15. Maintenance Phase • Additional content design • Balancing of gameplay with patches • Analysis of game reception for new versions or whole new games

  16. Designer Hierarchies • Designers come in hierarchies as well as other jobs and organisations • Usually a lead designer, deals with managing the overall vision of the project • With underlings such as • Level Designers - design game levels • Scenarios Designers – story designer • Multiplayer Designers – online gameplay concepts

  17. Processes - Writing • Writing – lots of it • Because you must generate a precise description of what a game is, you must communicate this in great detail • Just like a lecturer – with less hand waving 

  18. Writing • Design document is often over one hundred pages in length • With many revisions • HINT HINT – u nd 2 wurk on ur nglsh grmr & stile to make it in this game • You need to be able to communicate your vision effectively

  19. Listener • You need to understand the nature of the technology used to implement your game design • You will most likely not be an expert in technology • Also need to be aware of other peoples ideas

  20. Cheerleading • You will champion good ideas • You will be a major source and protector of creativity • As with a lot of creative disciplines, you must defend your vision, and cheer on other contributions

  21. The Game Design Document… • Uses words, tables and diagrams to describe the workings of a game • From the basic story of the games characters and narrative • To the user interface buttons…

  22. The Game Design Document • The design document is used mainly by the development staff • Though others may look at it for various pieces of information – eg. sound voice over actors requiring insight into the nature of a character

  23. Stewardship of Ideas • Needs to create a sense of ideas being welcome • Like any leader in a group • Constant fielding and mining of ideas from the group • Create a culture of innovation

  24. Creating New Ideas • Designer tends to be the idea smith for the studio • Is derived from you and other peoples experiences of gameplay • Ideas are the insertion point, the rest of the design is the hard work involved to implement the game design vision

  25. Visualisation • An important part of the game designers tasks • A visual form of the game experience needs to be developed • The idea is to present a picture of the feel of the game

  26. Visualisation • NOT the specific details, • So that other development personnel can evaluate and critique the game concept • Done in small bite size components – similar to storyboarding for film

  27. Prototyping • An early version of a game, used to evaluate gameplay • Useful for assessing technical requirements • Can the system actually cope with the design • number of models • rendering effects

  28. Prototyping – Some Options • Use a spreadsheet for a numbers game • Create a board game version to test gameplay • Use cards to model gameplay • Use a scripting language to prototype a game on a computer • Because not every game is an FPS shooter…

  29. Scripting • After the game concept has been established, and documents written • Scripting is the process of controlling specific events in your game • Typically executed in the form of a language • Lua - http://www.lua.org/ • Game Monkey – http://www.somedude.net/gamemonkey • Brissy bred code by Matt Riek! • Python - http://www.python.org/

  30. Scripting • Artificial Intelligence (AI) that governs the behaviour of characters is done by programmers • Content – the “stuff” in a game – is created by the other development personnel such as artists/modellers/animators • Scripting is therefore the process of final game integration and tweaking • Taking the content and making it fit the design document, and the lead designer’s vision

  31. Technology - Scripting • Differs from core game code in that it does not require compilation – process of converting source code into machine instructions – so is easy to tweak • Languages are often designed to be easy to use by non-programmers • Often use game engine systems, such as Unreal tournament, which has an editor – UnRealD • Or the programming department may provide their own toolset…we get to this in the software tools lecture

  32. Design Document Structure • The design document is living and requires revision, thus a collaborative tool like a Wiki is useful for such work

  33. Document Sections • I. Core Overview • Summary • Key Aspects • Golden Nuggets • II. Game Context • Game Story • Back Story • Primary Players

  34. Document Sections • III. Core Game Objects • Characters • Weapons • Objects • IV. Conflict and Resolution • V. Artificial Intelligence • VI. Game Flow • VII. Controls

  35. Game Design Case Study • The following is a design document for an example game called EyeOpener • From the Game Design A Practical Approach [1] • We show the game prototype, and the design document that went into it

  36. Example of Eye Opener

  37. Guest Lecturer • Morgan Jaffit – Game Designer • Pandemic Studios

  38. References • Paul Shcuytema, Game Design: a practical approach, Charles River Media, Boston