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Future Directions for Computer Games. Foundations of Interactive Game Design Professor Jim Whitehead March 14, 2008. Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0. Game Demo Night. Tonight March 14, 5pm-9pm E2 180 (Simularium)

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future directions for computer games

Future Directions for Computer Games

Foundations of Interactive Game Design

Professor Jim Whitehead

March 14, 2008

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

game demo night
Game Demo Night
  • Tonight
    • March 14, 5pm-9pm
    • E2 180 (Simularium)
  • Come to this event if you want to demo your game
    • Bring laptop and/or game on CDROM/USB Drive
    • RPG Maker and C#/XNA: best if you can bring your own laptop
final class game demonstrations
Final Class Game Demonstrations
  • The best 6-7 student games created this quarter will demo their games in front of the entire class
  • Monday, March 17, normal class time
  • Judges from the games industry will be present
  • Selected teams will have 5 minutes each to demo their game
  • The best game team will win a Nintendo DS for each team member (limit 2)
  • A fun, intense event
  • Participating teams will be informed late today
final exam
Final Exam
  • Wednesday, March 19, 4pm-7pm
    • In Media Theater
  • Before exam
    • Create a non-computer game
      • Board game
      • Puzzle game
      • Role playing game
      • Children’s game
      • Card game
    • Bring typed, printed rules to exam, plus everything needed to play the game
  • During exam
    • Play the game with others in exam
    • Write essay reflecting on the design of your game
final exam game details
Final Exam – Game Details
  • The game must have a name
  • The rules must be typed, and fit on no more that 3 pages (10pt or larger, multi-column is OK)
  • Game elements (game pieces, boards, cards, dice, etc.) are not part of the 2 pages
  • No restrictions on game media (cardboard, plastic, leather, latex, it\'s all OK)
  • The game must be playable inside the Media Theater while many other students are also playing their games
  • A complete game should take less than 30 minutes
  • The game must not be a drinking game.
  • Game must be original. No minor variants on existing games. Major variants of existing games are OK.
  • Game play must not involve breaking laws or campus regulations (the "Don\'t get your professor in trouble" rule)
  • No flames, uncontrolled liquids, knives, swords, whips, or functional weapons of any kind
game testers
Game Testers
  • Seniors in the game design major work in teams all year long to produce working games
    • Fall quarter: focus on design
    • Winter quarter: focus on implementation
    • Spring quarter: user testing, level design
  • Their games are now almost ready for people to play test them
  • We’re looking for volunteers to play test these games!
  • Signup sheet at front if interested
types of game design programs
Types of Game Design Programs
  • Nationwide, there are three kinds of computer game design degree programs
    • Technically focused
      • Strong core of computer science
      • Additional depth courses in game design and artistic aspects
    • Interdisciplinary
      • More even mix of computer science and game design
      • Not as strong in computer science: unclear job potential
    • Art focused
      • Strong core in artistic methods, tools, and productiontechniques
      • Only a few courses in computer science
  • UC Santa Cruz Computer Game Designdegree is technically focused
curriculum highlights
Curriculum Highlights
  • Senior Game Design Studio
    • Work as a member of a team for an entire year to develop a substantial computer game.
  • Freshman Game Design Experience
    • Introduction to game design, and a game project in first year
  • Solid grounding in Computer Science
    • 3 course sequence in graphics
      • Includes 3D game engine design
    • 3 course sequence in AI
      • Includes game AI, and narrative AI
    • Built on top of proven CS fundamentals curriculum
  • Digital Media
    • 2 digital media electives

ping.exeCyberspace exploration game by UCSC student Nicholas Kent

Contact Prof. Whitehead if interested in learning more about this major!

[email protected]

some media form academic disciplines
Some media form academic disciplines
  • Fiction
    • English Literature
  • Newspapers & magazines
    • Journalism, Communications
  • Movies
    • Film Studies, Cinematic Arts
  • Television
    • Television Studies, Cinema-Television
  • Hypertext/Web
    • Web Engineering, Web Conference, ACM Hypertext

By hans_s, Flickr


other media do not
Other media do not
  • Telegraph, Telex, Fax
  • Telephone, cell phones
  • Citizen’s Band radio
  • Instant messaging
  • Email
  • Board games
  • These have all been the focus of substantial academic study…
  • … but have not led to the formation of focused academicdisciplines
  • Why?

By get directly down, Flickr

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/147205810//

understanding ourselves
Understanding ourselves
  • Media that create academic disciplines:
    • Are mass media
    • Tell stories (fiction and nonfiction) that allow us to reflect on the human condition
    • Help us understand ourselves
    • Are deeply embedded in culture
    • Are modes of cultural production
  • Computer games share these traits

Persuasive Games, 2008


what is unique about computer games
What is unique about computer games?
  • Computer games are a form of computational media
    • A broad term covering forms of media that have computers deeply embedded within them
  • Computational media can be
    • Deeply interactive. Have rich interaction with a human, and react to what they have done.
    • Highly algorithmic. The presentation the media makes to a human can depend on the execution of a computational process.
  • Non-computational media lack these two elements
    • Books, movies, newspapers: all static, non-interactive media
games for learning
Games for Learning
  • One aspect that makes games interesting is that they are learning experiences
    • Often games teach knowledge that is not useful outside the game domain
      • Play patterns in platform games
      • Avoiding bullets in shmups
    • Perhaps games could be created to teach useful skills…
  • Substantial interest in this topic
    • Games are interesting and engaging
    • Could they make learning fun?
adapting existing games for learning
Adapting Existing Games for Learning
  • CivWorld site
    • civworld.gameslearningsociety.org/curriculum.php
    • Use of Civilization III for teaching history & geography
creating new educational games
Creating New Educational Games
  • Creation of games for K-12 education
    • Example: Revolution game
    • www.educationarcade.org/revolution
    • Allows players to experienceAmerican revolution in colonialWilliamsburg from several perspectives
  • Creation of games for government and corporate training
    • Serious Games movement
    • www.seriousgames.org
key issues in game education research
Key issues in game education research
  • How to teach all subjects, not just ones well suited to games
    • English composition and argumentation
    • Calculus
    • How to embed teaching deeply into the game, rather than “skill and drill” type games
  • Making games that understand reactions of players to the material
    • Can a game system figure out you’re bored, and adapt the presentation to be more interesting?
      • Cameras, brain wave detectors?
  • How to assess that games are teaching as well as existing techniques. Maybe games do worse?
key problems in game based education
Key problems in game based education
  • Technology is moving quickly
  • Games are expensive to create
  • Games are created, then become obsolete within just a few years
  • Economics are bad, as a result. Too little time to recoup investment.
  • Need to find a way to create compelling games that will be technically stable over 5-15 years
    • E.g., the life of a textbook
frontiers in storytelling
Frontiers in storytelling
  • One direction for games is ever richer interactive storytelling
  • Requires
    • Better models of story
      • Use these to construct stories that deeply adapt to what the player has done so far
    • Richer interactive characters
      • Characters that can react to a wide range of input
      • Produce a wide range of dialog
      • Have complex interactions with other characters
      • Are animated in realistic ways that convey character traits
    • All of these are complex artificial intelligence problems
      • Are doing some of this research here at UCSC
frontiers in content creation
Frontiers in content creation
  • Creation of gameworld content is increasingly expensive
  • Interactive stories need gameworlds created in real time to adapt to player actions
  • Current research on automatic creation of game levels
    • UCSC project on automatic creation of platformer levels
    • Charbitat project at Georgia Tech: creating quests in a procedurally generated 3D world
    • Scalable City: UCSD project creating gameworld cities
frontiers in gameplay
Frontiers in gameplay
  • New gameplay mechanics
    • Portal mechanic in Portal
    • 2D/3D switching in Fez, Super Paper Mario
  • New game controllers
    • Wiimote
    • Accelerometers, pressure-sensitive resistors are cheap
    • Relatively easy to make custom USB controllers now
  • New visual appearances
    • Most IGF finalist games did not have photo-realistic graphic style
    • Can be more expressive when not aiming for realism