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HCI for Computer Games . Lynne Hall. Types of Games. Role Playing Games build up character build up stats Adventure puzzle solving less focus on character Edutainment Games that are learning experiences. Types of Games. Retro Games recreation of old favourites in new environments

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Types of games l.jpg
Types of Games

  • Role Playing Games

    • build up character

    • build up stats

  • Adventure

    • puzzle solving

    • less focus on character

  • Edutainment

    • Games that are learning experiences


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Types of Games

  • Retro Games

    • recreation of old favourites in new environments

    • Arcade packs

  • Simulations

    • computer simulations of real world environments (flight simulators)


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Types of Games

  • Sports Games

    • playing the sport

    • managing the sport

  • God Games

    • control of a simulated environment

    • Sim worlds such as SimCity

  • Strategy Games

    • similar to God games

    • often involve wargaming


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Types of Games

  • Hack & Slash / Shooters

    • body count games

    • if it moves, kill it

    • Quake, Half-life, Hexen

  • Fighting Games

    • combat between player and computer or 2 players

    • Mortal Kombat


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Types of Games

  • Platform Games

    • involves levels

    • gets harder as levels increase

    • Donkey Kong, Prince of Persia

  • Hybrids

    • many games cross more than one category


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Platforms

  • Cart-based

    • Nintendo / SEGA

  • PC-based (Stand Alone)

  • Network-based

    • biggest growth area

    • move from single user to LAN and internet based multi-user versions (Quake)


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History

  • Text-based games

    • UNIX “Adventure”

  • MUDs

    • Bartle’s MUD, LambdaMOO

  • Simple Graphical Games

    • Space Invaders, Tetris

  • Complex (2D/3D) Graphics

    • Doom, Myst, Quake, Half-Life

  • Multi-User Graphical Games

    • Everquest, Half-life


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Game Playing involves

  • A set of decisions which the player controls and, based on their skill and intelligence, by which they ultimately decide the outcome of their game.


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The Point of Games Design

  • Key issue for Games design is INTERACTION

  • Player interacts with the medium, distinguishing the game from most other passive recreational activities

  • Player controls the game world


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Game design should:

  • Entice people to play

  • Provides the storyline

  • Gives an emotional feel and provides a realistic tone

  • Incorporates many other aspects of creative / recreational media


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Designing for Playing

  • Playing involves making decisions

  • Need to create situations in which:

    • player decides what to do

    • player performs an action

    • game responds to action

    • game creates new situation


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Design Aims

  • Entertaining interaction

  • Easy way for player to perform actions on the basis of decisions about the current situation

  • Interesting outcomes from actions

  • Coherence and continuity between situations and actions


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Issues

  • Plot, Information, Mechanics

  • Graphics, Sound, Animation

  • Artificial Intelligence

  • Avatars, Tokens

  • Resources, Skills

  • Communication, Social aspects

  • INTERACTION


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Key elements

  • Resources - things that you must manage efficiently to achieve your aims

    • money in RPGs

    • combat strength in strategy games

    • forest in Simworlds

  • Tokens - means of managing resources

    • character uses money as they wish

    • manipulation of armies

    • parameters such as climate


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The Plot

  • Linearity vs freedom of action

  • If plot is linear, interest may be increased by including random encounters

  • Chris Crawford’s “web of plot nodes”

    • permit multiple paths

    • game different each time you play

  • Entering game from different places

    • multiple paths

    • convergence at key moments


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Realism versus Fantasy

  • Immersion

  • Physical laws (gravity, environment, etc)

  • Character Impact (death, abilities)

  • Abstraction (reality up to a point)

  • Clear understanding of fantastic mechanics for user


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Providing Information

  • User needs to know what aspects of the game effect their interaction

    • weather affects army success

    • player needs to know

      • impact of weather (better fighting in sun)

      • weather status

    • to enable them to take appropriate decisions


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Presenting Information

  • Design for standard size monitors

  • Provide sufficient information

  • Hiding Information

    • must be possible to work out hidden facts

    • player must have some idea of possibilites

  • Avoid overload

    • information needed must be appropriate to situation and time for decision


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Incorporating Game Mechanics

  • Controlling avatar

  • Managing inventory

  • Controlling other units / characters

  • learning game skills (jumps, manipulations)

  • using game elements (skill points, objects)


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Presenting mechanics

  • Interesting

  • Absorbable (ie not overwhelming)

  • May need

    • manual

    • tutorial

  • Good design can avoid extra instruction

    • layering skills

    • development over time


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Special Effects

  • Will not rescue a poor game

  • Design for the game not for the available technology

  • Does each special effect used

    • make the game more fun

    • make sense to the user

    • add to the feel of the game


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Pacing

  • Pace should vary

    • fast / energetic

      • fighting

      • escaping

    • medium / situational

      • solving a puzzle

      • navigating

    • slow / contemplative

      • object / character creation

      • difficult puzzle solving


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Pacing over entire Game

  • Initial rewards essential

    • builds confidence

    • builds and sustains interest

  • Getting somewhere in mid-game

    • moderate, apporpriately spaced out rewards

    • hard to achieve but not too hard

  • Finale

    • Hard to gain rewards

    • Sense of high accomplishment (avoid anti-climax….)


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Multi User Games

  • Huge body of literature on text based games (MUDs, MOOs, MUSHes, MUCKs)

  • Graphical games have still not solved communication problems

    • still text based

    • players rarely communicate

    • focus on selling (auctions), party formation,

    • often detracts from main action

    • big issue fordesigners


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Multi User Games

  • Communication

  • Cooperation

  • Collaboration

  • Conflict


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Evaluating Games 1

  • Am I creating interaction?

  • Does my design create a decision dilemma for the player or not?

  • Are clear situations provided to the player?

  • Is there enough information in the game (graphical/sound/text) to illustrate to the player what situation they are in?


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Evaluating Games 2

  • Am I providing them with the proper information to make decisions?

  • Is the interface by which the player commands the game clear and easy to use?

  • Does the interface provide the proper information to them to help them input desired actions?


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Evaluating Games 3

  • Do the outcomes of the player's decisions end or continue the game?

  • Does skill and intelligence of the player produce the outcome?

  • Is it entertaining?


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Social Impact

  • “Don’t underestimate the power of the playstation…”

  • Computer Addiction

  • Virtual Communities

  • Different ways of “knowing” people

  • Interactive TV


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