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SM2215 Genres Part 1 - Games. Mark Green School of Creative Media. Overview. Games divided into three types: arcade console computer each type targets a different group of users tendency for games to move from one type to another. Arcade Games - History.

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sm2215 genres part 1 games

SM2215 GenresPart 1 - Games

Mark Green

School of Creative Media

  • Games divided into three types:
    • arcade
    • console
    • computer
  • each type targets a different group of users
  • tendency for games to move from one type to another
arcade games history
Arcade Games - History
  • Started with pinball in the 1800s
  • first use of simple electronics in 1930s
  • moved to more sophisticated electronics and computers in the 1970s
  • originally placed in bowling alleys, bars and other entertainment areas
  • game arcades are relatively recent, last 20 years
arcade games
Arcade Games
  • Games companies sell units to distributors
  • distributors will either have space rented in locations, or sell to smaller operators
  • distributors rent space from locations, either a fixed rate or a percentage of the revenue
  • distributors will typically move games every 3 to 6 months
arcade games business
Arcade Games - Business
  • Try to keep cost less than $5000US, some special games can be more expensive
  • expensive games have a bad reputation, need high volume or high price per game
  • produce custom hardware that is cheaper and harder to break than consumer products
  • try to use same hardware in several games
arcade games design
Arcade Games - Design
  • Players pay per game:
    • want to attract players, play often
    • want to keep games short
  • most arcade games are based on physical action, not a lot of thinking or strategy
  • must be easy and quick to learn, no instruction manual
arcade games design1
Arcade Games - Design
  • Hard to come up with new arcade games, very limited genre
  • Game must be simple, easy to learn, few rules and easy to explain
  • Mainly based on reflex and manual skills
  • Most innovation now in racing games, games that require special hardware or playing areas
arcade games2
Arcade Games
  • The main market segment in the 1970s
  • now a small part of the business:
    • hard to come up with new ideas for games, restricted range of things you can do
    • competition from games consoles
  • provided the original demand for game consoles, got the industry started
  • Special purpose device for games only
  • displays on TV, uses simple controllers for interaction
  • first consoles appears in early 1970s
  • early ones had a fixed set of games built into them, no expansion
  • some attempts at cartridges before microprocessors, but limited range of games
consoles pong
Consoles - Pong
  • Pong was the first console game, one of the first arcade games
  • ball bounces off paddles on either side of screen
  • early versions were two player, each player controlled one paddle
  • later versions allowed you to play against the console
  • First real console system was the Atari VCS
  • based on the 6502 microprocessor, limited amount of electronics in the console
  • the cartridge held the program for the game
  • cartridge had between 2K and 4K of memory
  • The VCS started the cartridge model that was used until recently
  • cartridge consists of a few memory chips and other ICs in a plastic container
  • early systems allowed anyone to make cartridges, later systems had special formats that were closely controlled by console company
  • Easy to produce cartridges for Atari systems, many companies started to compete with them
  • result: Atari went bankrupt, bad management also contributed
  • later companies learned their lesson from Atari, keep control of the game media
consoles business model
Consoles - Business Model
  • There are several aspects
  • first, need to have very high volume:
    • reduces cost of individual units
    • large market share means more games, developers interested in your console
  • console companies now aim for millions of units
consoles business model1
Consoles - Business Model
  • Most of the profit made from games, not the consoles
  • consoles are often sold at a loss, widely denied by the industry
  • console company produces the cartridges, or other game media
  • game company must sell their games through the console company
consoles business model2
Consoles - Business Model
  • Console companies claim they want to maintain quality, but really want to maintain profit
  • major problem: game companies always feel the console companies want too much
  • no opportunity for independent distributors
  • console companies in control, select the game companies
consoles business model3
Consoles - Business Model
  • Need a new generation of consoles every 3 to 5 years
  • people get tired of old games, need to get something new
  • also about the right time to update the technology, give people a reason to buy new game cartridges
  • Consoles controlled most of the game market from late 1970s through most of the 1990s
  • computers are now common, provide competition for consoles
  • several challenges for consoles
  • need to keep up with PCs, but still remain cheap, under $300US
  • Limited amount of space for games
  • move from cartridges to CD to DVD, still hard to compete with PC
  • network support required for online games, adds more to the cost
  • will consoles evolve into PCs?
consoles player participation
Consoles – Player Participation
  • Limited writable storage, hard to customize games
  • PC games allow players to create own content, can be an important part of some games
  • Consoles are closed, so players can’t create their own content
  • Lower feeling of ownership and participation in the game
console wars
Console Wars
  • Unlike PCs, companies have control over hardware and software
  • provide more than games: network connection, DVD player, etc
  • aim to control the living room, delivery of content to the home
  • major fight between Sony (content company) and Microsoft (computer company)
computer games
Computer Games
  • Where it all started, now probably the most popular form
  • this is the most powerful game platform, can take advantage of all PC hardware
  • most innovative, the lowest entry barrier to the industry, best entry point for new companies
computer games history
Computer Games - History
  • First computer game 1961/62, Space War
  • written for PDP-1 computer, show its capabilities
  • very simple line graphics, but interesting to play
  • a two player game, couldn’t play against the computer
computer games history1
Computer Games - History
  • Space War started the industry, first arcade games modeled on Space War
  • most early computer games were produced in universities and research labs
  • no distribution mechanism, no way to sell them, games were produced purely for fun
  • most games had limited distribution, until there were computer networks
computer games history2
Computer Games - History
  • People’s Computer Company - founded around 1975, popularize computers for the home, etc
  • produced Creative Computing, first publication to treat home computing, games and computer art seriously
  • book of early computer games, all written in Basic, run on most home computers
computer games history3
Computer Games - History
  • Home computers started the industry, started in the late 1970s and grew in the 1980s
  • problems:
    • most early computers were quite limited
    • too many models, market was too fragmented
  • computer games were a small industry
computer games history4
Computer Games - History
  • The PC changed that, dominated the market and provided a good platform
  • through the 1980s and at least first half of 1990s the consoles still dominated
  • by the late 1990s most of the innovation was occurring in PC games
  • PCs now command a significant part of the market
computer games1
Computer Games
  • PCs have a number of advantages over consoles:
    • faster hardware evolution, not restricted to 6 year technology cycle
    • more storage for games
    • network access for multi-player games
  • easier to do certain types of games on PCs
game genres
Game Genres
  • A number of game genres have been produced
  • game industry tends to use very fine classification:
    • games within the same genre compete
    • small genres mean more room for games without competition
  • We use a much coarser classification
  • Started by arcade games, due to limited play time, what they could do best
  • based on physical action, co-ordination, shooting, etc
  • early games really had no characters, mainly shooting at objects
  • not very sophistication graphics, but lots of action
  • With characters question of point of view
  • in first person don’t really see the character, see game from player’s point of view
  • gives a sense of immersion in the game
  • FPS - first person shooter is the best example of this, games such as Doom and Quake are good examples
  • tend to be violent
  • Some action games use a third person view, Mario series of games is a good example
  • ability to watch the character
  • several versions:
    • over the shoulder, get same view as character
    • bird’s eye or remote view, get a complete view of the game area, remote control of the character
id software
id Software
  • The company that defined FPS
  • produced the DOOM and Quake series of games
  • produced one of the first 3D games, Wolfenstein 3D
  • DOOM was one of the first online games, allowed 4 people to play together
id software1
id Software
  • The first levels of DOOM were distributed as shareware, had to buy the full game
  • id allows players to add to their games, produce new levels and objects:
    • source code for games available for free
    • level design tools available for free
  • some players have produced almost complete games on their own
id software2
id Software
  • Produced almost a religious following, have many fans, many web sites
  • more info on id games than any other company
  • the Quake game engine has been used by over 20 successful games produced by other companies
adventure rpg
  • Started as computer game, around 1975
  • first versions motivated by D&D and similar RPGs
  • started as text based games, the first one was call adventure, thus the name of the genre
  • graphical adventure games didn’t appear to about 10 years later
adventure rpg1
  • The closest games to a narrative or story line
  • the player is placed in an imaginary world, explores the world, solves puzzles, accumulates treasures
  • some games involve fighting, but many others don’t, usually a small part of the game
adventure rpg2
  • RPGs allow the player to play some role
  • be a character different from real life
  • a good story and situation is necessary to make this realistic
  • quite often the games have a lot of written documentation to set the scene or provide background to the story
  • entry video can serve same purpose
paper based games
Paper Based Games
  • Role playing and strategy games started before the computer
  • Military games have been played for a long time
  • Played on a map, use markers or characters that are shaped like troops, guns, tanks, etc
  • Sometimes based on real battles
paper based games1
Paper Based Games
  • Players would take turns moving their armies, a set of rules used to determine the winner in each encounter
  • Role playing games came along a bit later
  • Still based on paper boards and moving characters around the board – but now you are the character
  • May not involve fighting, may be exploration
paper based games2
Paper Based Games
  • Dungeon and Dragons (D&D) was the most popular
  • Loosely based on Lord of the Rings and similar stories
  • Sophisticated set of rules for generating characters and fighting
  • Dungeon master created the playing area and refereed the play
paper based games3
Paper Based Games
  • Simulation games also started at this time
  • A number of games based on finance and stock trading
  • Many of the great game designers came from the paper game community
  • A lot of the design ideas, and the mechanics behind the games was worked out during this period
  • Adventure started with a page of text, described a field with a small house
  • used text commands to move to house and then inside
  • in the house collected important items for the game, then entered the dungeon
  • I first played this game on December 31, 1977
  • On each move presented with several lines of text describing current area
  • sometimes there would be options for the next move
  • very simple English commands:
    • move north
    • grab sword
    • Light lamp
adventure rpg3
  • Commercial adventure games started with home computers, couldn’t play on arcade or consoles
  • early games were text based:
    • textual description of the scene
    • simple English commands
  • same game engine used for many games, main company was Infocom
adventure rpg4
  • Later games added graphics, mainly as output, kept text for input
  • early games had no representation of player character, usually viewed world in first person
  • graphical games added the possibility of a player character and third person views
  • Based on a simulation of something that might occur in the real world
  • player controls the simulation, change the situation and watch how the characters in the simulation respond
  • quite often the player isn’t represented in the simulation
  • fairly sophisticated games
simcity and the sims
SimCity and the Sims
  • SimCity is often viewed as the start of this genre - 1989
  • original game by Will Wright, finished in 1985, but no one would publish it
  • eventually Maxis, a new company produced it
  • long line of simulation games resulting in the Sims
simcity and the sims1
SimCity and the Sims
  • The Sims took over 10 years to produce
  • considerable amount of research involved in producing the games, need to produce a realistic simulation
  • some of the Sim games were not successful, they were too complicated
  • need to have a goal for the simulation, or something that is fun
  • Another major part of this genre is flight simulators
  • current games as accurate as commercial flight simulators, important selling point
  • support a range of planes and realistic flight scenarios
  • large fan base who are very serious about the games
  • Flight simulators can be networked for formation flying, also have air control
  • some games allow custom design of the cockpit, can select and arrange instruments
  • can also design your own terrain and airports
  • special devices to simulate air plane controls
god games
God Games
  • A combination of RPG and simulation
  • The player controls a planet, civilization or creature
  • The player acts as god and completely controls the lives of his subjects
  • The characters in the game respond to what the player does, attempt to live with his decisions
god games1
God Games
  • A good recent example is Black and White
  • The player can be either a good god or an evil god, or something in between
  • The character responds to what the player has provided
  • The next version of the game will have more intelligent characters, maybe they will be able to go against the god
  • Sports games first appeared in the console era
  • the early versions were quite simple, limited control over play and limited graphics
  • there were also early sports games for computers
  • many of these were text based, enter a play and read the result
  • Breaks into two main groups:
    • team sports
    • individual sports
  • most common individual sports are golf and racing
  • individual are easier than team, since the user just needs to control one character
  • Both golf and racing have produced special hardware
  • steering wheels and peddles are common for game consoles and PCs
  • some arcade versions have reproduced the inside of racing cars
  • golf machines are typically more expensive, using video camera to monitor the swing
  • Team sports are more difficult, the player must be able to control the team, that is multiple players
  • early approach was based on coaching, instead of being a player
  • modern games allow the user to control all of the players on the team
  • Two problems:
    • selecting the player to control
    • having the other players do something intelligent
  • usually the player with the ball is the one the user is controlling
  • this works reasonably well for baseball and American football
  • For games like hockey and soccer more coordination is needed
  • the ball can move from player to player, and between teams
  • computer controlled players need to guess what the user controlled player is going to do
  • Most leagues have registered trade marks, must license from the league
  • this has many implications for games
  • need to produce a new version each year, changes in teams, colours, etc
  • now need to have face images of all the players, must be paid for this
  • Stadiums must also be faithfully represented
  • this includes the advertising
  • must negotiate with all advertisers to be able to include their advertisements in game
  • must pay for this right
  • yearly production cycle that lasts for about 11 months
  • One of the few genres without time pressure, don’t need to be instantly responding to computer
  • related to simulation games, but more planning is required, need to think of the strategy and apply it
  • of all the genres requires the most thought
  • Game play and consistency are very important
  • must have a good model of domain, set of rules that result in fair play
  • more attention must be paid to details, graphics and sound not as important
  • appeal more to older players
casual games
Casual Games
  • One of the newest genres
  • Most PC games require a considerable time to learn, and players typically play for several hours at a time
  • This is called serious gaming – need to make a real commitment to playing
  • Casual games don’t require this commitment, a game can be finished in less than 5 minutes
casual games1
Casual Games
  • Casual games are usually easy to learn, very few rules, or familiar games
  • Each round of the game can be completed in a short period of time, don’t need to spend a lot of time on it
  • Appeal to people who want a short break, have a few minutes to spare, don’t want to get too involved with the game
casual games2
Casual Games
  • Becoming a large market, good way to attract people to games
  • Popular on web sites, can be used to draw people to the site, gain revenue from advertising
  • Many mobile games are of this type, fit the mobile life style, a few minutes to play while on the MTR or waiting for a friend
mobile games
Mobile Games
  • Two different platforms:
    • Portable game consoles
    • Phones and PDAs
  • Game Boy is a good example of a portable game console, has traditional console games, but you can take it with you
  • Appeals to console game players, mainly serious games
  • Technology lags behind consoles
mobile games1
Mobile Games
  • Phone based games are typically casual games, but can be much more
  • Phones are communications devices, can network the games
  • Either play against other people, or have a central database for game information
  • Examples: horse racing games, or fish breeding games
  • Why do people play games? Why are they popular? What makes a good game?
  • These are interesting questions, but we really don’t know the answers
  • Since there are many types of games, there are probably many answers
  • Most people play games for entertainment, challenge or as a hobby
  • Some things a game should be:
    • Interesting – it must catch people’s interest and hold their interest
    • Fair – people won’t play a game where they always lose
    • Challenging – it can’t be too simple
    • Interactive – the player must be involved, not just a spectator
    • Social – some games need to be social
game play
Game Play
  • Term used by game designers
  • Capture the idea that a game must be fun
  • Deals with the rules and settings for the game, not the visuals and sounds
  • Without good game play a game is dead, no matter how good the visuals are
  • Designing game rules is still an art, many ways to go wrong
  • A game is balanced if all players have an equal chance of winning (or losing)
  • If a player is strong in one area, they should be weak in another
  • Game levels shouldn’t be impossible, it should be possible to pass a level with a reasonable amount of work
  • Skill should be important
social games
Social Games
  • Some games are designed for group play
  • Many console games can have multiple players, cooperation and competition
  • In other cases one person plays while the others watch, this is common with children
  • They may all participate in solving a puzzle or trying to get through a level
game playing as a job
Game Playing as a Job
  • Some people make their living from game playing
  • Competitive leagues for some games, have regular competitions
  • Often sponsored by computer or games companies
  • Cash prizes for winners, a top player can make a reasonable living
game playing as a job1
Game Playing as a Job
  • Other people play online games
  • Build up a character to a high level and then sell them on eBay
  • Acquire valuable objects and auction them off for real money
  • Work a standard 40 hour week, can make an above average living doing this
  • What happens on the game ends?
online games
Online Games
  • This raises a couple of interesting issues
  • Many online games have an economy
  • Players earn cash by doing deeds or jobs, can then use it to buy things
  • But is this real?
  • Game items are auctioned regularly on eBay, this can be used to determine the exchange rate
online games1
Online Games
  • The currency in online games is as real as most countries currencies
  • The value of real currencies is determined by their exchange rates, this goes for game currencies as well!
  • The EverQuest economy is larger than that of some real countries
  • What does this tell us?
online games2
Online Games
  • If there is money, there can be crime as well
  • Theft is one possibility, and it does occur in some games, there have been law suits over this
  • What about other crimes, physical crimes like assault and murder
  • Can they lead to actions in the real world?
online games3
Online Games
  • As online games develop social structures, what is the impact on real life
  • If you get married in an online game, do you need a divorce in the real world
  • The answer appears to be yes
  • There have been marriage break downs due to relationships in online games
  • Do we need a law to keep the game world separate from the real world?
online games4
Online Games
  • How do we end an online game, or must it go on for ever
  • What if the real company running the game goes under?
  • Is ending the game equivalent to genocide? Some people think it is!
  • There have been law suits over this, companies forced to keep the game world running
online games5
Online Games
  • There is a lot we don’t know about the social structures formed in online games
  • Could these games have a significant impact on the real world?
  • Should game designers be aware of this?
  • Do we need to have laws about game design?