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Lesson One: What is a Video Game

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  1. Lesson One:What is a Video Game

  2. What Is A Video Game • Elements of a Game • Active Participation • Playing a game versus playing with a toy • Involves players (one or more) • Players Control the Game • Goals To Achieve (Winning) • Not a fixed outcome • Dynamic and Changes • Players need to make decisions which will cause the game to change

  3. Genres of Games • Arcade Games • Reaction speed is the key factor. • Easy to make and can do well with 2D graphics. • Puzzle Games • Clever thinking is the key factor. • Easy to make and can do well with 2D graphics. • Role Playing Games (RPG) • Development of the character the player controls is the key factor. • Better suited for 3D graphics, but 2D graphics can work. • Strategy Games • Player usually controls the game indirectly. • Very difficult to create and require some artificial intelligence. • Management Games • Key is building up an empire. • Very difficult to create.

  4. Genres of Games Continued… • Adventure Games • Storyline is crucial to the game. • Games can be either 2D or 3D. • First-person Shooters • Fast pace reaction and speed is the key factor. • Requires a 3D World to create a realistic view. • Third-person Shooters • Player controls a character through a hostile world. • Many have a story line to enhance play and can be done in 2D. • Sport Games • Existing sport is simulated. • Tough to create in 2D unless you consider making it like a cartoon. • Racing Games • Considered a type of sport game, but specific to racing. • Can be either 2D or 3D. • Simulators • Realistically simulates a mechanism (like flying an airplane). • Rather difficult to create because you need to know how the machine works (inside and out).

  5. What is A Good Game • Goals: • Challenging – as you progress through the game, the goals get harder to achieve. • Sub-goals that work towards the final goal. • With failures, the expectations is that it is the players fault and not the games fault. • Goals should not be based on luck (good or bad). • Decisions: • Interesting Decisions leads to interesting games. • Decisions should be more complicated as the players moves along in the game. • Reward and Punishment are based on the type of achievement or failure of the decision. • Example: Death could result from a major decision failure or a combination of several small failures.

  6. What is A Good Game Continued… • Balance • Balance Between Players. • Best Player Should Win. • Make Winning Achievable for Both Players. • Balance Between Player and Game Play. • Game play should help the player, not hinder them. • Strikes a good balance with what the game does for the player and the player must do for themselves. • Player should control the important aspects of a game, while the game should do the trivial items for the player. • Balance Between the Features of the Game. • Good features are ones that result in a decision to be made. • Counteract a good aspect of a feature with a bad one to help with interesting decisions. • Balance powers of the player with powers of computer controlled players. • Rewards • Temporary rewards are given for achieving minor goals. • Permanent rewards are given for achieving major goals. • Predictable rewards versus Random rewards. • Player needs to be able to notice what rewards they have received (i.e. sound or graphics). • Player needs to understand the relationship to getting the reward and what they did to get it.

  7. What is A Good Game Continued… • Flow • The more balanced the flow, the better the game. • When challenges are all too easy or hard, the game is boring. • In general, when challenges start easy and progress to hard, the game is more interesting. • Best games give moments of hard challenges and then a break with some easy ones. • Keeping the game in the flow is dependent of the players ability. • Presence and Immersion • Great games make the player feel they are immersed in the game. • Key aspects are the story line, the surroundings, the way the characters look and act, the music and any special effects. • Some simple graphic games can be more fun than a more complex 3D graphics game. • Story • Stories give meaning to the actions the player is performing and enhances the satisfaction of the player when they reach their goals (Meaningful play). • The criticality of a good story depends on the type of game you are creating: • First Person Shooter (FPS) games do not need a detailed story. • Adventure games need more of a story line to help guide the player along.

  8. What is A Good Game Continued… • Game World • Can be complex 3D or simple 2D depending on the type of game • FPS games need more complex game world in order to simulate what a person would see. • Adventure games do well with simple 2D game worlds to enhance the playing experience. • The more realistic a game is, the more detailed the game world should be. • Adapt the representation of the game world to the game play. • Main Characters • Needs to evolve a sense of emotion to the player (like or hate) • Personality needs to be balanced with the type of game. • Stronger personalities are needed for Adventure games. • FPS games need to have the player connect with the character he is playing. • Music and Special Effects • Music and Special Effects can have a dramatic effect on players. • The right music should be used with the right situation. • Background sounds can help guide the player. • Special effects should be used sparingly so that the player doesn’t ignore them.

  9. Things to Think About • You Are Creating a Game for Others to Use. • Keep the player in mind when designing your game. • Pick the type of game for the audience you intend to use your game (children/adults; beginners /experts) • A Game Needs a Goal Which Is Challenging to the Player • Striking the right type of reward with an achievement if key to a great game. • Create the right balance of predictable and random rewards. • Choose Decisions and Effects Wisely • Marginal effects cause frustrations • Balancing decisions and their effects makes games more satisfying to play • Control of the game should belong to the player and not the game • More freedom for the player, the better the game is • Balance the amount of resources/objects a character can have /control with their use. • Avoid too many resources (guns, food, etc.) with little use • Keep in mind the type of game with the amount of resources (i.e. strategic or simulation games) • Avoid combining multiple genres into one game.

  10. Exercise • Start thinking about what type of game you want to create. • Keep in mind that you should start simple. • Jot down some notes as to what you want your game to have: • Storyline/Plot • Characters (Good and Bad) • Goals/Decisions • Rewards

  11. Additional References • Books/Articles: • Jacob Habgood and Mark Overmars, The Game Maker’s Apprentice: Game Development for Beginners, Apress, 2006, ISBN 1-59059-615-3. • Brathwaite, Brenda and Ian Schreiber. Challenges for Game Designers: Non-Digital Exercises for Video Game Designers. Course Technology, 2009. ISBN 1584505808. • Crawford, Chris. The Art of Computer Game Design. Osborne/McGraw-Hill, 1984. ISBN 0131460994. This classic book, one of the first ever published on the subject, is long out of print. A complete etext is available at:http://users.wpi.edu/~bmoriarty/imgd202x/docs/ACGD.pdf • Crawford, Chris. Chris Crawford on Game Design. New Riders, 2003. ISBN 0131460994. • Fullerton, Tracy. Game Design Workshop: A Playcentric Approach to Creating Innovative Games. Morgan Kaufmann, 2008. ISBN 9780240809748. • Phillies, George and Tom Vasel. Design Elements of Contemporary Strategy Games. Third Millennium Publishing, 2006. ISBN 193265769X. • Rouse, Richard. Game Design: Theory and Practice. Second Edition. Wordware, 2005. ISBN 1556229127. • Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman. Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals. MIT Press, 2004. ISBN 0262240459. • The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology. Salen, Katie and Eric Zimmerman, editors. MIT Press, 2006. ISBN 0262195364. • Schell, Jesse. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. Morgan Kaufman, 2008. ISBN 0123694966. • Websites: • YoYo Games Website: http://www.yoyogames.com/ • Gamasutra: http://www.gamasutra.com/ • Game Developers Network: http://www.gamedev.net/