Computer Game Development By Jijun Tang
Contents for the Presentation • Group members, group name, logo • Description, specification, goals, game play • System requirement, audience, rating • Interface, input/output, interactions, cameras • Premise/limitations/choices/resources • Content designs/3D/2D/animation, audio • Level designs, flexibility/scripting language? • Version control/testing strategy/documentation • Brief timeline (demo date is early Dec)
Homework • Game treatment document • Each group to turn in one • Due: Sept 17th, before class • Print and bring it in class • Expected page lengths 4-5 pages, 11pt font, single space.
Example of Treatment • http://www.csc.kth.se/utbildning/kth/kurser/DH2650/spel08/The%20Game%20Treatment.doc
Examples • http://pyrrha.csisdmz.ul.ie/4075/treatment.html
Premise • Story is the typical example of premise • Time • Place • Characters • Relationships • Motivations • Etc.
Choice and Outcome • Well-designed choice • Often desirable and undesirable effects • Should relate to player goals • Balanced against neighboring choices • Too much weight to every choice is melodrama • Orthogonal choices – distinct from others • Not just “shades of grey”
Resources/Economies • Resources • Things used by agents to reach goals • To be meaningful, they must be… • Useful – provide some value • Limited – in total or rate of supply • Economies • Systems of supply, distribution, consumption • Questions regarding game economies: • What resources exist? • How and when will resources be used? • How and when will resources be supplied? • What are their limits?
Interface • Typical perspectives: • First-person • Over-the-shoulder (OTS) • Overhead (top-down) • Side • Isometric
Audio Interface • General categories of audio • Music • Powerful tool for establishing mood and theme • Pay attention to license issues • The campus is cited 960 times last year • Sound effects • Dialog
System Design • Two general approaches to design • Special case • Experiences built one scene/level at a time • Anticipate states while pre-scripting events • Solved by discovering the intentions of the designer • Systemic • General behaviors are designed • Scenes/Levels are specific configurations • Some events may still be pre-scripted • Solved by understanding the system
Study of communication, control, and regulation Model Cybernetics
Cybernetic System • A basic cybernetic system has: • Sensor – detects a condition • Thermometer • Comparator – evaluates the information • Switch • Activator – alters the environment when triggered by the comparator
Feedback • Feedback: • information about the internal or external changes of system that make the system adjust its output • The portion of a system’s output that is returned into the system • Feedback Loop • The path taken by the feedback
Positive Feedback • Amplify changes • Leads to runaway behavior • Difficult to make use of From Bob Craig
Negative feedback • Counteracts changes • Leads to goal seeking behaviors • Most common form in systems From Bob Craig
Negative feedback Stabilizes the game Forgives the loser Prolongs the game Magnifies late successes Positive feedback Destabilizes the game Rewards the winner Can end the game Magnifies early successes Feedbacks in a Game
Platforms • Platform: General description of hardware and software • Personal computer – PC, Mac, etc. • Console – Wii, PlayStation, Xbox, etc. • Handheld – DS, Game Boy Advance, PSP, etc. • Mobile device – Cell Phones, NGage, PDA, etc. • Arcade – custom vending games (e.g. Time Crisis) • PC Games compared to other platforms: • PC Games are developed and used in the same platform, other platforms may require proprietary development kits. • Console games are popular because consoles are used in a “lean-back” position, while PC is used in a “sit-forward
Game Saves • Save triggers: • automatically saved at certain points • Disadvantage: Player has little control • Save-anywhere • Allow the player to save the state at any point in the game • Disadvantage: System needs to save many different variables, also may make it too easy for the player • Save points: • Save only the accumulated points • Disadvantage: Rather limited • Coded text saves to save a bit space • Do you really want user to save?
Genres • Genre– a category describing generalities of conventions, style, and content
Action Adventure Arcade Casual Education Fighting First-person shooter Platform Racing Rhythm Role-Playing (RPG) Simulation Sports Strategy Puzzle Traditional Major Genres
Audiences • Target audience • Group of expected consumers • Age, gender income … • What does your audience know? • What does your audience demand? • Demographics • Study of relevant economic and social statistics about a given population • Demographic variables • The relevant factors
Audiences • Market • Demographic segmentation of consumers • Market segments: Smaller sub-segment of the market; more tightly defined • Demographic profile • Typical consumer attributes in a market • Age, Social class, gender etc.
Audiences • Heavy Users • Those of the numeric minority of potential users responsible for majority of sales of any product • 80/20 rule: in anything a few (20 percent) are vital and many(80 percent) are trivial. • Hardcore gamer • Game industry term for heavy video game users • Casual gamer • Game industry term for all other gamers
Hardcore Players • Play games over long sessions • Discuss games frequently and at length • Knowledgeable about the industry • Higher threshold for frustration • Desire to modify or extend games creatively • Have the latest game systems • Engage in competition with themselves, the game, and others
Design Procedure • Waterfall method • Development methodology • Design and production are broken into phases • Iterative development • Practice of producing things incrementally • Refining and re-refining the product • May iterate many cycles before get it right
Waterfall vs. Iterative testing
Prototypes • Prototypes • Early working models of the product • Used to test ideas and techniques • Physical prototypes • Non-electronic models; physical materials • Software prototypes • Used regularly during iterative development
Other Document Types • Preliminary design document • Initial Design Document • Revised Design Document • General Design Document • Expanded Design Document • Technical Design Document • Final Design Document
Communication-Flowcharts • Flowcharts • A typical technique for diagramming steps in a process • Most developers are familiar
Communication-Diagrams • Associative diagram • Drawing that helps manage and organize information visually • Mind Map • A style of associative diagram • Key words and figures are placed on branches
Psychology • Working Memory • Holds roughly 7 ± 2 items at one time while other cognitive operations on them • Each slide should not have more than 6 items • Attention • Method of enhancing perceptions relative to other stimuli in the same environment • How we focus on important things • Limited capacity
Psychology • Classical conditioning • Reaction to stimulus is conditioned by pairing with another stimulus that elicits the desired response naturally
Psychology • Unconditioned stimulus – Meat • Unconditioned response – Salivation over meat • Conditioned stimulus – Tone • Conditioned response – Salivation over tone