Game Design & Pitch. Starting Points for New Ideas. Gameplay New idea for a way to play the game Technology Now we know how to do clothes, we’ll make a clothes designer game… Story I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut on a new planet… Sport Let’s make a curling game? Character
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Starting Points for New Ideas • Gameplay New idea for a way to play the game • Technology Now we know how to do clothes, we’ll make a clothes designer game… • Story I’ve always wanted to be an astronaut on a new planet… • Sport Let’s make a curling game? • Character James Bond game
Iterative Design • Rapid Prototype • Playtest • Revise • Repeat
Player-Centric • Always think from the player’s point of view • What will they do? • What will they see? • All players aren’t like you • The player is NOT your enemy! • What do they need to know? • What motivates them to play? • Inside-out Design Principle: Start with internals (game play) and work out to art and theme
What Players Want • A Challenge • Socialization - or - dynamic solitary experience • Bragging Rights • Emotional Experience • To Explore • To Fantasize • To Interact
What Players Expect • Consistency • To understand the world’s bounds • For reasonable solutions to work • Directions • Accomplish Tasks incrementally • Immersion • Setbacks • A Fair Chance • To Not Repeat themselves • To Not get hopelessly stuck • To Do, not watch
Teaching the Player • First few minutes are crucial • Start simply • Introduce controls in a safe environment • Give simple rewards in beginning • Make easy controls (& icons) • Make easy outputs (screens, maps, vitals)
What is Game Design? • Design the: • World • Level • Content • Code • UI
Main Pieces • Goal: Territory acquisition, reasoning, survival, destruction, building, collecting, racing, etc… • PvP or PvE? • Theme: Time, place, characters, story • Mechanics: Setup, play progression, rules • Genre: Action, platformer, shooter, adventure, management, life, rhythm/music, party, puzzle, sports, strategy, driving, flying
Game Perspectives (Mechanics) • First-person • Doom • Third-person • Tomb Raider • Side Scrolling • Mario Bros • Aerial - isometric or top-down • Football • Can have multiple modes
Game Settings (Mechanics & Theme) • Physical • 1D, 2D, 3D • Scale Factor • Grid-based or continuous space • Temporal • Real-time or turn-based • Any variableness? Adjustable? • Environmental • Cultural beliefs, attitudes, values, family structure • Physical surroundings, weather, plants, buildings • Level of detail
Game Settings (Mechanics) • Emotional • Character emotions • Player emotions • Ethical • Victory/defeat defines “good” and “bad” • Watch for real-world look without real-world ethics • Realism • How real does the world look? • Chance
Types of Challenges (Goals) • Physical • Speed/reaction time (twitch games) • Accuracy & Precision (steering / shooting) • Timing and rhythm (DDR) • Learning special sequences of moves (fighting) • Races • Logical Challenges (Don’t use trial & error)
Types of Challenges (Goals) • Exploration • Doors & Traps game • Mazes • Conflict • Strategy, tactics, logistics • Survival • Defending resources
Types of Challenges (Goals) • Economic • Accumulate wealth • Efficiency • Acheiving balance / stability • Caring for living things • Conceptual • Understand something new • Deduction, observation • Detective games
Types of Challenges (Goals) • Construction / Destruction • Build a city • Upgrading • Planning • Destroying • Storytelling • Ask characters what’s going on • Listen to stories • Dicker with merchant
Game Economy (Mechanics & Theme) • Resources • Ammunition, hit points, life • Sources • Power ups, clips, potion • Drains • firing weapons, being hit
Emergence • Emergence • Desirable aspect of gameplay • Player-unique solutions • As players play, they find a strategy that uses the rules of the gameworld to his advantage • Can be intentional or unintentional • Ex: When all the grubs are gone, a new batch gets dispatched. Player kills all but one • Discovery gives sense of pride to player and spreads by word-of-mouth.
Positive Feedback • Needed for emergence to work • Each goal met makes the next easier • Tell the user they are doing well • Draw them into the game • Examples: • Power ups become available • Monopoly: more houses = more money • Better I do, worse for enemies
Controlling Positive Feedback • Introduce negative feedback • Gold is heavy • Ahead in race, more likely to get lost • Introduce element of chance • Game gets harder as you go • Game that does this well is balanced.
Non-Linearity • Ways in which the user can choose • Make sure choices and rules are clear • Think about classic game structure • Types • Story takes different turns (“Choose your own adventure”) • Multiple solutions • Order of levels or puzzles • Selections: You can solve puzzle A or puzzle B
Modeling Reality • More real = more immersive? • More real = more compelling? • More real = more boring? • More real =more frustrating? • Ask yourself – Does it add to the game?
More on Balance… • Are different strategies to gameplay equally effective (balanced) or is one dominant? • Chance vs skill • Is it fair? • If you fall behind early, can you catch up? • Does it stalemate? • Is economy balanced? • Not too easy not too hard
Other stuff to know… • Achievements: extra stuff you can do in a game, not related to main goal. Helps replayability and bragging rights • Easter egg: Hidden feature that designer may or may not have intended for players to find
People in the industry • Programmer • Artist • Composer • Writer • Various types of designers • Producers, Managers, Directors • Tester
GDD • One-sheet: • Title • Platform, Rating • Summary • Unique selling points • Compare/contrast
GDD • 10-pager is one-pager plus: • Examples • Logos • Flow (progression of challenges) • Flesh out characters, controls, world, mechanics, etc…
Pitch • Elevator talk • Formal presentation • What is audience (technical? marketing?) • Few words, lots of pictures • Overview each major piece • Sell it
Look at the Big Picture • What statements about the world are you making? • Stereotypes • Ethics • Culture • Right/wrong