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Lecture 2 CS170: Game Design Studio 1 UC Santa Cruz School of Engineering www.soe.ucsc.edu/classes/cmps170/Fall2008 michaelm@cs.ucsc.edu 3 October 2008 C++ assignment Due Sunday at midnight Saturday night I will send out test data Turning in

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lecture 2 cs170 game design studio 1

Lecture 2CS170: Game Design Studio 1

UC Santa Cruz

School of Engineering



3 October 2008

c assignment
C++ assignment
  • Due Sunday at midnight
  • Saturday night I will send out test data
  • Turning in
    • Send me email with the subject line: “CS 170 C++ assignment”
    • Email should contain an attached zip file with the following contents
      • A .txt file containing with your program output for each of the example problems
      • A folder named “code” containing your c++ source code files
pitch for wednesday
Pitch for Wednesday
  • Pitches due Tuesday at midnight
  • Pitches should consist of a powerpoint file with the following
    • The high concept statement: Two or three sentences describing what the game is about
    • The player's role(s) in the game, if the game is representational enough to have roles. If the player has an avatar, describe the avatar.
    • A proposed primary gameplay mode, including perspective, interaction model, types of challenges and actions (answering the questions "What does the player do? What does she see?").
    • The genre of the game or how the game is a new genre or breaks or combines genres.
    • A description of the target audience (who would like this game and why?).
    • Type of game machine you are targeting and why?
    • Competition modes the game will support: single, dual, multi; competitive or cooperative.
    • A general summary of how the game will progress from beginning to end, with a few ideas for levels, missions, puzzles, etc. the player might encounter, and a synopsis of the storyline if it has one.
    • A short description of the game world.
  • I’ll look through the pitches Wednesday morning, and pick 6 to present (ten minutes each)
    • I’ll have those six on my laptop
the dream
The Dream
  • Many game designs start with the question: “What dream am I helping to fulfill?”
  • Sample dreams
    • “I wish I could fly.”
    • “I wish I was a powerful fantasy character.”
    • “I wish I was a famous racecar driver.”
  • This is true of many representational games; abstract games tend not to explicitly realize a dream
    • The corollary: a great game doesn’t necessarily need to explicitly fulfill a dream or desire, though this is a great audience hook
game ideas from many media and experiences
Game ideas from many media and experiences
  • While game ideas can come from other games, you shouldn’t only draw inspiration from games
    • Leads to “me too” games – sequelitis
    • But game designers certainly should play a lot of games in order to develop a vocabulary of design elements
  • Game ideas can come from novels, movies, non-fiction books, family experiences, physical activities, poems, songs, life experience…
    • It’s a cliché in the arts that good art requires drawing on rich life experiences. It’s a cliché because it’s true
    • And game design is no different
the game concept document
The game concept document
  • High concept statement
  • The player’s role(s) in the game and avatar (if any)
  • Proposed primary gameplay mode
  • The genre of the game, or an explanation of how it breaks genre
  • A description of the target audience
  • The type of machine it will run on and special equipment
  • The licenses the game will exploit, if any. We don’t care about this for this class, other than that you must own the IP for games you submit to festivals.
  • Competition modes of the game
  • A general summary of how the game will progress from beginning to end, example missions, levels, storyline synopsis (if any)
  • A short description of the game world
the classic game genres
The classic game genres
  • Since games focus on what the player does (challenges and actions), genres are defined by gameplay rather than by content (e.g. Sci Fi, Fantasy, contemporary realism, etc.).
  • ‘Action games – emphasis on physical challenges.
  • Strategy games – emphasis on strategic, tactical and logistical challenges.
  • Role-playing games – Exploration, tactical and logistical challenges.
  • Real-world simulations (e.g. vehicle, sports) – physical and tactical challenges.
  • Construction and management games – economic and conceptual challenges.
  • Adventure games – exploration and puzzle-solving.
  • Puzzle games – logic and conceptual challenges, almost exclusively.
player distinctions
Player distinctions
  • The biggie: Core vs. Casual
    • Core is the gamer hobbyist. They play games for the challenge of defeating the game.
    • Casual gamers play for the sheer enjoyment of the experience (doesn’t mean just people who play Bejewelled).
  • Some other distinctions to think about
    • Men and women
    • Children and adults
    • Boys and girls
    • Players with disabilities
    • Players of other cultures
  • Defining a target audience is more than just describing a category in terms of these features, need to describe what kinds of interests and life experiences the target audience has
generating ideas
Generating ideas
  • Chapter 6 of Fullerton provides a bunch of tips and approaches for generating lots of ideas
  • The overall goal is to move away from the “Think really hard for hours to come up with one idea then polish the heck out of it” approach to game design to “Generate many half-baked ideas, organize, sort and iteratively generate more ideas, then cull from those to pick a concept to develop”.
  • You should practice these techniques when coming up with ideas both individually and in a group
some idea generation approaches
Some idea generation approaches
  • Idea fountain – carry notebook around with you and train yourself to constantly generate ideas (continuous brainstorming)
  • Idea tree – start with five “trunks”, where you write down five passions (do not have to be games). Branch with two ideas from each branch (do not have to be game ideas) – continue
  • Idea cards – write down words on cards, pull them at random out of a pile and put them together
  • Randomly open a dictionary, pick a word and start riffing (can do the same thing with random television station, random page in a magazine, random Wikipedia page)
  • Structured brainstorming, individually or in groups. Important to have a good mechanism for recording ideas in a way that you can look at them and think about them
  • When using any idea generation technique, important not to censor ideas
editing and refining
Editing and refining
  • Distinct phase from brainstorming – don’t confuse them
  • Sort ideas to find top 10 ideas. Talk or think about the relative strengths of each idea.
  • Narrow the list down from 10 to 3. Repeat until you have one idea.
  • Write up a one paragraph description of your idea and share it with others (if team brainstorming, with people not in the team). Take the feedback you receive and use it as the basis for further brainstorming. Repeat until you come up with an idea that feels ready to turn into a game concept.
  • The point of all this is to avoid premature commitment to a mediocre idea. Keep the early process fluid. A game is hard to build and can take months or years of your life. Want to make sure the time you spend is worth it.
the game bible
The game bible
  • You should reflect on the mechanics of the games you play and on what works and doesn’t work for you in the game.
  • Analyze why certain elements are strong or weak.
  • Over time you’ll create your gameplay bible, a list of every game you’ve ever played, along with an analysis of the gameplay mechanisms
  • You do this not to copy other games in your own designs, but to give you a rich source of raw material for devising mechanics.
  • You might want to consider using www.gamelog.cl as a place to publicly blog about the games you’re playing in a community of other people writing about gameplay.