Serious Games: Fun vs. Reality Markus Lacay
What are games? • A structured activity, usually undertaken for enjoyment and sometimes used as an educational tool. ~ Wikipedia • A series of meaningful choices ~ Sid Meier • A problem solving activity, approached with a playful attitude ~ The Art of Game Design, Jesse Schell • A viable medium of artistic expression ~ Chris Crawford on Game Design
Signs that a game isn’t fun • “Fun” wasn’t a primary design goal • It’s “educational” • It doesn’t pass Ernest Adam’s “Twinkie test”1: • Bad Conceptual Design • Bad Gameplay Design • Bad Game Mechanics • Bad User Interface Design • Bad Programming • Bad Level Design • Bad Content 1 The No Twinkie Database: http://www.designersnotebook.com/Design_Resources/No_Twinkie_Database/no_twinkie_database.htm
Player Needs There are many ways to have fun Nick Yee's player motivation categories, "The Daedalus Project"
“Repression is not the way to virtue. When people restrain themselves out of fear, their lives are by necessity diminished. Only through freely chosen discipline can life be enjoyed and still kept within the bounds of reason.” ~ Dr. Mihály Csíkszentmihályi Player “Flow” • Csíkszentmihályi, Mihály • Noted for his study of happiness and creativity • Regarded as the world's leading researcher on positive psychology.
Maximize fun and realism “As a game designer trying to design an experience, your goal is to figure out the essential elements that really define the experience you want to create, and find ways to make them part of your game design.” ~ Jesse Schell, The Art of Game Design
Mapping reality onto game mechanics Convoy reaction to sniper fire Proposed game mechanics I. Do not stop II. Throw smoke to screen enemy observation, if wind conditions permit III. Suppress the area in the sniper’s general direction. IV. Provide suppressive fires and supporting arms. V. Be vigilant of potential future threats a. Control convoy movement b. Throw smoke grenades c. Fire at enemies d. Control UAV support e. Fuel Resource Acquisition.
The Serious Game Designer’s Dilemma: Fun under forced conditions • Serious games are serious… however: • “Good game design is player-centric.” Brathwaite, Brenda, Challenges for game designers (2001) • “Play is involuntary and cannot be willed.” Huizinga, Johan, Homo Ludens (1955) • Games are never subordinate to learning • They do not replace formal training • They are complimentary • There is a need to see games as “self-sustaining” • Seeing games as subordinate ruins them as games
Your quest is to find the fun! • Fun “defies analysis” • Take several passes over all types ofobjectives • Identify critical points for dramatic elements • Prune “chores” • Good game design concepts still apply
Serious Games:Fun vs. RealityMarkus Lacaymarkus.firstname.lastname@example.org://www.avi.com631-759-3923