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Digital Design Studio I

What is a Game - What is a GOOD Game?

Britta Pollmuller

on 10 March 2017

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Transcript of Digital Design Studio I

Games and Design
What is a Game -
What is a GOOD Game?

Salen and Zimmerman:
'A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict, defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome.'
What is a Game, again?
Games are an activity.
Games have rules.
Games have conflict.
Games have goals.
Games involve decision making.
How should YOU think AND talk about games?
'One of the most difficult tasks people can perform, however much others may despise it, is the invention of good games.' C.G. Jung

Becoming game literate - How to talk about games, how game system work, analyzing how they make meaning, and using such understanding to make your own game.
Activity 1:
LET's play an activity with rules that involves conflict.

Without rules, can a game function?
Project Brief: How can a game designer intentionally 'break the mold' when designing a game? - How can you integrate VALUE into game design?


Design a 2D Game! Can you embed VALUE in a 2D game? Can you reflect a social theme? Can you create a socially conscious game? Address a human theme into your game design and foster the integration of value.
1) Discover and identify values relevant to your project
2) Translate these value into features, mechanics and theme for your game
3) Verify that the values have been realized in your game VALUES

CHECKLIST: Diversity, Security, Safety, Justice, Creativity and Expression, Inclusion, Cooperation, Equality, Sharing, Privacy, Trust, Gender Equality, Authorship, Environmentalism, Liberty ...

The challenge is to design to support VALUE - in what ways can VALUE be integrated as an inclusive goal into the practice of game design, thereby given raise to a better game and meaning.

(DEADLINE: 9th June - 10.00AM)
Submission Deadline 9th June NO later than 23.59 via AUT online
Summative assessment:
A) 1 Minute Video/Game Trailer (25%)
B) Professional Portfolio (25%)
C) Finished Game (50%)
A game has “ends and means”: an objective, an outcome, and a set of rules to get there. (David Parlett)
5 Basics

Interactive Fiction
Graphic Adventure
Action Adventure
Role-Playing Games
Alternate Reality Games
Fighting Games
Sport Games
Vehicle Games
Rhythm Games
Real-Time Strategy Games
Military Turn Based Strategy Games
World Turn-Based Strategy Games
Puzzle Games
Board Games
Digital Design I

Games are an activity.
Games have rules.
Games have conflict.
Games have goals.
Games involve decision making.
Games are artificial, they are safe, and they are outside ordinary life.
Games are voluntary.
Games have an uncertain outcome.
Games are a representation or simulation of something real, but they are themselves make believe.
Games are inefficient. The rules impose obstacles that prevent the player from reaching their goal through the most efficient means.
Games have systems. Usually, it is a closed system, meaning that resources and information do not flow between the game and the outside world.
Games are a form of art.

For next session:
READ: I Have No Words and I Must Design, by Greg Costikyan.
Start a website and write your first game review
Visit AUT online
Join FB AUT Digital Design

Multiple Types of Game Design

There are many tasks associated with game design: system design, level design, content design, user interface design, world building, and story writing.


Define the rules of the game? - System design is about defining the basic rules of the game. What are the pieces? What can you control? What actions can you take on your turn (if there are “turns” at all)? What happens when you take each action, and how does it affect the game state? In general, system design is the creation of three things:

Rules for setup. How does the game begin?

Rules for progression of play. Once the game begins, what can the players do, and what happens when they do things?

Rules for resolution. What, if anything, causes the game to end? If the game has an outcome (such as winning or losing), how is that outcome determined?

BUT what is a GOOD game?
Activity 4:
Play Test:

· What is the game about?
· What will be the key elements of gameplay?
· What games in its genre will it resemble?
· What games in its genre will it be different from?
· What other games will it draw upon?
· What elements will be completely new to it?
· What will be the key elements of gameplay, again?
· What is the game's narrative outline?
· What is the game about, again?

Activity 3:

As you are playing, ask yourself: is this more fun or less fun than playing your favorite published games?
What could you change about this game to make it better?
You do not have to play the game to completion, but only for as long as it takes you to get the overall feeling of what it is like to play.
Then, after playing once, make at least one change. Maybe you’ll change the rules for movement, or add a new way for players to interact. Maybe you’ll change some of the spaces on the board. Whatever you do, for whatever reason, make a change and then play again.
Note the differences.
Has the change made the game better, or worse? Has this one change made you think of additional changes you could make? If the game got worse, would you just change the rule back, or would you change it again in a different way?
There are two messages:
• You want to have a playable prototype of your game as early in development as possible. The faster you can playtest your ideas, the more time you have to make changes.
• Given equal amounts of time, a shorter, simpler game will give a better experience than a longer, complicated game. A game that takes ten hours to play to completion will give you fewer iterations than a game that can be played in five minutes.

Activity 5

All games have a world in which they exist known as the space. It describes the look and feel of the game itself including:

Visual space

The space you create determines what can take place in the game itself and can influence the type of characters you create. Think of this as the foundation for your game because everything else relies on the rules/restrictions of your game space.

This is simple, how does someone win at this game? Something as simple as “score the most points” doesn’t cut it. Think about how players can achieve the end goal and map that out. Is there only one way to win or can a player take multiple paths to achieve the end goal? Can more than one player win? Are you trying to get the player to learn something? Can players continue on after someone wins? Ask yourself these questions to really determine the goal of the game.

Now that you know the space and the goal(s) of the game you have to add the characters and objects that exist in this world and how they are used to play the game. Examples of components could be weapons, the heroes, the bad guys, vehicles, a maze, dice, etc. Make sure that all components have serve some purpose in the game, even Easter eggs serve a purpose; they encourage players to explore different areas of the space.

These are the actions that characters and other components can do, or have done to them, in the course of the gameplay. This element outlines all of the constraints put on your characters and helps create a level of difficulty for your game.

It is very important that the mechanics follow the rules set up in the game space; for example if a character can break through a brick wall then a wooden barrier cannot prevent them from entering an area. It is also important that you think carefully about the challenges and weaknesses that each character will have so you can give them something to compensate for them.

The rules are what guide a player through the game. It tells them what they can and cannot do in order to win. They not only describe how to play the game, but the rules also help shape the game play experience.

Good designers start by defining all of these elements of their game before they even consider writing code or developing the user interface. Take the time to document all of these elements for your games and refer back to them whenever you have a question about how to work something new into your game. In the end, going through this process will help you develop a game that flows well and is more exciting to play.
Your First Paper Prototype

Here are the rules for the classic children’s game Battleship:

• Players: 2

• Objective: sink all five ships in your opponent’s fleet before they do the same to you.

• Setup:

Each player has a 10×10 grid of squares, with the rows labeled with numbers 1 through 10 and the columns labeled with letters A through J.
Each player has five ships: one ship that is 2 squares long, two ships that are each 3 squares long, one ship that is 4 squares long and one ship that is 5 squares long.
Each player secretly places their ships on their own grid, in such a way that each ship is oriented sideways or up-and-down (not diagonally) and that ships do not overlap. A player is chosen to go first.

• Progression of play: On a player’s turn, they call out a single square by its coordinates (such as “B-5″ or “H-10″). If the named square is not occupied by any of the opponent’s ships, the opponent says “Miss”. If the square is occupied, the opponent says “Hit”.

Additionally, if the square was a “hit” and the ship that was hit has had all of its sections hit, the ship is considered “sunk” and the opponent must tell you which ship was sunk.

No matter what the result, after the action is resolved, play passes to the opponent.

• Resolution: When one player sinks all five ships of the opponent’s fleet, that player is the winner.

Activity 2: Objectives: List 10 of your favorite games and name the objectives for each. Do you see any similarities? Try to define the type or types of game that appeal to you. (The Sims)
Example and common in games
Starting action: How to put a game into action
Progression of action: ongoing procedures after the starting action
Special actions: Available conditions to other elements or game state
Resolving actions: Bring gameplay to a close
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