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Game Design - Lecture 01

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Vangelis Bagiartakis

on 21 December 2013

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Transcript of Game Design - Lecture 01

The Basics of Game Design
Lecture 1
The Role of the Game Designer
Game Elements
Game Design Process
The Role of the Game Designer
These things do NOT necessarily make you a Game Designer
Knowing how to code
Writing good stories
Being a Graphic Designer / Illustrator / Animator
Having played hundreds of games
'" Game Design is the act of deciding what a game should be"'
-- Jesse Schell
A role similar to that of an architect
He usually makes thousands of decisions
He is involved from the very beginning to the very end
His actions end up determining the future of the company / team
The most important role in the team
In order to discuss what a game designer actually does we first need to ask ourselves a simple question:
To have an experience!
All of the Game Designer's decisions should come down to this question:
Does it enhance the player's experience?
What skills should a Game Designer have?
Creative Writing
Sound Design
Technical Writing
Visual Arts
Your Team
Your Audience
Your Game
Your Client
Your Self
There is only one path to becoming a Game Designer and that is the path of designing games!
Your first 10 games will suck - so get them out of the way fast!
Game Elements
They are essentially the rules of your game
They decribe what is the goal of the game, what players can and cannot do to achieve it and what happens when they try
They are the key difference between games and other linear forms of entertainment (books, movies etc)
It must be able to support them
It must emphasize them clearly to the players
It helps them make sense to the players
The sequence of events that unfolds in your game
In a way, the "theme" of your game
It must be suited for the kind of story you want
They help reinforce the theme of the game
They strengthen the story and let it emerge
How your game looks, sounds, smells, tastes and feels
They have the most direct relationship to the player's experience
In many cases it is what will attract a new player
It must amplify and reinforce them
Its events will let them emerge at the right pace and have the most impact
They should make the player feel like his in the world they define
Includes any materials and interactions that make your game possible (from papers and cards to game engines and hardware)
What you choose will enable the game to do certain things and it will prohibit it from doing other things
Technology is essentialy the medium in which all of the other elements take place
None of the elements is more important than the others!
Let's see an example!
Homework #1
Choose a game you like and write down its elements.

Find the connections between them. How each of them enhances the others and is used by them.

How do they achieve the overall goal of the game? What is the ultimate experience the player is supposed to have?

Keep it simple. No more than 1-2 small paragraphs per element.
Game Design Process
Step 1
Get an idea
Step 2
Build a Prototype and test it
Step 3
Go Back to Step 1
An Iterative Process
It all starts with an idea!
Your idea is worthless!
It's what you do with it that counts
Ways to get new ideas
State your problem
Put some restrictions in
Record your ideas
Let some time pass ("ignore" it for a while)
Change your perspective
Write everything down
Mix and Match
Talk to yourself
Imagine what your game will look like
Tips for Prototyping
Try to solve a problem in every prototype
Forget Quality
Don't Get Attached
Build a Non-Digital Prototype
Partial Prototypes
Homework #2
Think of new game idea

Take a blank piece of paper and start writing down EVERYTHING that goes through your mind about this idea

It's ok to fill more than one page
Let's start by stating what a Game Designer is NOT
(although they do help)
Why do we play games?
All of these can be useful:
but the most important one is...
Full transcript