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Inclusive Games Design By Kaye Elling & Simon Smith.

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1 Inclusive Games Design By Kaye Elling & Simon Smith

2 Blitz Games Independent Game Developer Console titles on PS2, PSP, GameCube, Xbox PS3 & Xbox 360 150 staff and expanding Owned & run by the Oliver twins

3 Blitz History

4 Blitz Branding



7 Introductions Kaye Elling, Creative Manager Simon Smith, Business Development Associate

8 Abstract Inclusive game design Gender and age Our experiences: Bratz Rock Angelz Core game functionalities Design Dynamics Comparing young male orientated titles

9 Why make inclusive games?

10 Idealism Games are here to be enjoyed by everyone Its good for you! Technology for recreation expands horizons Play is part of human nature

11 Market forces Market is reaching saturation 103 million consoles sold worldwide 73m PS2s, 16m Xboxes, 14m GameCubes Hardcore & mainstream gamers (USA today, year end 2004).

12 Future-proofing To continue growth, market must diversify Hobby- and casual gamers Children (ages 6-15) Older demographic (age 35+) Women (all ages)

13 Circle of life Inclusive games = mass market appeal Mass market appeal = more sales More sales = more money More money = bigger market Bigger market = more games for everyone

14 The Stats

15 What makes a game inclusive? What makes a game exclusive?

16 Gendered Spaces In game environments; the core of most games Player must want to be in those spaces Context can exclude potential players Gamer Chicks: How a Generation of Young Women Inhabit Virtual Worlds Online White paper by Constance Steinkuehler, University of Wisconsin, USA.

17 Definitions Male gendered spaces Female gendered spaces Perceived as highly threatening Frequented predominantly by males Openly hostile to women Perceived as visually over-feminised Frequented predominantly by women Openly hostile to men

18 Gendered spaces IRL Gendered spaces IRL Lan Café Building site Football Stadium DIY Superstore Houses of Parlaiment

19 Gendered spaces IRL Gendered spaces IRL Hairdressers Health Spa Department Store Lingerie shops

20 Gender neutral spaces IRL Cinema Supermarket Gym* *Recent market expansion through diversification - while retaining its core clientele.

21 OPEN QUESTION: Give examples of male gendered spaces in computer games.

22 (M) Examples: Any area in HalfLife 2 Strip Joint in GTA Vice City Wrestling ring in WWE Smackdown

23 OPEN QUESTION: Give examples of neutral gendered spaces in computer games.

24 (N) Examples: Anywhere in Tak2: The Staff of Dreams Mansion in Bratz: Rock Anglez Race circuits in MarioCart

25 Random video: Bratz Rock Angelz

26 Control & Gendered Play Males and females respond differently One size does not fit all Most gameplay mechanics are male gendered Gender differentiates play

27 Risk & Reward The bigger the risk to the player, the bigger the potential reward to that player Most popular game play mechanic ever Females do not like taking risks… …they prefer Action & Reaction To remain in control at all times

28 Examples: Risk & reward: Action & Reaction Run through the super-heated mining tunnels, risking character health loss and eventual death, to access the footlocker containing a weapon upgrade. Knights of the Old Republic II Run a paid errand for an NPC, to finance the purchase of a weapon upgrade from a trader. Knights of the Old Republic II

29 Punitive Systems Punish the player for failure Most popular: Sudden permanent death… …versus an instant re-spawn Example: Rainbow 6 Further Examples: The Molyneaux principle Heavy handed & generates frustration

30 Violence vs. brutality When is violence not exclusive? Defensive or provoked Comedic or without suffering Stylised (cartoony, non-realistic) When does violence exclude players? Offensive or casual Sadistic or causes suffering Hyper-real (excessively gory) Example:Manhunt

31 OPEN QUESTION: Give examples of games with inclusive game play dynamics. i.e… with action & reaction i.e … without punitive systems i.e … with violence as opposed to brutality

32 Examples: Ratchet & Clank Lego Star Wars Prince of Persia: Sands of Time Nancy Drew series The Sims series

33 Characterisation Player character buy-in is more important to women than it is to men. Men see characters as controllable Women see them as representational

34 Lara Croft Why she works for girls: Tough Capable Beautiful Cool Intelligent She can do everything a man can do.

35 Lara Croft Why she works for guys: Tough Capable Beautiful Cool Intelligent Boobs She can do everything a man can do. In fact, she might as well be a man in drag. Earnest Adams, Designersnotebook

36 Lara Croft She works despite of her appearance, not because of it. Until Lara came along, most female characters in games were: Waiting to be rescued. (Pauline, Donkey Kong) Eye-candy (Princess, Donkey Kong) Statistically inferior (Ling XiaoYu, Tekken) First equal heroine Paved the way for others Nikki (Pandemonium)

37 Bratz Why they work for girls: Fun Intelligent Creative Stylish Friendly Individuals Friendship Cooperation

38 What women want Personality as well as appearance Role models to aspire to Failure to include a viable female character immediately makes the game exclusive. Women demand characters with more depth Equality in terms of stats and abilities

39 Characters as Avatars Gender bending in MMORPGs Representational vs. controllable Other reasons: Social - how players are treated among themselves Variety - players have multiple characters Subterfuge – denying true identity for a reason

40 Customisation True cross –gender, cross-demographic tool Creates unique user experiences Seen in all kinds of consumer products Cars: Mini Cooper Clothing: Nike Trainers Electronics: Mobile phone fascias, I-pods

41 Customisation Seen in a huge variety of games Motors: Need for Speed Underground Motors: Juiced Clothing: Tony Hawks Pro Skater Appearance: WWE series (Create a Wrestler) Avatars: any RPG

42 Customisation in Bratz Customisation stats in the game 224 make-up colours & decals 135 jewellery items 40 Mobile phone add-ons 221 clothes & accessories 66 pairs of shoes Totalling 686 items!

43 Random video! PacMan World 3

44 Communication Vital tool in reaching alternative audiences Split into 2 categories Functional communication (Direct, necessary etc) Responsive communication (Intuitive feedback etc)

45 Communication Older players and female players require more communication than male players do. This is for 2 reasons: Women have a more social approach to gaming and expect more interaction between the NPCs and the player. Casual or novice gamers require more instruction and feedback than hardcore gamers do.

46 Mobile phones Direct communication Characters Indirect communication Impersonal Emotional & intuitive communication means the player is more likely to respond. Vocal, phones Computers, anonymous

47 Creativity Gives the player freedom Creativity spans all demographics A big hit in all kinds of gaming genres UCC in The Sims Halo 2 multiplayer clan badges Tags in Counterstrike Tags in Jet Set Radio Bratz make-up editor and T-shirt/Poster Editors

48 Make-up editor

49 Choice is freedom Player freedom is addictive Player choice = player freedom Choice is best achieved through Sandbox play Sandbox isnt always an option if: There is a strong narrative Level progression is set The game is essentially linear

50 Choice in linear designs Intersperse these with larger goals Linear games benefit from anytime activities Break up linear play Examples Sub games Skirmish areas Bonus levels/tasks

51 Intellectual pursuits Alternative game play features Appeal to older players Appeal to younger players Appeal to both genders

52 Alternative gameplay styles Nurturing Pokemon Monster Farmer Nintendogs Puzzle solving Puzzle adventures Board based Narrative Classic Adventures Mystery Strategy Resource management Historical re-enactment

53 Alternative input & next gen Alternative input devices can attract new audiences. This is already evident in the industry: Nintendo: Bongos Sony: Eye-Toy Sony: Microphone Multiformat: Fishing rod More of this to come….

54 Nintendo Revolution 3D Pointing Tilt Sensitive Multifunctional Wireless Rumble Built-in TV remote based Less threatening?

55 Summary Never take game play mechanics for granted. Context (gendered spaces) Control (gendered play) Characterisation Communication Customisation Creativity Choice Good designers can create for others. Remember the 7 Cs:


57 Further reading Gender Inclusive Game Design: Expanding the Market. Sheri Grayner-Ray Charles River Media Chicks and Joysticks: An Exploration of Women and gaming. Aleks Krotoski Entertainment and Leisure Software Producers Association.

58 Q & A

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