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Game Design Peter Shankar CSE 497 – Topics on AI & Computer Game Programming.

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Presentation on theme: "Game Design Peter Shankar CSE 497 – Topics on AI & Computer Game Programming."— Presentation transcript:

1 Game Design Peter Shankar CSE 497 – Topics on AI & Computer Game Programming

2 Introduction – Game Design Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman Katie Salen & Eric Zimmerman Game Design: Theory & Practice Game Design: Theory & Practice Richard Rouse III Richard Rouse III

3 Introduction – Game Design Game design concepts have existed for some time, but recently gained much attention via computer technology Game design concepts have existed for some time, but recently gained much attention via computer technology Not standardized or process driven – like software engineering Not standardized or process driven – like software engineering Broad conceptual definitions Broad conceptual definitions Design -> Game Design -> Computer Game Design Design -> Game Design -> Computer Game Design

4 Outline Game Design Core Concepts Game Design Core Concepts What is Game Design? What is Game Design? Successful Game Design Successful Game Design “Meaningful play” “Meaningful play” Semiotics Semiotics Systems Systems Interactivity Interactivity Choice Choice Design Approaches Design Approaches Brainstorming Brainstorming What players want/expect? What players want/expect? Sid Meier Interview Sid Meier Interview

5 What is Design? Design is the process by which a designer creates a context to be encountered by a participant, from which meaning emerges. Design is the process by which a designer creates a context to be encountered by a participant, from which meaning emerges. As it pertains to games: As it pertains to games: Designer: the individual game designer, or a whole culture Designer: the individual game designer, or a whole culture Context: spaces, objects, narratives, and behaviors Context: spaces, objects, narratives, and behaviors Participants: players Participants: players Meaning: meaningful play Meaning: meaningful play

6 Successful Game Design The goal of a successful game design is the creation of meaningful play The goal of a successful game design is the creation of meaningful play The intellectual dueling of two players in a well-met game of Chess The intellectual dueling of two players in a well-met game of Chess The improvisational, team based coordination of Basketball The improvisational, team based coordination of Basketball The Dynamic shifting of individual and communal identities in the online role-playing game EverQuest The Dynamic shifting of individual and communal identities in the online role-playing game EverQuest The lifestyle-invading game Half-Life, played on a college campus The lifestyle-invading game Half-Life, played on a college campus

7 Meaningful Play Two Definitions Two Definitions 1. Descriptive: Emerges from the relationship between player action and system outcome; it is the process by which a player takes action within the designed system of a game and system responds to the action. The meaning of an action in a game resides in the relationship between action and outcome. 2. Evaluative: Occurs when the relationships between actions and outcomes in a game are both discernable and integrated into the larger context of the game. The two ways of defining meaningful play are closely related. Designing successful games requires understanding meaningful play in both senses. The two ways of defining meaningful play are closely related. Designing successful games requires understanding meaningful play in both senses.

8 Semiotics Study of meaning. It is primarily concerned with the question of how signs represent, or denote. Study of meaning. It is primarily concerned with the question of how signs represent, or denote. People use signs to designate objects or ideas. Because a sign represents something other than itself, we take the representation as the meaning of the sign. People use signs to designate objects or ideas. Because a sign represents something other than itself, we take the representation as the meaning of the sign. Example: 6 points in football means a TD Example: 6 points in football means a TD

9 4 Semiotic Concepts A sign represents something other than itself Signs are interpreted Meaning results when a sign is interpreted Context shapes interpretation Structure – Most smoogles have comcom

10 Systems Has many parts that interrelate to form a complex whole Has many parts that interrelate to form a complex whole All systems have the following elements: All systems have the following elements: Objects are the parts, elements, or variables within the system Objects are the parts, elements, or variables within the system Attributes are qualities or properties of the system and its objects Attributes are qualities or properties of the system and its objects Internal relationships are relations among the objects Internal relationships are relations among the objects Environment is the context that surrounds the system Environment is the context that surrounds the system

11 Game Systems These four elements (objects, attributes, internal relationships, environment) of a system can be framed differently within a gaming system. These four elements (objects, attributes, internal relationships, environment) of a system can be framed differently within a gaming system. Formal Formal Experiential Experiential Cultural Cultural All three ‘frames’ exist simultaneously All three ‘frames’ exist simultaneously

12 Game Systems Cont. A game as a formal system is always embedded within an experiential system, and a game as a cultural system contains formal and experiential systems. A game as a formal system is always embedded within an experiential system, and a game as a cultural system contains formal and experiential systems. Cultural System Experiential System Formal System

13 Chess as a Formal System Objects: pieces on the board, the board, etc. Objects: pieces on the board, the board, etc. Attributes: characteristics given to the objects, defined by the rules Attributes: characteristics given to the objects, defined by the rules Internal Relationships: spatial relationships, positions on the board Internal Relationships: spatial relationships, positions on the board Environment: the play itself Environment: the play itself

14 Chess as an Experiential System Objects: the players themselves Objects: the players themselves Attributes: the pieces a player holds, state of the game Attributes: the pieces a player holds, state of the game Internal Relationships: player interaction, social, psychological, emotional communication Internal Relationships: player interaction, social, psychological, emotional communication Environment: board, pieces, immediate setting of the game -> anything that facilitated the play Environment: board, pieces, immediate setting of the game -> anything that facilitated the play

15 Chess as a Cultural System Objects: the game of Chess itself, in its broadest cultural sense Objects: the game of Chess itself, in its broadest cultural sense Attributes: the designed elements of the game, as well as information on how, when, where, why the game was made and used Attributes: the designed elements of the game, as well as information on how, when, where, why the game was made and used Internal relationships: linkages between the game and culture Internal relationships: linkages between the game and culture Environment: culture itself, in all of its forms Environment: culture itself, in all of its forms

16 Interactivity 4 modes of interactivity 4 modes of interactivity Cognitive interactivity: interpretive participation Cognitive interactivity: interpretive participation Functional interactivity: utilitarian participation Functional interactivity: utilitarian participation Explicit interactivity: participation with designed choices and procedures Explicit interactivity: participation with designed choices and procedures Beyond-the-object-interactivity: participation within the culture of the project Beyond-the-object-interactivity: participation within the culture of the project

17 Interactivity in Game Design 3 rd mode (explicit interactivity) comes closest to defining what we mean when we say games are interactive 3 rd mode (explicit interactivity) comes closest to defining what we mean when we say games are interactive Interactivity and gameplay are often synonymous Interactivity and gameplay are often synonymous Designed interaction Designed interaction Rolling dice on a craps table vs. rolling an apple Rolling dice on a craps table vs. rolling an apple

18 Choice Micro level: each decision at it’s smallest level Micro level: each decision at it’s smallest level Macro level: the accumulated choices to form a larger choice/outcome Macro level: the accumulated choices to form a larger choice/outcome Players should understand that their choices at the micro level influence choices at the macro level Players should understand that their choices at the micro level influence choices at the macro level

19 Diagnosing Choice Ask these questions for every choice made: Ask these questions for every choice made: 1. What happened before the player was given the choice? 2. How is the possibility of a choice conveyed to the player? 3. How did the player make the choice? 4. What is the result of the choice? How will it affect future choices? 5. How is the result of the choice conveyed to the player?

20 Diagnosing Choice – Failure States Feeling as if decisions are arbitrary Feeling as if decisions are arbitrary Not knowing what to do next Not knowing what to do next Losing a game without knowing why Losing a game without knowing why Not knowing if an action had an outcome Not knowing if an action had an outcome

21 Putting Game Design Concepts Together Players look for “meaning” to their play. Players look for “meaning” to their play. Want to interact in systems Want to interact in systems Formal, experiential, cultural Formal, experiential, cultural Semiotics – meaning through representation Semiotics – meaning through representation Interactivity is gameplay Interactivity is gameplay Choice is tricky, we want a players choices to be meaningful on a macro/micro level Choice is tricky, we want a players choices to be meaningful on a macro/micro level

22 Game Design Procedures No standard procedures No standard procedures Understanding what players want/expect Understanding what players want/expect Brainstorming Brainstorming Sid Meier Sid Meier

23 Successful Computer Game Design – What do players want? What do players want? What do players want? Challenge Challenge Socialize Socialize Dynamic experiences Dynamic experiences Bragging rights Bragging rights Emotional experience Emotional experience Fantasize Fantasize

24 Successful Computer Game Design - What do players expect? Players expect: Players expect: A consistent world A consistent world Understand the world bounds Understand the world bounds Reasonable solutions to work Reasonable solutions to work Direction Direction Accomplish incremental tasks Accomplish incremental tasks Immersion Immersion

25 Successful Computer Game Design - What do players expect? (cont.) Players expect Players expect Fail Fail Fair chance Fair chance Not need to repeat themselves Not need to repeat themselves Not get hopelessly stuck Not get hopelessly stuck Do, not watch Do, not watch Don’t know what they want, but know it when they see it Don’t know what they want, but know it when they see it

26 Brainstorming a Computer Game Starting Points Starting Points Working with Limitations Working with Limitations Established Technology Established Technology

27 Starting Points Starting with Gameplay Starting with Gameplay Starting with Technology Starting with Technology Starting with Story Starting with Story

28 Working with Limitations Embrace Your Limitations Embrace Your Limitations Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis Damage Incorporated Damage Incorporated Centipede 3D Centipede 3D

29 Odyssey: The Legend of Nemesis Designed around the story Designed around the story Non-linear, very dynamic Non-linear, very dynamic Author overtook design of this game Author overtook design of this game Some technology already developed Some technology already developed Added some AI features to make it work for him Added some AI features to make it work for him The technology and gameplay largely supported what he wanted to do with the story The technology and gameplay largely supported what he wanted to do with the story

30 Damage Incorporated Designed around technology Designed around technology Had games like Marathon and Marathon 2 in mind Had games like Marathon and Marathon 2 in mind MacSoft obtained a sophisticated license to some technology that they wanted to implement in a game MacSoft obtained a sophisticated license to some technology that they wanted to implement in a game Crafted gameplay/story around the technology so the story would take full advantage Crafted gameplay/story around the technology so the story would take full advantage

31 Damage Incorporated

32 Centipede 3D Game mechanics similar to original Game mechanics similar to original Started with gameplay Started with gameplay Set out to look for an engine that could handle the game Set out to look for an engine that could handle the game Not much of the story – they wanted to capture the simple playability of the original Not much of the story – they wanted to capture the simple playability of the original

33 Centipede 3D

34 Established Technology The Case of the Many Mushrooms The Case of the Many Mushrooms Centipede 3D Centipede 3D Escalating polygon counts – slowed down play Escalating polygon counts – slowed down play The Time Allotted The Time Allotted Project time considerations Project time considerations New technology developed New technology developed

35 Sid Meier Interview Serves as both lead programmer and lead designer Serves as both lead programmer and lead designer Personal decision Personal decision Primary tool is the prototype Primary tool is the prototype History, story, behind the game History, story, behind the game 3-4 cool things that are going to happen in the game 3-4 cool things that are going to happen in the game Giving the team a good sense of what the game should be Giving the team a good sense of what the game should be Don’t make it complete Don’t make it complete Leave room for expansion/deviation Leave room for expansion/deviation

36 Sid Meier Interview Cont. Technology is ready for a certain type of game Technology is ready for a certain type of game Topic before genre Topic before genre What makes games interesting is many interoperating systems What makes games interesting is many interoperating systems Changing game state Changing game state Dramatic changes from the beginning to the end of the game – Railroad Tycoon Dramatic changes from the beginning to the end of the game – Railroad Tycoon

37 Sid Meier Interview Cont. Addictive play Addictive play “interesting decisions” “interesting decisions” Many things happening at the same time Many things happening at the same time Figure out what is the interesting part about the theme Figure out what is the interesting part about the theme Let the player use his own knowledge in making decisions Let the player use his own knowledge in making decisions Reward players, setup milestones Reward players, setup milestones

38 Sid Meier Interview Cont. Game design is a slow process Game design is a slow process Does not follow processor speed, video card advancements etc. Does not follow processor speed, video card advancements etc. Build on what’s been done before Build on what’s been done before Games have a personal touch Games have a personal touch Development is largely done in big groups now Development is largely done in big groups now But good games have some insight on the individual level But good games have some insight on the individual level

39 Conclusion Game Design is ultimately a creative process and everyone develops differently Game Design is ultimately a creative process and everyone develops differently But there are some things successful games have in common But there are some things successful games have in common People want to make meaningful choices People want to make meaningful choices They like to see the functioning of many systems They like to see the functioning of many systems They like dynamic states They like dynamic states


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