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Designing Games for Game Designers Stone Librande Creative Director, EA/Maxis Lead Designer, SimCity Please turn on “Notes View” for the speaking points.

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Presentation on theme: "Designing Games for Game Designers Stone Librande Creative Director, EA/Maxis Lead Designer, SimCity Please turn on “Notes View” for the speaking points."— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing Games for Game Designers Stone Librande Creative Director, EA/Maxis Lead Designer, SimCity Please turn on “Notes View” for the speaking points about each slide. A video of this talk is available at:

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4 Class Background and PhilosophyClass Background and Philosophy Fundamentals of Game DesignFundamentals of Game Design Workshop GamesWorkshop Games Final ThoughtsFinal Thoughts Overview

5 Cogswell Polytechnical College (Sunnyvale, CA.)Cogswell Polytechnical College (Sunnyvale, CA.) Game Design Workshop (GDC)Game Design Workshop (GDC) Game Connection (Paris)Game Connection (Paris) EA Intern Mentoring (Maxis Studio)EA Intern Mentoring (Maxis Studio) Workshop Locations

6 Paper, cards, dice (no computers)Paper, cards, dice (no computers) 2 to 3 hour workshops2 to 3 hour workshops Focus on one specific topicFocus on one specific topic No grades, but there are “winners”No grades, but there are “winners” Workshop Structure

7 Exercise Goals: A chance for the class to get acquaintedA chance for the class to get acquainted Focus on physical rather than cerebralFocus on physical rather than cerebral Set the tone for the semesterSet the tone for the semester First Day Game

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12 What is a Game? Lost in the Shuffle (The Duelist magazine)Lost in the Shuffle (The Duelist magazine) Richard Garfield ( ) The Art of Computer Game DesignThe Art of Computer Game Design Chris Crawford (1984) I Have No Words & I Must DesignI Have No Words & I Must Design Greg Costikyan (1994)

13 Fundamentals of Game Design

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18 Player’s relationship to the goal is clearPlayer’s relationship to the goal is clear Drama increases as the goal nearsDrama increases as the goal nears Goals

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25 Exercise Goals: Experiment with different types of goalsExperiment with different types of goals Only the goal can change, not the rulesOnly the goal can change, not the rules How does changing the goal change the game?How does changing the goal change the game? Goal Cards

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27 Public points vs. secret points Timed goals Negative goal

28 Multiple Goals: Simultaneous Simultaneous Randomly Changing Randomly Changing Secret Goals

29 Custom Goals

30 Win a chipWin a Goal CardGet the most Goal Cards Get your card promoted

31 Opposition FlowFlow Sense of accomplishmentSense of accomplishment

32 Exercise Goals: Incremental difficulty tuningIncremental difficulty tuning Hard and Soft obstaclesHard and Soft obstacles Giving the player an edgeGiving the player an edge Opposition and OpponentsOpposition and Opponents Obstacle Pong

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38 Exercise Goals: Asymmetric game balanceAsymmetric game balance Tuning for dramaTuning for drama

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40 Each tank gets 3 actions per turn: A)Shoot B)Move C)Rotate Each tank gets 3 actions per turn: A)Shoot B)Move C)Rotate

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42 Decisions Interesting decisionsInteresting decisions Creativity and discoveryCreativity and discovery

43 Balancing decisionsBalancing decisions Encouraging expression and role-playingEncouraging expression and role-playing Combining characters to create new storiesCombining characters to create new stories Exercise Goals:

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45 Kneel Kneel Pray Pray Smite Smite Bless Bless Step Step Wobble Wobble Belch Belch Throw Bottle Throw Bottle Hide in Trash Hide in Trash Stagger Stagger

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49 Rules Easy to learnEasy to learn A lifetime to masterA lifetime to master

50 Exercise Goals: Rule structure and organizationRule structure and organization PrecisionPrecision SimplificationSimplification Add a Rule

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54 Exercise Goals: Creating modular rulesCreating modular rules Balancing rule effectsBalancing rule effects Discussing and clarifyingDiscussing and clarifying Using flavor to help immersion and memoryUsing flavor to help immersion and memory

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56 Flavor: Swords, Military, WeaponsEffect: Attack power Arrow’s Flight If your spade loses then immediately drop it on the floor from at least 1 meter. If it lands face up then it wins!

57 Buried Treasure Flavor: Wealth, RichesEffect: Points Cut your deck. If you reveal a diamond put it on top of your deck and gain 1 point.

58 Card Garden Flavor: Staff, NatureEffect: Cards Take the top card of your deck and put it in your hand. If you wish you may play cards from your hand instead of from the top of your deck.

59 Consolation Present If you lost this battle you may place your card on top of your opponent’s deck. Flavor: Love, Emotion, HealingEffect: Giving

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61 Interaction Ease of inputEase of input RewardsRewards Immersive atmosphereImmersive atmosphere

62 Exercise Goals: Show the students the power of rewardsShow the students the power of rewards Roll as fast as possibleRoll as fast as possible Do this for over 30 minutes!Do this for over 30 minutes! Roll Dice Fast!

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64 Exercise Goals: Explore how atmosphere affects a gameExplore how atmosphere affects a game Using colors, fonts, and images to set a moodUsing colors, fonts, and images to set a mood Combine two games together to make a new gameCombine two games together to make a new gamev Mash Up

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69 Exercise Goals: Learn how to calculate odds (with no math!)Learn how to calculate odds (with no math!) Start simple and slowly progress in difficultyStart simple and slowly progress in difficulty Simulate thousands of play sessionsSimulate thousands of play sessions

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81 Putting it Together Interaction

82 Obvious goal, interesting decisions, simple rulesObvious goal, interesting decisions, simple rules Use reward and atmosphere to “entice” playersUse reward and atmosphere to “entice” players Make a profitMake a profit Casino Exercise Goals: Interaction

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85 Listening to me talk about games is not a substitute for playing themListening to me talk about games is not a substitute for playing them Iterate them, change them, make them suit your needsIterate them, change them, make them suit your needs Designers, become teachersDesigners, become teachers Final Thoughts

86 Thank you! Detailed rules and materials for many of these games can be found at:


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