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Creative Plagiarism How to make a new game based on an old game Scott Kim, Shufflebrain Casual Games Conference Jul 19, 2005
We all steal Tetris + Columns, Puyo Puyo Bejeweled + Jewel Quest, Big Kahuna Makigame + Collapse, Poppit Diner Dash + Wild West Wendy
PITCHING : Easy sell MARKETING : Built-in audience PRODUCTION : Re-use assets GAME DESIGN : Proven play pattern And for good reason
It’s nothing to be ashamed of Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal. T. S. Eliot
It’s nothing to be ashamed of The old guys stole all our best ideas. Frederick Goudy
The challenge is to do it well 1. S EQUEL TO HIT GAME 2. A DAPT TO NEW MEDIUM 3. I NSPIRE NEW IDEA
From my experience designing puzzles PRINT TOYS MOBILE PC/CONSOLE WEB DOWNLOADABLE
1.SEQUELS (and clones)
MOVIES: Spiderman II PC GAMES: Sims II CASUAL GAMES: Bejeweled II Common in all media
WORSE : Matrix Reloaded BETTER : Toy Story II SERIES : Harry Potter Issue: how to extend the original
Ask yourself What do you lose? What do you keep? What do you add? ORIGINAL SEQUEL
Shrek II Lose plot point: Fiona’s secret Keep theme: be true to self Add character: Puss in Boots ORIGINAL SEQUEL
Bejeweled II Lose nothing Keep play mechanic Add play modes, rewards ORIGINAL SEQUEL
Change look: Sweet Tooth, Nisqually… 1. Change something
Change look: Sweet Tooth, Nisqually… Change goal: Jewel Quest Goal: turn board gold 1. Change something
Change look: Sweet Tooth, Nisqually… Change goal: Jewel Quest Add modes: Action, Puzzle, Endless 1. Change something
Change look: Sweet Tooth, Nisqually… Change goal: Jewel Quest Add modes: Bejeweled II, Tetris Change rewards: Bejeweled II 3 in a row = clear 4 in a row = bomb 5 in a row = hypercube 1. Change something
2. Fix what’s wrong Inconsistent rotation + unified
2. Fix what’s wrong Inconsistent rotation + unified Exhausting + 3-minute sprint
2. Fix what’s wrong Inconsistent rotation + unified Exhausing + 3-minute sprint Single-player + Tetris Battle
2. Fix what’s wrong Inconsistent rotation + unified Exhausing + 3-minute sprint Single-player + Tetris Battle No cascades + Tetris Cascade
3. Balance complexity
Larger board: 7x7 grid +
3. Balance complexity Larger board: 7x7 grid New piece: 2x2 square
3. Balance complexity Larger board: 7x7 grid New piece: 2x2 square Alternate exits
3. Balance complexity Larger board: 7x7 grid New piece: 2x2 square Alternate exits Train theme
2. A DAPTATIONS
BOOK + MOVIE : Harry Potter MOVIE + GAME : Spiderman WEB + MOBILE : Bejeweled Across media, across platforms
BAD : Rubik on PC, Final Fantasy movie GOOD : Lord of the Rings movies NATURAL : Tetris mobile Issue: how to adapt faithfully
Three rules of adaptation 1. Avoid what’s hard 2. Keep what’s essential 3. Add what’s possible MEDIUM 1 MEDIUM 2
Book vs. Movie Avoid inner thoughts Keep character, plot, setting Add visceral action BOOK MOVIE
Web vs. Mobile Avoid big screen, mouse Keep play mechanic Add online element WEB MOBILE
Rule 1. Avoid what’s hard Tangrams (Juniornet.com): physical + web
Avoid 3D Driv3r (Atari/Glu): console + mobile
Don’t always have to avoid Zuma (Popcap/Glu): web + mobile
Dell Crossword (Blue Lava): print + mobile If you can’t avoid it, innovate
Rule 2. Keep what’s essential Final Fantasy (Square Enix): PS2 + mobile
Top Gun (Mforma): movie + mobile Keep action
Keep mental experience Tangrams in Discover: physical + print
Rule 3. Add what’s possible What is unique to the medium? How can that add to the game? Experiment and see where that leads!
Add authoring Tangrams on Juniornet.com
Puzzle Inlay (Gamehouse) Add scoring & error recovery
Add bells and whistles Convenient access Improved interface Undo Levels of difficulty Interactive tutorials Automated opponent Algorithmically-generated puzzles Sound and graphics
4. Design for the medium You Don’t Know Jack
4. Design for the medium Daily Puzzle (Glu Mobile)
3. I NNOVATION
Take poetic license Romeo & Juliet + West Side Story Seeds with thorns + Velcro
Three rules of innovation 1. Look wide 2. Break assumptions 3. Dig deep
1. Look wide
Tetris was inspired by pentominoes
2. Break assumptions Make it 2d
3. Dig deep Rubik’s cube is a permutation puzzle Like a 2D sliding block puzzle
3. Dig deep Multiple pieces move at the same time.
3. Dig deep 2D equivalent of rotation
3. Dig deep COGITO 2D puzzle Slide row/column With wraparound Fill 9 center squares 100 levels
3. Dig deep Keep core idea: simultaneous motion Change everything else Just 2 simultaneously moving objects
Double Maze Move both balls onto both stars at the same time
1. SEQUEL Change something Fix what’s wrong Balance complexity
2. A DAPTATION Avoid what’s hard Keep what’s essential Add what’s possible Design for the medium
3. I NNOVATION Look wide Break assumptions Dig deep
Scott Kim, Shufflebrain scottkim.com
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