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Reminder: Choose Game for Design Analysis Project Games Chosen so far: –Super Mario –FIFA –Dark Souls –Super Mario –Borderlands 2 –Mass Effect 3 –Grand.

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Presentation on theme: "Reminder: Choose Game for Design Analysis Project Games Chosen so far: –Super Mario –FIFA –Dark Souls –Super Mario –Borderlands 2 –Mass Effect 3 –Grand."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reminder: Choose Game for Design Analysis Project Games Chosen so far: –Super Mario –FIFA –Dark Souls –Super Mario –Borderlands 2 –Mass Effect 3 –Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas –Final Fantasy IX Game on any digital medium is fine: mobile device, gaming console, PC etc Deadline to select a game: September 30 th

2 Meaningful Play and Game Design Dr. Héctor Muñoz-Avila Assigned readings: Chapters 3 & 4 (Rules of Play Book) Disclaimer: I use these notes as a guide rather than a comprehensive coverage of the topic. They are neither a substitute for attending the lectures nor for reading the assigned material

3 How important is it to play? Yes, we play to have “fun”, but By playing games we learn a number of skills: –Social –Mechanical skills –Communication skills –Follow (or break) rules –We learn that there is something at play Direct: winning a game Direct/indirect: reward or impress someone

4 Meaning and Play Key goal of successful game design: Examples of meaningful play: Create gaming experience of the player that have a meaning and are meaningful (“meaningful play”) Chess: intellectual dueling Basketball: Improvisational, team-based tactics MMOs: dynamic shifting of individual and community identities What makes a game meaningful are not the rules of the game alone but the experiences of players playing the game (this is why iterative design is so crucial in designing a game)

5 Descriptive Definition of Meaningful Play Descriptive: –meaningful play emerges from the relation between player action and system outcome –Player: action  System: responds Meaning of an action is the relation between action and outcome Is there meaningful play in a game like this?this Of course, player execute moves/combos with an intended outcome This definition reflects an operational level

6 Evaluative Definition of Meaningful Play Evaluative: –Meaningful play occurs when relation between actions and outcomes are discernable and integrated into the larger context of the game This definition relates to the experience of the player Therefore the evaluative definition is the one we use in our analysis

7 Discernable The outcome of an action is communicated in a perceivable way. Good examples? –Where the outcome was communicatedoutcome –Other two examples: one and twoone two Bad examples? –Where the outcome was not communicated Designers learn hard lessons from early games (Stonkers)games

8 Integrated Actions taken by player have not only immediate significance but affects player experience later on. Good examples? –Where the outcome has significance later on –How about chess? –Here is a typical example (consequences 1 and 2)example12 What about games with linear storylines, are they integrated? Bad examples? –Where the outcome has significance no later on –What about minigames?minigames

9 Side Track: Massive Multiplayer Online RPGs (MMOs) Persistent world RPG: players take role –Priest: heal other players –Warrior: draws attention of the MOB towards him/her –Mage: deal damage “dude wuts ur DPS?” –… (as many as 20 other roles in modern games) Character advances “levels” and gains new skills that facilitates its role. ExampleExample Fundamental that each player master their avatar’s role to defeat some encounters –10+ avatars following a planplan

10 So What is Discernable and Integrated in MMOs? Discernable Integrated

11 Design As with “game” there are multiple definitions of what this means –Design is making sense of things –Devising courses of action aimed at changing existing situations (Herbert Simon) –The conception of visual form –… So there are multiple elements: understanding, action, visual appearance, …

12 Design: A Definition (the “official”) Design is a process by which a designer creates a context to be encountered by a participant from which meaning emerges –Designer: person who creates the game –Context: rules, spaces, objects, narratives (lore) –Participants: players –Meaning: meaningful play Crucial point of this definition: connect design and meaningful play When creating games we are crafting experiences Classical example: RPG games

13 Meaningful Play and Design (1) Carefully crafted difficulty levels so game becomes more challenging as player skill increase Source: (Flow Theory by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi) From here to therehere there

14 Meaningful Play and Design (2) Forms of improvement: –Player skill improves over time: –Avatar skill improves over time –Player and Avatar skill Linear quest storyline: RTS games Increasing challenge on racing games RPG games FPS games (improve loot + improved skill)loot skill

15 Non Meaningful Play by Design In a linear game, player might get back to early zones. But then it will be too easy RPG game designer disincentive players by not awarding experience no XP  player action kill monsters is not integrated! Examples?

16 Controversy: Morrowind Design decision: Monsters level as you level  A monster encountered later in the game is tougher than same monster encountered early in the game  In fact you can beat the game at very low level!  Paradox: can beat at level 20 but not at level 40 Is the outcome of actions integrated? A “funny” note:

17 Design and Meaning Meaning in context of game design: assess the value or significance of play Meaning is crucial because the design results in a system of interactions people object context meaning


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