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Title: ... can I make a game more compelling / interesting? How ca


1
Introduction
  • GAM 224
  • Robin Burke
  • Winter 2005

2
Outline
  • Introductions
  • Class structure / syllabus
  • Games
  • Computer games
  • some basic principles
  • some examples

3
Introductions
  • Student information sheet

4
Me
  • Not a computer game designer
  • But
  • Background in AI
  • I will be learning, too

5
Resources
  • Course web site
  • http//josquin.cti.depaul.edu/rburke/courses/w05/
    gam224/
  • Office hours
  • Wednesdays 1 - 4 pm
  • Email
  • rburke_at_cs.depaul.edu

6
Game Lab
  • Room 707 CST
  • Hours
  • 10 am 11 pm M/W/F
  • 10 am 8 pm Tu/Th
  • 10 am 6 pm Sa/Su
  • Run by volunteers
  • Need student ID to check out materials
  • Nothing leaves the lab!

7
Lab resources
  • Hardware
  • 6 High-end PCs
  • 5 console stations with XBOX, PS2 and GameCube
  • probably will be expanding soon
  • Software
  • (with new arrivals) 100 titles

8
Class structure
  • Two themes
  • critical analysis of games
  • practice of game design
  • Both are interrelated

9
Analysis
  • What are the components of a game?
  • How do these pieces fit together?
  • What is the player experience?
  • Is the game compelling / interesting?
  • What makes one game better than another?
  • What does a game mean?

10
Design
  • How do I develop and expand a game idea?
  • What pieces need to come together to make a game?
  • How are these pieces designed and built?
  • What will a player's experience be like?
  • How can I make a game more compelling /
    interesting?
  • How can I improve my design?

11
Theme critical study
  • Genre discussion
  • game genre / week
  • reaction papers
  • leading discussion
  • genre summary papers
  • Midterm project
  • game analysis

12
Midterm project
  • Milestones
  • 1/10 Proposal just the name of the game
  • 1/24 Notes your notes on the analytical
    dimensions
  • 1/31 Midterm paper
  • 8-10 pages
  • 2000-2500 words

13
Caveat
  • Do not use the analytical dimensions as an
    outline
  • Your paper should have
  • a thesis
  • an argument in favor of the thesis
  • evidence for the argument
  • evidence will come from the analytic dimensions

14
Example
  • You want to make the point that the user doesn't
    have enough choices
  • Evidence could come from
  • rules
  • interactions
  • narrative
  • etc

15
Theme design
  • Text
  • "Game Design Theory and Practice"
  • excellent practical guide
  • lots of game analysis as well
  • Final project
  • develop game ideas into a game concept document

16
Next week
  • Guest lecturer
  • Robin Hunicke
  • Northwestern University
  • PhD research
  • Managing resources to optimize player "flow"
  • Topic
  • Game industry new trends

17
Genres
  • 1/17 Action / Arcade
  • 1/24 Strategy / Simulation
  • 1/31 Role-playing
  • 2/7 Action / Adventure
  • 2/14 Sports
  • 2/21 Fighting
  • 2/28 First-person action
  • 3/7 Children's

18
Design topics
  • Following the book
  • Final two weeks
  • Violence
  • Gender

19
Profound questions
  • What is a game?
  • What are games for?

20
Critical analysis
  • Take the player's point of view
  • Three components
  • ludic
  • perceptual
  • psycho-social
  • Summing up
  • critical

21
Vocabulary
  • Ludology
  • the study of play and games
  • Latin "ludere" to play
  • Ludic
  • of or pertaining to play
  • Diegesis
  • the universe of a narrative
  • Diegetic
  • of or pertaining to a narrative universe

22
Ludic
  • Genre
  • Point of view
  • Rules
  • Rewards / Consequences
  • Character
  • Narrative
  • Setting
  • Space
  • Time

23
Genre
  • Establishes expectations
  • Links to prior works
  • Questions
  • What genre does this game fit into?
  • Does this game do anything new or surprising with
    the genre?

24
Point of View
  • The role of the player in the game
  • Questions
  • What is the players point of view?
  • Does this point of view help your identification
    with the character, interest in the story?

25
Rules
  • The limits of what the player can do
  • The responses produced by the game to player
    actions
  • Questions
  • Describe the rules of the game. What is allowed
    and not allowed?
  • Does this rule set create ongoing, engaging
    choices for the player?

26
Rewards and Consequences
  • The incentives to keep playing the game
  • get to the next level
  • May also be new abilities, "power ups"
  • Questions
  • What is the reward structure of the game? Is the
    reward merely continuing the game narrative or
    does the player gain something?
  • Are the rewards commensurate with effort? Are
    they natural or artificial?

27
Character
  • Characters are the actors in the game
  • Questions
  • Describe the main character in the game.
  • What about the character makes you identify with
    him/her/it?
  • If there are non-player characters, how does the
    player interact with them? What kinds of
    behaviors do they exhibit?

28
Narrative
  • The games plot or storyline.
  • Question
  • Does the game have a large emphasis on storyline?
  • What is the central conflict?
  • Does the story move toward an interesting
    resolution?
  • Is it an involving story or merely
    window-dressing for a series of game levels?

29
Setting
  • The game world itself
  • may be simple or complex
  • Questions
  • What is the setting for the game?
  • Where in time and space is it?
  • How does the game place enhances the experience
    of the game?

30
Space
  • The experience of space of the game world
  • Questions
  • How does the game environment create a sense of
    space?
  • How does it use the space that it creates?

31
Time
  • Diegetic time is usually very different from real
    world time
  • Players may be able to change the speed at which
    time passes
  • Questions
  • How does time function in the game?
  • What is the relationship between real time and
    game time?

32
Demo
  • Missile Command

33
Perceptual
  • Camera
  • Visual Design
  • Animation
  • Interaction

34
Camera
  • The rules that govern what is shown and how
  • Questions
  • What are the rules that determine how the game
    world is rendered?
  • How does the camera perspective work with or
    against the objective of the game?

35
Visual Design
  • The visual impact and ambience of the game
  • Questions
  • What is the visual style of this game?
  • Are the visuals in the game aesthetically
    pleasing?
  • How do they contribute to the game's overall
    impact?

36
Animation
  • The motion of the objects and characters in the
    game
  • Questions
  • How are the graphics animated?
  • How do the animations add to the experience of
    the visuals?

37
Interaction
  • An interaction loop is
  • some user action
  • a diegetic response
  • feedback to the user
  • A game will usually have only a handful of core
    interaction loops
  • Questions
  • Describe the interaction loop(s) in this game.
  • How do the interaction loops increase your
    immersion in the game world?

38
Interface / Input
  • The user's input to the game
  • Questions
  • What is the control set up for the game?
  • Does it work to make interaction easy and natural?

39
Interface / Output
  • The display of information from the game
  • includes non-diegetic information
  • Questions
  • How does the game provide feedback about the
    world?
  • Does the game provide the information the player
    needs to make choices?

40
Sound Effects
  • All aural information in the game, (usually
    diegetic) except for music.
  • Question
  • What sound effects are used in the game?
  • Do the sound effects enhance the enjoyment of the
    game?

41
Music
  • Most games have some type of constant background
    soundtrack that accompanies the action
  • Question
  • Describe the music in the game.
  • How does the music enhance the enjoyment of the
    game?

42
Demo
  • Halo

43
Pyscho-social
  • social aspects
  • overhead
  • ex machina
  • business

44
Social interactions
  • The interaction of people while playing a
    multi-player game, directly or mediated through
    the game.
  • Question
  • How do players communicate in the game?
  • What communication opportunities does the game
    provide?

45
Overhead
  • Player labor to
  • start the game
  • learn the controls
  • set options
  • Question
  • What does the game require the player to do
    before they can play the game?
  • How is overhead handled in terms of integration
    with the game?

46
Ex Machina
  • The game outside the game
  • Questions
  • What sorts of key elements sit outside the game?
  • Do Easter Eggs, cheats, hint guides or player
    modifications have an important role in the game?

47
Business
  • Games are products of a commercial system
  • Subject to constraints of profitability and
    marketability
  • Questions
  • Are there interesting business issues behind the
    game design?
  • Does the game fail creatively in delivering an
    experience for obvious business reasons?

48
Demo
  • SSX3

49
Next week
  • guest lecture
  • project milestone 1
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