Friday, March 04, 2005

game design


This was initially a synthesis of Mark Overmars article and I've been thinking about it and refining it for a couple of years now. It's not too hard to work out what a bad game is - it's got 20 levels and the game play is much the same in every level, not that I ever finish those games so I might be wrong :-)

But what is a good game and how can we explicitly teach the principles of a good game design?

I have a goodGames2005 folder and restrict the students to choosing one of those and then evaluating it against the design concepts and focus questions below.

I then hope and pray that some of this will stick when the time comes for students to design and make their own games.

Some things in this sheet are not explained (webnote and flowboard), sorry, I'll explain them in subsequent posts to prevent this one becoming too long.


File type: MUST be editable or GMD (same thing):
Game file size:
Provide a link to the site where others can download the game: (both here and on webnote)

Design concepts

For each of the design concepts, 1-10, below:
a) Describe existing game
b) For some of the design concepts imagine variation or improvement (you are expected to show critical and creative thought in this section)

1) Game Information and / or tutoria1
How helpful / extensive is the initial information about how to play the game?

2) Configuration:
Can the player configure the game to suit themselves – such as alter the backgrounds, music, difficulty, character?
Is there a choice between single player and multiplayer? Explain.

3) Goals or Mission:
What is the main goal and describe any subgoals?

4) Emotions, mood, immersion:
What emotions does the game produce? (eg. happiness, fear, joy, satisfaction, frustration, anger)
How are these emotions evoked?
Do the emotions change at different points in the game?
If the emotions change then how is that achieved?

5) Ideas:
Do you just need reflex skills to be successful or do you have to think as well?
If you have to think as well then describe the idea(s) that the designer has used to make you think

6) Control, Balance, Game Play:
Is there a good balance between the players strengths and either the enemies strengths or the decision making required by the game?
Is there any AI? If so describe it.
(for this section, as well as description … include an annotated screen shot required to illustrate balance or lack of balance)

7) Punishment:
How are you punished for making mistakes?
Are you punished too much / not enough / about right for making mistakes? Explain

8) Rewards:
The best reward is more knowledge about the game. Describe the rewards in this game and do they meet the criteria in the first sentence for best reward?

9) Decisions:
Are the decisions trivial or interesting? Are there interesting decisions that make a real difference to how the game turns out? (eg. like a choice of weapon might make a real difference)
(for this section, as well as description … draw a flowboard as part of this section showing a part of the game where different pathways can be taken)

10) Special
Are there any special features of the game that deserve a mention?

Provide at least two annotated screen shots of the game, both here and on webnote – make sure they are fully annotated!

What is a Good Game? by Mark Overmars


Blogger TForster said...

a few links on game design
also other stuff

7:40 AM  

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