Friday, April 10, 2015



Hi all, this week GameDev had two talks about the game Threes and almost 10 design tools you can use in 30 minutes. Along with that, there is talk about an end of the semester event, so stay tuned!

Announcements:

  • Mark from Kihon games will be speaking next Monday 
  • Potential Laser tag or sports/esports tournament/fun-time by the end of the smester 
  • Officer elections for the 2015-2016 are coming up soon. If you'd like to be an officer sign up here by Friday, April 17th. 

Cool-stuff:

  • Twinyjam
  • Make a text based game. 
  • It's over now, but look at all the cool creations 


Threes: the Mobile Masterpiece

by Jeremy

Threes is what you might call an adorable game. The goal of the game is simple, make the numbers bigger, and to do that all that is required is swiping in any direction. As you progress farther in the game you are given the ultimate reward: more and more cuteness. Graphic designers made this game, and that makes sense, because the game is mechanically simple, but the visuals kick in to make the player feel rewarded in a relaxing sort of way. This helps counteract the maddeningly addictive number mechancis of the game.

Threes emphasizes the importance of paying attention to the small details. When you swipe it's fluid and the feedback and transitions/animations are immediate and smooth. Due to the natural progression of numbers, advancing in the game explains itself. If you want to see the development process of the game it's been published online.



Ten Game Design Tools That You Can Use in 30 Minutes

by Zuoming

This is an unapollegitically, "click-baity" title that you would see on LifeHacker, but lets roll with it. Below is Rory's summary of each Game Design Tool. Though it's very note esque (since it's his meeting notes), I think it fits the list layout. Thanks Rory!

1) Initiative

When you enter a new game, you want to learn something, but it's a taxing experience. Would you play a new game everyday? No. It's exhausting. Learning can be daunting. A player comes in with some level of initiative with a willingness to learn how to play your game.

As the player learns to play the game, they will lose initiative until they do something cool that engages them. Eventually, they may just give up on playing the game.

Can your game get the player past their sinking initiative?

The beginning initiative is dependant on context and various factors.
  • Assigned in a class 
  • Friends play the game 
  • Cultural phenomenon 

2) Mechanics

No debate on what mechanics are. We'll go with base definition.
"Construct of rules that allow you to interact with the game."-Wikipedia. 

Different mechanics give different mileages. Trivial when said aloud. "How in the space of possible mechanics can I find the most mileage?"

3) Tutorial

Tuorials hurt initiative unless its hidden within the game. Or you can "bite the nail" and put it all in the beginning of the game, and make it short. 

4) Affordance

Affordance is used in various design disciplines. "How can you use things that already exist in real life to make your design better?" An example given in the archetypical book on design the Design of Everyday Things: doors designed to know whether or not a door should be pushed or pulled.


Example of Affordance

Extra Credits example: low resolution game with cash register, green rectangle, and grey circle? That low-resolution stuff is obviously money! Affordances make it easier to add more things to your game.

Example: a button that will increase upwards velocity with downward acceleration. That's jumping. Constant upwards velocity? Elevator? Think of good affordances to make things intuitive. Eventually, though, things will get too complicated, so you'll have to just teach it in.

Another example that Zuoming loves: Braid affordances Mario (affordances is now a verb, deal with it). Real-life is not a necessary source of affordance. Gets into the concepts of genres (not on the list).

5) Conveyance

Choose how to limit the players to do what you expect them to do. The beginning of Mario is a good example. The game conveys to the player that the player must go right. Conveyance can reduce the need for tutorials.

6) Inherent Challenge

Made the terminology up, don't look it up online. Something that already exists that adds interesting properties to the game (related to affordance). Example: local multiplayer. It's hard to break local multiplayer into something not fun. Deck building (aka probability).

Question: definition of inherent challenge? Free packages of affordance.

Another example: gravity.

7) Elegance

Extra Credits talks about depth-vs-complexity. Zuoming thinks of it in terms of amount of initiative/intuitiveness required vs variety of the game. Elegance is important beyond beauty, good for design, because when there are few rules you can really play around with them and really make it adaptable and change it.

Jumping mechanic is intuitive, but orbits are complicated.
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Don't worry, you're not crazy. There are only 7 tools so far.