Archive for the ‘ Game Design Theory ’ Category

Game Design Lessons I Learned From Hockey

I’m not going to lie: I’ve become a bit of a hockey fan since I was first introduced to the sport two years ago. It’s an exciting sport, and I find it to be a lot of fun to watch and follow. Now that I’ve been getting more into it, I’ve come to a realization: hockey and video games have a lot in common. Sure, they’re both forms of entertainment, and yes, there’s a series of NHL video games, but there’s much more to it than that. There are actually elements of game design that can be found behind the scenes in ice hockey, so keep reading to see the similarities I’ve found, and how they can be applied to creating games. 


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5 Tips to Narrow Your Game’s Scope

Lately I’ve been focusing my posts largely on level design, so today I thought I’d discuss something that plagues most game projects and typically resonates from their designs: scope creep. Scope creep is a serious problem, namely among students, but there are ways of combating it. This post will discuss five tips I’ve come across for narrowing scope, although it will not address scope issues regarding story.

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Making Board Games Leads to Better Video Games

It is a game designer’s job to understand the inner workings of games, a skill that takes some practice to get the hang of. Throughout my college experience, I have found that game design is much different than I had imagined, and requires a lot of puzzle solving and critical thinking skills. One of the most significant aspects of designing a game is mechanics; game mechanics are what make the game interactive and enjoyable. So how does someone like myself, who is looking to make it into the industry, learn the secrets behind creating good mechanics? The answer is simple: make board games.

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MacGyver It!

If you’ve been working with the provided assets in any game editor, you’re probably getting tired of using the same old assets over and over. Maybe you can’t import anything new, so you’re just stuck with what you have. What do you do then? MacGyver it!

When it comes to working with what you have, it seems like a dead end, but this isn’t necessarily true. There are ways of creating things you don’t have out of what you do. You just have to get a bit creative, and remember that the following three methods are going to be your best friends.

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Storytelling in Games: How Details Can Destroy Your Work

Before I had the grand idea to become a game designer, I was planning on writing for my career. I have been a fiction writer since about third grade, and later decided that Game Design was the perfect compilation of my creativity and writing, storytelling and design skills. Since attending the University of Advancing Technology, I have learned that while writing is critical to Game Design, writing for games is not the same as writing fictional stories. I will explain this in more depth in a later post, but for now I want to focus on one subject in particular: details.

Details are amazing tools if you know how to use them right, as every good writer should, and as our generation of games becomes more interactive and advanced, game designers should master this as well. Even if the game you are working on doesn’t have much of a story, details are a necessary part of every game. However, too many details can destroy your work.

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Board Game Design: Stop the Oil!

This semester, I’ve been enrolled in a pretty cool and interesting class: Game Design Workshop. The cool part about it? We make board games! It’s challenging and fun, and has most certainly been helping me better understand game design. So far in the class, I’ve created a total of four board games along with other classmates for most of them, but today I am going to focus on one in particular. “Stop the Oil!” is a game about cooperating with your teammates to clean wildlife and clean up the BP oil spill currently affecting the Gulf Coast.

My friend Nigel and I created a group together, and began thinking up game mechanics after I suggested making a game about cleaning up the BP oil spill. The requirements for the game included incorporating a fog of war element, cooperative game play over competitive, and some but not necessarily all of the components in a “piecepack.” The Professor provided us with the “piecepack,” which included twenty-four tiles with various numbers and suits, six-sided die, circular tokens, and player tokens. We decided to use the dice and the tiles for our game, and spent a day play testing to figure out how the game would work and what mechanics we wanted to implement. We also had to include an “alien” in the game, which was a rather loosely used term. Most other games in the class used a literal alien, though not all. Our “alien” was the BP employee, which was one player who would attempt to sabotage the other players in a secretive and cunning manner. After several play tests, we developed an interesting game play that seemed to work. We still needed to polish the game, fix a few mechanics, clarify the rules, and finish implementing the “alien’s” dastardly methods, when suddenly, Nigel got sick! I attempted to play test the game in class by myself, and my Professor actually came over, learned the rules, watched how the game play worked, and offered several very insightful suggestions. The core of the game play remained the same throughout most of the design, although the aesthetics were altered, with permission from the Professor of course, to better fit the game’s theme. Now that the game is nearing completion, I thought I would share!

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7 Steps to Designing a Game

I am currently working on designing a horror game, and, seeing as how my dream is to make the next generation of horror games, I decided to take the design process extremely seriously before beginning work on a prototype of any sort. I’ve been doing a lot of reading on storytelling, design, mechanics, flow, character development, etc., and decided to break down the design process into 7 essential steps.

Pralie’s 7 Steps to Designing a Game

Step 1: Create the Setting
Step 2: Create the Characters
Step 3: Create the Problem
Step 4: Create the Solution
Step 5: Create the Gameplay Mechanics
Step 6: Create the Story Arc
Step 7: Put It All Together

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