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FrontPage

Page history last edited by Ian Schreiber 12 years ago

Welcome to Game Design Concepts.

 

This site is only open for write access to those who were registered for the Summer 2009 course. If you want to create new sections of this wiki or use it for something new, feel free. What is linked to below is just, potentially, the beginning.

 

If you've completed the course and are wondering what to do next, here is the next steps page.

 

Course Resources

 

Official Websites

 

Main course blog: http://gamedesignconcepts.wordpress.com

Discussion forums: http://gamedesignconcepts.aceboard.com

Twitter (use #GDCU tag): http://search.twitter.com/search?q=%23GDCU

 

Email

 

Ian Schreiber (the instructor) can be reached at: gamedesignconcepts@yahoo.com

(Please think before emailing; with over a thousand people registered for this course, email volume may be overwhelming if too many people send random "hi" or "thanks" emails, so only email if you have to.)

 

Translations

 

Some people have offered to translate the course pages into languages other than English. Add your language here, then start translating!

 

Group Collaborations

 

Want a shared space to discuss ideas with friends? Create a page for your group and post there.

 

Shared Vocabulary for Game Design using visual reference generated from the course materials.

Methods: FUN! Artistic, Creative, Open-minded, free-form word association, mind-maps, etc...

Open to all interested and particularly the visually open-minded!

 

Game prototypes from levels 11-onwards: This is a place where we should be able to find other people's stuff, provided they are kind enough to link said stuff to this page

 

Level 18: The Final Iteration: In this page you'll find what students of the course came up with for their final designs

 

Challenges

 

Challenge yourself in game design using these challenges, inspired by the lessons.

 

15 Minute Board Game Challenge

 

WW1 Game Challenge from Lesson 3

 

Board Game Insired By a Video Game from Home Play 4

 

Homeplay from Lesson 5: Dice game rules change

 

Additional Art Games (from Lesson 6)

 

Tools/Resources

Comments (Show all 45)

Alessandro Dias said

at 11:05 am on Jun 30, 2009

@antonmarcelo: Can I help? I´ve done many translations in the past! ;)

Speeder said

at 11:09 am on Jun 30, 2009

Brazillian spam? Me too from Brazil \o/

TimeShex said

at 11:14 am on Jun 30, 2009

What I am focusing on here, and every time I debate about GAME Design in general, is the amount of CREATIVITY, if I may say so, of any new game in the market. Unfortunately nowadays, there is a definite lack of creativity in the design of any new game in general. I understand that creativity is mainly focused on the technicality of the characters, their shape, texture, animation, etc, especially in video-gaming. But this is not creativity. Real creativity is when you come up with a completely new idea (based of course on some past references) and "flash it" the same way a Monopoly came up in the 60s. We see nowadays a lot of similarities, a lot of violence, a lot of "attack, kill & conquer stuff", a lot of repetitivity, but not any ORIGINALITY.

Is real creativity in gaming in crisis?
Where is the impact of a real challenging original game?

One man army said

at 11:24 am on Jun 30, 2009

how can i create a italian translate page?

Chris Ferejohn said

at 11:28 am on Jun 30, 2009

TimeShex: Are you talking about video games? If so, I see where you are coming from - the massive amounts that video game studios have to invest to get a a game out - especially for a high performance platform like the 360 or PS III - is massive, and makes them very risk averse. If you are talking about board games (which is where most of my background lies) you couldn't be more wrong - the last couple of years have seen the most impressive collection of board game originality and design in one span of time except since Sid Sackson designed games alone.

John Albano said

at 11:42 am on Jun 30, 2009

TimeShex, I don't think it's much a lack of creativity, rather a focus on developing what people like and making it either more engaging or more fun. Also, from a consumer end, if I had $40 in my hand and the two boxes in front of me are some new game concept thing and the latest Unreal Tournament, I'm buying UT. I like shooters and I have played UTs before and like them. I don't know what the other thing is and I'm hesitant to spend $40 to find out if I may like it.

Joshua said

at 12:13 pm on Jun 30, 2009

In my opinion that it has to do neither a lack of creativity nor on focusing on what people like, it has to do with safety. What I mean by this is that making a game, and getting it to market takes a lot of effort in terms of time and money, and large organizations do what is safe. They have proof that a certain type of game did well in the past, so it is a SAFE bet, big emphasis on SAFE, that something similar will do well in the future. Things are being done on a indie level that are pretty interesting and creative. The games might even be worth a great deal if they ever went to market, but I feel that convincing the right people to take the risk is the problem.

Tim said

at 12:23 pm on Jun 30, 2009

TimeShex:

I dont think so, I think people have a habit of looking backwards and seeing games that were creatively defining for their time.. but you have to remember how many clones and useless games there were too, which people don't. People then assume that the industry on the whole used to be more creative. The easy answer is to point to the smaller indie titles that are doing cool and creative things, but there are also good examples (in my opinion) in the mainstream.

I personally thought Mirrors Edge was refreshing last year (although its sales struggled), it set different rules on how the player could get from A to B, and its the first FPS I've played through without firing a single shot... so more FP and less S.

Publishers tend to spend the majority of their money of safe things so you will always see clone after clone of a successful game... but then generally they are clones of something that was innovative, and something else new and cool will arrive and then be copied... thats just how it goes.

josh@thoughtlost.org said

at 12:25 pm on Jun 30, 2009

TimeShex: I look forward to seeing what you come up with to bring new ideas to the table! (Which is a friendly way of saying, it's easy to rant about unoriginality, but actions speak louder than words.) =)

p.s. Monopoly was actually a commercialized rip-off of an earlier board game which, ironically, was designed to teach the dangers of concentrating land in private monopolies.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly_(game)

icem4n said

at 12:36 pm on Jun 30, 2009

Hello, I'm from Brazil too.
BR

David Lawson said

at 12:52 pm on Jun 30, 2009

It's impossible to quantify creativity. It's not a substance that can be weighed and measured. Each person's opinion of the originality of a given game (or any other work of media) can only be their own subjective opinion.

That said, it often feels to me as if many new games are just prettier re-hashes of well-explored designs. The possible reasons for this are many, varied, and complex. For one, people see successful implementations of ideas, and would like to capitalize on that success. Modern business practices actively promote duplicating the successful practices of competitors, and modern engineering tends to produce documented best-practices to repeat successes and avoid mistakes.

The difficulty with this is that the game development is not just business and engineering. It's also a creative process. Creative endeavors are not well served by the same practices that drive success in business and engineering. Hollywood, for instance, goes through lengthy periods of turning out derivative pablum of re-hashed stories with prettier effects. Like the film industry, the game industry needs to recognize that it's a hydrid of business, engineering, and creativity, and to promote practices that enhance each sub-discipline individually.

David Lawson said

at 12:53 pm on Jun 30, 2009

It could be argued that truly original ideas are very few and very far between. As a professional game developer with an engineering emphasis, an academic background in psychology, and some studies in cognitive science, I consider myself a derivative thinker. Give me two ideas and I'll hand you back fifteen ways to put them together. Hand me a blank piece of paper and pencil, and I'll just ask what the hell you want. William Mizner said, "Copy from one, it’s plagiarism; copy from two, it’s research." My corollary to that is "Copy from many sources, it's original again." More completely stated, combine enough previously used ideas in new and interesting ways, and the composite you've created might as well be original.

I posit that thinkers like me vastly outnumber "high-creative" types who emit a constant spew of apparently original ideas. The thing with derivative thinking is that it requires an understanding of it to do well. You must recognize that you are walking well-travelled paths and seek new connections and intersections that maybe no one has taken before.

Joshua said

at 1:17 pm on Jun 30, 2009

One of the things that is interesting about 'creative' things in general is that if it is 'too creative,' that is too different from what is being done, it is often rejected by the majority, and thus a flop. We have all heard of and can probably give examples of things, and individuals 'ahead of their time.' I think this is also some of the reason games that are produced aren't as 'creative' as they might be, being 'too creative' can lead to it not being accepted my the masses. There are some gems that do get produced, that may have fallen by the wayside simply because they were 'ahead of their time.' I think looking at the clones and flops also has value, in that something that wasn't accepted before, may be now, and you can also learn what doesn't work, so as not to repeat it. Is that creative, or just reusing, or not using, some old ideas? My thought is that creativity is in the eye of the beholder. I have seen someone do something which I thought was very creative, only to find out, that it is the standard operating procedure.

Kalysren said

at 1:22 pm on Jun 30, 2009

In reality, only 7% of original IP's succeed in the marketplace. Even critically acclaimed games such as MIRROR'S EDGE and OKAMI don't always make it when it comes to people putting down their hard-earned money to play them. In the reading for this week, Greg Costikyan talks about EarthSim and what a failure it was, but, if you read his description of it, it sounds remarkably like the teaser Will Wright did for SPORE. It is the same for GUITAR HERO. While Harmonix had a commercial success with this game, it's predecessors, AMPLITUDE and FREQUENCY, are more cult classics than real commercial successes. Original IP's are hard to get published. As games become more labor-intensive and costly to build, companies rely more and more on franchise possibilities and marketability. Original isn't as easy to guage.

Liam O'Brien said

at 1:47 pm on Jun 30, 2009

@ Joshua: My hope is that the increase in independent markets for video games will lower the trepidation of large scale developers and engender more interesting new mechanics & dynamics... however it will probably mean that developers won't take a chance on a new game until it, and its sequel, are a big hit on the indie market.

@ David Lawson: Taking an existing set of mechanics & dynamics and simply slapping a new set of art and graphics on them may be creative enough for some people... and that's not really a bad thing. The Monopoly example cited by Josh is perfect, but there are so many others in all fields... look at Bild Lilli and Barbie, or the movies "High Noon" and "Outland"... sometimes a new face is more appropriate to the mechanics and dynamics of the game.

As a Set and Costume designer, I try desperately to come up with original designs (and sometimes I succeed!). However, when the director can only say, "No that's not quite right..." without offering any new directions... at that point I make a big collage of all the possible ways the design can go and I get the director to point and say what they like and what they don't like. Usually, I can get enough info out of the collage-pointing to proceed to a design; a design which is a melange of existing ideas and not necessarily original in any way, but it gets the job done.

whymme said

at 1:56 pm on Jun 30, 2009

I don't think that there is a lack of creativity. I must say, though, that my angle is non-computer games. So board games, card games and role playing games.

Places like RPGnet and Boardgamegeek have designers forums, where people can gather and discuss ideas. There are lots of original ideas to be found there. But as the saying goes, creating something is 10% inspiration and 90% transpiration. To get from fresh idea to completed product takes a lot of time, effort and money - in the computer game industry even more than in other parts of the games industry. And, as was said in a previous post, investing that time, effort and money in a proven concept is much safer than investing in a new and unproven idea. Especially if the ROI on the untested idea will not be better than that on the proven idea.

Oddible said

at 1:58 pm on Jun 30, 2009

BTW, thanks TimeShex for instigating this discussion.

In summary, there are three main sources of inertia in creating truly original game concepts (esp in video games). 1) The game buying public adopts what it knows it likes, 2) the game distributors cater to what they know works and don't support concepts that are too far afield, and 3) the game production community builds upon existing source to meet deadlines and to not reinvent the wheel with every project.

Reframing the issue then is the question of whether there has always been breakthrough originality which never sees the light of day. Is it a lack of creativity or a lack of producing the truly creative ideas? How can one sell a truly creative idea to a distributor, producer, or the public which has the above inertia? If original ideas ARE a goal then how can you prepare the public for original ideas in general or the original game you are trying to promote? Sell a Game Company Tycoon game where the only way to win is to feed unique R&D.

Shouldn't we take this discussion to the forums?

kogorman@aii.edu said

at 2:01 pm on Jun 30, 2009

@TimeShex: I feel your pain but what you are looking for is out there. You should invest some time playing the demos of the Independent Game Festival entries (http://www.igf.com/02finalists.html) or the products of Game Jams (http://www.igf.com/02finalists.html -- shameless plug and attempt at favoritism). There you will see creativity gone wild. The good news is, each year more and more of the IGF games are attracting publishing contracts. Dyson, Crayon Physics, World of Goo, and Audiosurf all came out of the IGF. And don't skip over the student entries. Tag: The Power of Paint and The Unfinished Swan are quite innovative twists of commercially successful platforms.

Larry Liang said

at 2:04 pm on Jun 30, 2009

We should take this to the forums, but (at least in my case) there's no access yet. I'm firmly in the "if you want creativity in games, look to the indie category, but even there be prepared to find very little in the way of originality." People need to make money to survive, so they'll go with what works. I doubt any developer looking to make money off of a game will put all of their effort into developing a completely original concept. It's a vicious cycle, but then usually anything involving money is.

Jay S said

at 2:18 pm on Jun 30, 2009

Most things have been said in terms of Mainstream v. Indie games, but one thing that people should keep in mind is the importance of the distribution channel. With services available like Steam, XBox Live, and the Playstation Network, the number of more innovative games should be increasing, since the overhead cost boils down simply to development. Penny Arcade has been doing a good job of promoting the Greenhouse publisher, which handles lower budget, direct download titles which are quirky, unique, and fun (for the most part). Don't discount the ubiquity of Flash games either, as those have grown progressively more sophisticated over time, and many of them are also unique.

Bonifacio said

at 2:27 pm on Jun 30, 2009

Opa. Mais um brasileiro. ;)

Dan Rosenthal said

at 2:52 pm on Jun 30, 2009

article on legal issues is up. (still in progress, but about 75% done).

http://gamedesignconcepts.pbworks.com/Legal-Issues-for-Game-Developers

David Lawson said

at 4:15 pm on Jun 30, 2009

As the barriers to publication approach nil, the body of available work will increase in size. Along with the sheer quantity of works available, the number of higher-quality works will likewise increase, no matter the particular measure of qulaity. The flipside of this is that the number of lower-quality works will also increase, no matter the particular measure of quality. Sturgeon's Law always applies.

Depending on the particular measure of quality, the number of higher- and lower-quality works may or may not increase in proportion to the total number of works available. The end result is that is may become easier or harder to find good games in what could become an extremely bloated marketspace.

These even exists the possibility that the sheer quantity of shovelware will drive a backlash against indie developers as people turn to the established and experienced publishers for highly polished experiences.

Just thinking out loud.

Luke McCampbell said

at 6:38 pm on Jun 30, 2009

How about we add a Participants page for those people that want to network? (As suggested in chapter 1 of the reading). Those people that want to put up information about themselves can, and those that don't want to can just stay quiet.

SeamusP said

at 6:41 pm on Jun 30, 2009

@David Lawson: “Hollywood, for instance, goes through lengthy periods of turning out derivative pablum of re-hashed stories with prettier effects”

This was the topic of discussion in one of my classes in college a while ago. One point that was made was that Hollywood often seems to be working off an “Idiots Guide” version of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth. By an idiots guide meaning that they have tried to distil down the information into a simple check list of how to produce a compelling story / script, missing the point in the process. There are perhaps others present that have a stronger background in this area and can make this point more eloquently than I can but I wanted try to contribute :)

There are a few other points made by you guys that really have started me thinking (thanks) and I will hopefully add a bit more when we get access to the forums. It’s only the second day of the class course and already you guys have me looking at things in new ways, Thanks :)

Bruce said

at 7:20 pm on Jun 30, 2009

With the spread of smaller devices like iPhones, and the relative ease for indie designers to get stuff out, I think that not only will we see more and more players, but more ideas tried out. It is a bit of a gold rush right now, everyone wants to do an iPhone app, but hopefully the cream should rise to the top. ANd because these games are so cheap, people are willing to grab a bunch and see what they are like. In some ways, I think stripping things back to basics really pushes what people can do in game design; I am thinking in particular of the resurgance of micro games when the web came out, then again when mobiles came out. Core game play wins!

Seth Burnette said

at 12:06 pm on Jul 1, 2009

This news item I just saw seems relevant to the discussion. It's called Game Creator Kodu and it's for the 360. It looks like it would be cool for very basic prototyping. I'll have to try out the demo and see. http://www.shacknews.com/laryn.x?story=59364

Kalysren said

at 9:31 pm on Jul 1, 2009

Yeah, I was going to check that out about Sharendipity, as well. http://www.sharendipity.com/

mike.reddy@... said

at 8:39 am on Jul 2, 2009

Am working with Kodu now on XBox 360. Am going to try out on the kids tonight if I get the chance.

Mauricio B. G. said

at 5:34 pm on Jul 6, 2009

Hello, I´m from Brazil too !
(RS - Unisinos)

David Hampton said

at 2:06 am on Jul 9, 2009

Is there a ... help page for this PBWorks thing were all using?

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