Games Design: Introduction – Monday Morning Session (Presentation)

In our Monday morning session of Games Design: An Introduction we have 4 learning outcomes:

  • Review interpret and apply games design principles and conventions.
  • Identify and develop appropriate games concepts.
  • Employ and develop reflective practice.
  • apply suitable 2D interactive production skills for game prototyping and/or production.

In our first week we was introduced to these learning outcomes and the first part of our brief, which is to make (In Flash) an interactive timeline on the history of games.

B – The History of Gaming

“Our lives aren’t even about doing real things most of the time. We think and talk about people we’ve never met, pretend to visit places we’ve never actually been to, discuss things that are just names as though they were as real as rocks or animals or something.”

– Tad Williams, Otherland: Mountain of Black Glass

You are to produce (in Flash) an interactive presentation/prototype of your research into the history of, and current market breakdown of the broad subject area of computer games* that will allow for a visual understanding of the heritage of games aesthetics, genres and historical development by a viewer from outside the discipline. You should research as widely as possible and not simply limit yourself to areas within this subject you feel you already know, you should also not only consider Triple A titles and casual games but alternative broader remit “non-games” (e.g. FourSquare), that encompass the definition “gamification”.

*Though you should consider computer games have a heritage that predates the computer chip.

Your individual timeline projects will be given further focus by a buzzword such as “technology”, “artists” or “developers” drawn from a hat.

All of this research will be a vital resource for the following projects within this module and beyond, and your research should allow you to begin the production of a Games Design glossary. Most professional careers develop their own lexicon of vocational language, Games Design is no different; it will be of real value for you to begin applying it as soon as possible.

You will publish your presentation to your personal reflection and project development blog AND hand-in a CD/DVD/data-stick (at reception) with all your development work, you will be required to show your work in a final presentation to your peers.

– Taken from the New Media Website.

To start this off we watched a video (On YouTube) called Thumb Candy, which details the history of games

The following session we was given a focus for our research (Pulled out of a Hat) my research focus was Revenue and Sales, Immediately I thought of a sales chart for my interactive timeline,

Progress-Sales-Progress-Sales-Chart

After this I thought I could do it in a more 3D style like a bar chart,

bar chart

in both instances I liked the idea of seeing a rising and falling chart mapping the history of sales in games, I initially thought it might be a bad idea to do this as it has just been increasing, but after some research I found that there was 2 crashes in the market of video games one in 1977 and the other in 1983, due to people flooding the market with the same games and nothing new being produced.

The following week we had time to produce some research and pull our notes together so we can start work on producing our timeline, I have my notes in a separate blog post, still in progress, because the website I have used has put it into Dollars and I want to make my timeline have a choice to see the value in either Dollars or Pounds and I need to convert the money values.

The next week we was introduced to the next part of our Assignment Brief

C – Casual Gaming and Gamers

“126 million Americans, or 87 percent of U.S. gamers ages 10 to 65, play games on social networks or casual game websites.”

– John Gaudiosi on stats by Newzoo, via Hollywood Reporter Online, 2012

You will discuss and research the area of gaming culture often defined as Casual Gaming and establish (through class lectures/workshops/seminars) that there are certain criteria/features that are essential or common across games of this type and can be used to help define a casual game, as well as particular markets and audiences.

You are to log all your findings on your reflective journal/project development blog. This should include discussion of Casual Game Markets, Revenue Streams, Genres, Comparison with other Games markets, platforms etc.

Based on this understanding you are to develop initial “thumbnail concepts” for a casual game with each of the following markets in mind:

10yrs -14yrs (can include IP tie-ins); 14yrs + (female market), 35 + (Genre market).

Audience/peer and tutor feedback from your initial presentations will help you select which game concept seems the most valid when considering “real world markets”.

Using this knowledge combined with your own research and desire to make simple, intuitive interactive experiences, you are to develop one of these concepts further, from your initial designs, right the way through to the production of a Product Design Proposal (PDP) or High Concept Document (HCD) as it is sometimes known.

Your PDP/HCD will include rules, rewards, screen/gameplay mock-ups.

This document should be prepared for delivery as both a printed document as well as a digital presentation (You may use Flash/Powerpoint, Video, your Blog or any other appropriate delivery system you prefer).

This presentation and document should act as a rolling demo or “Proof of Concept” to aid the explanation of the games core mechanics.

You should (if possible) attempt to make a segment of your game playable if you feel confident enough using Flash or other software.

In addition to your PDP or HCD and your design development work you will submit an additional evaluation that reflects on how well you have implemented your game concept in light of your initial proposal and research. This documentation is to be submitted as part of your ongoing reflective journal/project development blog.

Finally you will present your game prototype to your peers and take any questions they may have.

– Taken from the New Media Website.

In this part of our brief we will have to design and produce a casual game, aimed at a target audience of casual gamers. My initial idea in this was to make a 2D Hangman style game with all the questions relating to games design. I felt this was not really meeting the brief, so I decided to revisit the brief and think of a new game that matches the brief. This is still a work in progress on a separate blog post.

As a part of this whole subject we have done some starting work in understanding flash, This we did in a basic form of animation and coding a button to make the animation replay. Intro to Flash.

Moving on we was set a 1 day project which again I have a separate blog post about that day. Alaskan Secret.

We have also done work on producing a HUD with the user in mind, making it convenient and for ease of use. we was given a sheet and had to roll a dice to pick our subject area and design a game using these key words and the HUD that would make it easier for the player to use.

Here is the paragraph that I had to use to design a game and a HUD:

I’ll be designing a 3D Side Scroller for a 2D Sprite Based Art game. It will be set in a Man Made/Vehicle within a Armoury, It’ll be styled around a High Fantasy genre and will include Giant Robots.

I started off doing some keywords to give me a direction to start my design process, after this I started off with some thumbnails and making some rough designs and seeing if any of them worked really well.

These are my thumbnails

HUD Thumbnails

I then took the 2 I think worked the most and made them bigger

HUD Designs

This is still a work in progress and I will be making a full Blog post when it is finished.

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