PDF | We present a model to support the design, analysis, and comparison of games through the use of game design patterns, descriptions of reoccurring. Game Design Patterns for Game Elements. Game Worlds. Game World. Reconfigurable Game World. Levels. Inaccessible Areas. open Design Patterns at all, never got past Singleton (p. 73). Of course best patterns I've found in games, and presented them here so that we can spend our .
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This text is one half of the notes for the “Game Design Patterns” lecture at GDC See preckalohotchning.ml about design patterns, and how they could be utilized in game programming, Key words: game design patterns, programming patterns, best programming. History of the public game gameplay design pattern collection. .. Available at preckalohotchning.ml 3 Ibid.
However, games teach aspects of reality, like how to understand yourself, how to understand the actions of others, how to imagine. Games that rigidly define rules and situations are more susceptible to mathematical analysis. The more rigidly constructed your game is, the more limited it will be.
We receive dopamine when we learn something or master a task. We are evolutionarily programmed to enjoy this, just like we enjoy sex, because it improved our chances of survival. Fun from games arises out of learning, comprehension, and mastery. Games are learning in a context where there is no pressure from consequence. In normal life we like predictability — laws, pasteurized milk, lightning rods. We like unpredictability only in the confines of predictability, like games or TV shows. Babies instinctively play games like hide-the-object in earnest.
They are learning patterns, such as how physics of the world operate. Somewhere in adulthood, we stigmatize games as frivolity. Yet we continue learning from abstract models of reality. Running fire drills, practicing speeches in front of mirrors. In games, boredom can arise when: The player groks how the game works before the end, and the game is dismissed as trivial.
There is depth to the game, but this is below their level of interest. There seem to be no patterns whatsoever. The game reveals patterns too quickly or too slowly. The player masters the game entirely. The player cheats and finds a more direct path to the goal. Every game is destined is to become boring. Writing down your design decisions during development will prevent you from having to reconsider past decisions over and over again.
Finally, when working in a team, it is very useful to have one document that specifies the collective goal. This reduces the chances that the team effort diverges and that you waste too much energy on features that end up being incompatible. For now, we suggest that you do get into the habit of documenting your design by whatever method works best for you. Designing Mechanics early On Game mechanics are not easy to create. There are two reasons for this: Gameplay emerges from game mechanics.
It is difficult, if not impossible, to tell whether your gameplay will be fun simply by looking at the rules. The only way to find out whether your mechanics work is by playing them or, even better, by having somebody else play them for you. To make this possible, you may need to create a number of prototypes. We will go into this in more detail in later chapters. Once you have mechanics that work, it is easy to destroy that balance by adding new features late in the development process or by making changes to existing mechanisms.
These tips are so useful that we suggest they apply to most game development projects, no matter how much time there is. One tip, which is very relevant for our discussion here, is make the toy first. Gabler suggests that before you spend any time on creating assets and content, you have to make sure that your mechanics work.
This means you should start by building a prototype or proof of concept for those mechanics. The mechanics should be fun to play around with, even without nice art, clear goals, or clever level design. Getting It Right As mentioned, to get game mechanics right, you must build them.
The methods and theory described in this book will help you understand how mechanics work, and they will include new, efficient tools to create early prototypes, but they can never be a substitute for the real thing. You must build prototypes and iterate as much as you can to create games with balanced, novel mechanics. Prototyping Techniques A prototype is a preliminary, usually incomplete, model of a product or process created to test its usability before building the real thing.
Game designers create prototypes of games to test their mechanics and gameplay. Some of the more common prototyping techniques that game designers use are software prototypes, paper prototypes, and physical prototypes. A Few Terms Over the years, software developers have devised a number of terms to describe different types of prototypes.
A high-fidelity prototype resembles the intended product closely in many ways. In some cases, a high-fidelity prototype ends up being refined into the final product. A high-fidelity prototype is relatively time-consuming to build. ChAptEr 1 16 Game mechanics: advanced Game desiGn In contrast, a low-fidelity prototype is quicker to build and does not need to resemble the end product as closely.
A low-fidelity prototype typically uses a different technology from that used in the end product. You might use a 2D Flash game to prototype a 3D console game, or you could even use PowerPoint to create an interactive storyboard for a game.
Developers build low-fidelity prototypes to test ideas quickly, and these prototypes tend to be focused on one particular aspect of the game. Developers also create a vertical slice of the intended product with their prototype. The term comes from a visual representation of a software project, as shown in Figure 1.
A vertical slice is a prototype that includes all the elements code, art, audio, and anything else required to implement one or a small number of features of a game. Vertical slices are useful for testing the moment-by-moment gameplay of a game and to give people an impression of your game while not showing the complete product.
A horizontal slice is a prototype that includes all the parts of some aspect of the game but none of the others.
For example, a horizontal slice might include a complete user interface but no functioning mechanics. To speed the prototyping process, it sometimes is a good idea to use desiGninG Game mechanics 17 The advantage of using software prototypes is that you can get a good indication of the gameplay of your game, even if the art is only temporary and the features might be buggy or incomplete.
However, the disadvantage is that creating software prototypes takes longer than creating the other kinds. Depending on the available options and the skills of your development team, it might take almost as long as making the real game. Still, it is a good idea to build software prototypes, even if you end up throwing away all the art and code that was produced for them.
Having an early software prototype will help keep the project on course. Programmers will know what type of game elements are needed, level designers will have an idea of the direction the design takes, and game designers will have an environment to play around in and test ideas.
Game Design Patterns
Software prototypes function almost as design documents: The development team can refer to the prototype when building the real thing. The prototype can illustrate some aspects of a game, such as interactive features, better than a description in words can.
One critical factor of a successful software prototype is easy customization of the game within the prototype.
If you have a factory producing resources for a real-time strategy game, make sure you can change the production rate easily in order to find the right balance quickly. This way, the designers can play with the values simply by editing the file and rerunning the program. Or even better, include a simple, off-the-shelf console in your game that allows you to make changes while playing the game.
This will speed up your development-test cycle even more. Paper Prototyping Because software prototypes are relatively slow and expensive to create, more and more game studios are using paper prototyping techniques.
A paper prototype is a noncomputerized, tabletop game that resembles your game. Some game mechanics are media-independent. If your game does not rely too heavily on precise timing, physics, or other computation-intensive mechanics, you should be able to create a board game from your video game concept.
Remember, a prototype typically zooms in on a particular aspect of the game, and you just might want to zoom in on the internal economy of a game that otherwise derives most of its gameplay from its extended physics simulation. ChAptEr 1 open-source game engines or game development environments such as GameMaker or Unity, even if your target platform will be something completely different. T I P many of the prototypes for Spore are published online: www. We suggest you download a few and play them for yourself.
These prototypes will give you an unique insight in the development process for a triple-a title by a professional game studio. Designing good board games is an art in itself, at least as difficult as designing a good video game. It helps if you are familiar with a wide variety of board games yourself. Good pencils or pens, obviously. They can be downloadd from any specialist game store. You can simply slide a marked piece of paper into the sleeve to create a playing card that is easy to shuffle and handle.
That way, the design history of your cards is preserved. With these items, you have a way of generating random numbers, some tokens you can use to represent the numbers in a poker game, poker chips stand for money , some blank materials for designating all sorts of things, possibly including a game board, and a notebook to write down your ideas in.
Paper prototyping has two important advantages: It is fast, and a paper prototype is inherently customizable. Paper prototypes are quick to make because they do not need to be programmed. When creating a paper prototype, you should not waste time on creating nice art for cards or boards; instead, you should spend your time drafting rules and testing them. With some skill and experience, you can put together a decent paper prototype for any game in a matter of hours.
That leaves you a lot of time to start playtesting and balancing the mechanics. With a paper prototype, it is easy to change the rules. You can even do this on the fly. If during play you notice something does not work as intended, change it desiGninG Game mechanics 19 immediately.
This way, you can almost create the game as you play. Iteration cycles do not get shorter than this. ChAptEr 1 Paper prototyping has two disadvantages: It is more difficult to involve test players, and not all mechanics translate to board games easily. In addition, test players, especially if they have little testing or board game experience, might find it difficult to see how your paper prototype is related to a video game.
More problematic is that not all mechanics translate to paper prototypes easily.
Continuous mechanics, which are computationally intensive, really need to be implemented on a computer. This is something to take into account when creating a paper prototype: It is best used to test discrete mechanics.
Physical Prototyping Prototyping is not restricted to creating software or paper games; simply drafting rules and playing the game out in real life can be just as effective. This is especially true when a game has many continuous, physical mechanics.
Running around an office building armed with laser-tag guns can give you a fairly good idea of what a first-person shooter game might feel like.
Most of the time, this requires even less preparation than paper prototyping. As with paper prototyping, physical prototyping is fast and adaptable. Some game designers mix physical and paper prototyping techniques to great effect. However, again as with paper prototyping, physical prototyping is not easy: Getting it right requires some skill and expertise from both designers and players. Prototype Focus Apart from choosing the appropriate medium for your prototype, another critical aspect of effective prototyping is finding the right focus.
Before you start building a prototype, you must ask yourself what you intend to learn from the exercise. If you are trying to find out something about the balance of the economy, you will need a different prototype from one intended to test a new user interface. Look at the prototypes of Spore www. Each was created for a specific reason. Choosing a single focus should help you create prototypes faster. If you are focusing on one aspect, you do not have to prototype the entire game.
Further, we have identified case when the various experimental game prototypes . To support this we are in the process Navigating the pattern collection of making all patterns available online as well as With over pattern candidate identified, we have engaging both industry and academia in workshops already identified the problem of finding the relevant focusing game play analysis or experimental game patterns for any given situation.
This problem is design. One especially interesting suitable concepts, terms and methods are taken line of research would be to use game design pat- from other disciplines and are carefully adapted to terns to define game genres and then explore if the gaming field without adopting larger conceptual these patterns are those which are most useful for structures. In addition, the supplements should development or research within those genres. Furthermore, they need to be applicable The Danger of Stereotyping to all kind of games to avoid the risk of being stuck Some may object that the use of patterns takes the in the developed conventions of digital games.
Another com- mon fear is that the use of patterns will lead to a In line with this, we have created a collection of pat- situation where all the games follow the same pat- terns, primarily based on transforming documented tern and fall into stereotypes where nothing new is game mechanics or well-defined concepts from or can be created.
The Six Facets of Serious Game Design: A Methodology Enhanced by Our Design Pattern Library
These both stem from confusing other research fields. This collection has then been the everyday meaning of pattern as something the basis for initial tested of use areas for game repetitive with the actual basic philosophy of design patterns. These tests have confirmed our design patterns as introduced by Alexander. In one belief that game design patterns are usable for sense the choice of pattern term might be regard- analysis, comparison and design of games; thus use- ed as a mistake but as the term has clear and firm- ful in most aspects within game studies, in turn mak- ly established meaning in several professional ing them a suitable candidate to serve as a basis of a fields we see not necessity for inventing new termi- lingua franca within gaming.
We do not believe that nology, something that would indeed lesser the the use of game design patterns is the final solution usefulness of the pattern concept as a tool to over- to finding a common language for ludology.
However, come communication differences in various profes- we believe that many of the characteristics of design sions. A more appropriate comparison of the use of patterns will be included in such a language, and that patterns is to the artistic endeavor in general: the continued work with design patterns will help reveal artist has much better chances to create something truths about game and game play until such a lan- novel when familiar, though not necessarily con- guage is found.
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However, when components, seems to be very useful. The following are typical playtest questions: Is the game balanced? These games consist of relatively simple parts, yet the number of strategies and approaches that they allow is enormous. The player cheats and finds a more direct path to the goal. Mister X. One critical factor of a successful software prototype is easy customization of the game within the prototype.
Devedzic, V. However, the results cal sensible strategy, at least short-term, the suc- have mostly stayed within one research field, prob- cesses of repackaging have been described as a chal- ably due to the highly specialized language within lenge to the creativeness of designers .