Sunday, 14 December 2008

Week 6 – Game Design

Even as console games progress, with more complex gameplay and improved graphics, the principles of good design should stay the same. Basic principles should be coherently established such as how to graphically represent the game space, how to represent the player, what constraints exist, what obstacles are present and what the goal of the game is. To immerse the player properly, the game should also have a set of rules that become clear to the player over time.

Gameplay I would define as how the game responds to the player and how we interact with it. For the game to be ‘realistic’ despite the themes or setting, the physics of that game need to be consistent for it to be believable, and for the player to learn how to play and progress. If the rules are inconsistent and sloppy, the player will most likely become frustrated and confused, and unlikely to continue, e.g. rules for which part of a platform the character can land on. SM World series is a good example of platforming which is fun, has a learning curve and just the right amount of tricks.

Gameplay in video games is similar to traditional board games in the way that both ‘worlds’ abide by rules, which are easier to manipulate in video games. They also have more complex sets of rules which happen in the background, of which the player isn’t aware. In board games, you are always conscious of what is and isn’t allowed. I suppose a board game is like a microcosm of a video game, which is logical because their roots are in traditional games.

The Art Director is someone who controls the visual design elements and makes sure these things are cohesive with other areas of the design. The role is very important since games are a visual medium. If there is more than 1 designer, which generally there will be, it should be compromised of a small group who are each specialised in different things, so each person can do their job without spending too long debating over specific issues. Although I think that games should stick to some design principles, I don’t think genres need their own set of rules, as not doing so would leave more room for innovation to avoid cliché. As far as art goes, I like lots of variation as long as it sticks to an overall theme. Other things like gameplay and music can add to certain atmosphere; this kind of thing is more likely to make an impression on you.

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