Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Game Design: Week 5

Full disclosure I'm not sure what I can really add here since this more of luck vs skill, though the readings did put me off playing Candyland.

Mixing Strategy and Randomness allows for more varied and exciting gameplay. On hand a game of pure luck is boring and technically no one wins except for one grinning tool who did nothing to earn what he got, kind of like life, and on the other a game of pure skill no matter how complicated has a "correct answer", there is a perfect way to play, the mathematically most efficient move for any scenario can be determined and if you and your opponent know them it will be boring. So the key is to strike that balance between them, which as I have previously mentioned is all preference, there is no right or wrong way to go about it, just avoid making a game exclusively about one or the other.

Randomness doesn't need to be on a linear scale of values that equate advantage to disadvantage like flipping a coin, rolling a dice or drawing a card, it can be much more uncertain or random in how this aspect of luck can effect you. It could be the layout of the game board or map for instance which will effect what strategies you should use going ahead and also provide you with a new scenario so even if there is a "correct answer" no one is going to know it if the boards layout is one in a hundred.

There are methods randomness that can be applied to a game that doesn't involve a strict good or bad connotation to and are just modifiers to the experience to suggest players alter their strategies to allow them to gain the upper hand from their own merit, which brings the pride in victory from a skill based game, but also brings the tension, excitement and anxiety from an episode of Scooby Doo luck based game.

Game Design: Week 4

When you play a new game the first thing you need to do is understand how to play it, or else you can't play it, no brainier huh. So I priority of a designer should be for them to create a product that can be understood rather quickly and preferably intuitively. Having a large manual or long tutorial accompanying a game isn't out right the wrong thing to do, especially when the game has many complex mechanics in it, but many simpler smaller details should be as intuitive as possible.

This can be achieved through association with other games and habits, for example thanks to Legend of Zelda whenever I see one section of discoloured wall I am tempted to blow it up, and quite a few other games have used that logic and thus have never needed to teach me what areas of the environment are destructible. How often does a video game outline that red barrels are destructible? Not many, do you shoot it anyway expecting it to explode? Of course. Sometimes it's just building mechanics that just make reasonable sense or just creating an obvious path, such as throwing a barrel of water onto fire puts out the fire which in Divinity Original Sin 2 is never explained, and in the Uncharted series when you can always tell what rocks and walls are climbable. The Assassin's Creed series even has some of it's own internal cues that repeatedly make appearances, such as where ever there is a white cloth or sheet draped over an object then that object is the beginning of a movement path, and even the locations of pigeons indicate you can jump to a hay bail from there.

Sometimes it is difficult to account for this, I can't even think of my own examples right now from board games that aren't just factors borrowed from other games, so it is not a cardinal sin to include manuals and tutorials, but the faster players can learn how to play the faster they can get into the game and the less frustrated they will be with the rules. There is also something satisfying of seeing  something in a game and thinking "what would happen if I did this?..." and discovering new interesting ways to play with clues that have been laid out for them. Honestly though, if someone isn't really willing to learn how to play a game whether it's through a manual or trial and error, they don't really deserve to play it.

Game Design: Week 3

There are two major factors that effect the level of perceived competence a player has in any given game, skill and luck. At any point a decision has been made in a game at least one of these concepts is in play and thus the importance of either of these two cannot be understated.

Skill is the ability to do something well, and that is on point with that is refereed to when skill is mentioned in the context of games. Luck in games refers to any time that chance is a factor in the outcome of any action. These two core concepts are in conflict with each other in determining the result of the game. The goal of a game designer is to find a balance of skill and luck that they feel suits the game, while maintaining a degree of balance on the side.

With games that rely solely on skill the victor will always be the better player, this creates more gratification in victory and recognition of hard work because the player has always earned their victory. Where games that require solely on luck and chance pretty much are just totally random and are pointless, you need a minimum level of choice here, but lets just say mostly luck for now, these games can become very suspenseful as many decisions could have any number of potential unknown outcomes, some tend to claim that luck softens the pain of loss because you can deny your personal failure, but speaking for myself I consider winning through luck cheap and would rather have lost due to my own stupidity.

Ultimately how much a game relies on luck or skill is preference or at least preference of your audience, there are merits to both but the most important thing about a game is whether it is fun or not, that is up for the game designer to find out and tune as they go. The resulting game could have a wildly difference skill/luck balance than what was initially intended because it makes it more fun to play.

Game Design - Week 2

I have decided to keep using this blog for further assignments involving theory classes such as Game Design, that require some sort of weekly discussion. Enough about that on to the actual work.

PS. I realized way to late I never clicked publish on these.

One of if not the most important aspect of game, board game, video game, sports game, war game, development is playtesting and prototyping. If you are a sane and reasonable human being you should believe form follows function, and understand that practical use is logically of greater importance than aesthetic.

To prototype a game is to put together a quick representation of what you intend your game to be with what ever resources you have during the games development, and playtesting is testing the play of that prototype. The reason this is so important is that it will guarantee the quality of play, in showing you the players and developers whether the game actually works and functions as it is intended to. Play testing can let you know that your brilliant and revolutionary idea is a total and complete game breaker and you are useless and Bioware should've never hired you.

I'm not quite sure how much detail i have to go into but not much has to be said here. You as a developer have to give the consumer what they want, fun. You can spend hours on you rules and systems but none of it matter is none of that works or doesn't bring anyone any enjoyment, so it's your job to make sure your game is fun and works, and building prototypes as you go is how you do that and if you can't do that you might end up with a disaster on your hands.

Before I end this I would just like to note that many triple a titles aren't released as absolute shit shows because they don't play test them but usually because developers pressure them to release it anyway and maybe patch it later, they knew Arkham Knight was broken.