...we dive into a new adventure here at LHS. The foundations of a game design curriculum starts with this initial class. Some of the game design concepts that we will focus on include game balancing, story development, character creation, and level design. You will work on character design and back story, as well as world creation to accompany your concept. In addition to game theory, you will develop a play system and then "prove it" on paper.
Before we jump into the creation, we must dive into the history of the gaming industry. And before we fully understand the development process, we must look at the financial and legal aspects of game development as well. Before the class is finished you will understand the importance of storyboards, design documents, pitch sheets, gantt charts, ESRB ratings and wireframes.
For the class we will use "Fundamentals of Game Design" by Ernest Adams. This book walks us through each aspect of the game design process in a easy to follow language that is hard to put down. Less like a text book and more like a "how to" this book is in it's 3rd edition and written by a 20+ year veteran of the gaming industry. I have used it as an instructor, and as a student, and it's information is invaluable. Some of the concepts discussed in this book are: Game concepts: From idea to game concept, Game worlds: Realism, Character Development: The relationship between player & avatar, Storytelling: Mechanics for advancing the plot, and Gameplay: Commonly used challenges. These are just single topics each from five different chapters... the book has seventeen chapters and over 500 pages of incredible information. A perfect starter text for a beginning game designer such as yourself.
As with all of my classes, there are a whole host of support tools available for use in this class. Feel free to download any of the templates for level designs, character "checklists", balance sheets, and any other documents you may find useful from the tools section. If you don't see something, please ask me. If you find something elsewhere, please share so that I may add it to the list.
In this class we will have a wide range of projects and assignments; from written reports and papers to original game design documents. There will be a wide variety of turn-ins for the class because of this range. Level designs will be mapped out using grid sheets, proposals will be correctly formatted letters, expense and budget reports will use excel, character concept designs will be sketches and supporting detail sheets. And yes, there is always an "I can't draw" fear associated with concept sketches, however, there is more to a concept than just figure drawing!
In class we discussed the critical elements that led up to the demise of the "Atari" generation of games. We identified: Substance, Story, Graphics, Arcade & Music as key factors that led up to the "crash". Using this emulator page, play a few atari 2600 titles and write a single page summary about one of the games. Your paper should discuss how the game itself lacks the 5 areas listed above, ways in which the game could have been improved if the technical limitations were not hindering the process.
To fully understand the lack of quality the Atari 2600 offered as a substitute to the arcade versions of games, take a look at and compare these three titles. View/play the arcade version of the game and make note of it's graphics & play control, and then compare it to the Atari counterpart.
Share with me a google doc and begin a short essay on how the atari games are different from games of today. Your paper should be around 300 words and support your position with evidence. This will be due on Wednesday, 9/7/16 and we will discus a few of the titles and discoveries in class as a group.
We reviewed the 4 main components that make up a game in class (Play, Pretend, Rules, Goals) and discussed how they weave together to form a description of "what is a game" Sid Meier said that a game is "A series of interesting choices." Using your knowledge form class, come up with your own description of what a ame is, and then discuss how your description is either more thorough and complete than Mr. Meier's, or how it isn't. Document your opinion on his description as being either complete or incomplete and how you feel it falls short or delivers a full description of what a game is.
Using only the pieces and materials provided to your group or 3-4 individuals, come up with an original game concept to share with the class. You can use anything that is given to you, but ONLY what has been given to you. You are not allowed to use a computer, however, if you need to use a phone as a timer, calculator, a measurement device or any other tool during game play, you may. Document the following elements on the paper provided: Rules, Objective/Goal, Parts list, Win Condition, # of players. Keep in mind the 4 main elements of a game: Play, Pretend, Rules and Goals