Things that you should consider for Gameplay Game Design Vishnu Kotrajaras, Ph.D.


Things that you should consider for Gameplay Game Design Vishnu Kotrajaras, Ph.D.
Things that you should
consider for Gameplay
Game Design
Vishnu Kotrajaras, Ph.D.
Later parts are from Jesse
Schell’s slides
Different path from A to B
– Mario 3 onwards
Story arc
– Phantasy Star 3
– Choices, choose 1 way and you can pass a level
– Player may come back to play the unplayed
choice later
Super Mario Bros. 3
Different order of challenges
– Rock man
– When getting stuck, players can go to other
challenges, at least for a whileใ
– But it must be designed to encourage players to
explore all
Multiple solutions to a problem
– A good football game falls into this category
because the experience from each game is hardly
the same.
Multiple endings
 Sadly, many games do not have nonlinearity due to budget
Effect of non-linearity
Choices in the story
affect future missions
(ending too)
Purpose of non-linearity
Players have authority
– If not, player may feel trapped
Each player has unique experience
 Players want to replay (not as important
as the feel of authority)
 Thinking that “players won’t finish the
game anyway, so why bother do extra
stuff” is short-sighted
Game with free order of missions
Completing one should provide some
way to make other missions easier
– (regardless of the order taken)
– This allow better chance of progressing
Don’t make a game too much like real life
– Food, sleep in RPG is a bad thing
Reality has its strength
– Player is familiar with it: civilization, Sim city
But it also has weakness
– Players notice things that don’t work like real life
quite easily
– Such as you can’t crouch in Doom, can’t peek
over corner either
Sim City
The Sims
Rome: Total War
Teaching players how to play
First few minutes of the game is very
 Do not force players to read manual
 You should know that every player
wants to start playing right away
 Therefore, use the gameplay
Using the gameplay to teach how to
Very easy at start, just move, then jump,
 Then increasingly harder
 While introducing moves, players must
be in a safe environment
– Prince of Persia, you don’t die when you
first encounter a collapsing floor
Reward the players for learning
Prince of Persia
Another, teaching method, having
tutorial levels
Interactive learning
– But the first real level must still be easy, because
some players may skip the tutorial
Some game goes a bit too far as to have an
NPC tells a character which button to press.
– This will remind the player that she is “playing” the
– Some immersion into the game may be lost
Controls must be easy to pick up. Good
examples include:
– Allowing a player to control everything with mouse
– Use an already well known interface
Playtesting is important
– If the playtester does not like the controls, you
must believe him
Do not do too much
– Do not use many keys on keyboard (X-Wing)
– Only expert player will like it
X-Wing VS Tie Fighter
The good way is to design controls based on
control pad
– This will help refine the control method
It is good to have multiple ways of getting the
same effect
– 2 ways to click mouse and get the same result
– Hot key and normal controls together
– 2 buttons doing the same thing
• Crash Bandicoot
Crash Bandicoot
– You may test the controls so many times
that you think it is easy
– Find first-time players to test the controls
• Fix the controls if these first-time players have
• Do not expect them to get used to the controls
What’s on screen
Player must see the action, or threat, for
– Getting a warning that units being attacked
off-screen, so the player can zoom to the
– Bad: NPC is dying, but there is no sign until
he nearly dies
– Players need positive feedback when he
shoots at the right location
What’s on screen(2)
If you cannot show it obviously to
player, show it as part of GUI
– Life bar (try using bars instead of numbers)
– Where GUI exists, make it as obvious as
But GUI should be minimized as much
as possible to allow players to feel
immerse into the game world
 Do not forget sound
US patent 5688126, 6062561

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