Working on my own Game

The final assessment of this module will be concept of a game, based on the theoretical input we got during the course.

From the question What is a Game? to Game Studies, Criticism and Design as well as Design Approaches and Methodologies, I have already been able to formulate and idea of a Game in my head. One evening, I sat down on my couch with my tablet and some nice piano music in the background and suddenly, all those ideas flying around formulated themselves into a bigger concept.

So far, I have been able to design a rough outline of what I want my game to look at, and I already had a go at the design aspect as well. My game (a boardgame) will involve Space Rabbits, stranded on a lonely planet, with their ships broken. In order to get their ships running again and to leave the deserted planet, they have to use their time traveling machines to complete missions and collect replacement parts and pieces for their spaceships. This is the first sketch and in order to execute it and turn it into a functioning, fun game, I have to create a framework within which I will be able to develop my ideas.

This is the first sketch of the game, which I came up with that night I found some inspiration:

First draft of my boardgames ‘Space Rabbits’

Regarding the theoretical framework, I will follow Marc LeBlanc’s Taxonomy of Game Pleasures [1] which lists 8 sensory pleasures a game has to address in order to fulfill the aesthetic expectations of the players. In line with Creg Costikyan [2], I will keep in mind that in order to be appealing to its players, a game has to involve some sort of struggle and in order to achieve this struggle and let players work towards certain goals, there has to be some sort of structure. Together with the MDA Framework [1] of Mechanics – Dynamics – Aesthetics, in which LeBlanc’s taxonomy is embedded, I came up with a framework for my own game to create a scaffolding along which the design will develop.

At the heart of my framework is the Game Experience from the player’s point of view – the aesthetics of the game – which stands opposed to the designer’s point of view, the mechanics. From the designer’s perspective, mechanics and dynamics are used to create the player’s experience and he uses them to define a set of rules, an organisational system and structure. The designer has to find a set of values, which he would like the game to promote, which should agree with the player’s values to create a good experience. The player is embedded in a certain cultural context and will thus “read” the game a certain way. The game for him will involve some kind of learning experience, which is dependent on the rules (organisation of the designed system) and the play (human experience of that system) along the lines of Tekinbaş and Zimmermann [3].

Game design framework

Here is a rough sketch of this framework:

 

While working on my ideas, the framework will be continuously refined in line with my needs.

 

 

 


[1] Hunicke, R., LeBlanc, M. and Zubek, R. MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research.

[2] Costikyan, C. 2002. I Have No Words & I Must Design: Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Games. IN: Conference: Proceedings of the Computer Games and Digital Cultures. Tampere, Finland, pp. 9–33.

[3] Tekinbaş, K.S. and Zimmerman, E. 2003. Rules of play: game design fundamentals. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.

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