A-Z of game design

(nice format for a barcamp session - walking through concepts in A-Z)

avatar - people tend to act like their avatar (study)

boss - build up to the big challenge

cheats - can’t be bothered going through everything, ie you put cheats into the game (maybe release

difficulty curve - perfect example of flow in UX; task should be perfectly matched to your skill

environment - massive impact on gameplay. can use it to cause problems for AI, final fantasy - drag monster to rock where game designers didn’t think it would be.


grinding. people doing nothing particularly intelligent or challenging to keep moving up. (not sure what the design implication is here; if people like it …)

hacks. constant battle between hackers and designers.

iteration. we tend to iterate to solve problems, keep refining.

jobs. different tasks.

killing. more graphical over time.

leaderboard. whatever the variable it shows, top guy gets the most cachet etc.

MMORPGs. Each has its own community, vocabulary, etc. Duality of competition and co-operation. e.g. people waiting together for a monster to appear. Tribal phenomenon. (Formed a “static” - same group of people, because the only way to beat it was to work with the same group of people, get used to their style, etc - shifted body clock to California time.)

narrative. games becoming more cinematic. e.g. Bioshock - conveys political message through its narrative.


quite ridiculous strangeness. e.g. “Captain Blood” - talked to aliens in weird language.

rewards. Have to choose appropriate reward system, e.g. if people find way to get massive points easily, no more challenge.

speedruns. wikipedia

tutorials. good way to do it is what educators call “scaffolding”. (mm aka happy trajectory)

user generated content.

virtual economies. Can lead to Gold farming - game sweatshops.

xyz - have to be “xylophone” “yachts” and “zombies”