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Design accessible and creative games across genres, platforms, and development realities
Practical Game Design Copyright o 2018 Packt Publishing All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews Every effort has been made in the preparation of this book to ensure the accuracy of the information presented However, the information contained in this book is sold without warranty, either express or implied. Neither the authors nor Packt Publishing or its dealers and distributors will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to have been caused directly or indirectly by this book Packt Publishing has endeavored to provide trademark information about all of the companies and products mentioned in this book by the appropriate use of capitals. However, Packt Publishing cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information Commissioning Editor: Amarabha Banerjee Acquisition Editor: Larissa Pinto Content Development editor: Francis Carneiro Technical Editor: Diksha Wakode Copy Editor: Safis Editing Project Coordinator: Devanshi Doshi Proofreader: Safis Editing Indexer: Pratik shirodkar Graphics: Jason monteiro Production Coordinator: Deepika naik First published April 2018 Production reference: 1130418 Published by Packt Publishing Ltd Livery place 35 Livery St Birmingham B 3 2PB, UK ISBN978-1-78712-1799 www.packtpub.com Mapt mapt. io Mapt is an online digital library that gives you full access to over 5,000 books and videos, as well as industry leading tools to help you plan your personal development and advance our career. For more information please visit our website Why subscribe? Spend less time learning and more time coding with practical eBooks and Videos from over 4,000 industry professionals Improve your learning with Skill Plans built especially for you Get a free e Book or video every month Mapt is fully searchable Copy and paste, print, and bookmark content PacktPub. com Did you know that Packt offers e Book versions of every book published, with PDF and epubfilesavailableYoucanupgradetotheebookversionatwww.Packtpub.comandasa print book customer, you are entitled to a discount on the eBook copy. Get in touch with us at service@packtpub com for more details Atwww.packtpub.comyoucanalsoreadacollectionoffreetechnicalarticlessignupfora range of free newsletters, and receive exclusive discounts and offers on packt books and books Contributors About the authors Adam Kramarzewski is a game designer who, at the age of 19, dived straight into the pre smartphone mobile games industry of 2007. he has gathered over a decade of experience with the likes of gameloft, Square enix, and space ape games, and has worked on over 30 game projects and many world-class Ips including lara croft deus ex, and transformers Adam is an avid gamer, and a fan of cinematography, psychology, and all things science He also sat on the jury for game design at the 2017 baFTa Video Game awards Id like to extend my gratitude to my loving girlfriend, Shan, for putting up with me throughout this project, and to my brother Chris, my parents, and everyone at Space ape Games who helped me out with feedback, fresh ideas, and words of encouragement. Special thanks to Andrew munden and Bill robinson, for great suggestions that helped improve Ennio De nucci is a game designer and developer. He works as a game designer since 2011 and designed both digital video games and physical board games. He worked for a variety of video game developers, such as the Italian PM Studios Srl, Supermassive Games and the multinational IGT. Since november 2014, he has been a part of the BaFTA Crew Games. Currently, he works at Another place productions in London where he designs mobile rpgs My first thanks to Barbara, who supported me in the long hours of writing and studying for this book. Thanks to my parents, my friends, and all my colleagues at Another place Productions, who welcomed me into the most amazing dev team. Finally, my gratitude to Fabio Belsanti and fabio abbattista, who believed in me and sparked my passion for game design About the reviewers Zoe O'Shea is a PhD candidate studying at Goldsmiths University, London, and is part of the Intelligent Games/ Games Intelligence Center for Doctoral Training (IGGl). originally from Dublin, Ireland, Zoe has previously studied 3D modeling, game design, and games theory. Her current research is centered around player psychology and behavior. When not working on her thesis, Zoe undertakes a wide selection of freelance work and enjoys playing Final Fantasy XIv online Bill robinson has been developing games for almost 30 years, and has been doing So rofessionally for over 10 years. he currently works at space ape games in london and worked for Jagex in Cambridge earlier Packt is searching for authors like you If you re interested in becoming an author for Packt, please visit authors. packtpub com and apply today. We have worked with thousands of developers and tech professionals, just like you, to help them share their insight with the global tech community. You can make a general application, apply for a specific hot topic that we are recruiting an author for, or submit your own idea Table of contents Preface Chapter 1: Introducing the Game Production Process Game design roles 1789 Specialization and T-shaping Development teams 10 Responsibilities of a game designer Software development models 13 Waterfall 13 Agile 13 Scrum Production schedule and milestones 15 Greenlight gates and vertical slice 16 Traditional milestone structure 16 Validation funnel in-game development 18 Role of a games publisher 21 Summary 21 Chapter 2: Game Concept 23 What is a game concept? 23 The " hook"or "elevator pitch 26 Description 26 Key feature set 27 Finding your USP 28 Platform Audience 30 Age rating systems Genre 32 Business mode 33 Know your competition 35 The ideation process 36 Coming up with ideas 37 Twisting familiar mechanics 37 Creativity through constraints 38 Finding the fun Prototyping 40 Iteration 41 Defining the fantasy 41 Creating the fantasy through game mechanics 42 The mood, or how the game looks and feels 42 Table of Contents Summary 43 Chapter 3: Scoping a Game Project 45 Game structure 46 Game content 48 Content burn 49 Avoiding content furnace 49 Depth and possibility space 50 Randomization and procedural generation 52 User-generated content 56 Managing content treadmill 57 Common game structures 58 Linear 58 Structured nonlinear 59 Open nonlinear 66 0 Endless and sandbox Notes on structure 62 Scoping practices 63 Content lifespan 63 Real-world examples 64 Player progression flow 64 Unlock matrix 66 Game flow 68 Example of a menu flow 69 Planning design work 71 Estimation techniques 72 Priorities and dependencies 74 Start from the middle 75 Summary 76 Chapter 4: Design Documentation 77 What is the purpose of a gdd? 79 Characteristics of a good GDD 79 It is modular 80 It starts with goals and requirements 82 Is the result of a discussion 83 Is clear, brief and concise 84 Is multimedial 84 It leaves space for creativity and debate 86 It comes in different formats and sizes 87 It is online 87 Tools for writing a GDD 88 Word processors 88 Presentations 89 Mind maps 90 Spreadsheets 92 Table of Contents Project management(PM)tools 93 Wiki 94 Illustration tools 95 Writing techniques 98 Use of style 98 Layering details 98 Prioritize 98 Use of keywords 99 Table of contents 99 Bullet points 99 Images with captions 99 Diagrams 100 Variables 100 Redundancy 100 Hyperlinks 100 Write incrementally by drafting 100 Elegance in game design 101 Keep it short and simple(Kiss) 101 The less-is-more principle 102 Summary 104 Chapter 5: Adaptation of Mechanics 105 What is a game mechanic? 106 Examples of game mechanics 107 Jump 107 Shooting and reloading 108 Action points 109 List of common game mechanics 110 Game mechanics interact with each other to develop dynamics 110 Mechanics and dynamics are part of a feature 111 Approaching mechanic design 112 Rules and game mechanics 112 Mechanics and dynamics produce feedback 113 Finding the right reference 115 Deconstructing your references 118 Additive and subtractive design 120 Putting it all back together 122 Summary 123 Chapter 6: Invention of Mechanics 124 Developing an idea into an experience 125 New mechanics to solve a problem 127 New mechanics to innovate 128 Building a new game mechanic 129 Bartle's types of players 130 azzaro's types of fun 132 Table of Contents Shell's taxonomy of game mechanics 134 Mechanic 1-space 135 Mechanic 2-objects, attributes and states 135 Mechanic 3-actions 136 Mechanic 4-rules 136 Mechanic 5-skill 136 Mechanic 6-chance 137 Game loops 137 Game's model and player's mental loops 137 Interactive loops 138 Core loops 138 EXtended loops 139 Designer's loops 141 Games as systems of conflict 141 Opponents 141 Obstacles 142 Dilemmas 142 Quality over quantity 143 More choices not best choices 143 Wrapping up the theory 144 Combat systems 144 How to design a combat system 145 Holistic game design 145 Types of combat system 146 Combat depth 147 How to achieve depth 148 Emergent gameplay 148 Depth and complexity 149 Reducing complexity 150 Teaching game mechanics 151 How to design a tutorial 152 Tutorials in Free to Play games 153 Summary 154 Chapter 7: Prototyping 155 What is a prototype? 155 Why a prototype? 156 Prototy ping techniques 157 Paper prototyping 158 Advantages of paper prototyping 160 Limitations of paper prototypes 16 Digital prototyping 162 Common prototyping mistakes 162 The never-ending prototype 163 Spending time creating systems 163 Using the prototype as a code-base for the production project 163 Spending time adding features, art, and effects 164 Seeking confirmations 164

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