作者： Natasha Clarke
Elements of game design – Part 1; From pong to next-gen
One of the definitions of gameplay is the interaction between the player and system. This does not just cover the physical controls, but also covers the logical controls, or the type of
actions the players can make. These interactions are the core of game play. This definition does not just stop at computer games, but also applies to board game and other types.
The system does not even need to be a physical object(s). It could even be just a mental construction (as in a set of rules that the player follows – like sport.)
This definition stems from a definition of game theory; “A game is where two or more competitors compete for a set of goals within the confines of a set of rules.”
The goals are what the players need to achieve victory (the way they can achieve them must also be in the rules), but it is the “set of rules” that contain the gameplay.
There are multiple principles that are taken into consideration when creating a game;
- “Why should someone else play it?”
- Identify the genre, (which may automatically –
- Identify the universe and landscape
- Players and audience
- Identify the constraints and goals
o What is the criteria for success? How do you win? How do you lose?
- Rules of interaction
o Controls; interaction with the character, put the character in some environment
o How do you explain the constraints to the player(s)?
- Operation issues (e.g., delivery)
Genres are used to categorize games based on their gameplay interaction. Here is a list of common game genres; the list is by no means finalized as game design is constantly changing;
o Beat’em up
§ First-person shooter
§ Third-person Shooter
§ Tactical Shooter
§ Shoot’em up
§ Rail Shooter
o Survival Horror
o Real-time Adventure
o Text adventure
o Western RPG
o Japancese RPG
o Constructions and management
o Turn-based strategy
o Turn-based tactics
o Real-time Strategy
o Real-time Tactics
o Tower defence
- Other common genres
Game design starts with an idea, which is often a modification of an existing concept. The game idea may fall within one or several genres, designers often experiment with mixing genres.
There are different roles of designers within the game design career;
- Lead designer – usually coordinates the work of other designers and is the main visionary of the game
- Game Mechanics designer – also known as System designer, designs the game’s rules and makes sure that they are balanced.
- Level Designer – also known as Environment designer, is the person responsible for creating game environments, levels and missions.
- Writer – Someone who is usually employed part-time to create the game’s dialogue, commentary, narrative, cut scene dialogue and narrative, etc.（source：imoustacheyousomequestions）
Elements of game design – Part 2; Art Direction for games
Elements of game design – Part 2:
“Art director” is a pretty impressive job title that a lot of people would wish to reach, but it can mean different things in different organisations.
In the early 90s the industry could get away with not having clearly defined roles because game development was a new discovery. However nowadays it is serious with a competitive edge and larger teams need structure.
An Art director in game design is responsible for the overall look and feel of the game being produced. What colors will define the mood of the environment? What level of detail should the textures convey? How does the player interface with their environment?
As an art director, in general not only in game design, you must be a leader and someone who inspires and guides the vision of the design team. You have to be able to recognize the talent of those around you and learn how to efficiently achieve the outcome you want to reach i.e the game. People skills would possibly be another big skill that would be necessary as you would be working closely with others, such as a producer and other designers. Anything visual is the art director’s responsibility, so they are the force behind the visual development, but as a team they have to respect and consider input and opinions or co-workers, no matter what their position. Another skill would be being able to give critiques. Throughout production, the art director would track the assets as they’re made. They would review and critique and get the art team to deliver high quality work that is suitable for the game’s style.
Management would also be a big part of the job, as the art director has to keep track of tasks, make sure everything turns out on time, watch out for dents in the production pipeline, and resolve any problems that may arise. The right tasks have to be assigned to the right artists based on their strength and weaknesses. To be a good art director you have to have an eye for potential. Some art directors are there to make sure things look good, while other act more like mentors.
According to Robert Chang there are four kinds of people who become art directors;
“- Some who is really a manager, but not an artist.
- Someone who has a great eye for visuals, knows a lot about art, has leadership skills, but not necessarily a great artist.
- A very good artist who can lead other artists.
- Someone who is a combination of all three, with varying degrees of emphasis.”
He also says “The best art directors I’ve seen are almost always the ones who have extensive experience as artists, understand the art production pipeline, are talented and passionate, can multi-task very well, are easy to get along with, know how to task you according to strengths and interests, and know how to weigh the pros and cons of every situation carefully and make the right decision.”（source：imoustacheyousomequestions）