The First Graduates…

The first students in bachelors programs Computer Game Programme: Game Design and Production and Computer Game Programme: Game Graphics. A group of graduating students also just got their first game A Story About My Uncle released on Steam.

In addition, the first students are graduating from the  Game design and production masters program at Aalto University (was establishing that program and teaching there during the first year of the program). The first students get their masters degree this spring.

A Story About My Uncle Launch trailer by the Gone North Games.

Some Refelections on the Game Project Course

In the Game Project course students design and develop a game from a scratch to (at least) beta level. It is obvious that current version of the game project course has some flaws. Currently the structure suffers issues of the big-design-first model. The course milestones set does not require prototyping and iteration. This has worked somewhat, and it seems that groups are creating interesting games. However, the last deadline is looming and they have a lot of to do to get their games ready.

To improve the course in the future, I searched alternative approaches to game development process for the Game Project course and found Clinton Keith’s (2010) book Agile Game Development with Scrum.

The overall structure of project in Scrum is show the figure below.

The overall structure of the Scrum project (Keith 2010)

Roughly, a Scrum project consist of sprints that last two to four weeks and have a clear target. Each sprint starts with planning meeting in which the target of the sprint is set. The target is a  feature list that should be developed by the end of the sprint. The initial list of the features are features (and each feature have a priority) are set in the concept sprint. Each sprint contains design, asset creation, coding, and testing. After each  sprint, the team should have a working game build. (Keith 2010.)

I am yet not exactly sure how to adapt Scrum for the course, as there are some roles (such as Scrum master) that might need rethinking for the course context.

However, I like the idea of sprints. Students would set targets for each sprint  with the teacher. Two to four weeks sprint in the course lasting almost the whole academic year means 7 to 14 sprints. That would split the goals to more manageable smaller sub-goals, as each sprint has its own feature list that should be ready at the end of the sprint. The Scrum process has natural checkpoints (at the end of each sprint) where we can check how the project progress.

References

Keith. C. 2010.  Agile Game Development with Scrum. Addison Wesley.

Character-Driven Game Design & Lies and Seductions

Lies and Seductions

The game can be downloaded for free at http://www.liesandseductions.com or get with the Character-Driven Game Design. OSX and Windows versions available. Works also in Linux via Wine.

Lies and Seductions is a single player game about seduction, lies, and betrayal.

Are you able to guide Abby to seduce a rock star, Chris, promised to stay virgin untill marriage? In order to success you need to gather dirty little secrets, use those secrets in your advantage, and make an impression on Chris.

Features:

  • four seduceable characters
  • flirt, mislied, eavesdrop, and pump information
  • persuade characters to help you to reach the goal
  • play Texas hold’em poker
  • dance to impress
  • non-player characters forms opionnions based on your choices they perceive
  • three different endings

Character-Driven Game Design: A Design Approach and Its Bases In Character Engagement

| Buy the book | Free PDF |

Back cover says:

In the Character-Driven Game Design, Petri Lankoski presents a theory that illuminates how game characters contribute to shaping the playing experience. Based on this theory he provides design tools for character-based games which utilize methods and theories derived from dramatic writing and game research.

“The use of Lajos Egri’s bone structure for a three dimensional-character and of Murray Smith’s three levels of imaginative engagement with characters allows the candidate to expose the full complexity of the imaginary persons represented and controlled in a single-player game. What makes his design-center approach even more interesting is that gameplay is an integral part of it.”
Bernard Perron, Associate Professor, Université de Montréal

“Lankoski does a great job laying out the theory of primary interest to him, and making the case for the need to tether character design to game design more tightly than has been the case in the past. Certainly, too, putting attention to social networks of characters and finding useful design patterns to guide this level of game design is also of great value, and underexplored in the field.”
Katherine Isbister, Associate Professor, Polytechnic Institute of New York University

CONTENTS

List of Publications9
Acknowledgements10
Introduction11
– Characters as Facilitators of the Playing Experience?12
– The Context of This Study13
– Game Design14
– Game Research15
– Cognitive Sciences and Film Studies drawing on Cognitive Sciences16
– Dramatic Writing for Theatre and Film17
– Goals18
– Methods18
– Qualitative Analysis19
– Gameplay Design Patterns19
– Structure of This Thesis20
Game Characters21
– Understanding Other People21
– Mimicry and Empathy22
– Person Schema22
– Player Characters23
Game and Gameplay Design29
– Game Design Approaches29
– Game Design and Character Design30
– Missing Link: From Character Design to Gameplay Design33
Character Engagement and Game Design35
– Characters in Computer Games: Toward Understanding Interpretation and Design35
– Player Character Engagement in Computer Games35
– Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters36
– Gameplay Design Patterns for Social Networks and Conflicts37
– Lies and Seductions38
– Character-Driven Game Design: Characters, Conflict, and Gameplay38
Conclusions41
– Characters and the Playing Experience41
– Game and Character Design44
– Concluding Remarks46
References47
Appendix 1: Research Material57
Appendix 2: Gameplay Design Patterns61
– Actions Have Social Consequences61
– Character Defining Actions62
– Detective Structure63
– Enforced Character Behavior64
– Faction64
– Information Passing65
– Internal Conflict66
– Internal Rivalry67
– Loyalty67
– Melodramatic Structure68
– Outcast69
– Player-Designed Character70
– Social Gatekeeper70
– Social Maintenance71
– Social Norms71
– Traitor72
– Trait Regulated Behavior73
– References74
Appendix 3: Lies and Seductions Credits75
Articles
– Article 176
– Article 292
– Article 3116
– Article 4132
– Article 5156
– Article 6162
Abstract182