Game Design Frames

I had some ideas on game design development methodologies. There is a lot of debate on narrative versus interactivity and this got me to thinking about all the different sorts of genres there are and how there is enormous room to make very different sorts of games.

And how we think about development affects the sorts of games that we come up with. Here are some ideas of different concepts for how to put together a game that I’ve been thinking about, along with some of the potential pros and cons. These ideas aren’t at all exclusive and could easily be mixed and matched – but I thought each was an interesting way of framing development.

  • Imitation – Use another game as a primary source of inspiration for your game
       Pros: Design problems already ironed out, already a fan base for the genre
       Cons: Risk of being not liked as much as original
  • Audience based – Targeting mechanics towards specific audience preferences.
        Pros: Good likelihood of being well received
        Cons: Risk of being received as ‘plasticy’, cheesy, or non-genuine
  • Feature Frankenstein – Taking mechanics from two or more different genres and putting them together
         Pros: Good possibility for uniqueness
         Cons: Risk of being inaccessible, high risk of not coming together cleanly, more design issues to resolve.
  • Story based – Having the mechanics support a primary narrative
         Pros: Very accessible, can work around technical restraints
         Cons: Risk of having the mechanics neglected
  • Single algorithm based – Basing a game off of a programming/design idea such as swarming or time manipulation.
         Pros: Developer friendly, potential for new user experiences
         Cons: Risk of becoming myopic or having the goal aspects of the game neglected
  • Time sensitive – Creating a game within a rigid schedule, as done in game jams.
         Pros: Great learning opportunity, good networking possibilities, good possibility of completing project
         Cons: Risk of low quality product, less flexibility to change after initial stages
  • Coerce/Make a moral statement/Satire
         Pros: Potential for using the medium in new ways.
         Cons: Potentially dangerous because of this media’s powerful ability to teach, train, and persuade
  • Developing from General to the Specific – Roughing out the game broadly and tightening up over time
         Pros: Good likelihood of cohesiveness
         Cons: Not very scalable, hard to test until the later stages of development, risk of not completing the game
  • Development from Specific to the General
         Pros: Scalable, Easy to test in sections
         Cons: Hard to keep cohesive whole

Well… Here are some other frames for development that I came up with, but don’t really have the time to keep pro and con them out right now:

  • Curveball -something that gives you the expectation of one sort of game but actually give something different (game example: Eversion)
  • Mood (Aesthetic or Auditory) based
  • Hardware based – Using a specific sort of input or output device as a base for design

Anyhow, these are just some thoughts.  Let me know if you have any other ideas or thoughts on these.

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