Friday, June 22, 2007

A Reusable Game Design Exercise, Iteration 2

Awhile ago, I posted a way to randomly pick a set of constraints for a Game Jam. I actually used it to generate one of my final exam questions for the Digital Game Design course ("write a one-paragraph game concept that fits the following constraints...").

Alert reader Nathan Ostgard pointed a few things out to me in email:
  • Exercising your skill of "learn to work within a set of constraints" requires different materials than exercising your skill of "be creative and come up with something new". My original spreadsheet is very much geared towards the former, and is not all that suited to the latter (mostly because it forces you to work within existing, well-established genres).
  • There is a difference between Theme and Setting. I lumped them both together without really thinking, but you could easily separate them.
  • You can easily add additional categories of constraints; the five I originally listed are by no means the only ones available.

He built a spreadsheet with the following categories, and elements in each category:

  • Setting: Fairy Tale, Fantasy, Futuristic, Medieval, Mythology, Modern, Steampunk. (I would add: Historical, Historical Fiction.)
  • Theme: Action, Adventure, Comedy, Crime, Drama, Horror, Mystery, Romance.
  • Objective: Align, Avoid, Build, Chase, Collect, Destroy, Escape, Explore, Find, Grow, Race, Solve, Timed.
  • Perspective: 3D Chase, 3D Eye, 3D Roaming, 3D Static, 2D Side, 2D Top. (I would add 2D Isometric, and the so-called "2.5D" of games like Viewtiful Joe.)
  • Bonus: Abstract, Cooperative, Emergence, Five Minutes, Fog of War, Luck, Physics, Rulebreaking, Self-Expression, Sensation, Social, Squads, Turns, Vector.

Thanks, Nathan!

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