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Fun Game Design

Casper van Est
Amsterdam University of Applied Science
DoubleDutch Games
What makes a game Fun?
Not this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRO-UVW0uVE
Then what?
• Ralph Koster & Dan Cook say: Learning is Fun!
• We use Skill Atoms, the fundamental building
blocks of Game D...
Learning is Fun!
Learning more is even more Fun!
Learning Basic Skills

This is the first screen.
What are skills that the
player can learn just by
looking at this screen?
Learning Basic Skills
Learning Basic Skills

This is the ‘second’ screen.
What are skills the player learns
in this area?
Learning Basic Skills
Learning Basic Skills
• What has the player learned so far?
– That mario is heading right
– That he’ll need to jump (A but...
A Reward for Learning
Learning Complex Skills

http://vacuumflowers.com/star_guard/
Learning Complex Skills
Learning Complex Skills
So, what makes a game bad?
• While IWBTG is fun is a sado-machochistic
kind of way, it’s mostly frustrating and more
fun f...
How to make a fun game:
1.
2.
3.
4.

Identify skills you want to teach the player
Stack skills into chains
Create a deep a...
Recommended Reading
• Raph Koster – A Theory of Fun
• Dan Cook – lostgarden.com
Q&A
DoubleDutch Games: Teaching Game Design
DoubleDutch Games: Teaching Game Design
DoubleDutch Games: Teaching Game Design
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DoubleDutch Games: Teaching Game Design

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Casper van Est from the University of Applied Sciences in Amsterdam is going to discuss the teaching of fundamental game design structures such as risk/reward, feedback loops and visual cues, using examples from well known games as well as his own succesful indie game SpeedRunners.

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DoubleDutch Games: Teaching Game Design

  1. 1. Fun Game Design Casper van Est Amsterdam University of Applied Science DoubleDutch Games
  2. 2. What makes a game Fun?
  3. 3. Not this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRO-UVW0uVE
  4. 4. Then what? • Ralph Koster & Dan Cook say: Learning is Fun! • We use Skill Atoms, the fundamental building blocks of Game Design • Useful for: – Analysis: looking at the structure of a game – Design: helps in designing challenges in your game – Testing: provides quantitative questions
  5. 5. Learning is Fun!
  6. 6. Learning more is even more Fun!
  7. 7. Learning Basic Skills This is the first screen. What are skills that the player can learn just by looking at this screen?
  8. 8. Learning Basic Skills
  9. 9. Learning Basic Skills This is the ‘second’ screen. What are skills the player learns in this area?
  10. 10. Learning Basic Skills
  11. 11. Learning Basic Skills • What has the player learned so far? – That mario is heading right – That he’ll need to jump (A button) to get there – That he can use his jump to.. • avoid or kill enemies • collect coins • make power-ups appear (by hitting blocks) • smash bricks when big to open new passages • climb over obstacles • All in the first two screens – probably minutes of play! and without once explicitly telling the player anything
  12. 12. A Reward for Learning
  13. 13. Learning Complex Skills http://vacuumflowers.com/star_guard/
  14. 14. Learning Complex Skills
  15. 15. Learning Complex Skills
  16. 16. So, what makes a game bad? • While IWBTG is fun is a sado-machochistic kind of way, it’s mostly frustrating and more fun for the audience than for the player. • Why? Because it doesn’t teach you anything. In fact, it actively forces you to un-learn everything you’ve ever learned about this game (and games in general)! – The Skill Chain is very wide and extremely shallow
  17. 17. How to make a fun game: 1. 2. 3. 4. Identify skills you want to teach the player Stack skills into chains Create a deep and wide skill tree Use smart level design to teach and test these skills
  18. 18. Recommended Reading • Raph Koster – A Theory of Fun • Dan Cook – lostgarden.com
  19. 19. Q&A

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