Simple Game Design by Polish, Appeal and Measures

The cycles to achieve simple game design
The cycles to achieve simple game design

If you would like to read my master thesis, go ahead and get it here. Otherwise, read on and get an overview of my thoughts behind Simple Game Design through Polish, Appeal & Measures.

With a vantage point in the term Game Polish, I have proposed a simple method for designing games independently from any specific production methodologies.

The study was made in the spring of 2009 through correspondences with members of the International IGDA Game Design SIG and other forums dedicated to game development.

The main cornerstones of the study is Polish, Appeal, and Measures – all elaborated in the report.

Simple Game Design through Polish, Appeal & Measures. This method proposed in my master thesis, explain how to make a game or on what to focus designing it.

An Idea in a Master Thesis

In this thesis the reader will be presented with a definition of the nebulous term Polish used in relation to computer games, mainly derived from literary sources. The term has been processed from different perspectives and split into three overall topics: Polish, Appeal, and Measures.

The topic of Polish relate to the elements used to add Appeal to a computer game. The topic of Measures relate to how the intentions of the game’s Appeal are being verified through the pre–production and the production phases in the making of a computer game. These three topics will form the cornerstones of this master thesis.

A Simple Game Design Method

The overall methodology of the study consist of two parts. The first part being a series of correspondences with game designers via e–mail and online discussion forums dedicated to game design issues. The second phase of the methodology has been to verify the responses through a series of interviews with professional game developers working at different levels in the game industry.

The results are presented according to the cornerstones, Polish, Appeal and Measures reflecting the respondents’ opinions on how the elements of Polish are being evaluated in pre–production and production of computer games. It is clear that players are not included in pre–productions as much as in productions. The elements of Polish should not be treated as those with functional and pleasing purposes separately, as there are rarely added any elements of Polish that does not have a distinct function in the game.

Several aspects of game design are being discussed, however an effort is made towards making the proposed methodology independent of the established definition of staged software development. In relation to this there is being proposed a more fluid way to describe the process of game development through the terms Concept, Design, and Content.

The conclusion of the thesis proposes a simple methodology of designing games that is independent of software production methodologies.

Casual game, -gaming, -playing, -gamer, -game player…

Well, ain”t that a rant…

I”m writing this post because I recently read a paper seeking to define the term casual in relation to video games (check the presentation slides that comes with it). Then I found a post on indiegamer.com discussing this very question.

My approach is grounded in the academia but moving towards the real deal, the practical implementation, or you might say, the geeky know-a-lot-but-haven”t-really-tried-it-properly-yet approach. That is except for my experimenting in my spare time and at the university not to mention my recent internship in a game company called Titoonic in Copenhagen.

In short the paper categorizes terms of “casual” in relation to games into the following:

  • Casual Games:
    The games that are casual or designed to belong to a subset of games, meant to be played casually. Mostly defined as having “generally appealing content, simple controls, easy-to-learn gameplay, fast rewards, or support short play sessions” [Kuitinen et al.].
  • Casual Game Player:
    A person that plays games labeled or designed to be Casual Games. The stay-at-home wife 35+.
  • Casual Gamer:
    A person who play ANY games casually (notice the difference from above).
  • Casual Gaming:
    The general attitude or approach towards gaming. (Hardcore gamers do not play for leisure).
  • Casual Playing:
    Describes the way a casual gamer would play a game. “… in small time bursts or in a low cognitive state” [Kuitinen et al.]. Playing without effort.

In my humble oppinion it is nice to have a clear definition eventhough some people think it is waste of time and goes “no speak – make game”. I wonder where the cultural and technical evolution would be if everyone thought like that when they discovered the wheel.

Anyway… I want to give my support to the guys in Tampere that like to explain the buzz. Kudos!