N Square, a two-year project to increase nuclear safety awareness, and Games For Change create a game design challenge to educate players about the risk of nuclear weapons. The winning game idea will receive $10,000 and the idea will be developed into a real game. We just can’t say no to the awesome prize, so we decided to join the challenge!
We divided ourselves into 3 different teams to create 3 different games. Eko and Rezza created a game called End It Now (EIN), a combination between card and digital game for 2-6 players that aims for balance in power and prosperity through different scenarios. Rio and Andre teamed up and created Duke of Nuke (DoN), a single-player game where the player acts as a nuclear-based arms dealer and have to achieve the best outcome for the business. While Isa and Brendan worked together to create a game called Nucleureka, a digital game that challenge player to manage resources and create beneficial products of nuclear by expanding the nuclear plants.
The winner will be announced on December 10, 2015 and we hope the best game design will win!
There’s no game that really suit for everyone, every game have their own target players. Even the casual game can’t grab all the peoples taste. There are some points that influenced the players and the game designer to play or create the game. One of them is culture or the background life of the players or the game designers.
Different place has a different culture, in these case culture can accommodate the behavior and characteristic people how to choose or play the game. As example, Mat Goceng card game develop with a bold cultures of Indonesian (Asian in generally). Mat Goceng is a deduction card game with secret identity and objective. In Many game session that foreign player outside Asian involve, there are some gaps along the play. The foreigner feels it’s irrasional when you help the player that you don’t know what side (friend or opponent) is she/he. But in Indonesia, there is no real problem with that case. Because it’s common culture for Indonesian people to help each other. In these point we can see that’s why the euro’s game and america’s game in the board game world are exist.
Beside the culture problem in the game, there is also the advantages. There are many culture for game can adopted by the themes. The unique themes can be the key point for attracting player to play it, or you can targeted the market with the themes that suit for them, determined to their country or place. It’s important to include culture matter when you create a success game. Knowing the advantages and weakness of your game before throw it to the market.
Nowadays we live in era where games have a wide audiences and pleasing design. Big game company made tons of games are designed to please us, for our leisure. But it’s interesting when a game with a simple design but have a hard difficulty mechanic get worldwide attention. Over 50 millions people download Flappy Bird, but do the flappy bird designed by the audience’s preference?
At Indie Game movie, Jonathan Blow (creator of Braid) said: “…things that are personal have flaws, they have vulnerabilities. If you don’t see a vulnerability in somebody, you’re not probably relating to them on very personal level. So it’s the same with a game design, making it: let me take my deepest flaws and vulnerabilities and put them in the game, and lets see what happens…”
Game is a media, it can be a bridge for getting the audience to understand how designer work. It’s not a monologue, but the dialogue, a way to explore the extremes of gameplay experiences, together. Game Design can confronts the conventional design and reminds us that play is. When the dialogue has been established, the “personal” message of the game will be delivered to the audience.
In cooperative games, players have 1 common enemy/objective to complete. A game with no adversaries or obstacles would be unchallenging, which is why we usually find some kind of Artificial Intelligence within a cooperative game, the one with a sole purpose of challenging and stopping players from achieving their purpose.
In video games, AI are usually built with a set of coded behaviour and ran automatically by the program (the game), sometimes creating an illusion of free willed action, but in board game it’s a different case altogether. The common enemy in cooperative board game are so far from the definition of intelligence, it will be far more suitable to call it Artificial Reaction or Artificial Law. It is merely a set of rules of cause and effect that is set within the whole game flow to create a certain kind of situation in response to players’ action.
When I was working with one of my board game, I had a playtest session with a group of friends, and the funniest reaction I ever get was the fact that one of my friend complained and said that he felt like he was being deceived and bullied by me. It was an honest reaction and one that make me realize that not all people can actually came into such conclusion if they don’t actually see the game designer when they are playing. And that reaction made me realize that the whole game rules was not sufficient enough to engage the players.
When players are enjoying their time, they will become unaware that the game they are playing is actually a set of artificial law, the kind of law that have no actual effect (think of genuine law such as law of physics, the ones that actually have real impacts on you), and yet players are willingly doing their acts in accordance with those laws and rules, just because it makes sense and they don’t feel like they are being cheated or bullied around.
Therefore I believe the sense of fairness within a game rule is the most important key in creating an engaging game, one that can be achieved only by considering players’ wishes and expectations.
In the last few weeks, Kummara had a wonderful opportunity to share our stories about designing games to the middle school students of Semi Palar in Bandung. It’s a class project, initiated by Kummara and the teachers. For the first week, our team brings some board games to the school, to introduce varieties of board game with unique gameplays. On the second week, we ask the students to make their own board games.
Soon after the initial meeting, the students make their own concept, some gameplay ideas and description about the games they want to make. Most of them don’t have a fixed idea on how to play it yet. So on the next meeting we ask them to get into groups of 4-5 students, according to the most similar game concepts, and discuss a more elaborated ideas about how they want the game to be played.
After a while, we gave them some blank components to make a prototype of their games and go directly into a play test session. Only after they tried to play it, they realized the problems in their game concepts. One of the groups now know that a trivia game has a tendency of repetition and low replayability, another one just realized that their designed track was actually too long, the one group making a dice game now understand the many possible outcomes of a dice roll, while the one creating an area occupation game found out that their game is actually too complicated and need to be simplified.
All these insights are instantly accessible once they’ve tried the prototype. We tend to think that designers always have a clear idea on how to bring their ideas to life, while it may not be the case. Even the best designers may come to a place when they realized that their ideas must be modified or even pushed aside to make way for a better ones, and the best way to find it out is by trying it out.
Sometimes, what matters most is not the “How” to accomplished a purpose, but “What” is the purpose itself. By trying the prototype, the students now have a better understanding on what to do next, it is to modify the gameplay in order to improve it, making it better. The purpose is still there, to create a game of their own, a good fun game that they imagined, but how the game will be played, might not be the way they wanted it in the first place. Nevertheless, I believe they will came out with many more great ideas in the next few weeks, and I’m eagerly looking forward to try the final prototype of their games.
Sunday afternoon, September 14, 2014, our CEO, Eko Nugroho shared about Designing Meaningful Game at Akademi Berbagi Bandung. The sharing is scheduled from 4pm – 5.30pm, but we ended at 6.00pm, because we had a great time with the audience. There are one student, he is still 15 years old, who eager to attend the sharing, and that was surprising us. And not only that, his parents also came.
Eko shared that we are now in gaming era, every element in our lives soon is a game. Game will be everywhere, and come from everywhere, and we can not hide from it. Many parents nbso online casino are still afraid about negative impact of games, but parents also can not always protect their children not to play games. Parent should learn about games, involve and play with our children, so they will know which game is good for their children.
As a game designer, what should we do in this gaming era. It is great if we can make meaningful game or game with good impact. Because game is a problem solving activity, approached with playful attitude.
Many game developer in others country make game not only for entertainment but for change: game for education, health care, game for therapy, fundraising etc. Why don’t we also try to make one.
How to make meaningful game? First, we have to play game seriously. Then, put in our heart, that we want to make a game so we can share something to others. Do research, learn from the expert about the content, and try to make it.
It is our time to give our children, our society more better game.
When creating a game especially for conventional game, like board & card game, sometimes we faced the limitation problem in rule, attributes, states space and medium. We can not automatized some process in conventional game like digital game.
But when we realized, this is not a problem in some reason. Sometimes this is a way to create a great game design. The simple game is the most hardest things, because we must balance these small things into a fine & playable game.
Limitation makes us more focus in objective of the game. It’s help us to explore and push our creativity to do more. That’s why we can find a out the great idea like out of the box concept and gameplay in board game with a simple mechanic.
There are many tittle of board games that got a Spiel des Jahres (game of the year) with a simple gameplay, like hanabi, dixit and many more. Do not trap to make a big game, but try to make a fine game with all that limitations. Small things can make a big difference.
The Sims might be one of the most well known game franchise in the world. Most of us have spent some of our working hours just to choose the right furnitures, dress, or hairstyle for those little fictional people with alien language. The title itself gave us a clear description of the whole purpose of the gameplay, it’s a SIMulation game.
What is the difference between a simulation and a game? According to a paper by Louise Sauvé in The Journal of Educational Technology & Society, we can distinguish simulation and game as two distinctive concepts, mainly from their attributes. Attributes of a game are : player or players, conflict, rules, predetermined goal of the game, and its artificial nature. While a simulation basically have different features, which are : a model of reality defined as a system; a dynamic model; a simplified model; and a model that has fidelity, accuracy and validity.
By these definitions, game and simulation have different purposes, a game have no obligation to take a real life model/system, which is mandatory in simulation. A simulation based on a real life model may have no conflict or predetermined goal (endless loop). So, in the end, a simulation game is actually a middle ground between the two distinctive concepts. A way to make sure a simulation more engaging by putting conflicts and goals, while learning and grabbing the system built from real life model will turn it into a simulation game. A game inspired by a real life model/system, adapting it into its gameplay will also leave us with the same thing.
This can be fun because you never know what’s going to happen. This also become contradictive between players, one hate throwing dice, but one thinks it is needed. Luck is introduced to add variety and difficulty to the game. Sometimes it can ruin your perfect plan, maybe you’ll get angry because the die you have thrown saying no. You can also get boring, because you don’t have to make any decisions about how you are playing the game. You don’t have to think about it, so you never become invested in the outcome. Sure, you still want to win, but ultimately you’re just along for the ride.
But on the other side, luck keeps you on your toes and, consequently, keeps you more engaged and interested. They also keep the game from becoming repetitive and stale, meaning you are much more likely to play it again later. Most designer games also involve luck, but to a much lesser degree. In these games, you also have to make decisions about what you will do on your turn. So larger doses of strategy are involved if the game has more option of actions.
Randomness, while anticipating the occurrence of new tiles or cards in the game, be it the player or the opponent’s, is also connected with a special type of emotion, totally different than the ones that we feel while anticipating opponent’s move. We know what may come to the opponent and what may come to us. But we don’t know when. Prepare a certain situation on the board, calculating in our heads the chances for drawing and playing more or less fortunate elements of the game in the upcoming turns. So, luck and randomness are flexible machine to overpower the opponent.
For this time I will explain more specifically about the character or monster design. Just like I said before, when developing a character you need to write it down everything that important to the character. Don’t forget to use some visual reference to help you optimizing the final visual output.
On the picture above you see an example of a character development sheet. This is one of my monster design for the card game, and as I told earlier that our target player is children, that’s why I did not make it too complex. The round shape is represents a dgfev online casino friendly and dynamic character. And the colour theme is red which is represents a bold or brave character. As for reference of course you can get it from anywhere as long as it helps and make sense to the development, and it can help you to argue with your team to make them easier to understand your intention of the character that you designed.
This method is applicable too for some other kind of creative process such as concept art for environment, story writing, product design, etc. To make sure that our character is well designed, go discuss it with others, get feedbacks, do trial and error and you’ll get what you need to bring the character to stand out.