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If it was my game: Game design theory

If it was my game!
Game Design theory by Chris Watts

I love the title. What a selfish and overstated comment to begin with.

Ok, to be fair. Not my game, my games design. Because in truth a game is not done by 1-10 people anymore. It takes a dedicated team of men and woman and of many varying skill sets to create a quality game. But we all know this already.

Ok. Consider this a theoretical situation. And coming from a man with no inside experience try your best not to laugh too hard at the mistakes I?m probably going to make.

The crap has been dealt with:
To prelude the game and game design. And because this will probably be the first thing that will be shoot down. The team of 30 in my imaginary studio are a solid and a mostly experienced team [save 5 junior newbees] We have enough money to develop one game for now. The publisher is already found and giving support. In other words: The company is well enough established to be given the trust to produce one game that will go on main distributors selves. But doesn?t have enough reputation to make games with ease.

So. This team has been given its big chance to make a mainstream game? Well the first thing to ask is obvious. Before even the game idea is put onto paper.

What are you going to develop on?

PC seems to an answer. And it's good when you?re just starting up and making simpler puzzle games and ?quick play? games. But anything mainstream now on a PC has to be a MMO or highly multiplayer of some sort. [Exceptions given to blizzard games] And lets face it; this company nether has the money or time to make one of those. [I find this one of the real life pitfalls of aussie wannabe designers, Their all hell bent on making an MMO of some sort thinking they can make millions on it. Guys, Just focus on growing.]

So PC is a bad idea for this company. And for out team size it's not a good option to develop on the PS3 ? XBOX360 ? Wii for the obvious reason that you just don?t have the time or money. Developing on current systems is also a risky no no. Even if we got the game out in 12 months the next gens will take the spotlight.

The answer then is obvious.

Make a game for the PSP. The PSP is your best option to go in most aspects. With near PS2 graphics you have quite a few advantages; the experienced artists and programmers on your team will find working on this platform familiar and feasible. The game in question can be made much cheaper and quicker then your PS3 game. Also with the focus on the PSP being more your cleverness of design and code then just being an eye candy fest consider the PSP to be the best option.

The Nintendo DS can be considered as well. And if your company is more geared towards it then develop on it. But remember in the western sector it doesn?t hold a candle of popularity to the PSP. If your going to make a DS game it better be bloody brilliant or appeal to the eastern sector.

So we have decided on making the game on PSP. But what would make a fun PSP game?

There are many factors. Consider the hardware. A small handheld device that can be played on the most battery guzzling game for around 3 hours. Also your gamer is casual. He/she will probably be only playing your game at most 2 hours at a time and usually a lot less. To this end the PSP game should be able to be played in at most. 30min segments and the player should have the ability to save when he likes.

Reply value is also a key factor. Home console games have the luxury of unlimited player time. A home console game could be as long as 20 hours without the need to reply things.

PSP games are different. Take the game Daxter for example. A great game, many well designed and fun to play levels. But none the less you can finish this game in almost half the time it takes you to finish Jak3. It's value lies in collecting red orbs to unlock features and secrets.

Those developers played the game design card of ?Possession.? And you should to when designing a game for this platform.

Possession is when the player is able to finish the game with limited upgrades and equipment. But if he is offered incentives to explore the levels thoroughly and reply them once he has new skills and items that allow him to do things he couldn?t when he played the level the first time around, then if it's worth his interest of course he will go back to play the level.

The key for that design principle is to give the player a rightful reward for collecting and being so kind as to reply those hard worked on levels. This means not giving him the best gun at 50% item completion and a crappy alternative credits at 100%

The pace of a PSP game varies. But the popular selling ones seem to be played at a fast pace. Weather it be a puzzle game or a hack and slash or a racing game. [Please for the love of god don?t another racing game for the PSP. 5 came out in the first month.]

Make the game ?Arcade Style? You can still give the game a deep story and customization features that make a game more in-depth. But say you have characters killing enemies. Well. Give him a score and points for each enemy they kill. Convert the score to money/credits so he can buy new weapons with. It's not all that complex.

As a designer. You got to be able to think not just logically. But be able to improvise as well. Take the PSP and analyze it as a controller opposed to the PS2 design. Your missing 4 buttons [L2, R2, Analog stick button Left and right] and an analog stick. In other words and this might hurt some of you. A first person shooter isn?t going to go down well on this system. You need 2 analog sticks for that. The Game ?Coded Arms? Attempted it and failed badly in terms of control.

Click the link for the button layouts.

You can still have a shooter. Just not in the first person view. And levels in first person shooters are usually long and detailed. Not the best idea for a PSP game.

Also keep the graphic specs of the PSP in hand as well. Games on this system allows less ploy count then a PS2. But gives more room for textures and effects. The game you design will have to take advantage of this. Also the UMD disc is not as big as a DVD by any stretch of the imagination.

You have one advantage graphically though. The screen is on your controller. Not on a TV so keeping that in mind if your smart about your art style and effects you can make an impressive looking 3D game.

Wow. 1,100 words and I haven?t even got to the game idea yet. Let this be a measure of how much you really need to prepare and think things through before you put pen to paper on your design.

So then. What kind of game to make?

The team is important for this. You should really have the same kind of likes in games. If your all sporting nuts make a sports game. If you?re all into fantasy games. Make one. I know it doesn?t always work this way but if I can be helped?

Not only will you enjoy making it more, but also you, being an avid fan of the genre will know much more about what it is and what makes a good game.
You can still be just as versatile as ever in designing on different genres. Just don?t work on a football game if you have no care or knowledge of the sport. While admittingly not everyone on your team will work on the same wave leanth try to sort out something that no one will loathe to make.

For me. I want to make something a little different. It's hard to explain but if I were to sum it up it would be pitched as.

?Tactical isometric 3D adventure with Arcade style play and multiple playable characters.?

The game will be fully rendered in 3D with pixel art only being used for icons and the Heads up display. The focus artistically is to be colorful and to show action in a dynamic kind of way. A kind of 1980s dark style cartoon. Textures and effects are to be utilized as much as possible and LOVs [level of detail] will be put in place to manage processor performance.

If your still having trouble visualising. think of fallout or X-com. That kind of style but more fast paced and realtime.

[img] map.jpg[/img]

The main focus on this game however is its gameplay. Fast paced but also utilizing characters with different skills, the game is both a blast-em-up and a tactical thinker. The main issue is to let the player play how he would like to. Ether to be stealthy or go in guns blazing. A good game is a game where the player can do more then you can conceive to predict. We are in the business of entertaining. So if he wants to cheat his way through. Give him a means to. However. Offer rewards to those who do things all the way through.

This game has 4 controllable characters. Each one having an important purpose to the gameplay. Each one is controlled by one of the 4 main buttons on the right pad. To that end their Logos and colour style is in tune to that of the 4 buttons on a PS controller.

It's simple. The games main character is an assault rifle user. Her purpose game wise is to be your grunt. Able to take out enemies with her rapid-fire weapon you?ll be using her in both the battlefield and in close quarters. Her logo is the pink square.

The Mole is your demolitions expert. His weapon is ether a rocket launcher or Bazooka however you look at it. He also carries a nice assortment of grenades. He is your heavy weapon character. Able to take out many at once and obstacles here and there. But he can only carry so many shells of ammo at once. And his ammo hard to come by as well. So he is your ?blow shit up? character. But doesn?t have unlimited ammo like your assault rifle character. He is the Green Triangle.

The bat character. The red circle is your scout character. Armed with two blades that also double as two silenced pistols he is used to sneak up and take out enemies with minimal detection. His other skills is the ability to fly for a while giving a bigger line of sight. And later on in the game he gets sonic vision that is basically X-ray vision. Good for when inside buildings.

Lastly the mouse that holds the blue X symbol. She is your technical character. While weak in armor and not having a very good weapon her strength lies in her skills. Battle wise. She is able to drive vehicles and mechanized battle bots. The other 3 characters tag along as she can use the vehicles weapons systems.
She is also able to use consoles and access locks to open doors and gates.


Each one of these characters is important to the game play value as they all do something the other characters can?t. This makes the player have to learn and think about how to approach each level and situation. Does he use stealth to take out the guards at the gate control? Or does he blast them away with grenades, coursing more to come. Does he want more to come to get a higher score? Or does he want to complete the secondary objective of not being detected?

This is for the player to choice. We as designers have to let the player have their options. The storyline might be linear. But that doesn?t mean the game play has to be.

Stories are vitally important to today's adventure games. But does not take prescient over game play. Remember this. Making dialogue and animated sequences come much later into production then making a game play prototype of a level to show to a publisher or the press.

Stories are vitally important, but game play is the start and end of the game. It's what the player ?plays?

In this game design. The focus is put into objectives. The primary objective is always the event that will complete the level. Secondary objectives will give the player extra score points which in turn turns into money that the player uses at his base to upgrade and fit new weapons, tools and armor to the characters. However it's important to let the player be totally able to finish the primary objective without even considering the second.

Objectives can very from level to level [and so they should. Doing the same thing at the end of every level quickly gets boring.] It can be as simple as getting from Point A to Point B. Blowing up something. Obtaining something, Clearing the area of hostiles, Save prisoners and civilians. Guarding a curtain area for so long.

Variety is important to. But don?t try to make the game a chore to play. For example: The levels primary mission is to guard a small child in a building from enemy troops. You can play this out in two ways.

? Bad idea:
To have the characters walk the child to a waiting APC vehicle. Making your objective a ?walking target.? In my experience these levels in games are a chore to play. Mostly due to the fact that enemies pop up from everywhere and get at lest a hit on your target before you can take them out. Worst-case scenario the player repeats this segment of the level a few times. Wasting his time [this is even worse for a handheld!] And frustrating him. Making him feel like an idiot.

? Good idea:
Have the child stay inside the building and have the four characters guard her until an APC arrives to pick her up. Giving the characters a multiple Varity of position points. From guarding the door to the balconies to shooting from the top of the roof. Give the player a lot of choice and make it fun. When the enemies start to get laid on thick have the APC come from nowhere and saving the day. Bring doom to the enemy and getting your objective into the door. [Imagine the back of an APC smashing into the doorway into the building and giving the child no way to get shoot at.]

Difficulty of the game is also a factor of importance. Make the game to easy and no one will bother to play it as it's ?below? him or her. [Them being our intended target audience, which is 15 ? 30] And if the game is to hard to fast then the player feels belittled and stupid. Which is the pitfall of any design. [Design is to make things functional and in games, fun. If your game only customs for the elite you?re not making a game. You?re making a power trip.]

For a game like this where the player will be doing many small missions where the max time should be no more then 15-20 minutes play on one level. Difficulty can be managed from easy to challenging in the way of ranks.

Say your team of four characters starts of with an ?E? rank. E ranked teams only get called out for defensive missions. Each time the player completes a level he is given ?rank points? and these points go towards moving into a new rank. New ranks open up new styles of missions and different objectives. And each new rank can take the player to a different area of the battle zone

The rank system would be like so:

?E? rank
No points needed
Training difficulty
: Home front defense
: Keep the enemy out of the defense outposts.
: Clear the area of enemies.

?D? rank
10 points needed
Easy difficulty
? Clear the area of enemies.
? Destroy the enemy outposts.
? Destroy enemy equipment.

?C? rank
40 points needed
Moderate difficulty
? Clear the area of enemies.
? Destroy enemy outposts.
? Capture enemy outposts.
? Guard a curtain area for so long.

?B? rank
100 points needed
Moderate/intermediate difficulty
? Clear the area of enemies.
? Rescue prisoners and civilians.
? Capture enemy outposts.
? Guard a curtain area for so long.

?A? rank
160 points needed
Hard difficulty.
? Rescue prisoners and civilians.
? Sabotage the enemy's outposts.
? Capture enemy outposts and bases.
? Scout/Recon the unknown areas.
? Take out enemy resourseing operations.
? Take out influential enemies.

?S? rank
230 points needed.
Very hard difficulty
? Take out influential enemies.
? Take out generals and big bosses.
? Take out fortresses and strongholds.
? Rescue important allies.
? Destroy the main head base [final mission.]

With this in place the player gets an ongoing variety of levels but also cradled into the varying degrees of difficulty. Experienced players who get extremely high scores will be able to jump from rank E to C. As rank D is easy to handle.

The enemies are an important part of gameplay as well. The enemy is what the player must identity as the negative force. Whether this is the ghost from Pac-Man or the terrorists from black. They are what you?re fighting.

For this game. I don?t think blasting fellow flesh bags would be the most capital idea. We want to take advantage of the particle systems and use as little polygons as possible. The answer for this is easy enough.


Machine solders. Rigid and menacing looking wolfs. Emotionless and calculating beings that want nothing more then to comply with their given orders. This fills a few holes as well game wise. Their AI doesn?t need to be elegant enough to backup that their alive, because their not. Being robots polys can be lower as smooth surfaces aren?t needed. No need for these robots to bleed. And there removal from the map can be instilled via explosion effects.

So game play wise you have a direction on where you want to go with game. Its main feature is to keep being entertaining through fast passed action yet having a slight tactical flavor.

So then. What about the story?

You think to yourself sometimes, how important is a story to a game? Does it need to be complex with multiple directions and paths to take? Or simple and stupid that no man on earth couldn?t relate.

The answer is this. Games aren?t stories. But stories are a useful enhancement tool to compliment the game IF the game needs and allows for it.

Some games need no real story. Katamari Dynasty is immensely fun but its story is so half assed and half-baked that it merits really nothing to the game. But nonetheless, the game is quite fun.

On the other spectrum. Final Fantasy 7 was made popular through its storyline and adventures. It was really the first game of it's kind to try so hard to compel its audience. And it did just that.

For this game design. There is indeed a compelling storyline. It focuses around the main character. The pink gunner. Jess Cudi and her quest for revenge against the enemy, which has no real face to her.

Quick Backstory:

Jess Cubi was a very unlucky child. At the age of seven she and her family, like a million others on that day fell victim to the event now known as the ?great bombing.? Without a second of notice the entire capitol city of Lappi was bombed to the ground by a new and unknown enemy later to the identified as the wolfs from the north.

Jess barely survived the nightmare. Found a few days later barely alive by a rescue and recovery squad. She has been injured so badly that she would spend the next 2 months in intensive care. Losing half of her left hand to infection and her left eye. Her parents where killed and no one claimed her as a relative.

Once out of the hospital she was moved in deeper into the country, deemed that the war to come wasn?t for the eyes of the young to behold. Placed into an orphanage she was greeted by the owners with open arms. They where supportive. But lacked love.

Years would slowly trickle by. At first the young bunny was optimistic that a new loving family would replace and fill the hole in her heart. But no one ever choose her. Their where sweeter, nicer, and in tact children for the couples to take home. Who would want a broken little girl?

The hole in her heart grew. Jess would accept at the age of 14 that happiness was not for her. She would stop speaking to others.

At 16 the depressed and dark girl decided that it was time for her to leave this world. That there was nothing left for her to give and that she would end her pain. But, to honor her old mother and feather she would visit the area she used to live. The area she was to scared to ever go back. It didn?t matter now. It was to be her last act.

Arriving at the site. The clouds polluted and dark from the by-product of the bombs. No one has dared rebuild over this city. It stood in total ruin like the bombs has only fallen yesterday. The air was filled with death. Reaching down into the earth she would hold ashes that still seemed to burn in the one hand life had spared her with.

It was strange. For the first time in her life a new emotion filled her. It was strong, cold and raw, blinding to the senses. It was Anger. Anger and hate as she looked around the ruins that was once a city. So many died, and for what? nothing?.

The Anger and hate was new to her. No longer did she feel sadness inside. The lupine woman knew what she had to do.

Now at almost 10 years into the war the nations where taking anyone they could. Males, females, ages where lied about as 16 year old men looking for adventure passed as 18 year olds. And most of all. They started to take in victims. Claiming that if you where willing to give your life to the Nations then you would have your body rebuilt to useable standards. And that's exactly what they did to Jess.

After intense surgery and 3 months of healing the young woman had a new left eye and a mechanical left arm. And now started an almost 2 year long training program. Being so easy to co-operate with instructors and following orders Jess wasn?t send out into the war after initial training. Chosen to be a ?pink gunner? one of only a few elite women who had the skills to kill without hesitation.

Now at 18 years old she stands on the battlefield. Her heart and soul devoid of love. She would hold her weapon tightly in her hand. For now it was her only friend.

Game Storyline Synopses:

The prelude story sounds very dark. Visually not as much. Violent and gory scenes aren?t displayed and simply isn?t my style. We know she loses her eye and arm, we know she goes through surgery pain. We don?t need it to be visually illustrated and in fact it would probably serve well not to.

The games ongoing storyline has a large-scale story and a personal story that intertwines. This is done to give the player a sense of both change in the people that he plays and the world around him. As all things do. In real life nothing stays the same. And events shape our world. The players? efforts and events outside the player control should affect the game world as well.

On the whole game world level story. The allied Nations of animals are fighting these machine like wolfs. But they are yet to know the identity behind these machines. It was conceived at first that the machines where somehow sentient. But through examination and analyzing it came to realization that the wolfs where always remote controlled from somewhere and someone. So the question arose to where these wolfs came from and who was their puppet masters?

Through the exploits of Jess and her team and the help of others the Allied Nations realize that the beings controlling the wolfs where not of this earth. Pale and furless creatures with immense technological and telekinetic powers, referring themselves to be ?Who-min? through best translation.

As Jess's team digs deeper and deeper into this mystery they find out to their shock that the world they live on was not made naturally and that they where nothing more then part of a greater experiment. That with a sway of the Who-mins hand their planet could be wiped to ashes. That this war and how it would play out would decide the fate of the entire world.

With Jess and her team reaching the main headquarters of the wolfs metal empire the attention of both sides are focused on the sole four. The Allied nations knew failure would mean destruction from the aliens. And the Who-mins have keen interest. Seeing how strong and how far these mortal beings will go to save their world.

They secured and destroyed the main telepathic array. Cutting the link off to the wolfs. An airy silence is around the world. This must anger the aliens above their world. But nothing happens. And the Who-mins seem to never make contact with the world again. Jess and her team knowing they had earned their right to exist in the universe. Whether or not they where created from another plan.

The personal story is far less epic. It revolved around Jess's perception of the world around her. When the game starts she is nothing but a cold killer. Saying very little and executing her orders without hesitation. Almost madly eager to take out any who get in her path. In her second mission the Pink Gunner regiment gets ambushed by advanced wolfs. Most get killed. Jess is barely able to escape the hellfire and once again is trapped under rubble. But she wakes in friendly hands. A regiment of privates and low grades had rescued her from capture and took it upon themselves to bandage her wounds. Never feeling such compassion towards her she smiles faintly for the first time. But suppresses herself and stays cold. Accepting to follow them around until she meets up with more elites to join with.

It's in this group that she would meet with the other 3 members. A cocky and confident bat. A timid yet brilliant mouse. And an easygoing and almost mystical mole. All professional and experts in their field even though considered ?lower class? due to order and personality issues. Jess would find that they would make a great team. And with the general seeing this in action to he would have them created into a specialty group.

The team of four would do many great deeds for the nations. Retaking areas that where deemed impossible to enter. Rescuing captives and refugees. They would become a popular role model and poster-men/woman for the Nations Armies.

But for Jess. Something else was happening. The hardened woman's cold heart was starting to melt away. From both the assistance of her new friends who she came to depend on now and the emotions brought out of her from seeing other victims of war.

Through these exploits Jess comes to realize that her new team is her family now. They support and care for her, and in turn she starts to care for them deeply.

From start to finish of the game Jess Cudi turns from a conditioned killing machine to a real mature and caring woman. She learns what it means to live for tomorrow and for others.

The story starts on a low and ends on a high. Which are the way most comic stories apply them. The tragedy and sorrow begins at the story. And personally I think running sorrow and ?the hell of war? through out the entire game is just depressing. He have enough real life issues that get us down. We don?t always need it imitated.

Game design is a complex process. While a lot is up to the imagination of the designer and how well they can make the design work. A lot of the process requires knowledge of the many different disciplines required to make a game. A suss of what will and wont work while still trying to be highly innovative.

Designing isn?t easy. Nether is any other job in the industry though. So the feeling of difficulty is probably mutual. Everything stated here is very vague. But none the less I wanted to give an idea of what things should be considered when making your first store distributed game. Although with no experience the validity of some of this material is probably bogus. But I?m going on what I know.

Anyways. Hope you enjoyed the read.


Submitted by Soul on Fri, 16/06/06 - 12:40 AMPermalink

Wow, that was a long post - good effort.

Firstly, may I suggest that story is not so distant from gameplay as you might think. In fact, story has a great influence over gameplay - it has the power to motivate the player, and shape their decisions, so as a designer you should be aware of this and exploit it.

Some small gripes with your interface - I would suggest that the Square button also pauses the game and brings up a targeting reticle, as the player will probably not always be facing the right direction. This is more consistent with the rest of your control scheme. Also, you may want to ask WHY your character has to run out of ammo....

Also, and this is a personal preference, your Stance button is taking control away from the player in terms of shooting accuracy. A good game should try to avoid "dice-rolling" as much as possible, as it is difficult for the player to perceive the result of his/her actions.

Lastly, it would be good to see some descriptions of levels and actual game segments, so it would be easier to understand how your systems interact (as it stands, the actual challenges the player will face are a little undefined.)

OK, that's enough from me for now... hope I've given you a little bit to think about. Keep up the good work - you're certainly on the right track with your design work.

Before20 project - Issue three - weeks 7&8



Please refur back to issue one to get a sum up of why I'm doing this project.

Production week 7:

Defiantly a slow and not very productive week. I think I see a pattern forming up here. Productive week and then unproductive week.

Not really a design week I guess. More a production week. I made five small static meshes. All of which is to help out with assembling the gunroom into a usable and nice looking area. Currently minus a hologram screen the cannon room is coming along quite well.


As you can see for what I?ve done so far I?ve tried to keep consistency in concept to production in terms of placement. But as you can see I made quite a move on the control hub. The reason for this is that it's new position the player can see the gun clearly exit into space. So in the case I don?t have time to animate a movie clip of the gun firing I can have the player watch it from a clear view. In other words. It's a backup.

Since a lot wasn?t done this week though I should take this time to show you my basic blue print on the level as a whole. Something that while I did before even touching unrealED I haven?t shown you all yet.


This box format shows you how many rooms and of what size they?re to be. It's a good measure of my level as a whole. I have also made a lot of small sketches based around each room. But they?re messy and unprofessional at best so I?ll spare the readers pictures of those.

Production week 8:

This week was what I guess you could call a moderately productive week. I didn?t touch Maya or UnrealED. It was a week of solid concept art.

The focus was on characters. Mainly the character you play as. I started out by dedicating a page to just scribbles and ideas. Sketches and such. The purpose of this is to just play around with my idea. Try to improve on the pictures in my head.


As you can see my design for the main character Lu. He's a worker. An engineer on board the ship. He wears the colour bright yellow. An engineering colour. Magnetic boots to make sure he stays on the ground if the artificial gravity of the ship he's in fails. On his left arm he has a tool bracer, which houses a few small and useful tools to override circuits and repair small problems. His right arm has a communicator and com system bracer. However Lu has modified it to also monitor and maintain his human form.

While he is obviously sized up and looks like a hero he also has that ?real man? appearance.

I?ve set up a web page, which hosts the concept art, and some other bits and pieces of the before20 project:

A lot has been happening outside of the project and sadly it's not good news. In fact it has been negatively hindering the production of my folio.

I?ll try to make this not sound like a bad drama. But. My family and I are getting evicted from our house. Not because we were bad tenets and didn?t pay the rent. Nope. The house I currently live in is deemed so low on living standards [no air con , broken heater , bad hot water service and no heating through-out the house.] that we have been kicked out so they can repair it. Given 60 days to find a new home and move. It's not much time when it comes down to the fierce competition that is Melbourne rental estate. I live with my younger brother and father. And my old man is getting on his years and is just really starting to feel the wear and tear my sister and mother have bestowed on him. [Long story to put short. They both screwed him and me over hugely.]

Due to this stress and the need to help my family out more I?ve bit the bullet and applied around to the Melbourne studios to see if anyone is willing to take on a junior designer. Though with my current skill level I?d be lucky to get critique back on my application. Also the tightness of the industry and the closure of some companies don?t help my chances. But I gotta give everything a shot once.

If nothing comes of it I?ll simply reapply when the folio is completed in a few months.

Anyways. Any production is better then no production. So until next time I hope you all keep working at your goals as well.

Submitted by azmodai on Tue, 01/08/06 - 10:45 PMPermalink

It's amazing to see someone put so much effort into their reel. Really quite uplifting to see someone with so much dedication.

If you ever want some assistance or advice with level & game designing using unreal, feel free to give me a bell.

Submitted by Caroo on Wed, 02/08/06 - 12:13 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by azmodai

It's amazing to see someone put so much effort into their reel. Really quite uplifting to see someone with so much dedication.

If you ever want some assistance or advice with level & game designing using unreal, feel free to give me a bell.

Thank you very much mate. The kind words are always well received. I came to the conclusion some time ago that if I really wanted in the game industry. I would have to show how dedicated and head strong I was to get into it. Thus they I?ve been so passionate about this folio.

Your support is also well received. If I ever get stuck on anything I?ll give you a buzz.

Before20 project - Issue two - weeks 5&6



Please refur back to issue one to get a sum up of why I'm doing this project.

Production: Week five.

Well I have to admit this week hasn?t been very productive for my video game folio. This has been for two reasons. Reason one is that it's the Easter holiday and between coles wanting work and Easter being..well..easter!. High production was just not meant to be. The bigger problem however is that I just brought myself a PSP with medieval and Megaman Maverick HunterX [An awesome remake of megamanX] and my free time has been dedicated to this amazing little pocket PS2.

I was able to get a few small things done however. I focused on the corridor between the 2nd and 3ed rooms of my folio level. The interesting thing about this corridor is that it was a diagonal traveling elevator. The thing that makes this elevator a small challenge is that I made it on an odd angle. Therefore placing the meshes couldn?t be done with a simple paste and place. Rotating and placing the parts in piece-by-piece was needed. And while it all worked out. This serves me to remember that more organic level design [corridors and rooms that don?t exactly append to the rules of north-east-south-west come at the price of time. And time in this industry is just as important as money.

I made 4 static meshes this week. Both used as movers [movers are static meshes designed to move. Like doors and elevators.] One of these movers was a small door and the outlining mesh it goes into.


The other mover was the elevator. Before you I?ve given an example on exactly how I go about making these meshes. This one took a little while longer to do then most because I spent a while trying to get the right texture look to it. I?m pleased with the result. But I know most novice modelers can do much better. The elevator is 160 tris and uses a 512x512 map. I used such a big map because the elevator will be enlarged later on in the game. I recycled the simple system offline/online texture for the control panel. There is importance in everything. And recycling textures is one of them.


I guess the last thing I can show you for now is a little sum up picture of what has been done so far in UnrealED. Before you you?ll see 2 main rooms and 2 corridors. It looks busy and packed in now but remember these meshes are only the necessary ones. The decorative meshes come in later. I do hope keeping the texture and ploy sizes low will pay off for performance in the end.


Production: Week six

You know the feeling you get when you look to your work for the week. And while it looks like a fair deal of work, you think you could?ve been more productive.

This week was one of those. I focused my time on two things this week.

The first item only took a day to get done. And that was to make a video recording of the life support room for all you to view and laugh at. This required downloading a screen capture program that can capture it in real time and convert it to AVI file. While I found one for free that would do as I desired. A few more hours were spent messing around with different recording codex to suss out what worked the best. In the end I figured out how the DivX codex is used and got my frame rate of the movie up to 14 frames a second. Opposed to the 3-? frames I got with window's standard codex so 10 points to me in that respect.

OMG INGAME MOVIE: 10meg ? 3 mins

Please save and watch this video - it's an AVI with a DivX codec

Disclaimer: This level is by no means finished or polished off. It's only completed in basic game play and has enough assets inside of it to function its purpose. There are many errors still needing to be repaired and fixed. So please. No tearing the movie clip apart.

The second item I did this week was the making of the left cannon rooms main guns. The gun. And the power supply for the gun took me quite a while to lay out the UV co-ordinates and to texture right. I know the texturing skill shown is pretty below standard but I only get a few hours to do the big textures and an hour or less for the smaller ones. Nonetheless I?m happy with this gun. Sci-fi fans will point out he similarities to the tips of this gun and the SDF-1 cannons.

The gun was made in five pieces. Four of those are movable in the game world [called simply enough ? movers] the advantage of using movers in the game world is that you can have simple step-by-step animation without the use of IK joints or Animation imports into unreal. This gives designers and level builders an effective way of implementing movable doors, elevators, and in this case a moving weapon.



I haven?t got around to animating it yet. That will be next weeks big goal I believe. Hopefully next months update you?ll be able to see a movie clip of this big gun room in action.


I think for the four weeks this update has covered I have done well over 100 hours work on this folio [and saved it to a flash drive many times to.] but all in all I?ve really only made 2 corridors and 1 ? main rooms. This tells me one important thing.

Making a game requires the skill and knowledge of many different artists, designers and programmers. No one can function to a full potential without the other filling in his weaknesses. And it's preferable to have people with different skill sets. To put this in example. It would be optimal to have 3 kinds of designers in your team. One who excels at game design document writing? One who has a solid knowledge of programming and therefore doesn?t need terms dumbed down to him when talking to the team of programmers. And a designer with solid knowledge of the art components of game production for the same reason as the program designer. With these 3 types working together and with the rest of the team a lot can be done and communication would be clear. IF!! It's not a battle of egos.

In the next few months I also hope to show some teamwork. I cannot make this mod all by myself. [Well one man can a mod but it would end up being quite uninspiring as a game. No one can do everything.] Therefore my plan is to draw up some detailed character and enemy designs and get someone, hopefully an art student to make these characters and animate them. For me that gives me both content for the folio and a way of showing teamwork. For the artist it gives him something extra he can put his name to on his resume. It's a Win-Win situation.

The target for next month will be to get this gunroom finished and to make some progress on room4 ? the living area of the ship. So much needs to be done. But I?m hopeful this will impress others. The beauty of these monthly updates is that by recording what I do all this work will be able to help other budding designers get a grasp on what they can do to raise their chances of getting a job. While they might be competition for me. It's in the best interests for the country at large to help each other out.

Till next time. Cheers!

Asset tally:

Static meshes made*: 44
*This does not include meshes that have been replaced by better ones.

Textures made*: 68
*Animated textures only count as one each even though there are multiple textures. Textures no longer used are also not counted.

Scripted sequences*: 8
*Scripted sequences are using events and objects to make interesting interactive elements into a game. Do not mistake it as programming

As always; Opinions and critique is encouraged guys. If you have something you want to say just to me please forward it to or else just post it in this forum.

Thank you for your time. .

Submitted by J I Styles on Mon, 24/04/06 - 8:10 PMPermalink

good to see you focusing more on design (both gameplay flow and level design) - last weeks instalment I was wondering if you where deviating too much into asset creation and losing focus on your desing goal, so it's good to see you're sticking to your objective. [:)]

keep going, great to see your thoughts evolving!

Submitted by Morphine on Mon, 24/04/06 - 9:58 PMPermalink

I'm liking what I'm seeing.
Keep up the great job Caroo, I'll be interested how it turns out :)

Before20 project - Issue two - weeks 3&4



Please refur back to issue one to get a sum up of why I'm doing this project.

Production: Week three.

This week while being productive in some ways was also quite short. I only really had 3 days to work on the project. My Wednesday was taken up by a driving lesson and a quick call up from work denied me the chance to effort on it later in the day. Thursday was only half productive due to me going out to get some necessities. And Saturday was spent making some new friends and meeting some faces at the Melbourne Chapter IGDA gathering, then the rest of that day was spent at work.

I did however get a few small things done. A few concept arts and two static meshes with full texturing. While it doesn?t sound like a lot these two meshes where so far the most complex I?ve had to make so far. Each one being around 350 polygons and having 512x512 textures. Plus a few animated textures for the consoles.

Hopefully I can get more done next week.



Production: Week four:

What a week! To say the least I?ve gotten a lot of work done. But I better start on somewhere.

The total focus of this week was the same as last week. Room no 2. Or known as the ?life support? room. I don?t know the hours I?ve pulled this week. But it's somewhere between 45-50 focused on this project. I?m a little annoyed that even though I?ve pulled so much time into doing this one area it's STILL not finished. But this has given me an appreciation to single-player level builders. Everything needs a sound effect. Everything needs thought put into it. While you get faster with experience. Level building seems to be something you just can?t rush?

One thing I have to draw attention to this week is the main visual asset of the room. The ?Life Support Control Hub? This mesh I believe is a great benchmark of an understanding of the art of asset creation in basics. I?m not referring to the quality of this asset. In comparison to the efforts of a real game artist it's poor. But take a second to analyze the different texturing and modeling techniques used to give this asset its overall appeal to the player:


As you can see a good deal goes into just one asset, and this has excluded sounds as well. A few other meshes where made. The floor under the life support hub is a mesh with an alpha texture. I also made the wall and ceiling textures, which I am quite happy with. Here's an example:


The second part of this week was spent scripting the large sequence that was to be the feature of this room. Following the outline I make on my ?game play overview document.? For this room I drew up a basic plan of what was going to be needed and included into making this segment a reality.

The game play over view:

Point two: Restoring Life Support.

Location: Life Support room.

As Lu enters the dark and damaged room he?d look to the main console, one of only a few still lit up. It showed alarming statistics. The ship only had a few minutes of air left unless the leakages could be centralised and sealed up. The player now has to do a series of tasks in order to preserve enough life support for the survivors. These include pressing a few buttons on consoles. Once the sequences are done right the air is saved and the ship has a few more hours of live support ensured. With this done the door to go onwards is opened and Lu can proceed.

[img] con one.jpg[/img]

After making the needed visual and audio assets it was time to start compiling the scripted sequence. The whole process took me around two days. One day spent in trial and error refining the script and events until it was playable. Being the Concept artist, Asset maker, Level designer, Audio man and QA guy I can clearly see where the 45 hours have gone.


So. There are still a few more little things I have to do. But all in all I think I?ve done quite well so far. It's not the best looking folio you?ll see. But it's including as many different production aspects as possible.

As always; Opinions and critique is encouraged guys. If you have something you want to say just to me please forward it to or else just post it in this forum.

Thank you for your time. .

Submitted by nexx on Tue, 25/04/06 - 6:07 AMPermalink

That's one long ScriptedTrigger setup! Have you considered breaking it up into several shorter ones? Not that it really matters, and you've already got it setup and working. I hated the damn things tho [:p]

Project is looking good [:)]

Before20 project - Issue one.

*** Caroo - I moved this topic to the design section due to it being more relevant here. ***

The ?Before20? project: Creating a design folio.

Current update: Production Week 2 [ 26th /3/2006 ]

The Quick Sum-up of this project.

The before20 project is the name given to my folio. While the folio will contain some concept art and design documents. The main bulk/work/attraction to this folio when it's completed will be a fully playable single player level using the unreal2004 engine. [For those who do not have unreal2004 a video showing it played out with and without background commentary will be provided on folio DVD when complete.]

The Single Player level is designed totally by the folio maker and he's striving to put as many of his own made assets into the level. The storyline is small but meaningful enough to drive the game with a sense of purpose.

I want to become a game or level designer. Both are good although my skills lean toward game designer more so. Listening to the advice of other designers in the industry I aim to make a folio that has as many tangible assets as it does documents and concept arts. But is this really nessercry for a budding designer?

Probably not in the requirement sector. But it shows something that so many in the industry want. Passion. I?m not going to call it talent [because talent is natural ability: I spent a month doing and compressing 500 pages of unreal and Maya tutorials into 40 odd pages of notes. I have passion and skill. Not talent]

With this level completed and showing enough passion for a game designer to learn modeling, texturing, level design and creating scripted sequences I hope to god that it?ll be enough to turn one or two heads and someone in this industry to give me the big break I want.

To put it simply. I aim to learn and earn my way into this industry.

My real name is Chris Watts. I?m currently 19 years old. [Thus the name before20] I?m an aussie who has a passion for video games, Good anime and American cartoons. Transformers and robots. Sci-fi and all those other nerdy things. I currently live in eastern rural Melbourne with my father and brother.

I?m by no means a genius in any way, shape or form. My VCE score was a meager 62.20 [reduced from 75 though. That's what you get for taking design in school XD]

I love stories that go and teach us something. A enjoy seeing the good guy win and the bad guy getting his retribution. My pet peeve is serial killer and some ?Psychological thriller? movies, as I both hate watching people die for someone else's entertainment and I have a phobia of seeing people's entrails?

This folio is to be done right in my own home using a computer I brought with about 3 months of saved up money. Learning from books, internet tutorials and the advice of experienced individuals on forums I plan to make a folio that's up to par and if not better then others studying at the expensive courses. This is not done in spite or dislike of these courses. But I?m just trying to show that through self-motivation and passion to get better you CAN do it on your own.

Also there's no way in hell I can afford those things. XD

So with the introduction finished it's best to tell you how the project is coming along.

Production: Week One:

With the tutorials and preparations done it was time that I would start to make this folio into something more tangible. I hit a bump in the road to begin with. The static mesh [meshes that are used for decoration and/or non animated] exporter from maya or unrealED was buggy and didn?t export the meshes correctly. While I sought advice on a few forums I would make myself useful and start to curve out the rooms I would be populating with items in unreal. Making these rooms is done with BSB brushes. Using ad and subtract buttons you can make any type of room you really want depending on your skill. The only two rules to follow is to make sure no BSB brush cuts into another and to keep the rooms in 16 unit segments, preferable to the power of two.


While I did this for a week or so I finally came across my solution to my static mesh problem. After installing another version of Maya and a new exporter [ActorX] the meshes came into unreal looking just the same as in Maya.

Production: Week two:

With ? of my level carved out in BSB and temporary textures in place it was time I started to create some assets. Starting with the simplest thing possible I made a floor segment:

While crudely textured and not a very pritty mesh it was my first successful import. This was made on Monday 20th/3. On Saturday however I improved upon it and made a new mesh.


TIP: As I viewed the original mesh in lighting which was a small 40 ploys I noticed the light and shadowing that reflected off it was poor and unrealistic. This is because I stretched the polygons to far. The second floor segment mesh resolved this issue by placing 16 evenly spaced polys on the top face of the mesh instead of 2 stretched out ones. The shadowing and lighting on these faces are now more realistic. The trick is exactly the same as texturing. While you try your hardest to make your textures and meshes as small as possible also remember to prioritize and give extra ploys to where it's needed.

With this segment being 128x128 units it snaps on perfectly in the map editor. I cannot stress enough keeping meshes to ether the power of 2 or in 16 units per measure.

I also created stair segments, lights, a console with a 2nd texture placement to put any animated texture on, a door with a border, supports and most important for this room the core generator and its coolant segments.

Part of the levels design was for the player to use a button to make objects move in order for him to progress. While a simple door can do this it doesn?t show much skill or imagination. So in this room when the player presses the use button on a console; 8 coolant segments come out of the side of the generator to ?vent? excess power. However for the player this gives him something to jump and progress on. Using sounds, moving objects and an animated texture I came up with this. Keep in mind extra effects like steam and shaking the players view wont be implemented until all the ?game play? class meshes are inserted into the game. Functionality over looks is the core of this folio.


So for two weeks work I think it's all coming along nicely. While I do admit I?m nowhere near as fast as many other level designers. I have to remind myself that the only way I can improve is to keep at what I?m doing and not let anyone else discourage me.

Until next time - Cheers

Next project review in one month.

Asset tally:

Static meshes made*: 12
*This does not include meshes that have been replaced by better ones.

Textures made*: 22
*Animated textures only count as one each even though there are multiple textures. Textures no longer used are also not counted.

Scripted sequences*: 2
*Scripted sequences are using events and objects to make interesting interactive elements into a game. Do not mistake it as programming.


Submitted by J I Styles on Wed, 29/03/06 - 2:43 AMPermalink

Not much to say that would be too relevant since I'm not a designer, but I will say that I respect the ambition and drive you're putting into this project - well done.

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Wed, 29/03/06 - 6:27 AMPermalink

Good stuff man, put yourself out there, this is the kinda thing that eventually will get you noticed, and really I'm quite suprised companies havent been asking you to apply already. They spend far too much time looking for the good ol 3/4 years of 'exp' that they overlook and miss examples of tenacity such as this that would play just as much as an asset.

I havent gone through it all yet but I'll read and post my opinions later tonight. Though through the personal conversations you and I have had I for one am sure you'll land a job someplace soon Caroo, sooner or later a company will look past the stats and see the potential.

Submitted by nexx on Wed, 29/03/06 - 10:04 AMPermalink

Looking good! Any timeframe for when you expect this level to be completed?

I was recently offered a level design position (my work has been mostly UT2004 based) so I'll have a think about it and post my thoughts/tips later. A junior level design position would seem like the most appropriate place to start out.

PS: If you need any help with the Unreal Engine/Editor let me know and I'll be glad to help :)

Submitted by Caroo on Wed, 29/03/06 - 11:18 PMPermalink

J.I.Styles & Jackydablunt:

Thanks for the support guys. My mind-set on this project is that while I?d love one of the studios to take notice of me now and see the passion. I'm betting heavily that it wont happen. I have sparked interest in one company before but I believe there still a little iffy on me. I don't blame them really. A designer with no credentials is a very dangerous thing to a companies production, he could fit in well..or....


The name of the project is called "before20" meaning I have to my birthday to finish this level and all the documentation/assets. That gives me as of now around 5 months to get this level looking impressive and something that will cause curiosity in the studios. Keep in mind though there?s far more to do then just building assets in Maya and exporting them to unreal ed, There?s texturing, scripting, designing and layouts, training, concept art and hopefully if time is kind I?ll make a intro and outro movie to the level as well.

While I?d prefer a junior game design title I?m trying to cover both bases by also adding in a lot of level design into this project as you can see. Leaving me open to apply for two positions instead of just the one.

Cheers guys. And good luck and all your endeavours as well.

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 31/03/06 - 11:50 AMPermalink

Caroo, one thing I'll point out is you need more of a synopsis on the actual level, I'm not really too sure of the overall goal of the design itself. You've got the wireframe there of the level, but I'm not actually too sure of what I'm looking at. I know you bear some 2D concept skill so use it, hammer up some schematics of the level with descriptions of what you hope to achieve in specific parts, storyboard a few sequences as well, and the Player's progression through it. A Designer has the Design in their head, they write a document purely for the benefit of others (also to keep track of stuff though meh), so you have to explain the experience of what you're hoping to achieve and get all those involved thinking on the same lines. The more that people know of the goal, the more they can help you achieve it, and in this case, the more you can show your skill in achieving it yourself.

One thing I've brought up with a few guys at certain Industry and portfolio review nights I've been to, is you have to always assume the reader is non industry, doesn?t play games, and has only a minute to spare in which to read the document. You have to get as much info into the first page (paragraph even) as you can, and leave the detail to last. One thing I've found and really its no surprise, is that people just don't want to read documents and would prefer to simply just get a jist and wing it, so you have to try and keep it as brief as you can but as comprehensive as you can as well. It's no easy ask but you can get a feel for it eventually, certain details just simply don't need to be given right away, and can be saved for an appendix or something later.

This also allows you to maintain the dynamic nature of the Design. Some of the best ideas you'll come up with will be while laying in bed at night halfway through the production, or you'll get from the guy who delivers the watercooler bottles to the company, so although its dangerous to throw spanners around the place while everything's on a roll, its also dangerous to design too much detail too early and kill the chance of a possible improvement in the future. Its good to keep a basic overall synopsis document to always refer back to and that'll be the bible, the thing that will guide everyone and yourself, it covers all aspects of the project but keeps it all brief and easy to read. The detail of each section however you hold for separate appendix' that you can get into and change at a later date (after much discussion and compromise), and hopefully wont screw up other parts of the project. This being said however, sometimes you can get away with just one big F?Off doc, but always keep the detail to the back.

One last thing and this is a big one, is Spelling and Grammar. The primary purpose for your documents is for them to be read by a large number of parties, more than likely from all parts of the world, so legibility is paramount. Posting on forums yeah its cool (I can see a number of mistakes I?ve made in this post so far myself, whatever) but with any serious documentation you have to take into a word processor and read and reread multiple times, you have to be really strict with yourself. Just force yourself into a habit of rereading absolutely everything you do, even quick stuff. If you're even slightly not sure of a word then copy paste it into MS Word or something with a spell check (google even). Also make your favourite site, by regularly using the thesaurus you can compact a lot of info into a few words, its also a great tool for coming up with exotic names.

And most importantly you gotta be humble and ever self critical, you can be proud of your achievements, even boast sometimes, but the moment you stop looking to improve, is the moment you stop improving. (this quality I think you've already got, I'm just noting its importance). Once you're in the industry always remember, Artists know Art better than you, Coders know Code better than you. Even if you've dabbled somewhat in this or that, the other guys in the company work in that specific fulltime and their knowledge is critically important. Never just lock yourself in a room, design something, and pass it on, always ask the Art, Tech, and Marketing Leads for advice and feedback on everything, right from day one.

Submitted by Kalescent on Fri, 31/03/06 - 1:12 PMPermalink

I remember again when you first jumped onto sumea touting your devotion, and really you havent ceased to amaze me. It wont be long before your snaffled up if you maintain this drive.

Im in total agreeance with jackydablunts last post, youll remember much earlier on my comments to you about spelling and grammer [;)] and in paticular the last paragraph in his post.

Thats pure gold advice.

Submitted by Djenx on Wed, 05/04/06 - 8:17 PMPermalink

Good one Caroo!

With determination like that you?re bound to find the job you?re looking for, it's only a matter of time.

Make sure you post your level once it's done, so we can "test" it[;)]

What would be for the resolution of the future?

Currently I am putting together a proposal and design document for a new game, it's title is still up in the air at this point but we know it will be a sci-fi RPG (3rd person RTS style view). My question is: what would be the appropriate poly count and texture size to work towards if the game is to be completed in about 2 years time?

Bare in mind that I am not really looking for exact poly counts, anyones opinions on what it could be would be appreciated as well.

Also you might like to know that there will most likely be a maximum of 12 player controlled characters and 24 bots on the screen at any one time (usually half in heavy combat).

Submitted by Caroo on Fri, 24/03/06 - 9:33 PMPermalink

I read somewhere that the new unreal 2007 engine renders 500,000 to 1,500,000 triangles [polys]

That might be a starting point as unreal have always been a reliable measure of technology at the current time.

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 24/03/06 - 11:40 PMPermalink

Regardless of totaly poly limits, always cut it where you can man, for a 3rd person RTS, depending on how close you get to the character and how much action you want, I seriously believe you should always try cap a character off at only a few thousand polys. Artists will disagree with me here but gameplay always overules art, framerate comes first no compromise.

Its all about texture really, and how big they're going to be on screen, if the character will not take up any more than so many pixels on the screen then theres not too much use in hammering up the texture beyond that point. The more experienced members on here would give better advice but I reckon with 36 characters just make a low cap early, maybe 5000 a character, less even, yes it is next gen and you can do more but the original soul calibur characters were that, and were close too, they took up the majority of the screen and still looked fantastic. It'll allow you to get more out of the gameplay as well, more detailed and interactive environments, vehicles, better weapons and effects, and whatever.

For a straight up action, the Player will watch their character directly for a while yeah, but they'll be watching the environments and action the most, you have to make that the most impressive. Don't let the artists run away with more polys here and more polys there because later you will find yourself having to cut things or change the original plan and the game will be crap, the Game as a whole is the piece not their individual character, and if the framerate is slow then even the most beautiful character will look crap... and seriously, if a game artist cannot make a character look good with 5000 polys? Then where do they get off calling themselves a game artist, 5000 is heaps.

Of course you also have to consider if the characters will be used in cut scenes and with facial animation and all that as well, obviously that buxes up the limits a bit...

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 24/03/06 - 11:43 PMPermalink

Just to add, once you have initial builds underway, monitor your framerates, if you've got a few frames to spare then kick ass, add some polys.

Submitted by Savarn on Sat, 25/03/06 - 6:00 AMPermalink

Thank you for your replies, very informative thus far. [^]

To what extent is gameplay copying justifiable

Thought this would fit well in the design discussion. Its my rant from another thread:

quote:What about games plagiarizing other games? I'm not talking about the art side (where it is obviously happening) but on a gameplay point of view. There are a number of genres and its ok for a game to dip into them and take stuff but sometimes it goes too far.

For example, how many GTA clones have you seen in the past 2-3 years? Thats right... heaps! Now its not wrong to take many elements of a great game like GTA and put it in your own, but when you deviously try to make it exactly the same (same setting, same language, same violence) then it becomes despicable. Look at True Crime, its a total rip-off gameplay-wise and it also sucks. They cant even match the great gameplay of GTA games. Actually, no GTA clone since GTA3 has matched it aside from the 2 GTA sequels.

I was reading a new review of the new PC release of Driver3, again a GTA rip-off and a bad one to boot. As a designer if I was in a position to make such a game I would at least try and differentiate slightly or add new gameplay elements that would work. I'd also try to stray away from the whole gangsta/mafia stuff, its been done to death in the space of 3-4 years with only a couple being good enough. I hear EA just released The Godfather, a GTA-esque mobster game using that particular universe. Its cool, its a rip-off to an extent but at least they aren't pretending, its a game based on a great mafia movie. Cliche but its ok. But please stop doing it!!! There seems to be no imagination at all.

Now watch all the unimaginitive MMO's that will be released in the next year or 2 running off the success of WoW. Just watch the craze!

/end rant

What I mean to say is, how much should/can designers and studios be allowed to copy gameplay formulas or general ideas before it becomes just wrong? Ok I know most companies, especially their shareholders, are in it for the money and dont care if the game they are publishing/making is a blatant copy of another game, so long as they make money. And thats understandable.
Do the designers not care that they are copying other desings? Some maybe not, but i'm sure most would have many original idead that would probably be left out in case it is "too original or different" and the shareholders have a heart-attack cause they sold 20.000 copies less.

When should designers step up and speak their mind about what should and what could be done, two very different things? I'm not saying copying gameplay is a bad thing, on the contrary its needed in order for games to evolve. Every game has elements from some other game or a number of games, and thats good. But its wrong when a game is a complete copy of another game and especially when its not even as good as the game it is copying.


Submitted by mcdrewski on Wed, 22/03/06 - 8:17 PMPermalink

It's never (AFAIK) been decided in court. Apple sued Microsoft over Windows "look and feel" being taken off the Mac, and I believe that the case was resolved instead by a licensing agreement rather than a landmark court decision.

Submitted by skunx on Wed, 22/03/06 - 8:41 PMPermalink

Yeah AFAIK I have never heard anything like that either. But that wasnt the point of this post.

What I'm asking is how far can a designer go with copying elements of other games before he should be ashamed of himself for having no original ideas?

Its a tricky question I know, whenever I think of games design-wise alot of the time my mind wanders to what other similar games have done and sometimes I use that as a base of how some gameplay element could work. I do however have this voice waaay back in my head continuously pushing me to do things as different and as original as possible.

And theres the flipside of copying gameplay. I would have alot of respect for a designer that, for example, copies the GTA formula but actually makes it even more kickass than GTA itself. But usually the case is that its just a rip-off, and a bad one.

Other games that fit that category that just came to mind. Juiced, a Need for Speed wannabe, blatant rip-off and a bad one. Also there are a couple of racing/combat games coming out or already out, cant remember their names, but they are nearly identical to the Burnout series and as far as I can tell they kinda suck .[;)]

Submitted by Caroo on Thu, 23/03/06 - 1:15 AMPermalink

Nothing is truly "original" really. And if it is truly original in visuals and gameplay the only thing I can think of is one of those obscure Russian games where nothing is explained. Even a game shadow of the colossus isn?t original to a whole. Melbourne houses transformers had you battling a giant before colossus came out.

Copying concepts isn?t a sin. Copying an entire idea or formula however is. But how close do you define all this? Easy!

Generic WW2 game. Pretty standard FPS in which shooting and throwing grenades to kill an enemy is the only thing you do. Lets say that?s made by EA games.

Another Generic WW2 game. Exactly the same visual style and game play BUT instead of being alone your surrounded by many of your allied troops.

Not a big change really. But it's more then enough not to come up as copying in legal rights.

"NEW" ideas for games come up in three ways:
1) We ether add one or two new elements to a genre of game "Like drivable vehicles in first person shooters"
2) We cross hybrid genre types like RTS and FPS in the same game and hope to god it works [and more times then less it doesn?t.]
3) We look to old ideas to make new games. Today?s survival horrors can be traced back to pac-mans game play. Avoid unkillable enemies to progress by getting power ups and casually having enough power to destroy the enemy. Even though they always come back.

There are unlimited ways to make "new" ideas. I myself shell out a game and story idea most of the time through listening to different kinds of music. Everything is a reference.

So really don't get shits at the designer when he rips of 'metal of honour' and calls it 'Call of duty.' Super cool ideas that ARE FESABLE is hard to come by. And for the safety of his fellow workers and their paychecks he sometimes submits to unoriginality. True originality hardly ever grabs corporate attention because by the term "new and fresh" they really mean. "Cool and fun. but with security."

Submitted by ruzza on Thu, 23/03/06 - 10:04 AMPermalink

Funnily enough, even some good games decided to "copy" good elements of other games.

One example is where you can use the PDA in Doom 3 - the interface reminds me of the system used in the Blade Runner game. Also Halo did use vehicles before Half Life 2 did :)

If you could say that Id Software "invented" the FPS genre, then how many games also use this genre now?

I agree with Caroo in that if it adds to the formula and makes it better, then it's not a bad thing. Games are getting a lot harder to make, so companies probably like to use a successful formula to make money. It's a bit like what the music industry is doing churning out remakes from the 60s, 70s, 80s and packaging them in dance music :) But change does happen slowly and hopefully a new form of game genre will develop.

Submitted by souri on Thu, 23/03/06 - 10:59 AMPermalink

All throughout game history, there've been games that have innovated or became so popular that a barrage of clones and copies followed. Space Invaders, Mario Bros, Tetris, Street Fighter 2, and Doom to name just a few oldies that spawned countless clones. A lot of those clones usually add their bit to the formula and pushed the genre further, so in that way I'm pretty fine with the process. But there have been times where game developers have copied a game so blatantly that action has taken place against the copier. One of those was when Nintendo took Rainbow Arts to court for their [url="…"]Great Giana Sisters[/url] game which was too close to Super Mario Bros for comfort. Anyway, that game was eventually pulled from the shelves.

My opinion is that if a game developer is making a complete copy of a game without adding any new innovative ideas or anything else substantial to the game idea or mechanics, then it's doomed and the game is destined to be outdated by the time it's launched. Considering the long development times these days, by the time you see the game you want to copy, and the time that it takes to develop it, right till when you finally release it, many years will have already passed since the original idea, and many other competitors have probably pushed that genre much further.

Submitted by skunx on Thu, 23/03/06 - 11:54 AMPermalink

Good point Souri, but that doesnt stop them from trying. I know that True crime for example did not sell like GTA, not even near, but it did sell quite abit anyway. Which goes to show. And yeh, its not a complete copy but its pretty close.

And Caroo and ruzza, i'm not debating whether its should happen or not as I agree thats the only way games will evolve, bit by bit. I'm just saying at what point does a designer put his foot down and say "NO! Our main character for our GTA clone will not be named CJ! I will not allow it!" Oh and btw CJ is the characters name in GTA:San Andreas. Funnily enough the main character in the GTA rip-off Driver:Parallel lines is called TK... hmmm... yes... ok...

I'm just ranting anyway, Its just sometimes I believe we must push ourselfs to at least take a shot at something more creative and have standard formulas in order to fall back on if things dont go well - design-wise.

Submitted by Caroo on Thu, 23/03/06 - 11:06 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by skunx

I'm just saying at what point does a designer put his foot down and say "NO! Our main character for our GTA clone will not be named CJ! I will not allow it!"

That my friend is purely an opinion and will differ to every designer and it can probably translate into every industry from graphic design to furniture design.

For me: I'd put my foot down and say No to the copying of the game if I was allowed absolutely no input on what this game had. This doesn?t mean I wanna decide every facet of it. God no I?m not a power monger.

But flexibility of design and creative input is in my opinion just as important to a development team as good management. Sure some things for the sake of direction have to be planted in stone.. But if the game was a total clone and only a few art assets and story/character changes where made [which is really all the difference between doom3 and quake4]

You?d find I wouldn't be working there long. If it?s no longer a joy to design then why am I doing it?

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Sat, 25/03/06 - 10:44 AMPermalink

I'm fully with skunx of course, we've had this discussion a few times, it's about integrity, if you've got a design that you yourself know deep down is copying another game, then its on your own integrity to at least try to search for an alternate delivery. Yes you may not be able to find a better solution but if you can say you at least tried, then you can call yourself a Designer, its pretty much the definition of the title I believe. Sorry Caroo but its too easy to say "Everything's a copy" yes Colossus wouldn't be 100% original but man, ain't no other game like it.

There is soooo much a developer could do with a WW2 shooter, a design i'd like to do, what I call 'Reichschild' is about the player taking the role of a Fallschirmjager, a German paratrooper in WW2, think about it, you're taking the player right out of their comfort zone, they're fighting for the nazis. Even if you keep the exact same mechanic as MOA and COD with a simple role reversal you're playing waaay outta left field, I think it would be awesome.

Unlike the Allies the German soldiers were kept fighting throughout the entire duration of the war and there would be some incredible stories. You could cut the game up with interviews with actual soldiers and it would be enthralling. You'd start off in the boot camps on the eve of Poland listening to Hitler's speeches, everything's light and proud and hopeful, and initially it'd be all go.

First few missions you're absolutely hammering, rolling over Poland, rolling over France and Belgium with thousands of infantry and tanks by your side, then a southern campaign, Greece, Africa, no stopping them, but then... they hit Russia. There could be offhanded conversations about how they shouldve waited till England was finished, or how perhaps how its getting colder and all that kinda stuff, "No, Hitler knows what he's doing". Throughout you could hint at subtleys like cattle trains rolling past with barbed wire over their windows, and though the characters may not know what they are (or they might) the Player will.

It could start swinging, the Player's unit makes their first retreat, then theres another, and another, they start finding Black propoganda dropped by the English and it messes with morale, then, Germany declares war on the US. From that point on the feeling of desparation builds and builds, more and more Russians, the English bombers start appearing overhead, theres a massive failed air assault over Crete and they cancel all future airborne attacks so the Player's unit is grounded. Then, D-Day, you're fighting for your ass trying to keep the GI's from reaching the shore but you have to run, you're now the one on the ground fighting the paratroopers, you fight them in France or the English in Holland, Hitler orders a final attack in the Ardennes and they hammer the GI's back but your final hope is dashed when all these indestructable new King Tiger tanks run out of fuel.

Final mission is completely reversed from the first, you're defending Berlin from the Russians, Hitler's dead and your fighting with old men and kids, where you once had all the ammo and equipment to choose from you've now got 1 clip and have to find more, there are shells exploding everywhere, civillians are being shot for surrendering, hundreds of thousands of Russians are entering the city, and where you once had whole armies running beside you, your alone, and your final mission is now just simply to survive and escape to the West to be captured by the Americans instead.

It could play exactly like COD, but just look at the difference a simple role reversal would make, one change, and its completely messing with the Player's mind, and we haven't even BEGUN to tweek the gameplay yet. I find a lot of people are just too content with only one feature carrying a whole game, they come up with one sales point for the box and thats it, it becomes the only thing they focus on and as for the rest they just settle for "the way the other game did it" a Designer should design, not simply copy/paste.

Submitted by necrobator666 on Sat, 25/03/06 - 11:13 PMPermalink

quote:NO! Our main character for our GTA clone will not be named CJ! I will not allow it!" Oh and btw CJ is the characters name in GTA:San Andreas. Funnily enough the main character in the GTA rip-off Driver:Parallel lines is called TK... hmmm... yes... ok...

TK?? the kid?? thats just terrible, total ripoff of alex kidd.. when will the plagiarism end... those damn driver creators, totally copied the looks of GTA3 too, except a long time earlier... you even start gta3 in a car almost identical to the car you start driver 1 in...

dont think its big deal myself, original games are so few and far between, very rare things, and original games dont come out often enough to just play original games, same with movies, if Driver 4 or True Crime give some GTA obsessives sick of aimlessly driving around san andreas after the games ended some pleasure even if not as much as the GTA games, then its jobs done...

cant just play the great games, can remember being so sick of total annhilation that i would play dark reign for hours, dark reign was a useless game in comparison, with no features TA didnt do better, but it had a heapa missions and Id played TA to death...

people seem happy to accept the next FPS as original "oh look, theres no crates/barrels" or some crap, but in unaccepted genres like 3rd person crime simulators, everything seems to be plagiarism.

guess just gotta wait a few years, the doom-clone tag has dissapeared although the difference still between modern FPS and doom is pretty minimal except the graphics and AI/physics.. Galaga-clone tag well gone, so hopefully as GTA series ages the GTA-clone tag will die off cos its stupid...

Submitted by skunx on Sun, 26/03/06 - 4:04 AMPermalink

necrobator i'm not sure who inspired who, if you remember driver and grand theft auto came out around the same time back in the day, only difference was that gta (then) was a 2D top-down game and driver's gameplay was primarily focused on driving and not a mix of driving and walking/running (although it did have some very limited on-foot sections).

And they were both sweet back in the day, but you could still see driver lacked the certain charm GTA games had (well thats personal preference). I'm sure the gta creators had a look at how driver did things when they were developing GTA3 but that resulted in a unique and interesting game, they re-created the world they had imagined. On the other hand the driver franchice has been declining ever since and even the driving part of it is not cool anymore. They have tried to emulate GTA more and more (via having more access on foot).

The point is, they are both games doing the same thing and having a very similar story (main character gets out of jail and wants revenge or similar) its just that it seems driver and other such games are content with simpy copying the formula over and over. Its not a bad thing but its not a good thing either. I mean the whole idea of a large sandbox environment can be put to use for something other than a crime-related game.

And yes there are many original games, it just depends what you think original is. A game doesnt have to define a genre to be original. Even the smallest details can make a game original compared to one that doesnt have those details.

And even though they were both ok for their time, the original GTA was way better than the original Driver. Why? Cause in GTA a mission had you parking a van full of explosives under the police headquarters whereas driver didn't.[xx(]

Submitted by skunx on Sun, 26/03/06 - 4:06 AMPermalink

Driver had sweet vehicle damage for its time though.

Submitted by Dogg on Sun, 26/03/06 - 10:52 PMPermalink

GTA, driver and true crime are not rip offs all three have a different set story environment. In one your a gangster criminal in the other your a for hire driver and the other a cop. I dont see these as copies. I believe that even though the game play might be similar the games are mostly different to each other and unique in their own way. There are limits to what a game engine can be meaning a person can only do limited things like drive a a car and shoot someone, so its up to the designers to use these bases to set a game-story environment and compete with other designers to show who is more creative and which tittles and sequels sell better. A rip off is when you can cleary see that writters have not used original ideas and details but have modified them to make it look different without honestly paying for it or asking permission. This is where I believe legal action should be taken.

Submitted by skunx on Mon, 27/03/06 - 12:49 AMPermalink

Yeah I mostly agree with that, apart from taking legal action, i doubt thats needed. I'm just imagining designers themselves being to ashamed to design a total rip-off thus forcing them to be at least somewhat creative, which in the end is a good thing.

I was just ranting on how it seems that lately designers are getting dangerously close to being content with copying stuff and not coming up with stuff for themselves. I can relate to them though, I can see how friggin difficult it is to come up with something somewhat original and entertaining at the same time. Some times it just doesnt work and knowing what others have done is a good backup.

I guess what I was most annoyed by was when i watch these developer interviews on gamespot where usually the lead designer is talking about their game. It annoys me cause they seem to come off as total smartasses talking up their game that is a clone of another game but never mentioning that they took their inspiration from that said other game. They sort of seem like "yeah and like i'm the designer, and like me and the boys came up with this awesome game its really kickass...etc etc". I know its part of their job to bullshit here and there especially about their baby project but it still bugs me when i see it.

I would like to believe that if i'm ever in such a position, talking about the game i'm making, I will have the balls to say "hey well my game is cool, its inspired by this or that game but we have tried to evolve this and that and take the best elements of this or that to make a better game". I have alot of respect for designers that pay tribute to the games that inspired them to do things one way or the other. Maybe i'm not making much sense at all.

Submitted by ruzza on Mon, 27/03/06 - 4:42 AMPermalink

skunk - it makes sense what you say. If you see musicians being interviewed, they usually say they have been influenced by different types of music, bands and individuals. Usually if a musician decided to sample a piece of older music (like some dance tracks are doing), they would need to follow copyright law. I suppose games seem to have a more blurry line when it comes to copyright, otherwise there wouldn't be as many FPS (or other genre) clones :)

I think most consumers won't buy the game it was a bad clone of another or just was copied with a few bits and pieces changed, so it's probably in the game designer's best interest to put in some originality. Many people like the originality of games and good gameplay. Also people will buy sequels if they are good (eg: I liked Max Payne and the sequel game as both games pushed the envelope).

Submitted by Dogg on Mon, 27/03/06 - 11:41 PMPermalink

is there a web site where games are rated? (by the players?)when I buy games I always tend to decide by looking at whats written on the box or magazines. Also just would like to mention that I really hate when sequels are released and are cheap and pathetic due to an attempt to make money off the impressions of the original.[:(!]i was pissed off when doom 2 only gave me an extra cheap s@#T shot gun all the money them guys have doom 3 was cool, i liked the torch

Submitted by skunx on Tue, 28/03/06 - 12:09 AMPermalink

Well I disagree, i though Doom 2 was better than Doom 1 and that the torch in Doom 3 was frustrating, at least until you get used to changing back and forth.

Designing on the Spore

I was watching that Spore demonstration on the Google Vid thread (a few million Game Developers just got pwned I think) and I started thinking about how I would use that kinda tech in a game myself, especially adapting such tech into an existing format, I'd like to see what you guys would come up with, so throw some ideas around.

Like for one example off the top of my head:

A standard 3D fighting game like mighty Soul Calibur (or the shite DOA) where you literally just mould your fighters out of clay, you'd select a basic form (biped, quadraped, endo/exoskeletal, a blob, a vapour) you change the volume and mass on the fly, and youd get to work.

You'd make the skeleton (or not if you just want a blob) adjust the size and bone density (durability vs agility) and then ontop of it pack on the muscle mass in aaany way or shape you wish, and that would define the strength, the bone size/density to muscle ratio would calculate an overall balance or inbalance.

You could select the rigidness of either part or all of the character's body, his fist (or whatever you make it) could be made to be hard as rock therefore dealing more damage, though adding weight and a reduction of agility. Or give the creature a long ass blade on his forehead or something. I don't know, maybe you'd nominate that part of the character as the "weapon" or something and the code would therefore emphasize that as the 'bit that swings upon input of the attack command'. Or you could build a weapon separately and have the character hold and use it.

If the weapon's too heavy it would throw off the character's balance or require larger muscle mass in that part of the character's body, or if the character had 36 tails each with a spike then they'd move in a rapid succession of smaller impacts, the code would define that.

The controls would have to be simplistic as to allow for the scope of the code, basic move, only a couple of attacks probably divided by weight of the strike. They'd have to work in relation to the directional command as opposed to "horizontal/vertical" and perhaps a movement emphasis command also working with the directional, like basically an exertion of the character's mobility upon that command. If you pull up then they try to get airbourne (via a jump or whatever their design allows) if you just press forward and the exertion command then it'd become sort of a lunge, whatever.

You could have little testing grounds for them where you watch them move from different angles and pick up descrepencies in their design, or obsticle courses or just places to fight bots (that you may design)

I could see people tweaking and modding their own character for daaaays on end, and entering them into network tournaments, finding a weakness and then taking it all back to the drawing board because his character "AssCompounder" has the pivot of his pelvis or primary joint throwing the weight of his strike off too much and he's suffering overcompensation, it'd be awesome, it'd have the Player thinking and designing like a mutha, they'd have preliminary sketches and everything.

Damn that'd be a cool game actually...

Anyway, what are your ideas for the Spore tech? could be the way an NPC animates in a FPS when a certain limb is hindered, or in a driving game designing a vehicle literally from scratch, or non game applications, whatever, its time to show off your creativity.

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 10/03/06 - 8:57 AMPermalink

................................ ok, I just got pwned myself :)

Please comment on game specification document

Classified :)

Submitted by lorien on Mon, 06/03/06 - 7:16 AMPermalink

Umm Binh, it's generally a bad idea to go posting homework on sumea [;)] There are going to be a lot of people doing something similar atm.

Asking here seems like a good idea, you could get some really good advice, but it creates a minefield of plagiarism problems.

Sorry, but I have to ask you to remove it. I wish I didn't have to ask.

Submitted by lorien on Mon, 06/03/06 - 7:18 AMPermalink

One comment now is you need a lot more detail.

Submitted by BinhNguyen on Mon, 06/03/06 - 7:51 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by lorien

One comment now is you need a lot more detail.

Hey Lorien,

It's cool. I've removed it.

I am a bit confused though. Could you elaborate a bit about the issues that may arise from posting a pitch document?

Submitted by mcdrewski on Mon, 06/03/06 - 9:40 AMPermalink


Lorien, are you suggesting that Binh doesn't have the IP rights to display (his?) work as he sees fit?

"You've changed man"

Submitted by lorien on Mon, 06/03/06 - 10:02 AMPermalink

HaHa [:D] Not at all mcdrewski. The reason is people all over Aus are going to be doing similar things right now. While I personally think it would be great to post homework directly (this was something I set Binh to think about on Friday) and receive diverse feedback and hence do a better job, there are strict rules about plagiarism, and students are normally very wary of showing each other their assessable work- often money changing hands is a requirement [;)]

If chosen by Binh's classmates this spec and the game it's about will be assessable.

Basic Interactive Level Design.

Using my so very basic flash skills. [by basic..oooh boy.. BASIC!]

I made up this interactive level design. The level itself isn't all that interresting but the system behind it can be applied to more intricate levels and sections of levels.

Submitted by LiveWire on Fri, 24/02/06 - 7:37 AMPermalink

nice (i just looked at the layout and hit the buttons, i didnt read any of the story info), this sort of design is done quite a bit, and there are some good examples on gamasutra as i recall. nothing interactive like this though, which is pretty cool. a good way to turn on only the essential information.

Submitted by mcdrewski on Fri, 24/02/06 - 7:56 AMPermalink

Nice work. One thing I couldn't work out was which bits are cutscene and which are player action. The writing surely suggests that bits of it are cutscenes, but nothing in the layout highlights those. For example, waking up in the cell, the elevator ride, etc. the resident QA monkey here though, I can't help but point out some bugs - no offense meant, it's just habit now.

1) "your not pushing fast enough" on spash screen should be "you're not pushing..."
2) when "item placement mode" is selected many mouseover hotspots no longer work (clicking shows the 'construct mech keycard'
3) player path appears over "point X." text when displayed.
4) third class of enemy does not display
5) various other typos and odd sentences/punctuation.

Submitted by Caroo on Fri, 24/02/06 - 8:05 AMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by mcdrewski

Nice work. One thing I couldn't work out was which bits are cutscene and which are player action. The writing surely suggests that bits of it are cutscenes, but nothing in the layout highlights those. For example, waking up in the cell, the elevator ride, etc. the resident QA monkey here though, I can't help but point out some bugs - no offense meant, it's just habit now.

1) "your not pushing fast enough" on spash screen should be "you're not pushing..."
2) when "item placement mode" is selected many mouseover hotspots no longer work (clicking shows the 'construct mech keycard'
3) player path appears over "point X." text when displayed.
4) third class of enemy does not display
5) various other typos and odd sentences/punctuation.

I stress the terms "Basic Skills" and "Prototype" XD

Some points you stated are due to imcompletion. And some are due to a lack of knowleadge in flash.

Submitted by mcdrewski on Fri, 24/02/06 - 7:58 PMPermalink

no probs - and no offense meant - I tried doing flash dev once and it almost killed me! [:)] I'm impressed.

Submitted by Slade on Sun, 26/08/07 - 5:37 PMPermalink

How would you go about designing levels with multiple floors?  Just use two separate maps I'm assuming and have some button to go to next?  Of course you'd also mark points of access to other parts of the level.  Just wondering anyway =)

I think it's a great how you've done this.  Where did you get your ideas from for this project?  I'm a level design noob but I'd like to know more if anyone can direct me to any good articles/books.



BOTS! : Better then Armored Core!

Who likes robot games??

Who likes Customising their car to the shit??

Why can't we have both?

BOTS is a semi workable game idea I?ve come with. And one of the features playable would be the "High Grade" customisation system. Using whets known as primary and secondary parts and a slot system the player can have unparareled customisation to their robot/mecha/core/whatever ..I just call them BOTS...

Armoured Core has this market in the eastern sector. But robot games, while here and there are around they don't give all that much playability. You usually just get different classes of robots to use and fight with. BOTS would be a fast paced blast and smasher fest. Destructible environments and the parts on your robot and the enemies BOTS come off as damage is inflicted. So one arm can be blasted off. Repair teams can be requested to quickly rebuild damaged bot parts and the overall score at the end of the level gives you credits to use on buying new parts and weapons.

Not the most elegant or intricate design. But if the game were executed with good design/art/programming/QA it would be so awesome to play. Especially online co-op.

My Firearm - A different kind of design.

A different Kind of design: My fake Firearm weapon.

In my last year of high school I took a design technology class. Now my schools design tech class went to the museum and saw the top design exhibition. While there were many lovely and pretty designs yet they where all pretty much the same thing. Chairs and Barstools by private schools and obviously having parents invest hundreds of dollars into these projects. But the unfair crookedness of the exhibition isn?t the point.

Everything there was the same! Boring, Pretty and shiny but boring. So I thought to myself what would be a good item to make that no one else in Victora year 12 would attempt. A firearm!

So. I asked the teacher if it was legal to make a fake prop firearm. As long as it couldn?t be used as a weapon it was fine. And thus started the process.

The total time of the project was 20 weeks. From Criteria to design to prototyping to modifying to the final product. While not the prettiest weapon the process I went through was the most in depth in my school. And the making of this gun can be gauged as a typical process of design. I did research into older weapons. I had to learn metal cutting and crafting techniques. I drew over 4 prototype designs and made a tangible prototype to suss out what can and can?t work. From that I found 9 different aspects of the gun that needed modification and adjusted the design. I came across almost catastrophic setbacks and adjusted myself and the design to compensate.

I?ve scanned in some of the pages and some really bad web cam photos. But the point of all this is simple. As designers, or even wannabe designers like me. We don?t have to focus design purely on games and games alone. Applying design to different things shows some form of versatility.

Ty3 - Night of the Quinken design review.

The following is only my view and ONLY my view. no one else is responsable for this garbage XD

Ty3 Design Review: By Chris Watts [Caroo]

Quick overview:

I bought Ty3 two days after it came out in the stores, and finished it within 8 hours of play. There are significantly less missions in the game and the focus has been on repeatability to be able to get all the extra stuff to get the fabled 100% (which in my guess is the good ending in which fluffy doesn?t die.)

Improvements over the two predecessors are manly; customizable rangs, the visual quality has gone up quite a good deal. Bugs are rare and are few and far between. Mechanically it's a well-polished game.

I have to take a little bit of time to congratulate the animators of Ty3. The motions are much more fluid and real then in Ty2. Expression is more empathized and overdone; which, is just the way a cartoon style game should be done.

The new crab vehicle while a little odd is very cool. It was fun to drive and enjoyable to shot countless missiles; Although, I question the need for a health bar. When you die you start back where you die anyway. You may as well just be indestructible.

Level design has changed. The levels used to be much bigger and more for exploring. While exploring levels is still an important part of Ty3 they have gotten smaller and more focused. Some levels are just one maze line Ty has to follow with an accomplice. Even more so you can solve and find most extras with a lash rang + Ultra stone + Earth stone + whatever else; while, levels are wonderfully designed visually. Their playability kind of suffers.

The Bunyips are fun. Although having levels dedicated to them and not being able to get into them like in Ty2 was a bit of a bummer. Weapons are pretty cool. The Orbital cannon my favorite, as it's just an ?insta-death? weapon.

The Gunyip, One of the games leading features I thought to be a kind of Starfox homage. It's fun. But you?re only playing in 2 dimensions; Forwards and turning left and right. You can do Starfox like aerial maneuvers but there not that helpful. The missions are fun and the environments look stunning.

The storyline is about as the same as it was in Ty2. It's there to keep the game flowing and to keep a purpose. While not a horrible storyline it suffers from plot holes and continuity issues. For example fluffy becomes Ty's friend a little too spontaneous and a little to conveniently. But it's a kid game and thus doesn?t need a complex storyline. I would like to see improvement though. The storyline of Jak 3, while not complex ether, was fluid and consistent. While Ty3 has a few bumps here and there.

Abort ? retry ? fail.

While Ty3 is a huge improvement in both game play and graphics? to the previous two games. However I?ve found one or two things in the game that do annoy me. In curtain points and parts of the game there is some design flaws. Here are a few:

Blast those Quinken! ...Just remember to tap the X button? [PS2]

This one makes me chuckle. When you get to the end of a level you?re meet with a lizard called Steve. You?ve been chasing this guy through the level. That's the fun part. At the end; however, when you get to this house there's a cliff with what I?d call a ?wave laser? turret. Ok so you get to Steve's? house and then, you?re without warning or even told what to do attacked by quicken air units. Ok the 12-year-old kid can figure that much out. Get in the turret and take down the enemies. But this is the design killer. You are NOT told that tapping the X button will increase your turrets? power enough to easily take down the enemy. And because the laser beam in constant and doesn?t disappear you can be easily fooled that all you SHOULD be doing is holding down the X button? NOT tapping it like the designer wanted you to. The laser beam is crap at this point in time and you easily die before making 4-18 kills. I only figured that tapping the X-button gave more power to the weapon through mindless experimentation.

Now, if I?m the quick-to-frustrate 12 year old, I think I?d try that at most? 3-4 times before turning the game off. And as this even isn?t something that can be skipped, I might not come back to the game at all, just move on and play sly 3 or Jak 3 ... Both are very good platform games.

This error didn?t have to happen and I can?t figure out why it did. Ty3 has many convenient pop ups that state how to use controls and the like. One before this turret game would be a lifesaver and simply dispel any frustration.

What did that rang stone do again? [PS2]

If you don?t already know, the guys at Krome did indeed up there game in TY3. Instead of buying preset Rangs of different properties you get rang shells that have gem slots [just think Diablo two] that you fill with gems of different attributes. And the more of one you put in the more powerful it gets.

Here's the problem. While it's stated what gem will do what in the instruction manual and when you go to buy them. But when in the middle of a mission or when you really want to customize that rang there is nothing in the menu section that tells you what gem does what. The elementals are easy enough to figure out. But, explain to me how a ?ULTRA? gem lets you see invisible objects. So it gets annoying when I have to flip through the manual to figure out something that shouldn?t have to be figured out.

This small issue can be remedied very easily. In the options menu under the rang customization something as simple as pressing the O button to bring up a small description and picture of the gem and what it does would be a huge help to the player. But it's just not done.

Button Button?whoooos got the button! [PS2]

Button puzzles are a now-and-then occurrence in TY3. Some are pretty easy. Others make you say. ?What was going on there??

It's not really a problem. More an annoyance then anything but on one particular level you have to hit 3 buttons to let a metal box come oven to get to a power generator you need to activate 2 buttons are obvious and easy to find. The other button is outside the general field of area.

That's not the frustrating thing. The frustrating thing is that you?re not told there's 3 buttons you need to press. No indications once again. This could be fixed by putting in three lights. Each one turns on for the button you press. That doesn?t happen.


The environment you used to drive to in ty2 to get from the town to your missions has been totally revamped, No longer a jeep and roads. You drive a crab mobile with missiles and claws, Great idea!!!

There is however one problem. A good deal of the paths you take to get around on the two world maps are littered with purple goo. I?m assuming this is quinken infection onto the land. Cool concept. Only it impedes on the players fun.

It slows you down and damn it's annoying! Whether it was put into the game to slow the game speed, or to make the player utilize the jump button. Overall I don?t see the point of having the goo on the path. The game would be more flowing and fast passed if it wasn?t there. And that's one of the things that kids by these types of games for. Fast passed action.


There are always things you can do to improve games. Even games that get 10/10 can always improve in some way or another. Refinement of ideas and game play is what sequels are all about really, that and making more money of integrated property that requires no build up.

I have a few ideas myself. And I think there on par with the designers at Krome. I did predict customizable rangs before it was disclosed as a feature of Ty 3.

I?d love to see customizable Bunyips. Like in the game Armored core the player can buy different pods, arms, legs, weapons and engines. This giving the player more to fool around with and plus; you could make those parts into toys and merchandise for kids to collect and make their favorite Bunyip in real life.

Other playable characters would be nice to, Different characters for different situations; Ty for rescuing and helping out the residents of southern rivers, Shazz for more delicate operations like saving a kid, And Sly for advancing attacks on Boss Cass's operations.

Longer game would be nice to. The Ty series while very pretty to say the least is also very short. Ty3 was forgiven for this because lets face it. Its starting price was $50 and therefore should accommodate 10 hours of solid game play. While 8hours for me I?m guessing a kid would finish in around 10.

You?ve done a good job Krome; A fine and polished game with only a few flaws. But always try to improve on the old.

Need advice on designing for cell-phones

Hi there!

It's my 1st post here ;)
I am part of a team of developers, among other things, we are trying to make a game demo. I am the one doing most of the graphics/visual aspects of it. But the thing is, I haven't done any work for such tiny screens before :(
I am sure there are a good number of technical considerations to deal with.
Can anyone here share some advice on this issue? Especifically about the aspects that concern my job position.
For instance, we'll be going by the specifications of a cellular phone one of us has (Nokia 6680), so we can do the tests there. I found out the screen size is 176 x 208, and 266, 144 colors. But I don't supose I can make use of the whole screen, can I?
As for the colors, is there a color palette already defined? Or just as long as yours doesn't go over the total number of colors?

Thanks in advance guys,


Submitted by Caroo on Mon, 12/12/05 - 8:38 AMPermalink

if you want advice for mobile related stuff my best advice is to look up Wicked witch studios. give those guys an e-mail and the'll more then likly get back to you. nice guys^^. They do mobile phone games.

Submitted by Daniel Rona on Mon, 12/12/05 - 9:07 PMPermalink

welcome to the fun of mobile development! So you are doing the graphics, no programming? Is it 2d or 3d? Symbian or J2ME? I have done development in J2ME and Symbian, but I'm more of a programmer than an artist, but feel free to ask me any questions.

In reposense to your questions, yes you can design for the whole screen, it just needs to be set to full screen in the code. I'm not too sure about the colour palette, but you will probably be able to find an answer on [url=""]Forum Nokia[/url] which is an excellent resource!

Oh I just noticed that you're in Canada... So do you also have the option of developing for Brew?

The Meaning of Life/Lives

What is the point of multiple Lives in a modern game? Are they still relevant? They certainly seem to be appearing less and less.

Clearly they were vital in early arcade games (and still are), by ensuring that sooner or latter the player will lose and have to put in more money. This seemed to transition over to home consoles and became a method of increasing the challenge of the game by giving you only a limited number of tries at completing the game, while rewarding skill with extra bonus lives.

But today, where just about every game can be saved between or during levels, is there really any point to lives anymore? Perhaps if there are checkpoints thought out levels that allow you to re-spawn halfway though (but not save) then Lives can limit the number of attempts at a level before you have to start over. But other than that, I don?t think there is any use to them in today's games.

Certainly most PC games don?t use them, most of which allow you to save anywhere and at anytime, thus negating any penalty lives would incur anyway. And I don?t think I?ve seen many console games with lives in a while - except maybe handhelds, though these tend to be re-releases of older games, or new games of similar style to older games. But still many of these allow for iterative saving, which, like on a PC, can negate any loss incurred by a Game Over anyway.

Super Mario 64 is a perfect example of what I?m talking about. This game included limited lives - they could be gained by collecting 1-Ups and losing them all would result in Game Over. But Game Over had no meaning, since the only time anything was actually accomplished in the game was when you collected a star or beat a boss (there literally was nothing else to do that would require saving), and the game allowed you to save after doing so. Thus if you died or hit Game Over after collecting one star but before getting another, you didn?t actually lose any progress. In fact dying simply ejected you from the level and reset it to its defaults (incidentally the same result as collecting a star).Game Over simply meant you had to reload your last save, which of course was the last time you collected a star or beat a boss (the only times game progress actually change in any way). Hence lives were meaningless.

I can?t think of many modern games that use lives, except games that are meant to be played in short tournaments with the Game Over condition occurring when you lose to many matches (cart racing or fighting games for instance). But certainly not in any action games. And in the end I don?t think there needs to be.

Looks like it's Game Over for you, 1-Up Mushroom.[img]…]

Submitted by mcdrewski on Sun, 30/10/05 - 8:01 PMPermalink

good point indeed, I can't help but think it's related to two main drivers.

1) games getting bigger and deeper. In the past the challenge was to "finish" the game without dying too many times. As soon as games started getting too big to play in a sitting, saving your progress was needed and "dying" became less useful.

2) The move out of arcades and onto systems that we consider "ours" with "our" save games means there's no pressure to finish in a sitting now.

Of course, we now have UT2k4/Q3A style tournament play flying the flag for the life counter, but I'd love to see what these guys: might do with a "finite lives" theme...

Submitted by souri on Mon, 31/10/05 - 1:14 PMPermalink

Multiple lives are a remnant of arcade games in the past like Mcdrewski said, but damnit, they made games a lot more challenging. Games these days hold your hand all the way through to the end, and as a result aren't as satisfying to complete as old games. If you fall off a platform in a recent platformer game, there's usually a quick route back to where you dropped off. You fall off somewhere in a platform game back in the 80's, you lose a life (and a third of your chance to continue) and get booted to the beginning of the level.

Sure, getting booted to the beginning was frustrating, but I honestly believe gamers these days are darn wusses (myself included) who need save points every 2 minutes, and we've been gradually conditioned to this point over the years [:D]. Sooner or later, games are going to be have god mode as standard and your challenge is to rush to the end of the level in the fastest time you can. [;)]

And I used to get to stage 99 in 1942 or finish Rygar on one credit.

Submitted by Leto on Mon, 31/10/05 - 7:22 PMPermalink

I do agree, but it depends completely on the game. I had a look at the Serious Sam 2 demo and it uses "lives". The game itself might be a dud, but I think it's Lives system works well for the style of game - just walk around and blow up everything in sight. I don't think you can save your game, but you can continue if you run out of lives, you just don't get any more points.

For something like Prince of Persia: Sands of Time, introducing a lives thing would destroy the experience. The thing that _really_ shit me with PoP: Warrior Within was that everytime you finished a "level" (even though it was supposed to give the impression of being free-roaming), a special screen would come up saying "You've got a new sands-of-time power available to you for no apparant reason". It completely ruined the experience being reminded all the time that you're just playing a game. Almost the complete opposite of Sands of Time where you could totally immerse yourself in the experience, without interruption, from beginning to end.

I don't think there's anything wrong with a Lives system in a game as long as it makes sense, i.e. it's an active part of the gameplay and not just tacked on in a half-assed attempt to increase longevity. Hmmm....that could be a difficult balancing act.

Spillen me guts - game design documents.

WARNING - The following documents contain a lot of spelling errors and a lot of unfinished work.

This was done as a project of my year 12 VCD class.. I might use it in my folio as a game designer when it's totally 100% corrected but that's not gonna be for another 9 months until all the practical/tangible work is done. I doubt anyone would hire me based on docos alone. So I?m gonna spend 6-8 months after graduating high school creating some levels in level editors like unreal ed.

I?m not really stressed who reads all this, if anyone actually will XD. I consider it free to read.. Although if you just copy this work and paste it in your own folio your a doosh bag. XD

Select "save as" on the following link -

Submitted by Majeeva on Sat, 17/12/05 - 11:17 PMPermalink


Thats some great work you have done there, a fantastic concept. Have you had much feedback about it?

Submitted by Caroo on Sun, 18/12/05 - 10:59 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Majeeva


Thats some great work you have done there, a fantastic concept. Have you had much feedback about it?

You ARE the feedback XD... i think its ether it's shear size or bad spelling thats killed many people from reading it XD

that or no one looks at this section...

Submitted by Kris on Thu, 29/12/05 - 2:06 PMPermalink

Hi mate... good start! There's a lot of info in there, I haven't read it all because like your potential employer's will be doing, I'm at work during the time of reading this. There's not a lot of time to get through it all. My suggestion would be to keep going on the doc's, but throw together a much smaller pitch document with around 2 - 3 pages max. Sell your idea, if you're responsible for the illustrations in doc #5, doc #7 and doc #8, include some of these - they're a huge plus in helping to visualise your ideas.

Throw a rough logo together, build up a nice visual style for the game and print in full colour. Send this along with your DVD you have planned (mentioned in your other thread). Blow the socks off them in the first three pages and they'll take the time to take a deeper look into your documents.

I'd also recommend working heavily on some mechanic documents. For example, you have your HUD Interface under the Mission Gameplay Outline document. In an industry situation, this would be a completely seperate document and detailed quite extensively. Perhaps work on detailing some of these kinds of documents, it'd be a good way to show your understanding game mechanics. These documents are meant to get across everything the designer is after, the illustrations you have are fine, but they dont tell programmers what should happen when you fire your weapon... does your ammo count decrease by 'rolling' down to the next number? does it instantly disappear? what happens when your fuel gets low? does it blink red? how does the minimap work, does it rotate with you, or is it just your icon that rotates around? etc...

Hope this helps! It's clear you have the dedication & passion to enter the industry. Entering as game designer straight of the bat is rather difficult, especially in Australia, just keep showing your passion and a kind CEO will make a position for you if there's nothing available :)

Submitted by Caroo on Fri, 30/12/05 - 4:20 AMPermalink

^^thanks mate. the feedback is MUCH needed.

gonna start work on two unreal ed levels next year for 6 months. hopefully that will help to in showing level design/completion.

Submitted by Kris on Fri, 30/12/05 - 10:47 AMPermalink

You could document a level prior to building it. Planning out is a big part of the industry, to show you can do this and then follow through with a level would be a big help. Are you going to plan to do a single player level in UE or multiplayer? You dont necessarily have to have AI in order to build a single player level, just build to show your intentions, back it up with a walkthrough etc...

Nintendogs - a look at the design..

Interesting read about the fundemental principles of game design as applied to Nintendogs


Submitted by Daemin on Thu, 16/06/05 - 8:31 PMPermalink

I've got a video of an E3 presentation that features nintendogs lying around on my hdd somewhere waiting to be watched. I guess I will tonight or something.

Submitted by LiveWire on Thu, 16/06/05 - 10:53 PMPermalink

sounds very interesting. i dismissed nintendogs previously becuase it came accros as a small game that you'd play for a few weeks then lose interest in. but judging by the popularity of it thus far it might be work checking out. the article also makes it sound much larger and longer lasting than i previously thought. not that i'm against small games or anything, it's just that at $70 a game i like something that's going to keep me interested for a decent length of time.

Submitted by Dragoon on Tue, 08/11/05 - 2:54 AMPermalink

One of the things they got right with it - since when have you seen 1 game be in the top 10 at 3 different spots :-P

Submitted by LiveWire on Tue, 08/11/05 - 7:30 AMPermalink

and maintain those places (or there abouts, moving up and down slightly) for several months


Hey There
We at Seraphon Castings are currently nearing completion on our latest project, a table top version of 1st person shooters. We're mainly looking for new ideas, and a few finishing touches, any ideas, comments and questions are always appreciated. e-mail me with anything

Matt Lord
Head Artistic Designer
Seraphon Castings

Submitted by McKnight on Sun, 12/06/05 - 8:22 AMPermalink

Sorry if I missed something, or if this seems a little rude but that's not the intention.

I think that Seraphon is just a small business, a home business? To see you have come asking for ideas, any comments etc. People cannot comment or offer ideas if they are given no information to work with. Maybe a small description of your game and some features would of helped, not just, "We have a tabletop game, give us ideas". Do you see what I am getting at?

I am no advertisement manager. But if that is how a 'business' would go about asking for something as simple as suggestions, I would hate to see their advertisement on the market. "There is a new game available *end of ad*" I suppose...

Submitted by AntsZ on Tue, 14/06/05 - 3:08 AMPermalink

maybe a bit more information will help eg: about the company, are you an indie company, a MOD team, are you funded by your-selves or by a publisher, about the game, the features etc...

does Seraphon have a website? do you have a website for the game

the more information you are able to give us the more we are able to help you out

Submitted by S1ND3X on Tue, 14/06/05 - 8:54 PMPermalink

Okay, sorry guys, twas late when i put this up, okay, Seraphon Castings is a new miniature company producing (at the moment) solely 28mm sci-fi miniatures. We're about to go into full production of our first product, DEATHMATCH The Wargame, the basic premise is a recreation of the deathmatch feature of a 1st person shooter game, but with dice and miniatures. We've been hitting all manner of forums with basic information about in the attempts to drum up interest, a website will be up soon and that will contain all the information.

The game's plot (in so far as it needs one) is that in the year 2136 gang violence had become so dangerous that in an effort to remove the danger it was turned into a sport. Arenas were built and rules drawn up. It became an overnight success with all major companies looking for a way to make money on the game. Teams from all over the world compete with each other for big money prizes and fame.

I hope this helps, basically what we'ld like is for you to tell us what features you most like in 1st person shooter games so we can incorporate them in to create a game that feels and plays like the 1st person greats

Submitted by AntsZ on Wed, 15/06/05 - 5:15 AMPermalink

Cool thanx for that S1nd3x that helps a lot, here are my ideas

For Deathmatch Quake / UT Type Games

1. Heaps of Gore and Gibs
2. Melee Combat
3. Rocket Jumping
4. Very Cool looking Weapons
5. CTF
6. Cool Secondary Fire
7. Double Jumping and Dodging
8. Destructible Enviroments
9. Vehicles (in most recent games)
10. Squads / Commanders

some ideas for now

Submitted by LiveWire on Wed, 15/06/05 - 6:30 AMPermalink

common gameplay elements:
head shots
pick-ups (shields/armour, weapons, ammo, damage multipliers)

common level elements:
jump pads

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Wed, 15/06/05 - 9:31 AMPermalink

Boobies!! big ol'uns

Other than that, I'm more of a tctical kind of guy so team based goals like in MOH AA the Normandy level where Jerri has to stop Uncle Sam from blowing up the costal batteries and stuff like that, and yeah, vehicles, Call of Duty Style.

And when you're talking sci fi, you can never shy away from the exoskeleton, the xenomorphs from Aliens, Bugs from Starship Troopers, and Tyranids from 40k. cold, mindless, and in the best cases no eyes (because the eyes contain the soul)

Submitted by AntsZ on Wed, 15/06/05 - 7:00 PMPermalink

quote:Originally posted by Jackydablunt

Cold, mindless, and in the best cases no eyes (because the eyes contain the soul)

Whoa dude thats deep

Submitted by S1ND3X on Wed, 15/06/05 - 8:13 PMPermalink

Fantastic guys, helps alot, keep it coming

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Thu, 16/06/05 - 12:42 AMPermalink

straight from the mind of Giger himself, Riddly Scott asked him why he designed the Alien with no eyes and he replied "because the eyes contain the soul" he also said he takes opium to escape the images in his mind as well so yeah, you dont get too much deeper than Giger, thats one messed up sweede.

Submitted by S1ND3X on Mon, 20/06/05 - 4:31 AMPermalink

i wonder why he'ld use opium, it being a halucinogen surely it would just make the visions in his head more real

Submitted by souri on Mon, 20/06/05 - 4:33 AMPermalink

Giger was born in Switzerland, btw. [:D]

In need of some help.

g?day everyone.

I?m in need of some help guys. I wish to become a start out game designer in the industry. I?m currently beginning to make a folio to show my ideas and abilities to offer to the studios around my state. It?ll be completed around December and It will comprise of a Audio/Visual presentation of a Game Proposal and its features on DVD.

However, Making a good folio and even more important a good impression is a tough task. I was wondering if any designers who have industry experience could critique my work through its 3 states of production. Honestly. I don?t know what I can offer in return. But if anyone could help me out it would be a great help




[img]icon_paperclip.gif[/img] Download Attachment: [url=""]designers.jpg[/url]
53.85 KB

Submitted by MoonUnit on Fri, 13/05/05 - 5:31 AMPermalink

Your image dosent work, i beleive deviantart dosent allow direct links to images posted on the site so youll need to find another place to host it or take the easier option which is to upload it when you make your post on these forums

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 13/05/05 - 5:58 AMPermalink

Ok now I'm not an average GD, other's on other companies have very different backgrounds and experience from me and will probebly have better advice. But anyway you've got this idea (e.g a kickin, innovative tactical MMOFPS), and you want to pitch it to show your ideas, cool, it is very good to have one primary project that you manage to put a hell of a lot of detail into. However, what if the company your applying for doesn't want to do an FPS, and in the most likely case have already selected a game they wanna do.

I think a good thing to do is to package that idea for the FPS and put in as much detail as you can with it, but, also make up designs for multiple other types of games as well to show your scope. I personally have ideas and designs for multiple FPS', tactical team based startegies, 3D person combat actions and shooters, RTS', Survival style Sim games, SciFi's, Fantasies, Horror's, licences, whatever. I even developed a design for possible the greatest sex simulation ever, the point is, you have to show you're adaptable.

One thing I find people doing a fair bit as well (myself included) is that they marry themselves to a theme far too much. To me, Gameplay is first, Story is second. I always try to treat the story and the gameplay seperately, trying to make either as strong as the other. Ideally you should be able to stip the story from the game and replace it with another, because it's the Gameplay which is the focus. People write these great stories and they think they have a game, but its actually more just like the Final fantasy games which to me seem basically just interactive movies, take out the story and it's a bloody boring game.

So basically what I think, is show your adaptability, but also stick with your major concept and show that you can think in detail in as many aspects of the production you can. it's also not about the theme, you need to emphasize the means to an end rather than the means itself.

And in final, don't expect to get your concept made, if you're good you'll get a job, but it may not mean your game will get made. I've been in it for almost two years, I haven't had the chance yet to design a concept of my own, even with the next project it looks like it wont be mine. So basically I could be working this industy for five to ten years before I even get a chance to do my own idea. What I CAN do however, is inject as much of my input into that concept as possible, and make it as good as you can, because thats what you can do when you're adaptable.

Submitted by Caroo on Fri, 13/05/05 - 8:00 AMPermalink

Ok now I'm not an average GD, other's on other companies have very different backgrounds and experience from me and will probebly have better advice. But anyway you've got this idea (e.g a kickin, innovative tactical MMOFPS), and you want to pitch it to show your ideas, cool, it is very good to have one primary project that you manage to put a hell of a lot of detail into. However, what if the company your applying for doesn't want to do an FPS, and in the most likely case have already selected a game they wanna do.

<< well the idea is.. that is idea im making isn't going to be published. thats never the intension of the foilo, the intension is to show that i have the determanation and imagination to design. The game idea itself is acully an evolution of the old style that the X-COM games played, its a mix of FPS - RPG and BASE BUILDING AND MANAGEMENT, however im also going into deaph about things like the 7 main character you can play as. the history behind the story and other features. I have one advantage in that im a modaratly ok (not good.. ok) concept artist and i can illastrate and annotate what i'm trying to explan.

(and mate XD leave the sex games to the japanese. they do it so badly it's funny)

while im a lover of a curtain genre of game (i think everyone is) i beleave my imagination is adaptable for all genres... however thanks for pointing this out i'll have to inclue some additional work of the other consepts swearling in my head. (like a RPG of australian settlement using kangaroos and dingo people <.< MWHAHAHAHAHA!!!)

thanks for your imput. and i beleave that you'd be a great help to me in making my folio. Wanna give it a shot?>>

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 13/05/05 - 8:20 PMPermalink

Have you played Silent Storm? that was my personal fave of 2004, it's basically what X-Com would've been if made today, just the depth of the gameplay was phenominal, and was almost fully destructable terrains! Brilliant, seriously look for it if you havent already, Auran are actually distributing it so it shouldnt be too hard to find.

The japanese make freaked out games huh, there was this one that we were playing here at work called Sexy Beach, the whole point was to rub lotion on this chick in a choice of positions (I made it to 2nd stage!). The thing I've designed is not as blatant as that, it's a community thing catering for men and women, straight or gay, not just a bunch of giggling Manga girls with 30yr old bodies and 8yr old faces.

I think you've definitely on the right track (as much of a track a GD position offers). Don't worry about the quality of your art, as long as you can simply show what you want to do, remember the majority of of GD's are coders and trust me, THEY CANT DRAW. Anyway I can't offer too much as I myself am not that experienced but yeah I'm willing to give what help I can, just Email me through this thing if you like.

Just make sure to go into a lot of detail on everything, thats what design is afterall, if you don't then you get people doing thing completely different from what you invisioned and it doesn't fit, and because they've already built it, you find that you're the one getting the extra work trying to tie it in. The initial concept design is a small percentage of the project. Stuff like:

"The Player will then be lead on to the Locker Room where there will be two doors.

1.If the Player selects the first door, they will be taken to the Field Entrance Area (Refer to Field Entrance Area section of this document)

2.If the Player selects the second door yadda yadda yadda"

Even that's not detailed enough for what is needed but you get the idea. also a good technique is to try summarise as much as you can as early as you can then refer to detail later, you always have to presume the reader has no time to read.

Submitted by McKnight on Sun, 05/06/05 - 6:13 AMPermalink

I remember a very discouraging message I read yesterday in a document on QA Advice.. it basically said there is no such position as GD, you need to either start a company or be with it from the beginning. I find this to be false, if you are determined and talented enough you can go anywhere. Good luck mate, I have always thought about aiming towards Game Design because I have a love for making extremely if not too in depth stories, and advanced gameplay.

My only problem would be that I would always try and push for non-linear gameplay :D

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Wed, 15/06/05 - 9:18 AMPermalink

Ahh non linear gameplay, the holly grail of game dev, (except maybe a cross platform non linear mmo with simple yet involving gameplay for both single and multi players, offering an engaging world and theme suitable for both male and female audiences, in short, anything from EA)

The problem I see with non linear is lack of context, take the sims for example, personally I think it's one of the most well made and polished games out there to date, problem is, you play it for like 200 years and at the end of it you're just "... Well... That's me... I might as well just die now I spose" I think people will always need some form of guideline to things, some kind of context like an embracing world or at least some form of story, thats why movies, tv, and books will never die.

Then again theres Big Brother, and that's pretty much a sims that you dont even play! ... in fact, it's like sitting behind and WATCHING someone playing the sims... the conversations are just as riveting as well.

Submitted by AntsZ on Wed, 15/06/05 - 7:08 PMPermalink

i like the open ended games but with a good story line, one good example were the Gothic series, the world was huge and you were able to go where ever you want (most places) but there was a linear story line which worked for it really well.

I also like the linear games where you have more than one route, or way to get something for example fallout, the world was pretty much open from when you started and there was numerous ways to achieve an objective.

most games like this work really well and has a great following of fans and players.

at the moment in writing up a Game Design Document for a story and concept I've had in mind for a while now based around both of the examples above

Submitted by Anuxinamoon on Wed, 15/06/05 - 9:12 PMPermalink

When you design do you work within budgets? Like money budgets, time budgets? What if a company only had 2 million and 18 months? You can't make some crazy 500hour MMOrpg or whatever with every bell and whistle under then sun.

If I was hiring a GD, I'd look at all the games you have ever played. I'd also like to see your top 3 favourites and what parts of those games you found worked the best and made them great. Then 3 of the worst games you played and what suffered in their design. (this can go from board games to computer games from any time era)
It wouldnt have to be an essay.

If I was hiring a GD, I'd also look at the number of books you have read. More books and knowledge = more places where ideas can come from = better game design.

You should write a game design document [;)]

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Thu, 16/06/05 - 12:36 AMPermalink

I agree with you to an extent, books aren't the only medium for inspiration though, I'm not a major reader myself, quite selectively in fact, most of my ideas actually spring from movies, games and tv (good tv), and thats including the novels I'm writing myself.

Getting feedback on the applicant's impression of certain games is a good one, and you see that quite often in the criteria of certain companies when they're hiring.

I think one of the best criteria is actual knowledge of the production process (industry exp basically) sooooo many people have ideas for great games and all that, it's dead easy to come up with a good idea for a game I come up with one literally every week. What the problem is, is most people's lack of ability towards tailoring that concept to fit their team, like what you said above with the budgets and that.

Also it's a lack of alternate perspective from the pov of the team members, the Designers who have backgrounds in code dont seem to get the importance of aesthetics and timing and mood, on the flipside, thoes with backgrounds in art tend to just go all out and think little of actual feasability. If you can find a middle ground then that's a major factor.

Another major is humility, remaining receptive to the opinions and input of others, and thats a hard one, you have to remember, coders know code better than you probebly ever will, artists know visuals and the programs better than you probebly ever will, so therefore by utilising their input all its doing is making your work stronger.

Submitted by Caroo on Thu, 16/06/05 - 2:00 AMPermalink

Well I get my inspiration from.. Well.. Everything really. Books, Television, LOTS of cartoons BOTH western and anime (Heman rules!!) , a few Mangas, news and events and most importantly other games. I try to mix the serious content with more lighthearted stuff to. I watched a cartoon movie called ?the cat returns? a very good lighthearted story. I do recommend it.

Currently I?m playing ?Beyond good and evil? which?while its got its flaws is turning out pretty good in both game play and storyline. On the other flip coin I?m playing ?Harvest moon? on the game boy advance.. In which you farm and believe me, don?t knock it till you tried it. It?s bloody addictive.

As for a bad game.. Play ?the seed? on the PS2? I swear.. You?ll scream and snap the disc in two.

As for my game design documents. I?ve written about 25 pages so far. Just outlining the HQ and its facilities and the character outlines. I?m finding it easer then I first thought.

The entire design doc should be ready in two months. Then I?ll annotate the most important stuff to audio to begin making the presentation.

Gaming in the classroom

As a high school teacher (13-17yo kids) in Brisbane, Australia, I am looking at some new ideas in the classroom for my teaching areas...... IT , Physics and Maths.

In the IT area I am currently working up an extended work proposal that will have the senior students (16,17 yo) developing game scenarios that I can re-use for with my younger maths and science classes.

As this is not an education/teaching forum I won't labour the teaching side of this but rather outline my thoughts on the other side of it.

Imagine a classroom where the senior IT classes no longer have to write a "salary database and Payroll system" for their major assignment (how dry is that!!) but rather they get to script up a game scenario based on a specification (giving them enough "room to be creative" but also making sure that the demonstrate the necessary competencies so we can assess their work.

There would also be good scope for collaboration across subjects with the multimedia/design classes helping with some of the artwork, and I have at least two english teachers who see the gaming environment as an increasingly significant "storytelling discorse" (much as movies are now recognised as a valid story telling genre - Bladerunner is a much studied movie in schools)

Anyway, the specification I would give my C++ programming classes would relate to the tasks I have in mind for my other classes. The study of AI is another area of extention into the gaming world. Maybe my programming tasks would guide them through modding out a scenario in which certain maths concepts are "discovered" within the game play.

I have spent some time now messing with UnrealEd and the Unreal engine, but am thinking I will eventually swap to a game engine/framework that places less emphasis on blood and carnage and more on problem solving and observation.

As an aside, I am also going tobe teaching senior science/physics in a year or two and see games like Half Life 2 etc being a rich simulation environment there.

I'd be happy to collaborate as well on any shared resources. As part of my post-fgrad studies I am currently working through some of this stuff in a formal way and would be willing to share throughts.


Submitted by Daemin on Tue, 14/12/04 - 9:19 PMPermalink

From the lan that I attended last weekend I was shown a nice prototyping toolset called BlitzBasic, basically a really easy to use fast prototyping tool - language, compiler, IDE, etc, all the nice things that you'd want, including demos with source code, 3d models (I Think). I would say that this might be a very good tool to use, it currently costs about $100 US for the package, but there is an email at the bottom to contact if you're interested in using it for educational purposes.

Personally I would try and stay away from the full blown 3d engines containted in current games, as they require a hefty knowledge of C++, and most of them (information gathered from various sources that have used these engines) are very messy/hard to work with. Even if you are teaching C++ I might suggest looking into something like the torque engine by Garage Games, though that will cost a bit none-the-less. But then another question comes into my head, why teach C++ as a first language? Java, Python, Basic would all be more suitable I would imagine.

(P.S. Sorry for being soo rambly, I've just come back from working a graveyard shift.)

Submitted by McKnight on Sun, 05/06/05 - 6:01 AMPermalink

If only there were more teachers like you.. last IPT lesson I had at school the teacher told us to open VB and explained that we were going to make a racing game. The game consisted of two pictures racing across the screen using an inbuilt clock to judge who would win. Anyway it was completely unorganised and I fixed many things wrong with it (I don't bother with VB so I don't get how I fixed it, logical thinking I guess.)

But yeah C++ should be brought into the classroom. I know my school doesn't teach it. Good luck with the proposal hope it goes through, you may even start a new umm, forget the name, well anyway I have a memory block but I am sure you know what I am talking about, compulsory topic in the subject.

Submitted by Daemin on Mon, 06/06/05 - 8:29 PMPermalink

I am personally against trying to teach C++ in High School, or even at University.

First of all C++ is a very advanced langauge in the scheme of langauges, I would pick something easier such as Visual Basic, Blitz Basic, Java, Ruby, or some other scripting language first. In those languages you can get immediate visual results of what you've programmed which makes it easier on the student learning where they can get positive feedback without the teacher being there with them. Scripting langauges are also better as they can be sandboxed more easily so that the student can be prevented from destroying the system.

Secondly, teaching C++ can, and probably will, be boring as hell to those people that are not technically inclined and not into programming games. Those people would just be bored stiff with this programming concept and would likely not choose it as a future career. For the other people then they would come out of the course with a mistaken impression that they can program in C++, which would most likely not be the case. C++ is a complex beast, the different compiler implementations, the different runtime environments, the different irregularities and complexities of the langauge mean that you'd have to learn and keep using it for several years in order to at least become proficient at it.

I know this might sound a bit harsh, but it's the truth. I though I knew a lot about the language when I was in High School, but I was as clueless as they would come. It's only after completing University and learning about a whole sleuth of other languages and using C++ during that time that I have realised how complex a language it is. I now would rate myself about a 8.5-9.0 / 10.0 in programming it, but every now and again I read an article from someone and am in awe of how much more detail they know, and it reminds me that I have long to go before I can be a master at it.

My apologies for people who consider this too much of a rant.

Submitted by Rensa on Sat, 18/06/05 - 7:59 AMPermalink

^ Good point - I dived in the deep end and started learning C++ as a first language. It took me a good year just to force myself through the first book I bought, and even though I understand the main concepts (inheritence, polymorphism, etc.), I'm still pretty awful at it (often looking up exact syntax, peculiarities... ugh). As much as it pained me doing I.T. last year (11), being forced to build trivial VB examples (that racing 'game' rings a terrifying bell), learning C++ in high school is probably the other extremity.

If you want more focus on artwork and storytelling, you could always have them use a game maker of some sort. Maybe they're taboo here [;)], but my first experience with game development was via Klik 'n' Play in Grade 6; I learnt basic concepts, such as variables and flow control, whilst using RPGMaker. They're not as flexible as coding, but eh.

BTW, I'm new. Do you guys have an intros thread, or shall I just continue butting into threads? [:D]

Opportunity in PSP and DS

Hopefully this hasn't already been said in another thread but I was just wondering what people thought about the opportunity for developers in the new generation of handhelds. It seems that it might be the system of choice for new companies to break in to the business.

Over the past few years a substantial amount of developers appear to have either gone bust or been merged into larger companies. Mainly since the introduction of the PS2 which i dont think has had nearly as much variety or as many new companies producing games for it. Most probably because of the rising production costs due to more models with more detail and so on. I realise that the psp will have similar specs as the ps2 but i doubt consumers will expect as much from its games as they do from its older sibling.

This is where newer developers will hopefully be able to get a foothold in the industry as they can create games at a cost similar to the late PS1/N64 and early PS2/GCN. Another factor which i think may be helpful for developers to gain recognition is the introduction of the second screen to the ds which is a fairly unexplored method of gaming and should hopefully enable for more variety in game design.

Anyway, id just like to hear what others think about that, and anything that i have stated is wrong please feel free to contradict me as im by no means an expert on the subject.

Submitted by Blitz on Tue, 16/11/04 - 2:45 AMPermalink

Many developers have, in the past, tried to make a break by going into the handheld market, due to it's lesser requirements for content etc. and therefore lower cost. I see no reason why this shouldn't continue on the next generation, although perhaps in more moderation as now the handhelds will require more content generally. These days, mobile phone games are probably a better option with regards to low-cost/low-man-power games, since emulators for specific phones/series are quite good quality and often provided for free, and theres not much requirement for a special "devkit" version of phones to test on. The biggest non-person cost is requiring one of each phone you want to release the game on for testing, which can cost you anywhere between $300-5000+.
As for ps2 quality on psp systems, this is going to be very difficult to achieve while still maintaining a battery life above 2 hours from what i've heard. Also apparently the psp cannot render tri's as fast, a few developers have mentioned that they've had to drop the tri count of their models a bit when porting ps2 games to psp.
Anyway, i'm certainly looking forward to the DS. Fingers crossed that cracking it doesn't prove to difficult.
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Jacana on Wed, 17/11/04 - 9:09 AMPermalink

Given the budgets and big named companies that are listed as PSP developers I think that smaller companies will have quite a hard time breaking into that market. There is also the fact that to get access to PSP dev kits you need to submit a game proposal to Sony and have it approved. This would be similar to the DS.

Mobile phone games can be better to get into as a small company but unless you are willing to fund the full cost of the game upfront you will be hard pressed to find a contract to do much with development on that (unless you sub-contract). When you do get contracts the pay may not be much more then keeping the group of people fed and housed for the development time and a very short time after that.

I still think that the Gameboy is a really good ground for a new group of people. The hardest part would be having at least one team member who is good at optimization. You can even get local engine software through Nocturnal for the Gameboy.

The Path To Game Design/Testing

Hey everyone! I just wanted to pop in and ask you guys/girls some questions.

1. If I would like to get into game design/testing where would I start?
2. Would you need any programming skills or not?
3. What type of education would I need?

If anyone can answer any of these it would be a great help. thx guys.

Submitted by souri on Mon, 08/11/04 - 8:05 AMPermalink

Steve Wang from Micro Forte has written a nice bit for those interested in game design - you can read it at the end of the [url=""]Industry Portfolio Answers for Aspiring 3D Game Artists[/url] article here... it should at least answer the first question you had.

Submitted by Jacana on Mon, 08/11/04 - 5:07 PMPermalink

Another suggestion:

Look back through all the previous job postings related to Q/A and Design to see what skills and education they are looking for.

If you are able to, contact some of the local companies and see if anyone there would be willing to answer any questions you may have.

Also, if I remember right there are a few schools offering design courses. May be worth looking at those to get an idea of what they teach.

Submitted by souri on Tue, 09/11/04 - 7:34 PMPermalink

Jacana's suggestion of looking up the job posts/requirements on here is an excellant one. That's the main reason I try to keep all the posts online, even when I've been asked to remove them when they're old.

The recent job ad for [url=""]a senior game designer[/url] is very informative...

Game Design Walkthrough

hey guys, i remember reading here a while ago, and i was directed to this REALY GREAT site that told you everything you needed to know about creating a game and presenting it to a design company. Ive checked all over and have done searches but cannot find it.

Would anyone know this site?

Submitted by Maitrek on Sat, 30/10/04 - 8:01 AMPermalink

I dunno exactly what you are talking about, but you could try the igda (maybe ) or sometimes has useful resources. Other than that, gamasutra !

Happy hunting!

Ideal deathmatch weapons

Just doing a bit of research here.
What is everybodies ideal deathmatch weapons setup. [?]
Let me elaborate a bit more:
Whats your favourite weapons/weapon type?
What do you think is a good number of weapons to have?
What would you consider to be an essential weapon?
What do you think of weapons with alternate fire?
What weapons should there be less of, or that are are over used?
Realistic or unrealistic weapons?

If you have any other comments please add them. [:)]

Submitted by Barry Dahlberg on Sat, 02/10/04 - 4:18 AMPermalink

Whats your favourite weapons/weapon type?

I've always been a fan of up close and personal weapons like shotguns or the flak cannon. I'm also a bit of a railgun fan though I don't have the patience for sniping.

What do you think is a good number of weapons to have?

Enough weapons with varying pros and cons to allow different play styles to develop. I think having a smaller number of interesting and well balanced weapons is more important than a great variety.

What would you consider to be an essential weapon?

No weapon in particular, it depends on the play style you want your players to use. For fast flowing skill games you'll want fast short range weapons that allow you to move freely such as the shotgun. For slower more strategic games you'll want your snipers, scopes, restricted movements while shooting etc.

What do you think of weapons with alternate fire?

If the alternate fire provides for interesting and different strategies then I approve.

What weapons should there be less of, or that are are over used?

Rocket launchers. Sure Quake DM is a particularly fun rocket fest but not every game needs to be like that. Weapons should be chosen to provide interesting tactical choices in the game environment rather than for their cool potential.

Realistic or unrealistic weapons?

Whatever suits the style of game. Realism is a useful tool for immersion however I don't beleive it should ever come before gameplay in a multiplay death match.

Hope this helps, what is it for?

Submitted by MoonUnit on Sat, 02/10/04 - 6:13 AMPermalink

Im no game designer and im certainly no game maker pro, but i am a seasoned FPS player so i hope my opinion helps :D

Whats your favourite weapons/weapon type?

Actually mr RL (rocket launcher). Not the shoulder mounted WW2 shooter panzer thing, the quake/UT fast firing version. Simply because i find it fun to attempt to judge distance and player movement to get the rocket to hit home.

What do you think is a good number of weapons to have?

its true if you have too many it can ruin the game (its harder to get familiar with for one), then again so can too little(gets old quick and too predictable). So id draw the line at 6-10.

What would you consider to be an essential weapon?

I suppose atleast one sub machine gun and one weapon which you could easily identify as the "heavy" weaponry (rockets, grenades, mounted guns)

what do you think of weapons with alternate fire?

Alternative fire is neat, it can be put to interesting uses (take UTs shock rifle, alt fire fires a shock ball, nail the flying ball with a primary fire lazer and its a shock combo explosion thing!! yay) but when it goes wrong is when a game has alternative on every weapon regardless of wether or not its any good. Simply because they implemented alt fire they make up one for every weapon (in sum if its no good, it dosent need to be there!)

What weapons should there be less of, or that are are over used?

Maybe its not so much that there should be less shotguns, rocket launchers and sub machine guns as much as if they are going to be there, make sure theres some additions of things that people havent seen before. or just plainly other weapons that are varied enough so your arsenal dosent look to much of the same.

Realistic or unrealistic weapons?

Depends on the setting really, i mean you couldnt put a lazer gun in call of duty and a bolt action rifle would like odd in Unreal. However what you can do is take for example your bolt action rifle and make a futuristic equivilent (in terms of fire power, reload time etc) for your futuristic game or vice versa (ie some sort of single shot lazer cannon etc) if you want to.

Submitted by Fluffy CatFood on Sat, 02/10/04 - 10:42 AMPermalink

Thanks guys.
Barry: I'm just writing up a little design doc for a basic deathmatch game for me to work on. I'm mainly doing it for the design reasons though.

Submitted by CombatWombat on Sat, 02/10/04 - 7:13 PMPermalink

I'd love to see a deathmatch mode that had some cute and/or interesting devices that one could use, something that wasn't direct damage, but could be used to gain an advantage over the opponent.

I've played more of the 3 releases of UT than any other game (possibly even combined, which is very scary :) and two weapons stand out as quite inspired design to me:

* the shock rifle (my fave) with the ability (as Moonunit mentions) to combo the alternate-fire plasma ball to do high damage around the ball - a number of interesting tactics can be used with the shock - alt-fire as a decoy as though one is about to combo, but then use primary fire to target the opponent directly - or moving combos, where one deploys an alt-fire, move and burst it with the primary fire. (hope that makes sense to people reading this who haven't played UT)

* shield gun (aka impact hammer in the original UT) - can be used as a melee weapon, to protect yourself from incoming projectiles, to take shield from falling damage, and can be charged up to use to attain greater heights with jumps. Some of the best players use this in quite remarkable ways - getting to places one really would not have imagined possible. With the impact hammer, it was even possible to disarm rockets or redeemers (mini nukes) if you timed it right.

These are IMHO the two best examples of alt-fire. Giving the player more gameplay elements to use is a great thing!

Submitted by Blitz on Sun, 03/10/04 - 4:22 AMPermalink

I remember my old UT clan had a trick for the map FACE. One of our offence would run in and grab the enemy flag. He would either have the redeemer, or grab the opposing teams redeemer just before grabbing the flag. Then he would teleport to the top of the tower, jump of the front, and about halfway down to the next level, fir the redeemer point blank at the tower. Most of the time, this would result in the enemy's flag being blown all the way across the map and right into our own base for a quick and easy score :)

Another cool thing in UT was if you were 1v1'ing an opponent and he was trying to hit you with shock rifle combo, just continuously do primary fire at his gun barrel, he hits alt-fire, you hit his ball, and he gets a huge plasma explosion right in the face which usually was insta kill.

Generally, i think the weapons you have, and wether they work well can really depend on the level design. Rockets aren't so useful if you're always firing at each other point blank etc. So i think your level design is as important as your variety of weapons...
CYer, Blitz

Submitted by Barry Dahlberg on Mon, 04/10/04 - 5:35 AMPermalink

Doom 3's RL is probably a good example of the wrong weapon in the wrong levels. A large blast radius that throws you are used in thight cramped corridoors with no space to move?

Submitted by S1ND3X on Fri, 10/06/05 - 12:24 AMPermalink

Whats your favourite weapons/weapon type?
Sniper Rifles are a favourite, as are machine guns. Shotguns i've found are useful in Single player games, but not often in deathmatch, i've also never gotten on with rocket launchers.

What do you think is a good number of weapons to have?
Well, there are 10 number keys on a keyboard so i think this works best, any more and it gets complex, remember Blood II?

What would you consider to be an essential weapon?
Shotguns, Machine Guns and Rockets Launchers, after that you can throw in whatever, you'll find that most FPS's have these 3 elements

What do you think of weapons with alternate fire?
I like them, especially guns like UT's pulse rifle, and Half Life's Sub Machine Gun

What weapons should there be less of, or that are are over used?
I don't think any gun can be over done, as long as the format isn't used multiple times in the same game.
Unless ,of course, you're making bigger versions

Realistic or unrealistic weapons?
Well unrealistic weapons are fine, but it's nice to have a bit description atatched with some silly made up science to explain why they work

Submitted by Lone Pixel on Fri, 05/08/05 - 2:32 AMPermalink

Whats your favourite weapons/weapon type?
I like most weapons the shotgun is great for close range damage and aerial combat (you would be surprised how much this happens). Rifles from fully auto to snipers are great for distance. But my favourite has to be the Rocket launcher because in the end it?s just the most fun to use. Have you ever played pong with an enemy solider in TFC? Now that was fun.

What do you think is a good number of weapons to have?
It depends does the player have access to all of them like Quake or does he only have access to a few like Counter strike. If it?s A then I would say around 8 -10 and a few grenades. If it?s B then go mad. If the player has gain access to them in some other way then just picking them up I.E purchasing them or maybe even unlocking them with kills etc they should have access to a whole heap but be limited to how many they can use at once like counter strike.

What would you consider to be an essential weapon?
The close ranged weapon, or a long ranged weapon that never runs out of ammo. In times of ammo droughts it?s the weapon we all fall back on.

What do you think of weapons with alternate fire?
The more things you can do with a single weapon the better chance you have that the player is going to like that weapon. I always liked alternate fire. Means I have to change guns less.

What weapons should there be less of, or that are over used?
That really depends on the game and where its set In my opinion there are never to many guns if you make each gun different allowing each person the ability to fight in different ways. Mind you every one has a bane. Mine are grenades and sniper rifles. They get me every time so would I like less of them not really that would be no fun.

Realistic or unrealistic weapons?
Again that depends on the game. If I?m playing BF1942 I want realistic. If I am Playing Quake3 I want unrealistic. I like both games but for different reasons. For instance I wouldn?t want to see the rocket launcher from Quake in BF. Nor would I want to see the sniper rifle in quake 3. Both games have a different tempo or beat. Quake 3 with its unrealistic weapon selection has a very fast Tempo while BF with its WWII arsenal is a bit mellower but never the less exciting to play.

Game design basics

I just have a few questions relating to a career in game design.

What is the normal path for game designers? Is it mostly a case of people rising from differing ranks within a development studio? i.e.,
programmer>senior programmer>game designer?

The reason I ask is that I think *or i hope* that I have a few alright ideas in regards to game design and stories. Should I be honing my skills as a designer or as a programmer?

On another note if I am to get my ideas out and written down, are there certain areas I should be covering. Perhaps a structured way to document a game design


Submitted by Rahnem on Tue, 31/08/04 - 3:45 AMPermalink

That depends on you really. Good chance either way.

For instance at Epic you have Cliff Bleszinski (lead designer) who is an ideas man, but has no clue when it comes to programming, and then you have Steve Polge (project leader) who makes the most of the design decisions, and is godlike a programmer.

Programmers are usually better at knowing what can be done at a minimal risk, while designers understand what makes a game fun.

I would not even bother writing ideas down until you have had a year or two experience in the industry. I'm sure that experience will radically change your perception of game design.

Submitted by souri on Wed, 01/09/04 - 4:21 AMPermalink

There are some places locally where you can get your foot in the door to becoming a game designer by putting in the hours as a game tester/QA person. However, there are places where QA jobs will only be just that.

There are a few posts somewhere in the jobs discussion area about game design jobs (I'll leave that for you or someone else to search and post about here because I'm on here for a limited time while my internet connection at home isn't working)..

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Thu, 12/05/05 - 11:58 PMPermalink

I studied cert 3 in animation at tafe, got a scholarship to qantm in 2001, did some amature concept art for certain friend's projects here and there. Then one day I sent a pic I did to a friend at Fuzzyeyes just to show him, didnt realise he was working. Next thing he's saying the art lead wants me to come in that thursday, I went in, started as a concept artist the following monday. Bout 6 months later I was made Game Designer and have been now for over a year.

I have no code experience, I refer to the Fuzz Tech Director and other coders to solidify my ideas. Code and Scripting knowledge very much helps, I'm looking to learn as much as I can on scripting as I can, but the most important thing I find is logical thinking and empathy. You can jump in with ideas easy, it's so very easy to come up with a concept and ideas that will sell, but wether you can get them into the project with the team and the time you have is another matter.

My major strength at Fuzz is the fact that I can work and talk with both coders and artists, understand their perspectives and relate them to each other, I do a lot of leg work. I'm still very much inexperienced and it shows sometimes, I also desperately need help, I'm also the only GD the company has, but the fact that I can ustilise the creativity and skills of all of the team members greatly helps the project.

So basically what Im saying is I think there are ways in regardless of your history or skills. The larger companies tend to catagorize people a little more and have like set templates for employment but I think that limits them greatly. It depends on how set you are on getting into a particuar place I guess, you'll have to see what they ask for.

As for the structure of the docs, go on like gamedev and gamasutra and DL some of the document templates. The prob with these is that they're generalized and you'll have to do some thinking to bend them towards your specific game type.

Submitted by AntsZ on Fri, 13/05/05 - 5:38 AMPermalink

yeah 1st step is to get your foot in the door most cases its for a QA job that way you can gain the industry experience most companies want. Volunteer if you have too, i've just recently volunteered for fuzzy eyes to do some QA work on thier latest game, I loved it and had so much fun, it was so good to get a taste of what i want to be doin. But the greatest asset was that I was able to gain some expeirence for it. I want to get into Game Design as well, so i've been drawing some design briefs and documents and tried my hand in some concept art. so try and look for QA jobs and make your portfolio show that you are really keen and eager.

BTW Jackydablunt you wouldnt happen to be daniel? I was one of the testers who stayed for a week.

Submitted by Jackydablunt on Fri, 13/05/05 - 6:15 AMPermalink

Heeyy Hoyo Antz, yeah that's me, thanks for the testing and stuff you guys did it was great, I'm just sorry the whole thing wasn't organised as well as it could've been, and the builds at the time weren't as stable as we hoped, we're just not as experienced as a company yrt. I'm glad you enjoyed it though and I'm glad it helped you devise a path. What we got from you guys helped out a lot, and round two will be comming soon. Thanks again.

Submitted by mcdrewski on Fri, 13/05/05 - 7:27 AMPermalink

[url="…"]Chris Crawford's advice[/url] (his site also has a lot of older theory and articles (1982 [url=""]AoCGD[/url] anyone?).

[url=""]Geoff Zatkin[/url] - "in my 8+ years as a professional game designer, not once has any boss of mine ever asked me for an idea for a new game. Not once." :)

Submitted by AntsZ on Fri, 13/05/05 - 9:14 AMPermalink

Heya Daniel, dw about the unorganisation, it was still fun and learnt alot about QA, you guys are doin a great job with HDHG, cant wait for round 2 and to crash the game again lol. Got an email from amanda today asking for a resume, so i'll see how it goes. thanx again daniel

great articles mcdrewski esp Chris Crawfords advice.