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Art of Game Design Study Group (Update in first post)

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by BambooHutGames, Jan 17, 2019.

  1. BambooHutGames

    BambooHutGames

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    UPDATE MAY 2019:

    Not much going on in this group to be honest, but I am still analyzing games and would like to find people to join me. The current game is Super Mario 64, if you don't own a Nintendo 64 you can look into emulators for PC, they are free and work quite well.
    After that I will probably analyze Zelda for the SNES, a game I've never played... I'm using this project to catch up on Video Game History, but I'm always open to suggestions of any kind.

    Here is the Discord Link:
    https://discord.gg/SeDVfMe


    OLD OPENING:


    I would like to form a study group in which we will analyze games together to become better game designers. As a guideline and reference we will use the book "The Art of Game Design" by Jesse Shell. The book presents a list of 100 questions(referred to as lenses) that you can ask about your game.

    But of course you can ask most of these questions about any game out there, and I think it is very good practice. It will sharpen your skills towards understanding why you are having a certain experience when playing games, and thus understand how to shape experiences in your own games.

    The only requirements are that you are able to communicate in English and have read the book. Don't just take the lenses from the App, they aren't nearly as useful if you haven't read the book. It would also serve as a threshold to see who is motivated enough to go through with this thing. I analyzed a few small and crappy games of my own and it took ages. It requires concentration and highly conscious thinking, so please only sign up if you're serious and reading the book is a piece of cake for you.

    If you have a hard time answering the questions that is fine, it is a learning process. Just try your best to challenge yourself and participate in the discussions constructively.




    The procedure:

    We will meet on Discord and pick a game. As our subjects we could use games that are considered the best of all time as well as rather bad games. There are a ton of highly rated classics out there available for free, so I'd say we should pick some of those first.

    Every one then plays the game for a few hours and tries to answer as many questions from the book as possible. Maybe we could divide the discussion into subchannels (e.g. Lens 1-5, Lens 6-10 etc.) so everyone has a chance to answer the questions for themselves first and join the discussion as early as possible.



    We can also rip each other's games apart, but I think this should be reserved for people who have contributed over a longer period of time, so people don't sign up just to get feedback on their own game.

    This is all just a first idea so if we come up with better procedures, tools etc. we will change it. I've also come up with a few lenses of my own from other resources, and not all lenses can be applied to every game.



    Let me know if you are interested, whether you've read the book already and when you are ready to start. I'd be willing to start this thing even with just one other person, because even if there won't be a discussion, doing the analysis myself will be worth the time.
     
    Last edited: May 10, 2019
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  2. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I think it I nice initiative. I wish you good.luck.
    However, for people who learning games design from very beginning, wouldn't be fort using tools like blockly rather than Unity based games for example? It is quite easy to share projects, and digest its context in visual way.
     
  3. BambooHutGames

    BambooHutGames

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    It's neither limited to beginners nor Unity users. It's for anyone who wants to get better at game design.
     
  4. Teila

    Teila

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    Sounds fun. :) Unfortunately, I have no time for games right now. I love the book, btw. :) Hope you will post some of your insight here in the future.
     
  5. BambooHutGames

    BambooHutGames

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  6. Lurking-Ninja

    Lurking-Ninja

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    Great idea, sadly I don't have time for it. I just chime in to make a little advertisement: The Book of Lenses will have its third edition out soon. (I've got the pre-order of the hard cover for Christmas from daughter. :) )

    edit: apparently Christmas will come for me in August, they pushed back the release date of the book.
     
  7. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    Group discussion is useful... to a point. It can easily be a time sink.

    Why not analyze some simple, classic games, brainstorm some ways to alter/improve them, and then build a prototype? Much more to be learned from doing than talking and thinking.
     
  8. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    From my understanding OP appoints exactly that. Plus stimulate learning, with game design background, based on literature.
     
  9. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Not every dev has time to play. But in my opinion good devs are these, who played many games types in past, so clear perspective on game requirements are established. This giving good understanding, what makes game good, or bad.
     
  10. BambooHutGames

    BambooHutGames

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    If it's a time sink or not depends on the value you get out of it compared to the time put in. I pretty much never participate in general game design discussions for that reason. But I do read books about game design, I watch GDC videos and take notes, and I do use the lenses from the book to analyze games. The latter one wins in terms of time/value ratio. Obviously this is just my personal opinion.

    What you are suggesting is a pretty good idea, but it's hard enough as it is to even get this group started. If I added building a game to the curriculum, this thing might fall apart to soon. Maybe if I find people who show time and time again that they are committed and reliable we could do a thing like that.
     
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  11. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Not necessary. Imagine situation as plenty I know, people were playing a lot in their youth, but much less in adulthood. Obviously for many different aspects of life. That don't make them less qualified for that reason.

    And probably, if focusing on dev, you will be playing much less. Well in fact more, of your own game, while developing ;)
     
  12. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    I hope it was nice salad :)
    But, if you look at my first post here
    I am not against the idea. And my stand hasn't changed.
     
  13. nat42

    nat42

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    I'll bite.

    You are confusing loving playing games with loving making them. One can also love games as a medium despite not loving playing them; and also it's valid to only enjoy playing some subset, which I suspect is more common.

    Telling people that they can't love games because they don't love them in the way which you do is more like being an "enemy of games" to me. It's exclusionary and ignores facets of what games can be besides simple entertainment (I'd argue such attitude suggests a view that games cannot be art)
     
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  14. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Please quote me, where you think, I indicated to not try Unity? Just please ensure, quotation is not out of the context.
     
  15. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    No this is your statement. Not what I said, wrote or event thought. Either quote me, or please don't use my person as false reference.
     
  16. nat42

    nat42

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    I'm sorry it wasn't my intention to mislead anyone. However, I still can't read the below as not suggesting that those that don't play games don't both make you sad and are like enemies of games

    I believe you suggested, as just quoted that those that don't play games are enemies of games, I'm not positive what being an enemy of games constitutes but I don't think it's unreasonable to think that they probably don't love them. Jack Thompson probably doesn't love games for example.

    Agreed. Except the word was "exclusionary" which totally is a word (not to pick on typos, I make many myself, but I checked and I didn't even make a mistake)

    I'm sorry, I don't follow.

    I wasn't trying to suggest you can't hold the bvelief that games can be art, I do feel that if you do, a feeling that games can only be loved by those that play and love playing them, is some what at odds with that belief.
     
  17. nat42

    nat42

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    Sorry peeps, this seems like a misunderstanding -

    Antypodish refers not to Unity being hard as a game engine, but to visual languages being a learning tool and sometimes being considered easier for non-programmers. Game design should be something accessible to non-programmers

     
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  18. BambooHutGames

    BambooHutGames

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    Could you please have your discussion in another thread? I had planned to update this thread with games we are working on at the moment to get a nice overview and give people a chance to jump on board. But now most won't read until here.
     
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  19. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    @BambooHutGames I suggest use report button, or ask mod directly for example @hippocoder , to clear out our noisy posts. So only on topic post stays. Good luck with project.
     
  20. Antypodish

    Antypodish

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    Because our pointless argue is none constructive to op thread. And better clear such irrelevant discussion out, than messing with goal of OP post. And to be fair, is better having somebody with overview judgment, rather bias. Removing only one party of discussion don't make any clearer. If that makes sense?
     
  21. BIGTIMEMASTER

    BIGTIMEMASTER

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    You don't increase your prestige by winning arguments on a forum. Not that anybody here is even doing that. Just say your piece and be done. You're ruining a good thread.

    To the OP, I won't make any commitments but certainly if you post some in depth analysis of some games I'm gonna read them and will try to follow you format to do something of my own.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2019
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  22. BambooHutGames

    BambooHutGames

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    Just updated with current games, see first post