Putting the Cart Before the Horse: by gEl244A4

VIEWS: 4 PAGES: 49

									Putting the Cart
Before the Horse:
  Reformulating Business Constraints as Aesthetic Goals

  Jonathan Hamel
  BreakAway Games
Overview
Part I:     Introduction    – 10 minutes
Part II:    Brainstorming   – 10 min.
Part III:   Analysis        – 10 min.
Part IV:    Exercise        – 60 min.
Part V:     Demo            – 20 min.
Part VI:    Wrap-Up         – 10 min.
Introduction



         10 minutes
MDA Meets Reality
• It can be challenging to use the
  MDA framework in a real business
  setting.

• But well worth the effort:
   Focuses team on project goals
   Helps you deal with feedback
   Herds feature creep in the right direction
Everybody’s a Critic
• You want the game to be better, but:
     The client or publisher wants…
     The contract says…
     Your company strategy is…
     The latest market research shows…
     The system performance is...
     The schedule has time for...
     etc.
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
Designer
                Dynamics   Aesthetics
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
Designer
                Dynamics   Aesthetics


                             Horse
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
Designer
                  Dynamics   Aesthetics


           Cart                Horse
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
Designer
                Dynamics   Aesthetics
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
  Mechanics
Designer
                Dynamics   Aesthetics
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
  Mechanics     Dynamics
                 Different
                             Aesthetics
Designer
                 Dynamics
      The Designer’s Perspective



 Mechanics
  Mechanics     Dynamics
                 Different
                             Aesthetics
Designer
                 Dynamics      Different
                              Aesthetics
Design vs. Commerce
• Argue
   Usually, they win, right?


• Communicate
   Nobody else knows what MDA is.
   “Your ‘aesthetic goal’ should be for it to be fun.”
   (Schedules aren’t very good listeners, anyway.)


• Accept
Mantras for Staying Calm
• Focus on the client
   It's not a better game if it still doesn't meet the business
    objectives of the people funding and selling it.


• Define “Design”
   The application of creative expertise to solve problems.
 Quick Examples
• Compare “design” in other industries:

• Architecture
    How do I plan for the flow of people through a physical space?
• Engineering
    How do I make the paperclip grip better and not rust the paper?
• Advertising
    How can I communicate that this brand is “sophisticated” and “dangerous?”
The Point
• Design is the application of creative
  expertise to solve problems.

• Whose problems?

• The people with the money.

• Client/publisher/business constraints
  can be as important as aesthetic goals.
Brainstorming



         10 minutes
War Stories
• Time to vent and/or brag
   An ethnography of business constraints
   Notice not a ‘taxonomy’ ... maybe one day


• What curve balls have you been thrown?

• Home run or strike out?
Inspiration
    The client or publisher wants…
    The contract says…
    Your company strategy is…
    The latest market research shows…
    The system performance is...
    The schedule has time for...
    The marketing dept. wants...
Analysis



           10 minutes
The Ideal
• When game design and business
  constraints are seamless we feel
  great.
   Role-playing and subscriber loyalty
   Casual games and their demographic


• But when business constraints feel
  tacked on... ugh
The Question
• Can business constraints be
  reformulated in a way that is more
  useful to us as designers?

• How about a Constraint Model?
   Understand what you’re being asked to do.
   Predict what it’s going to do to your game.
Components of a
Constraints Model
• What kind of constraint are we talking
  about?

• What’s the domain of the constraint?

• What counts as adherence?
   Notice I’ve put this last...
   Describe your goal(s): success and/or failure to accommodate the
    constraint.
   Predict potential consequences.
Goal: Competition
 Model: A game is competitive if players
   are emotionally invested in defeating
   each other.
 Success:
    Players are adversaries.
    Players want to win.

 Failure:
    A player feels that he can’t win.
    A player can’t measure his progress.
Kinds of Constraints


• Additive
• Subtractive
Additive Constraint



           Game
Additive Constraint



           Game


                  Constraint
Additive Constraint



                Game
       Change


                       Constraint
Additive Constraint

       Change




                Game
       Change


                       Constraint
Subtractive Constraint



           Game
Subtractive Constraint



           Game


                  Constraint
Subtractive Constraint

       Change




                Game


                       Constraint
Subtractive Constraint

       Change




                Game
       Change


                       Constraint
Domain of Constraint
• Domain
     Mechanics
     Dynamics
     Aesthetics
     Multiple


• The deeper into your game the
  constraint reaches, the greater the
  ripple effect.
Domain of Constraint
• Mechanics
     Can be the easiest to cope with.
     Example: Sissyfight + ‘tattle’
     Or the most insidious.
     Example: Sissyfight + product placement

• Dynamics
   Look out for dynamics masquerading
    as mechanics.
   Example: Add a pace monster.
Domain of Constraint
• Aesthetic
   Example: Yesterday’s exercise.


• Multiple domains...
Define Adherence
• First ask “Why?”
   Find out how much flexibility you have.
• Restate your goal
   How will you know if you’ve succeeded or failed in satisfying
    the requirements?
• Predict consequences
   Try to enumerate your concerns/worst fears.
An Example
• We want you to be able to
  customize the clothing of any
  individual unit in your RTS.
An Example
• Kind:
   Additive
• Domain:
   Mechanic
• Goal:
   Player feels they are expressing themselves.
   Player feels invested in individual units.
An Example
• Kind:
   Additive
• Domain:
   Aesthetic
• Goal:
   Player feels they are expressing themselves.
   Player feels invested in individual units.
• Concerns:
   Players won’t be able to identify units’ function.
   Player spends considerable time not in combat.
Exercise



           60 minutes
Sissyfight’s Revenge
•   Design on Sissyfight was “done.”
•   You’ve just received a memo.
•   The memo is unreasonable.
•   Your job depends on success.

• Break into groups of 6 people.
• Pick a memo – each group should do a
  different one if possible.
• We’re going to divide up into 3 rooms.
Sissyfight’s Revenge



 Does every group have a memo?
Sissyfight’s Revenge
•       Try to resist the temptation to satisfy the
        memo with pure content changes. That’s
        what we mean by “tacked on.”

•       After 5 minutes: be prepared to share
         Your memo
         One or more constraint models


•       At the end: be prepared to present a
        successful game.
         Iterate quickly!
• Kind:
   Additive / Subtractive

• Domain:
   Mechanic / Dynamic / Aesthetic / Multiple

• Goal:
   ...

• Concerns:
   ...
Demo



       20 minutes
Discussion
• How successful were you at adhering to
  the constraint?

• How successful were you in achieving
  your aesthetic goals?
   Was the game “fun?”
   Did the game have the right kind of fun?
Final Thoughts
• Can we make an even better game
  by seeking out business constraints
  and exceed expectations?

• Comments?
Wrap-up



          Thanks!

								
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