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Game design - My Thoughts, just my view that is al

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I have played a lot of video games, ranging from the most boring to the most interesting games. Wolf 3D was the first game that I ever played. I played Prince a few times. After that I played DOOM a lot, Quake, Strike Commander, Stunts, Lotus the list. The recent games that I have played include Half Life series, Left 4 dead, eagerly waiting for Half Life 2 Episode 3. Though the my list of played games is very long. A lot of these games are DOS based. The first game that impressed me and that I still play is Strike Commander, not that I don't play other DOS games, it is just that I play Strike Commander more than the other DOS games (thanks to DOSBOX). Under Windows most of the games are impressive, but Half Life series stands out , so does Max Payne, also Need For Speed series, except for pro street though, and few more titles. Recently I started playing of my PSP, just one title that I Medal of Honor Heros, looks good enough tp keep me occupied when I am not playing on my laptop or desktop.

Train of thoughts - Story Board Part 1

As mentioned earlier, every game beings with a premise/ idea/plot. The goal is to develop this concept/plot into a entertainment package that will make the player say "Wow I will play this again, I am sure my brother/sister/friends will love it." or "I am going to gift this game to my dear bro/sister". Before you go ahead and develop this concept, think if it is a unique idea? If yes great, if no, well think how to make your idea or better to provide the user a different experience, than the one that is already there in the market. The idea is simple, there are many moives out there with similar/same plot, but each one is different than other, in terms of dialouges,actors etc. Well some of them are actaully very bad, some just average, some are good, some set standards, make make others look average. The concept that in the mind should be developed in such a way that it should make ther other similar ideas sound just average.

Train of thoughts - Story Board Part 1

Like every movie the game begins with a plot or idea or a concept. This idea is the premise around which the whole game revolves around. For example it could be that the aliens have invaded, and some one has to stand up to it and get rid of it or some mad scientist has created a deadly virus and wants to infect people with that and take control of the world. Let us say we pick the alien theme, we need a reason why the aliens invaded the earth? Then we need a reason why some one stood up and agreed to get rid of the aliens for the rest of the humanity. I mean the hero needs a reason to go after the aliens. Why only him, why not someone else? The plot can uncover the hero's motive. Or the other way is to present the movie in an introduction video. Usually the plot describes the location of the battle for example earth, or the other planet. If the location is on other planet, how does our hero go there? Does the game show how the hero go there/ or does the story pick up right from where the hero is already at the location. In case the player has to guide/ drive etc to the location what are the choices available? Will the player walk/run or have a transport? Or does some one drop the hero at the location like in a helicopter or airplane? Or if the water body is involved like a river/sea/ ocean will it be a submariner/boat/ship or air dropped or will the player control the hero to swim to the particular point etc. This is just a preliminary idea and usually accomplished by brainstorming. In one these brainstorming sessions they discuss about the game characters i.e. the hero, monsters/ boss. How does the hero look like, what are his traits, strenghts and weakness, how tall is the hero, how much does the hero weight, skin color, body type, eyes,hair style, voice etc are drafted and agreed upon. The same thing goes for the monsters. How does each monster look like, what are the abilites and weakness of the each monster, how does it attack, can it fly around. Also what are the otehr in game characters that the hero can interact with, hwo do those characters look like, their personalities. These descussions go on, each idea is documented and discussed upon. When making a game point that is to be remembered is that "Though there are similar game out there, what unique experience can you game offer?" It like there are many gangster movies, how does each gangster movie differ from others? Or how does each hostage situation movie differ from the other hostage movies out there? For example Let say die hard, there are many movies similar to die hard plot story line, some are ok, some are boaring, and some can be avoided. The same logic applies to games. There are many alien theme game, but there are some that clicked, and others failed, why? The answer could simply be that the timing of launching is bad, or the game didn't click because the game didn't have a game play that could attact the players? Some times it might so happen that the gamers are too bored with the theme? Or may be that the weapons of the game were boaring, it is possible etc. Back to the brainstroming session. Ok we know how the hero looks, how the monsters look, we also know their abilities and weakness, how they attack/ hteir powers, we need to know how does our hero fight these mosnters/aliens. What are the weapons available with our hero to defend himself and the earth? for example let us consider that the hero has pistol, shotgun, machine gun etc. The weapon that the hero has, the hero should be able to handle it.

Story Board part 2

As the initial discussion about the game plot, characters, weapons proceed, parallelly the storyboard can be made on teh things that are finilized. For example if the team agrees on the hero, the hero character can be drawn on paper or create a blue print, so that the character can be created in either 2d or 3d. Here I like to mention that the team has to decied if they are going to make 3D game or 2D game, side scroll. For example if it is a shooting type of game, you want make a first person shooter or thrid person shooter? In case you making a racing game how many views you want to provide i.e. inside the car, outside the car etc. If you making a flight simulator you have cockpit view, from behind etc. I hope I am making a point here. There are so many decissions to be made, a lot of things can go in parallel. The story board and the script go on in parallel. As and when the script is finilized you can create the story board for it.

Level design

Level desing involves bringing the game to life. Now that you know how the story goes forward. You crate each chapet/level. Each level has a start point, let us call it point "A", end point let's call it point "B". The level desing is all about how the player goes from point "A" to point "B". Sounds simple right? There is no fun if the player just goes from point "A" to point "B" right? How do you make the level fun to play? Along the path put some monsters/enemies that the player has to kill. let the player solve some puzzles, set some objectives? have some objects that the player can use to set traps, or some secrets taht the player cna discover etc.

Each level can have primary, secondary, some nested objectives, which the player has to complete in order to go the next level.

Which ever make more sense

A game is a interactive movie. Like every movie a game beings with an idea/concept/plot. For example the plot be that there is a mad man that created a virus and has infected the whole town the hero has to fight the infected people and get the guy that created the virus. The plot needs to be strong. The one question that needs to be justified here is how did the the hero survive the infection? What made him immune in the first place? Or was the hero somewhere else at the time of incident? Or was some other place at the time of attack? Or is the hero from some place else, and is a specialist, and is capable of killing the guy that created the virus? In this case you need to justify what makes the hero a specialist? Why the hero is the chosen one? Why should the chosen one go after the guy?
One question here is how do you reveal the plot to the player. Before the game starts would you first explain the concept/plot of the game first, and then let the player play? Or would you reveal the plot of the game part by part as the game progresses ? Or would you let the player interact with the other in game characters to understand the plot/concept of the game.

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April 2021

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