Published on June 17, 2007
Beyond Fun:Setting Aesthetic Goals and Sticking to Them : Beyond Fun: Setting Aesthetic Goals and Sticking to Them Tim Stellmach Craig Derrick Design Group Manager Project Manager Slide2: 'The first and foremost question to be answered about any game … is ‘Is it fun?’' —The Levelord (Richard Bailey Gray ) Where’s the fun?: Where’s the fun? Game developers don’t put the fun in the game in the first place. It emerges from the player’s interaction. All developers make is the play object, not the play itself. The Switcheroo: The Switcheroo A large software project requires a specification of the software – the play object. The spec gets some sort of play object made whether or not it says how the player is supposed to feel. Formulating Goals : Formulating Goals What is a goal? How should I begin to formulate my goals? Formulating Goals: Formulating Goals You should be able to tell what the goal is (vs. other possible outcomes). The desired result must be possible. A plan of action must be formable. You should be able to tell how the plan is going. Bonus: Knowing how long it is likely to take is much nicer than not. Formulating Goals: Formulating Goals Workable plan = Attainable. Tell how it’s going = Measurable. Tell what the goal is = Specific. Manageable duration = Time Frame. Possible result = Realistic. You’ll hear this called a 'S.M.A.R.T.' goal Aesthetic Goals: Aesthetic Goals What are game aesthetics? Definition taken from MDA framework 'The desirable emotional responses evoked by the game dynamics' Can we apply S.M.A.R.T? Designer Player What’s Missing?: What’s Missing? Most projects’ intended aesthetics are Realistic and Attainable. Timeliness is generally a constraint on the plan, not a problem with the desired aesthetic. If desired effect is known, process needs to be devised to Measure it. Often, though, aims are not even Specific. Slide10: 'The first and foremost question to be answered about any game … is ‘Is it fun?’' —The Levelord (Richard Bailey Gray ) Game projects need a functional specification, but first and foremost they need an aesthetic one. Why “Beyond Fun”: Why 'Beyond Fun' 'Fun' carries baggage about the nature of the effect. 'Fun' implies nothing about process. Great word, but not for talking about this particular thing. What typologies exist to help define a game’s aesthetic? Caillois’ Fundamental Categories: Caillois’ Fundamental Categories Agôn: contests of skill. Alea: games of chance. Mimicry: games of make-believe, fantasy, and imitation. Ilinx: games of vertigo. Caillois’ Axis of Ludus vs. Paidia: Caillois’ Axis of Ludus vs. Paidia Ludus: Sobriety of attitude, formality of game structure. Paidia: Frivolity of attitude, informality of game structure. The Caillois Graph: The Caillois Graph Garneau’s Fourteen Forms of Fun: Garneau’s Fourteen Forms of Fun Beauty Immersion Intellectual Problem Solving Competition Social Interaction Comedy Thrill of Danger Physical Activity Love Creation Power Discovery Advancement and Completion Application of an Ability LeBlanc’s Eight Kinds of “Fun”:: LeBlanc’s Eight Kinds of 'Fun': Sensation: Game as sense-pleasure Fantasy: Game as make-believe Narrative: Game as drama Challenge: Game as obstacle course Fellowship: Game as social framework Discovery: Game as uncharted territory Expression: Game as self-discovery Submission: Game as pastime Multiple Aesthetics: Multiple Aesthetics Games don’t present only a single aesthetic Examples: Charades: Fellowship, Expression, Challenge Quake: Challenge, Sensation, Fellowship, Fantasy Final Fantasy: Fantasy, Narrative, Expression, Discovery, Challenge, Submission Multiple Aesthetics: Multiple Aesthetics Aesthetics are not either present or absent in a game, but rather are present to different degrees. All of this got Caillois into a pickle in his day. Unified Theory of Game Aesthetics: Unified Theory of Game Aesthetics Caillois: Seminal to the field Garneau: Down-to-earth LeBlanc: Analytically rigorous Slide20: Garneau: Competition LeBlanc: Challenge+ Fellowship Caillois: Agôn, maybe Alea. Aesthetic model ò ò Ludus vs. Paidia? Doesn’t That Just Spell “S.A.R.T?”: Doesn’t That Just Spell 'S.A.R.T?' Specific descriptions of your aesthetic goals are not sufficient. Much of the key measurement happens in day-to-day process checking Goal specifications must be integrated into your process documents. Process Translation:: Process Translation: Create the following: Vision Statement Project Charter Competitive analysis Vision Statement: Vision Statement What’s a vision statement? A vision statement is a way of communicating the ideas and purposes of your game in an easily understood manner to encourage and inspire the team to achieve and meet the goals of creating the game Project Charter: Project Charter What’s a project charter? A project charter is generally a one or two page document that outlines the purpose, expectations, and challenges that you have identified for your project Project Charter Headings: Project Charter Headings Customer Expectations Key Documents / Assets Internal Objectives Critical Selling Features Known Development Challenges Game Development is a Journey: Game Development is a Journey You’re likely to get lost…often Use your charter to guide yourself back to the original goals of the project. Competitive Analysis: Competitive Analysis What’s a competitive analysis? Why do this? Analysis may yield insight into what differentiates the goals of your game from contemporaries, from both an aesthetic and functional point of view. Competitive Analysis Headings: Competitive Analysis Headings Feature Set Platform(s) Target Demographic License / Tie-In Reviews NPD Funworld Data Project Example: Thief: Project Example: Thief What’s fun about running away from fights? What’s fun about sitting around doing nothing? Project Example: Thief: Project Example: Thief Aesthetic goal: Empowerment (specifically, remedy of power imbalance) via tactics Aesthetic goal: Dramatic tension. Project Example: Thief: Project Example: Thief Game Mechanic: Rope Arrows Game Mechanic: AI suspicion Art, Craft, Management: Art, Craft, Management Management, if it serves its purpose, empowers creative people. It is not the antithesis of art, but its helper. The processes of a developed craft are freely-adopted constraints. As such they enable and serve creativity just as rules create and define play. Final Thoughts: Final Thoughts THANK YOU FOR ATTENDING! QUESTIONS? Don’t forget your feedback forms!