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IAT 210 Study Guide - Quiz Guide: Video Game Industry, Spelunky, Virtual Places Chat

Interactive Arts & Tech
Course Code
IAT 210
Randa Aljohani
Study Guide

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IAT 210 QUIZ #2 Lecture 7-11 Notes
IAT 210- Game Personas Notes
Lecture #7
MDA model: Informal terminology = Rules —-> System —-—> FUN
Design Terminology = Mechanics —-> Dynamics —-> Aesthetics
— MDA Model: “Aesthetics” = reception aesthetics (player experience) e.g what is the experience of playing the game like? What kind of
players would enjoy this game experience?
Fourteen Forms of Fun by Pierre-Alexandre Garneau
1) Beauty = “ they which pleases the senses.” Sight and hearing require the most efforts when designing a game such as graphics
and the quality of sounds (music and sound effects)
2) Immersion
3) Intellectual Problem Solving
4) Competition = “an activity where the goal is to show one’s superiority.” This is adjacent other players or against one’s self:
the player tries to beat himself, usually with a higher score. Competing against other humans is much more interesting than competing
against computers. Competition is making sure that the game is not too easy or too hard (balance) e.g. Pinball Star
5) Social Interaction = “doing things with other human beings.” This can be multiplayer or online games, chat rooms, etc. The
large internet communities that gather around popular games are also an aspect of coal interaction associated with video games.
6) Comedy = “things that make one want to laugh.”
7) Thrill of Danger
8) Physical Activity
9) Love
10) Creation = “to make exists that which didn’t.” The fun is centered on creating something food and worthwhile e.g. SimCity
11) Power = “capacity of having a strong effect, of acting with strength/“ The goal is that the player must become stronger.
e.g. Diablo II; in this game the goal of the player is to become as powerful as possible. The more monsters the player kills, the stronger
the character becomes, and it also gives magical items in which help the character become more powerful.
12) Discovery = “finding something that was;t known before.” Focuses on the exploration of the game world, such as finding
different weapons (keeps the player interested) or finding different hidden objects throughout gameplay.
13) Advancement and Competition
14) Application of Ability
Types of Games by Lindsay Grace
1) Action
2) Adventure
3) Puzzle
4) Role Playing
5) Stimulation
6) Strategy = games that offer strategic competitor with a primary skill of resigning and problem solving. e.g. Dota 2,
Civilization II and XCOM 2.
— Strategy games 4X games = 4x computer games are a subgenera of strategy games. The gameplay involves building
an empire, which takes place in a setting such as Earth, a fantasy world or in space. Each player takes control of a different
civilization or race with unique characteristics and strengths. Most 4X games represent these racial differences with a collection of
economic and military bonuses. Players control an empire and “eXplore; means players send scouts across a map to reveal surrounding
territories, eXpand; means players claim new territory by creating new settlements or sometimes by extending the influence of existing
settlements, eXploit; means players gather and use resources in areas they control and improve the efficiency of that usage and
eXterminate; means attacking and eliminating rival players. Since in some games all territory is eventually claimed, eliminating a rival’s
presence may be the only way to achieve further expansion” e.g Master of Orion, Civilization Game Design: System & Dynamics
Game systems = game design is a second order design problem where a designer creates the mechanics directly and the player
experiences the designers intention indirectly. “The designers want to make their games fun and engaging, but only have indirect control
of the players experience.” Game designers only have DIRECT control of the game’s mechanics, the mechanics work together to generate
the dynamics, which in turn generate the aesthetics.
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Game Balance = How to BALANCE a game between SIMPLICITY and COMPLEXITY e.g. Candy Crush and Call of Duty
— Candy Crush = even while making Candy Crush easy, its maker King has not made it ridiculously simple. For instance, if
every candy appearing not he screen were to be set to three, you would score full in no time, but then that would take away the fun of the
game. Anything simpler would have bored away the gamers. Simple can be boring, but it can also be graceful, lovely and delightful
— Call of Duty = on the other hand, Call of Duty uses the complexity of the game to its advantage. The game is slightly more
difficult, but only slightly so. It’s not that you would need months of practice before you make your first successful invasion. Difficulty can
be encouraging, but difficulty can also be riveting, challenging and exciting.
Game Complexity = Not enough complexity —> play not meaningful AND Too much Complexity —> Game very difficult to master
There are two types of complexity in games:
— 1) Innate complexity = very complex rules (difficult to play and the rules are many). When the designer tries to replicate a
real-life situation too faithfully, the game will need to take care of too many variables. It’s not always desirable to throw away innate
complexity altogether. Games that reply on real-life stimulations, have no option but to retain a certain degree of innate complexity
— 2) Emergent Complexity = this kind of difficulty is not present when the gamer begins playing your game, but it emerges
along the way. As the gamer meets success, the game ups its level, making the challenge a little more interesting every time.
— Three Dimensions of Balancing the Game:
— 1) Let the complexity Grow organically = it is tempting to twist or add rules as the game progresses, but it might not be a
good idea. the complexity is heightened by bringing in more challenges, more excitement, more suppose without changing the basic
— 2) Introduce twists that require better key-pad skills = you can’t change the rules, but you can certainly change the bike
type. Here you aren’t changing anything fundamental; you are just changing the controls. No skills have been withdrawn and yet the player
feels a new level of excitement.
— 3) Ask meaningful questions = is the game too simple or too complex? Is the complexity of my game exciting the gamer or
actually keeping them from playing the game? What stages of my game can I further introduce emergent complexity that will heighten the
gamers engagements?
— Game Development and User Testing: Design thinking process
— Designers are NOT Normal = approach games as abstract. Focus more on patterns of movement and strategy than most players. Play
the game much more critically using expert tools. Constantly thinking of ways to change or improve the game. We often need other people
to tell us about games
— Personas = are invented characters that allow you to think about your design differently. They identify a target audience, research the
attributes and qualities of your audience and create fictional profiles of audience members based on that research. A persona includes: a
picture, historical narrative, gameplay preferences and a list of assumptions. e,g ADD a Picture, Name: Matthew Morris, Gender: Male,
Age: 32, Location: Vancouver, Occupation: IT specialist. Historical Narrative: Matthew is an It specialist in UBC in Vancouver. He is a
single parent of an 8 year old boy, who he plays many games with. He is a player of board games, card games and computer games.
Occasionally a game designer. Gamer Motivation Model: Social (Community), Mastery (Strategy), & Immersion (Story). Play Style:
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primarily defensive strategic patterns, waits until he has an advantage before attacking, uses social interaction to influence gameplay
outcomes and enjoys games with a good narrative.
— Prototyping and Iteration = games are NOT magically created. The main characteristic of prototyping are: 1) A playable version
of the game or an aspect of the game. 2) A way to communicate the game mechanics and lay mechanics. 3) A way to evaluate (e.g. play-
testing) the game-play experience). 4) Allows fro quick changes (iterations) to the design. Prototypes are designed for CHANGE and
— Iteration Process includes : 1) create a game idea or strategy 2) Build prototype of the game 3) Play several games with that version to
see how it works 4) Note the changes needed to make the game better 5) Make the changes, build another prototype 6) Do this over and
over and over again….
— Low- fidelity prototype = a prototype that is sketchy and incomplete that has some characteristics of the target product, but is otherwise
simple, usually used in order to quickly produce the prototype and test broad concepts e.g. Jungle Race prototype on paper simple outline
or SoundClout Ropper, drawn on paper simple outline.
— High- fidelity prototype = a prototype that is quite close to the final product with lots of detail and functionality. From a user testing
point of view, a high- fidelity prototype is close enough to a final product to be able to examine usability question sin detail and make
strong conclusions about how behaviour will relate to use of the final product.
— Game prototyping materials = game tokens (different shapes, sizes and colour), Dice (different # of sides or value distribution),
Playing cards, Paper and Cardboard, Pens and Markers, etc.
— Play-testing with personas = once the persona is established: play the game while trying to think and play like the persona and make
notes of any changes that need to be made to accommodate play style and approach. NOTE: this approach does not actually give you
access to different types of players. It does force you to change your perspective as you develop the game
— User Testing Methodologies = once the prototypes are playable and relatively complete, we move on to user testing (inviting many
people to play the game).
Approaches include: Think-aloud gameplay, Video recordings of gameplay (more common with video games), Post-game
interview and Post-game questionnaires.
Observational Data: Cameras, Note Taking and Gameplay
Physiological Data: Eye trackers and EEG (an electroencephalogram; measures electrical activity in the brain)
Subjective-User Data: formal/informal interviews, gameplay walkthroughs
Subjective User Data: Post-game Surveys
— Play-testing Goals:
— Evaluating player experience = balancing challenge and skill to create FLOW
— Evaluating game mechanics = are the objects attributes clear to players? Are operative and resultant action clearly
connected? Are players able to create rule-based strategies to accomplish the goals of the game?
— Evaluating game interface = are the control systems efficient?
IAT 210 - Digital Game Affordance Notes
Lecture #8
Affordance = you intently know what to do. This is because your body knows how to interact with the object. The visual
cues suggest the intended function of the object. It limits the possibility of incorrect use and intuitively implies the intended
function for the user. e.g. Cup Design; a handle affords gripping or A Button; a button affords pushing. AFFORD = IS
FOR; Form Follows Function
All these visual cues help the user understand how the object should be used. Our mental model is based on previous
experiences of how things are meant to work. We are able quickly to figure out the function of the object. When an object is
designed correctly, we do not need instructions of how to use it and the intended purpose should be obvious.
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