Rogue is a dungeon crawling video game first developed by Michael Toy and Glenn Wichman around 1980. It is generally credited with being the first "graphical" adventure game, and was a favorite on college Unix systems in the early to mid-1980s, in part due to the procedural generation of game content.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Challenges of Design

Today I read an article on Game Tutorials & How We Learn. There is a bit of confusion between kinetic and kinesthetic but for the most part it does bring in to light some thoughts when considering the audience of your game.

One path I have been exploring with my lovely woman, is the idea of developing software for use in education. She herself is currently a teacher of kindergarten a pre-K but has experience with primary education as well. Developing software for children is still a form of game design.

I would even go far to say that computer games help reinforce many fundamental educational skill such as critical thinking, problem solving, and comprehension. The level of challenge provided varies, but even simple arcade games like good old Space Invaders had a Solution that could be figured out. Once the solution was determined, it was then just a matter of rote repetition to consistently beat the game.

Back to the article at hand.

I have personally been exposed to the study of learning styles and methods for about 25 years. Not really studying it per se, but always brought up though out my formal and informal education over my life. Oddly enough, I never really though about how it would apply to game design. I took well to gaming, both computer and table-top, because of my personal tendency towards discovery and learning. So this brings up the question, does the dislike video games somewhat stem from the problem that many of those games do not present themselves in a style that allows the player to discover in a comfortable matter? People tend to dislike or even fear those things that they can not experience or understand.

Understanding learning and discovery styles is important in all forms of game design. This also includes considering the background of a potential player of a game.

Many games today make some fairly strong assumptions about the person is about the play the game. A friend of mine recently got Dragon Age for his PS3. He is not, however, much of a computer/console game player. He is a avid gamer of table top games so the RPG aspect of Dragon Age was not the problem. It was how to interface with the game and how things were done. Some things that would be considered trivial to those that have used a PS3 controller in many other games were not apparent. Over time he figure things out, but even the manual made a assumption about the level of knowledge that the player would have.

As a designer, both the level of interface familiarity and discovery/educational methods need to be considered. This does give me food for thought as I move forward with my various design plans. I have a few games in my pipeline to play and I have been taking time to take a step back and see how I am using that game, and how I am getting feed back. But this is a best a small anecdotal evidence. There is probably a decent academic paper or two that I could write on the subject. Too bad, I can't afford going back to school for yet another degree.


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