Lit A.F. Game Design Newsletter #5

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Hello Game Designers,

Kyle and Olin had a very successful GDC! We met loads of designers and participated in many of the sessions.

There's always plenty of GDC videos to watch online and we will make sure to include the best in the newsletter.

Special welcome to those of you who we met at GDC :)

With all this GDC talk, let's start off with something...
From the Vault
Highlighting design talks from the Game Developers Conference

The Nature of Order in Game Narrative

This fascinating talk is presented by Jesse Schell. He discusses books and concepts presented by Christopher Alexander and what games can learn from them.

The majority of the talk dives into one book in particular: The Nature of Order: The Phenomenon of Life in which 15 properties are discussed for things that persist for a long time. Things could mean anything including architecture, household items, and of course, games. In most circumstances, we want our games to persist with players for a long time.

I'll give 1 example here but I highly encourage you to watch the rest of the talk to learn about the other properties.

Deep Interlock (& Ambiguity)

This is the concept that multiple systems rely on each other and, if applicable, it is ambiguous as to which is dominant.

A good example would be class based competitive games. Each class has its own specialty and then relies on other classes to fill in the gaps (interlock). If one class emerges as dominant, then the game loses some of its appeal. It's when all (or most) classes are balanced that the game really shines (ambiguity).

Odds and Ends
A collection of links from around the interwebs
Wash Your Games Windows [Article]
Ever heard of Juice? Probably... but what about Windex? Get your game cleaned up.

Hyper Light Drifter and Wordless Storytelling [Video]
Chariot Rider explores visual storytelling through HLD.

Designing for Deck Building in Video Games [Article]
That ^

Game Creation Magic is More Science than Smoke and Mirrors [Article]
We've all heard about rubber banding in Mario Kart. This article dives into the science behind these kinds of design tricks.
Good Reads

Devil May Cry 5 Game Director Hideaki Itsuno discusses creating emotional moments for players and how designers can do so in their own games.

Creating emotional moments means making your player feel a certain way while they are playing your game. Whatever you decide that feeling is, it should drive the player to want to keep playing the game. In other words, the feeling should be in line with the objective of the game.

There is one feeling that is common in most games, the feeling of overcoming a challenge. If you can give the player this feeling then they will be hooked to overcome your game's future challenges. This means striking the balance between hand holding the player and making them throw the controller out of frustration. The player should be able to figure things out on their own at a steady pace.

So what do those feelings, well, feel like? Take note in your own life when you get that feeling of achievement or deep emotion and note the circumstances that gave it to you. Now you have a real life example that you can pull from when designing emotional moments in your games.

For examples from DMC5 and details on how to make the player feel excited about your game, check out the full article.

Game Juice of the Week
Juice is feedback to a player's actions that is delightful and exciting. This can reinforce behavior or just feel good.
Game: Xenon Racer
Platform: PC, Xbox One, PS4, Switch
Release: March 26th, 2019
This is the speed boost effect in the new racing game Xenon Racer. Speed might just be a number (literally displayed as km/h) but the important part is making the player feel like they are going faster.

The most notable change is that the camera pulls back from the car as if the car is getting away from the camera due to its new found speed.

Next are the speed lines in the center of the screen. We've talked about these before but it's a technique used to give an impression of speed.

Lastly there are some bolts of electricity shooting out from the car and an electric glow on the edges of the screen. This perpetuates the theme of electricity for the speed boosts.

You will also notice the car lights up when the player picks up a speed boost, again, signifying that the car is loaded with more electricity and more boost.
We want to hear from you! If you have opinions about the newsletter, please submit them through this link.
Thanks for reading!
- Olin & Kyle
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