Gaming: Back to the Basics

Full Conference   One-Day Full Conference  

Educators Paper

By recreating basic games, this presentation returns to the basics of computer games and experiments with game play, game rules, and players' psychology. It surveys 2D and 3D games designed as experimental prototypes of "treasure hunting," "plateau," and generic "Space Invaders" and "Pac Man" games, and it shows how player experience can be affected by slight changes in game mechanics.

The exploration of game play takes place inside 2D and 3D versions of basic games created by students and professionals during workshops with limited-time assignments. Creators of these games reshape behaviours and relationships governing levels, modes, rules, choices, classes of objects, characters, and interactive elements. They experiment with game play and rules, following the psychology of the players and demonstrating the need to be not too simple and not too complex.

Topics covered in this presentation include how small variations of the elements of game design can affect the game-playing experience, how the architecture of a game can repeat from one game to the other and in different times and contexts, how the player is placed in the center of the gaming experience, and how choices are presented to the player.

The presentation also shows how to create an interactive interface that allows real-time testing of dynamic transformations of game mechanics and rules of play. The audience uses Wiimotes to participate in demos that focus on side-by-side evaluation of basic 2D games and their recreation as 3D games. It also surveys examples of authoring tools, interactive animations, and behavioural engines available for education (Torque, Virtools, XNA).

Jean-Marc Gauthier
Tisch School of the Arts Asia, New York University