Game Design Discussion Assignment
Note: This document is a template to help you work through creating your own Game Design Document. Please ensure you use the black headings provided to ensure that you cover all required areas of the assignment.
Notes and examples are provided in blue to help guide you through writing each of these sections.
You are free to create your own Game Design Document layout if you prefer, but please ensure that you use the same headings so we can clearly see each required area of the document has been addressed.
Game Design Document
Game Designer’s Name
Contents 1.0 Game Overview 2 1.1 Introduction and Game Genre: 2 1.2 Target Audience Identification and Research 2 1.3 Game Main Ideas and Themes 2 1.4 Players’ Roles and Tasks 2 2.0 Game Mechanics 3 2.1 Key Mechanic/s 3 2.2 Additional Mechanics 4 3.0 Player Engagement and Fun 5 3.1 4 Keys 2 Fun 5 4.0 Game Story and Narrative 5 4.1 Game Plot Summary and Discussion 5 4.2 Accompanying Narrative Resources 5 5.0 Game Aesthetics 5 5.1 Introduction and main points guiding aesthetics 6 5.2 Concept Art 6 6.0 Game Technology 7 6.1 Game Engine and Development Technology 7 6.2 Player Access Technology 8 7.0 Accessibility Provisions 8 8.0 Additional Considerations 9 9.0 Reference List 9
1.0 Game Overview
1.1 Introduction and Game Genre:
In this section you should briefly discuss the game you plan to develop for Assignment 2 and 3, including the game type and genre.
Treecycle is a digital/video game belonging to the adventure genre. It is created in an Interactive Narrative format.
1.2 Target Audience Identification and Research
In this section you should write at least 2-3 sentences discuss your game’s target audience and who they are. You should also provide at least 2-3 third party sources that help justify and rationalise your claims about your target audience.
Treecycle is targeted at casual gamers in the 10-15 year old age group. A video game has been chosen for this project as the Digital Australia Report 2018 demonstrated that 76% of Australian children aged 1-17 play video games (Brand et al. 2017).
Research demonstrates that play time for players under the age of 15 is often strictly controlled by parents, with 75% of parents having rules about children’s gameplay (Brand et al. 2017). Parental rules around gameplay for children may result in short bursts of access in play due to guidelines aimed at parents providing information that children should have ‘consistent limits on the time they spend on electronic media’ (Raising Children Network, 2017).
1.3 Game Main Ideas and Themes
In this section you’ll need to clearly explain the main ideas and themes present in your game. Your game might focus on one strong theme such as Treecycle, or it might discuss several themes.
For example, here we would clearly discuss that Treecycle is designed to promote the ideas of protecting the environment and conservation in the younger generation, teaching them the value of trees and encouraging them to recycle, which will lead to a more sustainable future.
1.4 Players’ Roles and Tasks
The player plays Treecycle as a tree named Treece who is stuck in place and cannot move. Treece has become worried about the way in which humans are not recycling and wants to do something about it to protect himself and his environment.
The major tasks of the player as they take on the role of Treece are to converse with various human characters that walk past, in order to try to encourage them to change their ways. If the humans agree to change their ways and begin to recycle, Treece is successful in his quest, protecting himself, his friends, and the wider environment.
2.0 Game Mechanics
In this section of the Game Design Document you should include a clear description of the key mechanic/s present in your game. Describe what the mechanic is and how it works to impact the player experience and how it aligns with some of the other elements of your game – you might discuss the way your mechanics align with the main ideas and themes, aesthetics, technology and/or story (or doesn’t align if you have created ludonarrative dissonance)
You should include the images of the paper prototype you created to help you describe your key mechanic/s and how this works. You should also discuss any changes or improvements that you made to your key mechanic/s as a result of creating and playing your paper prototype. For example, if you had planned to require a player to roll a 6 to move, did you find that this was too hard? Did you adapt this to require them to roll an even number or similar? As well as your key mechanic/s, any other mechanics that will be present in your game should be discussed here.
2.1 Key Mechanic/s
In Treecycle, the player’s goal is to encourage the NPCs (non playable characters) that they engage with to recycle and protect the environment. The key mechanic in Treecycle is the way in which the player selects from a limited variety of narrative response options to engage in a dialogue with visiting human characters and try to encourage them to recycle. Just like the tree who cannot move, the player’s agency is limited here as they are only allowed to choose from 2-3 responses when engaging with the characters. You can see this demonstrated in the following screenshot from my paper prototype below (you may need to zoom in to read the text):
Image: Paper Prototyping Demonstrating Key Dialogue Mechanic from Treecycle (Emery, 2019).
As demonstrated in the above paper prototype image, the dialog options for this game are limited and the player (Treece) can only select from two options to engage with the non playable character (the boy). In the first example shown here, the player can choose to say ‘Hey – you there!’ or ‘What are you looking for?’ The player’s choice here determines how the non playable character (the boy) will respond to them as indicated through the black lines.
Limiting the dialogue options in this way works as a metaphor to demonstrate that the environment itself is counting on humans to change their ways to preserve it, and that there is not much it can do in this situation. The tree cannot move to interact with other players and must wait for humans to approach it to spread its message and try to encourage this behaviour.
2.2 Additional Mechanics
Discuss any additional important game mechanics here.
3.0 Player Engagement and Fun
3.1 4 Keys 2 Fun
Here you should explain in 2-3 paragraphs, how your game design considers Nicole Lazzaro’s (2004) ‘4 Keys 2 Fun’ theory. This theory is discussed in detail throughout the Week 6 iLecture, and you can also find additional sources to help you unpack this further in the Week 6 Exercises.
In this section, you will need to clearly describe how your game ‘creates emotion’ in at least 3 of the 4 keys. Provide direct examples from your game here to support this discussion.
4.0 Game Story and Narrative
4.1 Game Plot Summary and Discussion
In this section, you will need to write a brief Plot Summary for your game story. All games have a story and will require a Plot Summary. Resources to help you write this are provided in the Week 7 Exercises.
You should also include a brief discussion of your Plot Summary in this section, explaining how your game design considers story and narrative as a core part of the design.
4.2 Accompanying Narrative Resources
For this section of the design document, you will need to include some additional resources that are determined by the type of narrative you have constructed – plot driven, character driven or environment/lore driven. Please read carefully through the Week 7 Exercises as these provide you with the resources you require here, along with guidance to help you create the accompanying narrative resources for your chosen narrative design structure.
Carefully complete the exercises in the Week 7 exercise document to see what you will need to include in this section of the Game Design Document. This will vary based on if your game is Plot Driven, Character Driven or Environmental/Lore driven.
5.0 Game Aesthetics
Here you will need to clearly outline the aesthetics of your game design. This will include a brief introduction and outline of the main points that guide your aesthetics, as well as the creation of at least 2 refined, full colour pieces of concept art. Be sure to work through the Week 8 Exercises to help you create your concept art.
5.1 Introduction and main points guiding aesthetics
Due to the age demographic of the game, Treecycle is child friendly and includes no visual or implied violence or course language. The language used in the game is encouraging, and should the player be unsuccessful at convincing one of the ‘passer by’ characters to recycle, hints and tips will be provided to help encourage the player’s negotiation skills.
5.2 Concept Art
Concept Art Piece 1: Name of Concept Art
Concept Art Here
Accompanying Description: In this section you should clearly indicate if this concept art is a character design, environment design, User Interface mockup, card design etc.
You should also explain why you have made certain design choices – for example why have you chosen to use these particular colours, this art style etc? Use third party references to help support your design decisions here.
Please note: 2 pieces of concept art is the minimum but if you’d like to include more than 2 pieces of concept art, feel free to add as many as you like in this section.
As the provided space here isn’t very big, you should also upload a .jpg or similar image file of your completed concept art to your unit blog alongside this Game Design Document.
Concept Art Piece 2: Treece The Tree
Accompanying Description: This concept art piece is a character design depicting how my game’s main character – Treece the Tree will appear. This character is the playable character and the game player will take on the role of Treece.
Several considerations have gone into the design of Treece that help enforce and support other elements of my game design. For example, the core mechanic of the game is that Treece is stuck in place and cannot move. He has limited agency here as all he can do is try to encourage humans who visit him to change their ways and recycle. The way that Treece is stuck in place is a metaphor for the environment and the ways in which humans impact this without the environment being able to do much to ‘fight back’ in this situation. With this in mind the concept art demonstrates a thick truck with plentiful roots. “Tree trunks and branches grow thicker as new cells are added beneath the bark” (Virginia Department of Forestry, 2011). This concept design highlights how there are many of these roots travelling deeply into the ground – demonstrating that Treece is stuck in place here and limited in what he can do.
The main idea and narrative of the game is designed to help promote the idea of recycling and environmentalism in its players and with this in mind, the colours that have been used in this concept art have been chosen to reflect the game’s promotion of nature and the environment. Green is associated with ‘environmental awareness’ (Kinnarps, n.d) and the concept art demonstrates this, focusing on the earthy browns and dark lush greens of healthy environments.
6.0 Game Technology
In this section of the document you will need to discuss the Game Technology used in your game, as well as that used by your game players. Discuss your technology choices as well as any limitations and how you might overcome or utilise these. In this section you should clearly explain why the technology choices you have made work well with your game design as well as for your target audience. You should relate back to your target audience research here to ensure your technology is the best fit for this group. Be sure to use third party references throughout this section to help support your claims.
6.1 Game Engine and Development Technology
Twine will be the game engine used to create Treecycle. Using Twine for this game allows us to focus on developing the interactive narrative component of this story and the player choice options.
Twine without modifications is limited to text, audio and/or still visual images. This limitation of technology works well to support our key mechanic that the tree (a metaphor for the environment) is very limited in the ways in which it can employ agency – for example, being limited in place it is unable to visit humans directly and must wait for them to visit it in order to engage in discussions.
6.2 Player Access Technology
Treecycle will be created in Twine and will require players to have a device such as a PC, tablet, console or mobile phone that has an Internet browser such as Google Chrome or Internet Explorer. According to the Digital Australia Report, PC computers remain the main game device in Australian homes with mobiles, consoles and tablets present in the majority of Australian homes (Brand et al. 2017). Internet browsers are present on most PC computers and mobile devices and some consoles and tablets. This means most of our target audience should be able to access the game with no issues. As well as a device with an Internet Browser, players of the game will also require an Internet connection to download the game.
Treecycle is designed to consider the way in which our research identified that play time for the target audience is controlled by the parents. This ensured that we considered short bursts of play and plan for a ‘save game’ functionality, so that players can save their progress if their game time is over and return to finish their game when able.
7.0 Accessibility Provisions
This section should clearly detail some accessibility provisions that you have made in your game after exploring the resources provided in the Week 8 Exercises. You will need to ensure that you use third party references here to help support and justify your claims. As per the exercise document, please ensure you identify at least 3 elements from the Game Accessibility Guidelines that you have used and considered in your game design.
Be sure to discuss here any changes you have made to your design, or that you would make in the future, to your concept art based on these results.
All important text – notifications, subtitles and menu text in the game will be written in a sans serif font for increased readability (DVG Interactive, 2017). An easily readable default font size has been chosen and a high contrast has been provided between text and background (Game Accessibilty Guidelines, n.d.).
The colour scheme used in our concept art has been run through the Colour blindness simulator to help ensure that the choices we have made will allow those with limited colour vision to play our game. Details on how to access the colour blindness simulator are found in the Week 8 Exercises.
Below is a screenshot of how our concept art looks for those with Red-Weak/Protonomaly vision using the Colour Blindness Simulator:
Below is a screenshot of how our concept art looks to those with Blue-weak/Tritanomaly vision using the Colour Blindness Simulator:
In all versions of the colour blindness simulator our concept art was visible and demonstrated good contrast. With this in mind, we have not made any changes to our colours or design as a result of this.
Navigation controls in this game are limited but will be designed with efficiency in mind, keeping to a single screen layout to allow for ease of use (Krug, 2014). The menu is present on the main page in order to ensure for ease of navigation. Whilst text-based buttons are predominately used, common symbols such as X may be used for actions such as close. Navigation through the game’s menu will utilise point and click functionality using the player’s Internet Browser.
When designing the game, we have kept in mind guidelines promoting the provision of “closed captions for dialogue and sound effects” (Game Over, 2007). All game tutorials/instructions will be given in written format as well as indicated by glowing colours highlighting the relevant section of the game to increase accessibility. Sound effects will also be written as they occur. Separate sound on/off buttons should be provided for the sound effects and any narration.
7.0 Additional Considerations
In this section you can include any additional information you feel is relevant to your game design prototype that you haven’t included elsewhere.
8.0 Reference List
Be sure to include third party references to help support your game design documentation throughout your document. These references should be formatted in the Chicago format and should be included in text, as well as in the reference list at the end of your game design document. For more information on formatting your reference list, you can locate a Chicago Style Guide here: http://libguides.library.curtin.edu.au/referencing/chicago
· Brand, J., Stewart Todhunter. And Jan Jervis, “Digital Australia report 2018.” Eveleigh, Australia: Interactive Games & Entertainment Association (2017).
· DVG Interactive. 2017. “Serif vs Sans-Serif: How to increase your website’s readability by more than 50%”. DVG Interactive. http://www.dvginteractive.com/serif-vs-sans-serif-how-to-increase-your-websites-readability-by-more-than-50-2/
· Game Accessibility Guidelines. N.d. “Game Accessibility Guidelines – Basic”. http://gameaccessibilityguidelines.com/basic/
· Game Over. 2007. “The world’s only inaccessible game”. Video Game. http://ua-games.gr/ae-accessible/game-over/index.
· Kinnarps. N.d. Different Colours Affect us in Different Ways. https://www.kinnarps.com.au/knowledge/colours-have-an-impact/
· Krug, Steve. Don’t make me think!: a common sense approach to Web usability. Pearson Education India, 2000.
· Lazzaro, Nicole. “The 4 Keys 2 Fun.” Nicole Lazzaro’s Blog. XEODesign, Inc (2004).
· Raising Children Network. 2017. “Screen Time”. Raising Children Network. http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/screen_time.html
· Virginia Department of Forestry. 2011. “How a Tree Grows” Forest Facts. http://www.dof.virginia.gov/infopubs/_forest-facts/FF-How-A-Tree-Grows_pub.pdf