This week the focus has been on learning an unfamiliar genre. Before we can talk about learning new genres, let’s begin by talking about what genre actually is. Genre in games are games related by similar characteristics. They are an easy way to classify a game in order to help describe what it’s like by grouping a bunch of similar games into one genre. These are normally defined by key mechanics and interactions.
Something people have been talking about recently is whether there is such a thing as genre anymore and whether it has ever been real. This is because a lot of games don’t neatly fit into one genre, and they are simply abstract concepts created by us to link a bunch of individual thigs together into one category. A lot of games fit into many genres rather than just one.
Genre in games originally emerged in the 1980’s as there was a need to establish a common understanding between the audience and the developers. Since then, genres have changed and adapted as the games industry has grown and evolved. In the past genre was mostly influenced by the market as developers used them to alleviate finance risk, but more recently, the audience has become a part for genre creation since sites like Steam allow users to tag genres to games.
So how are new genres established?
Well, it begins when someone makes a game that is both innovative and wildly successful. This sparks a flurry of clones which over time begin to make changes to the formula. A small number of features remain that end up defining the genre.
The Iron Designer Challenge
This week we had to think of a game without any collectable cards and pass it on to another team. Then we’d receive a game from another team and have to turn it into a collectible card game.
We chose the game Breath of the Wild for the other team as there are countless ways, they could take it and we were interested in which way they would. Then we received the game Bully to turn into a collectable card game. None of us had heard of Bully before so after doing some research we discovered it was an old game by rockstar about trying to put a stop to bullying.
We decided to go for a game based on top trumps where the player has to try and get a better score than the other players. We added 3 classes which would give bonuses if used in tandem with each other to boost the scores.
Here is a part of a presentation we made explaining the game. Sadly, the whole presentation didn’t save so you can only see the rules and some of the affinities examples.
Overall, I was relatively happy with this game. It was very simple, yet it sounds like it would be super fun to play. It’s a real shame our Friday iron designer sessions aren’t long enough to properly playtest our ideas as it would be fun to play each other’s games at the end of each session.
The Games Design Document
This week I have started to work on the actual design document itself. I began by bringing in the diagrams I had constructed in previous weeks on to the relevant slides.
This makes it easier for me to communicate since I can use the diagrams to help illustrate the idea rather than relying solely on text which can be difficult to read or understand.
I then made contents pages. Because the document isn’t finished, I will be updating them as I go rather than writing them at the end. After completing these the document is starting to take shape. I currently have 21 slides however I imagine some like the narrative slide may span over multiple slides extending the document further.
Next, I worked on the character slide. I thought this was a good place to go next because the characters are going to be interacting with the player throughout the game.
(FIBARO, n.d.) (How To Make A Control Lever 2011) (Hot Rox UK n.d.) (Classic Switches n.d.) (Kjærholm n.d.) (Stick PNG n.d.) (Schubert n.d.) (Pngimg n.d.)
As you can see, I have named every character as well as described their personality as well as included a simple image to convey how they would look. Here you can get an overview of all of the characters as well as an idea of how they would act in the game.
While technically this means I have completed 3 slides this week it does feel like I cheated in the sense that the contents slide doesn’t really count as part of the document. This means that next week I will have to do many more slides in order to make up for this week.
I only really have 2 weeks left to complete this document now so I should focus more on the document rather than other modules and try to get it in a polished state. As I mentioned earlier, there are currently 21 pages and only 4 completed including the title. I have got some stuff in each of them but need to focus more in order to get the remaining 17 slides done in time.
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