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Game Design Tips From The Experts

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Last Friday the great and the good from the world of live gaming descended on the Museum. They came to inspire the participants in our Games Jam – people who were going to have to design their own games in just one day.

Hopefully we’ll have videos of the full talks up soon but for now here’s a quick summary.

Holly Gramazio

Holly Gramazio from Hide and Seek

Holly Gramazio from Hide&Seek told us about three common pitfalls with live games – games that are too vague, to random or too complicated. Vague games lack clear instructions and clear goals for the participants, complicated games demand too much attention from players – asking them to absorb vast rule sets immediately and overly random games depend too much on chance – not giving your players enough of an opportunity to use their skills to influence the outcome.

Tassos from Coney

Tassos from Coney

Tassos Stevens from Coney talked us through the three principles that guide their games development – adventure, curiosity and loveliness. Curiosity is important because a good game should always have an element of newness, adventure because they need to be exciting. Loveliness is all about looking after your players and putting their experience at the heart of what you do.

He also stressed the importance of playtesting – creating a prototype as soon as possible so you can try it out, see what works and what doesn’t and change it. And then play again and change it again…

Matt Adams from Blast Theory

Matt Adams from Blast Theory

Matt Adams from Blast Theory took us on a whistlestop tour through lots of the decisions you have to make when you’re designing a location based game. What type of journey will you send people on? Linear? Disrupted? What duration, schedule? Is it played along or in a group, is there an advantage to collaborating, are there rewards, what happens if they get stuck, are there feedback loops so people can see if they are doing well, can people cheat, can that become part of the game?

Simon from Slingshot

Simon from Slingshot

Finally Simon Evans from SlingShot told us to keep it simple. There’s a finite number of game mechanics out there, so you can create something new and exciting by taking a familiar, existing model and deciding to change one thing. You’ve also got to grab people’s attention – something he’s achieved by orchestrating a tag-style foxhunt game where players get tracked through a city by real dogs. Possibly not one to recreate in the Museum.

Heads stuffed with inspiring stuff, we then had to get down to the mucky business of designing a game. More on that in the next post…

Written by Susannah Shute

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