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Subject: Game design thesis rss

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Phill Rogers
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I'm researching my final thesis and am looking for learned opinions.

If a designer was designing a computer game based on an existing board game what rules do you think he/she should take into account for the translation process?

This would exclude who would be playing it (P v P or P v CPU)
Also excluding any marketing considerations.

Purely just the design and testing processes.
 
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Geoff Bohrer
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Phil, I suspect I'm not understanding your question, because the only answer I can see is "all of them".

It's not going to be a very successful conversion, otherwise, I wouldn't think.
 
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Phill Rogers
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I think I having trouble getting my point across.

What design decisions go into creating a computer or digital version of an existing table board game?

style - 2d/3d?
animation - yes/no?
rule change - yes/no?
options available- more/less/same?
playability?

Is there a set of existing design heuristics that a designer could follow to help in the process?

any better?

 
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Walt
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Before terraforming Mars, Surviving Mars is required: Paradox Interactive; Steam.
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The first question is the market for the game. If you're going into the general computer game market, you need a flashy game, which probably means 3d and animation at this point. Rule changes are acceptable since most buyers won't have played the original game. Example: Civ IV. If you're trying to be true to the original, so the game is an alternative to playing the manual game, then your market is much smaller, usually, so you can't afford the development time that comes with a flashy game. Naturally, you don't want rule changes. Examples: any of the traditional games from Yahoo games.

In any case, playability is always a concern, and use of a computer allows more options than might be understandable in a manual game.

As for existing design heuristics, they're out there, back to James Dunnigan's book on how to make war games, and probably further. (I think Dunnigan's book is available online at strategypage.com. Since human conceptualization of problems is idiosyncratic, I'm sceptical about the utility of any formalized heuristics to make games except to the author. The heuristics for developing software apply, like, "Make it work before you make it pretty."
 
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Dean Conrad
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We are developing the PC version of our own boardgame at the moment, so we have had to address many of these issues (see Fagin's Gang).

I agree with all of what Tall Walt says: playability is key, but the game must be playable by the target market. Personally, I don't like PC games which use too much bang and flash; however, other (perhaps younger?) players expect that bang and flash.

It seems to me that many boardgamers do it for the community spirit, so key for me would be a game that is networkable - across a LAN and/or the internet. This way someone in Japan can play Monopoly with someone in Australia. I would also expect the option of having any or all of my opponents as computer players. This way I can (hopefully) improve my play against 'better', more logical players, but this only works if the programme employs decent AI heuristics, algorithms and databases. Now I can go back to my human community playing the cardboard game - and beat them!

But before all this, of course, you have to start with a good, well developed game. Remember this equation: Rubbish Game + Pixels = Rubbish Digital Game!

As for rule changes: of course a computer game can allow users to alter game parameters - as we all do when we play around a table. However, there can be a temptation to make everything alterable, creating an option screen that resembles a spaceship control panel. Keep it simple, and make sure there's a 'return to default settings' button so users can easily play the game as first conceived.

That's it for the moment, except to ask two questions:

1. What degree (subject and level) are you working towards?
2. How did Scotland do in the Calcutta Cup?

Regards,
D.
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Phill Rogers
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Thanks D. for the reply.
As for the 2 questions you finished with:

1. I am in my final year for my Honours degree at Abertay university reading for a Bsc in Web Design & Development.

2. As for the Calcutta cup, about as well as england did in the ashes.cry
 
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Dean Conrad
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hallion wrote:


2. As for the Calcutta cup, about as well as england did in the ashes.cry


I asked for that!
 
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Phill Rogers
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lol...no hard feelings though
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