Game design with Noah Falstein, part 2: Fundamentals

Ok, continuing with my notes on game design, here you have the fundamentals that Noah Falstein teach us:

Identify your constrains:

  • Creative: expectations and goals
  • Technical (including platform)
  • Bussiness, marketing, sales, distribution
  • People: skills and personalities
  • Internal politics
  • Serious games – add teaching/training and real world content constraints

    Game design fundamentals:

    • Creative plagiarization: Take only what is appropiate, make it your own
    • Sid Meier’s rule: Fun for the player, not for computer or designer
    • Albert Einstein: Make it as simple as possible, and no simpler
    • Make it familiar, yet new
    • Easy to learn, hard to master
    • Easy, clean, deep
    • Emphasize exploration and discovery
    • Have a clear short, medium and long term goals
    • Natural funativity: hunting and gathering

      A great game:

      • A series of interactive choises in the persuit of a series of well stablished and compelling goals
      • Must be a series of choises or it’s too simple to be a game
      • Must have a goal or it’s a software toy
      • With Sim City and The Sims players may bring heir own goals
      • Choises need to be meaningful
      • If choises are dull could be that:
      • Easy to code that way
      • Lazy designer
      • Meaningful choises are perceived by the player as having significant consequences
      • May not have actual consequences


        • Clear goals: it’s not fun to flounder aimlessly
        • Avoid “the protagonist with amnesia” cliché
        • Compelling goals are goals that follow the concepts in natural funativity
        • Surival is always a compellin goal


          • Combine intense learning with practical gameplay
          • Start with a relatively low stress level
          • Combine rapid difficulty increase with slower increase. That maximizes fun.
          • High difficulty increase: Boss battles, climatic battles, quest resolutions
          • Low difficulty increase: Bonus levels, new resource ad tresure-rich areas, series of easy minion enemies
          • Overlap introduction of new skills, areas to explore, tools, enemies
            • axcho

              Thanks, that’s a very compact list of important things to keep in mind for game design! It’s a good checklist for me.

              “Have a clear short, medium and long term goals”

              That’s something I tend to forget. Thanks for reminding me. 🙂

            • seth

              Haha, yes, to me, game design fundamentals is like a long list of obvious things that we tend to forget. The next post on this series of notes will be my notes about Noah’s Natural Funativity Theory. Interesting stuff! Hope you like the blog.