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