The Raven’s Basic Principles of Video Game Design | Draft #1

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The first draft of my own "Basic Principles of Video Game Design" based off the 13 Principles from the Gamasutra Article "The 13 Basic Principles of Gameplay Design". The 13 Principles listed in the Gamasutra Article "The 13 Basic Principles of Gameplay Design" provides very good food for thoughts and I came up with the first draft of my own "Basic Principles of Game Design" based off that list. My own list is not a definitive list for anyone except for my own study and understanding as a student of game design and development. This is Draft #1 because I came up with the list pretty quickly based on the points in "The 13 Basic Principles of Gameplay Design". I'm sure (hopefully...) after letting it set for a few hours or days, a better version would emerge.

The Raven's Basic Principles of Video Game Design | Draft #1

  1. Provide Anticipation for every event that would lead to the requirement of the Player's Input.
  2. Provide appropriate Feedback for every Player Action.
  3. Lead the Player so as to prevent Frustration.
  4. Logical AI Behavior to create believability of life in AI.
  5. Logical Physical Behavior to imitate Real Life when possible to encourage experimentation and reduce the need to relearn.
  6. Flow Generation from Chain of Events. Individual unrelated events do not create Flow. Only when events inter-relate to each other do they generate Flow.
  7. Pacing of Events to improve Player skills progressively and provide proper mix of challenge at appropriate times to entice and encourage Player to keep on playing.
  8. Recognize the difference in spatial requirements between real-life and in-game. It is more important to give an illusion of relative space than keeping to real-life spatial rules due to the need to accommodate different game genre cameras and game play requirements.
  9. Design Approach? (Principle No. 10)
  10. Create an enjoyable experience for the Player, not try to show that you are smarter than them. There is a difference between a logical challenge that requires lateral thinking and an unfair puzzle that requires pre-knowledge. (Meaning information that the Designer knows beforehand that the Player might not know. Proper release of this knowledge is crucial. ) Hurt or punish the Player to let them learn, but never kill them as the method to teach them.
  11. Early and timely communication ensures conformity in design concepts amongst the game development team thus producing game and level designs that are uniform in experience for the Player.
  12. Be Objective when judging your own work. You must be your greatest, most truthful and brutal critic.
  13. Provide proper ergonomics for the tools the game development teams uses. The engine and tools might not be the most stable (as we all know in games development), but the least that could be provided would be properly exposed tools with proper and logical keyboard shortcut support for the most frequently used functions, all which leads to easier understanding and reduced frustration. Customizable shortcuts has its pros and cons, pros being well-suited for the individual, cons being a loss in conformity amongst big teams and possible communication and tools learning breakdown. This may sound irrelevant, but providing easily accessible and easy to understand tools leads to increased productivity and helps to encourage experimentation, which will in turn lead to a better and more interesting game play experience for the Player.

What I did:

  1. I rephased some points for (hopefully) easier understanding.
  2. I grouped some points together into a more general principle because I felt points like "Sound" should form part of Feedbacks and Anticipation instead of being taken out as a specific principle. If "Sound" is one principle on its own, then should we take out "Effects", "GUI", "Music" or perhaps... "Particles"?
  3. I avoided using "Gameplay Design" because I felt that its a pretty focused term. Instead I chose to use the broader term "Game Design" instead.
  4. I do not really agree with some points currently, and those are highlighted in red below in the recap.

Recap of "The 13 Basic Principles of Gameplay Design" by Matt Allmer in Gamasutra.com

  1. Focal Point (Direction)
  2. Anticipation (Direction)
  3. Announce Change (Direction)
  4. Believable Events and Behavior (Behavior)
  5. Overlapping Events and Behavior (Behavior)
  6. Physics (Behavior)
  7. Sound (Behavior)
  8. Pacing (Progression)
  9. Spacing (Environment)
  10. Linear Design versus Component Breakdown (Method)
  11. Player (Foundation)
  12. Communication (Foundation)
  13. Appeal (Foundation)

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