What is Gameplay?

What is Gameplay?
Week Twelve
Introduction to Game Design
What is Gameplay?
In general, it mostly boils down to hunting and
gathering. Most games are about shooting
and killing people and monsters and picking
up objects to be used later in the game.
Simulations and “Serious games a two
Gameplay includes all player experiences
during the interaction with game systems,
especially formal games. Gameplay is "what
the player does".
What is Gameplay?
Generally, the term "gameplay" in video game
terminology is used to describe the overall
experience of playing the game excluding the
factors of graphics, sound, and the storyline.
The term "game mechanics" refers to subelements of the gameplay, but particularly the
primary control and movement features of the
game (thus excluding things like level design
or AI).
Types of Gameplay (Genres)
Arcade-style Gameplay
The basic simplicity of arcade-style games is still very
popular. It’s also fairly easy to create in Flash with 2D
animation and side-scrolling action
Shooter-style Gameplay
One of the most popular forms of gameplay is the
“First-Person Shooter.” This throwback to the
early days of hunting appeals to one of our most
basic instincts – “The Hunter.”
Story-based role playing games allow the player to
immerse themselves in other fantasy worlds and
universes. The gameplay however is still mostly
about gathering weapons, loot, tools and some
Fighting One-on-One
Hand-to-hand combat is one of the most engaging
styles of gameplay, as well as one of the most
difficult to create. The animation of the opponents
and their interaction must be programmed as
“artificial intelligence”
Sports Gameplay
Real-time action and photorealistic
characters have made sports titles among the
most popular styles of gameplay.
Driving Gameplay
This extremely violent and controversial
title combines driving gameplay with
some rather dubious interaction with
police and prostitutes.
Simulation-style Gameplay
Will Wright, the now famous creator of these
SIMS-series of software claims that they are not
really game but “Software Toys.” The “gameplay
however seems to be appreciated by both men and
women equally.
“Serious” Gameplay
Games can even be created with a more
serious agenda and gameplay. These serious
games, like Darfur is Dying” can focus
attention on major geo-political issues as well
as create engaging gameplay.
Components of Gameplay
Playing most good games is definitely a “Flow”
experience. If the gameplay is well balanced
with the users skills, a merging of actions and
awareness occurs, with concentration so
intense there is little attention left over to
consider anything else. It’s called “being in
“the flow.” This is “achieved when a
sufficiently motivated user perceives a
balance between his or her skills and the
challenges of the interaction, together with
focused attention.”
How does it feel to
“be in the flow”?
Completely involved, focused, concentrating - due to
innate curiosity or as the result of training.
Sense of ecstasy - of being outside everyday reality.
Great inner clarity - knowing what needs to be done and
how well it is going.
Knowing the activity is doable - that the skills are
adequate, and neither anxious or bored.
Sense of serenity - no worries about self, feeling of
growing beyond the boundaries of ego - afterwards feeling
of transcending ego in ways not thought possible.
Timeliness - thoroughly focused on present, don't notice
time passing
Intrinsic motivation - whatever produces "flow" becomes
its own reward
A good puzzle fits into its setting and
presents an obstacle that makes sense.
When the player solves it he knows why
what he did worked. A puzzle is a problem
that is fun to solve and actually has a right
Game balance is a concept in game design
describing fairness or balance of power in a
game between multiple players or strategic
options. A game would be called
unbalanced if one or more players have an
unfair advantage over the others.
Gameplay and Character
Since gameplay is what characters do, gameplay is
really a function of the player’s role in the game.
Several limitations on gameplay are based on the
design of characters. One example is that
animation sequences (i.e., run, kick die etc) can
not be too long or they will be slow-loading and
slow down the gameplay. Given a choice between
longer animation and fast action, gameplay always
trumps animation length
Constructing Gameplay
Action Inventories
Before any gameplay can be created the
developer must determine what actions and
animations each character will have. This
“action inventory” helps to structure the
gameplay and breaks down each characters
role into smaller chunks that can be created
in a 3D animation program like 3D Studio
Artificial Intelligence
The role of NPCs (non-player characters,)
can be programmed using AI algorithms.
These snippets of code can really add a lot
of realism to the gameplay. But the
developer must thoroughly test each in the
context of the game.
Gameplay Mode
The conjunction of these three elements -perspective, interaction model, and
gameplay -- constitutes a gameplay mode, a
particular way of playing the game. If any
one of the elements changes significantly in
the course of playing the game, then the
player has moved into a new gameplay
Game Engines
At the heart of all great games is their game
engine. This middleware determines what can be
put on the screen and how it will be displayed.
From the Wikipedia:
A game engine is the core software component of
a computer or video game or other interactive
application with real-time graphics. It provides the
underlying technologies, simplifies development,
and often enables the game to run on multiple
platforms such as game consoles and desktop
operating systems such as Linux, Mac OS X, and
Microsoft Windows
The Torque Game Engine
I chose the Torque Game engine for this class
because it is by far the best “bang for the
bucks.” Currently $150. or $250 for the
advanced version, Torque offers a true AAArated engine with most of the features of
engines costing 10 times as much. Another
major consideration was that the folks at
Garage Games were incredibly helpful as I
was learning and using their products.