Jul 212011

Title slideThis was my talk delivered yesterday at Casual Connect Seattle — somewhat shorter than my usual, as it was a 25 minute slot. The topic was designing for games-as-a-service; a lot of folks are migrating from casual games into social games right now, and need to know more about what the design best practices are.

I ended up reaching back to the Laws of Online World Design and many other older materials both mine and of others, on the grounds that it was likely to be new and perhaps educational for many who have been doing fire-and-forget software in the casual space.

I am fairly sure that the conference will be posting video of the presentation — they normally do — so keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, here’s the deck in a few formats:

I did try uploading it to Slideshare, but boy, did it mess up the fonts. I take a lot of care with the graphic design of my decks, and it was just too ugly to tolerate. 🙂 I am sure I could figure it out given time, but I don’t have said time. So if someone else wants to take the PPT and get it uploaded in a way that actually resembles the PDF, go for it.

The slides should be pretty self-explanatory, but the core message is not unlike the much more detailed version of things I put forth in my recent blog on on Marketing.

  11 Responses to “10 Game Design Lessons for Games-as-Service, my CC2011 talk”

  1. That is so true about brand and reputation management. I like the links at the end, I will have to read all of those.

    *off I go to nickyee.com*

  2. “The classic elder game is player expressivity”

    Some players would appreciate if the whole game included “player expressivity”. Personally, I can’t stand games that only permit the designer sanctioned solution. Even with a game like Angry Birds … the most enjoyable levels have multiple solutions and it’s fun to try different solutions. I think this is creativity, a form of expression.

  3. I enjoyed that presentation pdf. Especially towards the last half. I strongly agree on the humiliation part. From my own experiences if I got my butt handed to me in a game I’d get frustrated and play someother aspect of the game. Of course with SWG but other games as well. Halo 3 for one. The ability to make your own maps was a neat feature. It kept me entertained longer than just pure multiplayer.

    IMO the memory of playing past games where you create “your own destiny” or design your own house/ make something are far more enjoyable. Even the most pointless things.

    Good call on the “salesy communication.” That’s one of the things SOE didn’t do wrong.

  4. Why are there so many designers who don’t know these things (and worse, become hostile and defensive when mere players call them on it)?

  5. Yukon, if you were looking over the dales and valleys and saw nothing but masses of angry faces, pitchforks and torches, tar and feathers, while behind you you hear the fading footfalls of your uber elite guardian hardcore beating it for the hills, you’d feel a bit defensive too.

  6. Hrmmm, perhaps. But the angry mob forms after the arrogant scientist’s monster has wrecked havoc upon the village. If the villagers are invested in the design of the monster from the start, they’re more forgiving of minor glitches in the wetware.

  7. Yeah, I agree Yukon.

    I think there’s been a huge problem that the entire industry has had to go through. It’s based on the foundation, and this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before from many sources. I just want to spell it out again.

    The foundation is this…
    Game makers come from making single player games, and with multiplayer capability.
    Players come from the same, for the most part. Most of today’s players never played “roleplayer” and social games like P+P games where a world could be forged due to ease of content addition (DMs vs. code).

    But there’s different kinds of MMOs. Expectation, even on a subliminal level, are different. In a game like Farmville the expectations of the players going into it are quite different than a full scale MMO that’s built around the idea of being in a persistent world. And again, this is on a deeper level than most players delve into.

    But when you have the masses, things change. Problems arise. And the response so far has been to retreat to that known quantity of single player gaming. It separates the players. A full out effort has been pushed to turn the masses into smaller groups of friends, making the MMO play just like a single player game with multiplayer options. And this ends the persistent world because now, it’s not. It becomes a persistent mash of multiplayer experience, lacking that massive world feel. And it’s the “massive” that players expect, maybe without realizing it for many. It’s become woefully short on the “massive”.

  8. And reading Raph’s tritter…

    @Lesleyvdlaar “Practice makes perfect” leads to a boring game. “Practice makes good but never perfect” is a really compelling game.

    When players can reach perfection, it’s not only game over but other players become just a formula.

  9. Thanks for sharing the presentation files. Especially the part about play styles was enlightening for me.
    I’ll better go take a look at your ‘The Laws of Online World Design’ now. It sounds like something that will come in handy.

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