9.4 Creating Short-term Goals

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Short-term goals help players determine how close they are to winning the game.

Short-term goals help create mini challenges that help build skill or create pacing.
How do short-term goals allow a player to meet the larger game goal?

How can short-term goals be structured to create variety of play within a game?
Mini Game: Four Rooms

Nocturne Hedges

What's on for today:

Short-term goals are part and parcel of games with complex win conditions. through the design of multi-level games students will experiment with the design of short-terms goals, which support but are different from the primary goal of the game.

What you need:

-A few copies of “Screenshots of a game annotated showing short-term goals and main goal” to pass around
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Screenshots of a game annotated showing short-term goals and main goal
-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total:1 hour and 20 minutes

Play - 10 minutes
Discuss - 10 minutes
Design - 30 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 20 minutes
Circle Up - 10 minutes


10 minutes

1. Choose or create a game or series of Gamestar Mechanic games for your class to play that highlight the use of short-term goals. Include games that show a range of approaches to the design of short-term goals.

2. Pay particular attention to how games can use short-term goals to develop skills that are needed by players to complete the final game goal. For example, in a game where players have to navigate a maze, collecting treasure and avoiding enemies, short-term goals might many mini enemy battles that teach the player show to damage enemies and gain health packs.

3. If you are having trouble choosing a game or creating one of your own, refer to the recom- mended games for this lesson.

10 minutes

1. Initiate a discussion about the design of short- term goals. You can use the following questions as jumping off points:

    What purpose did short-term goals serve in the game?
How many different goals did you find in the game? How did they relate to each other? For             example, did you have to complete one in order to gain access to another, as in the case of points      and goal blocks? Or could you meet the different goals as you wanted to as a player?
    How do short-term goals build skill in the player toward mastery of the final goal?

30 minutes

1. Ask your students to create a game in Gamestar Mechanic with three levels.

2. Have them give thought to what the main goal of the game will be and the short-term goals that will support that goal.

3. Challenge advanced students to consider how to sequence short-term goals over a series of levels by using Boss sprites as part of the final level.

Playtest and Iterate
20 minutes

1. Encourage students to playtest and iterate early in the process.

2. Playtesters should be encouraged to give feedback based on the following:

    What is the main goal of the game? Is this goal clearly communicated to the player?

    What are the goals for each level? How do they work together?

    How do the short-term goals help players determine how close they are to winning the game?

Circle Up
10 minutes

1. Give each student a few minutes to think about the following questions and then have them either present to the rest of the class, or blog about their thoughts.

    How did you decide what short-term goals to create in your game?

    What were the hardest kinds of goals to design?

    Which goals did your player have the hardest time meeting? Which did they find most fun?

    What is one thing you would change to im- prove the game?

How did it go?

Were students able to create games with short-term goals?

Did they create a varying degree of difficulty across the game through the use of short-term goals?

Were they able to communicate these goals to the player?

Were they able to reflect upon ways of improving their games?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:22 AM