9.6 Goal Combos

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Game designers can create “games within games” through the use of complex win conditions. How do goals create challenge in a game?

What are the implications of certain kinds of win conditions to the design of core mechanics or of the game space?
Quest - Addison Joins the Rogue:

Guide to Jumping, Episode 2 Mission 1

Commuter Tunnel, Episode 1 Mission 3

What's on for today:

Games can be designed to contain smaller games within them, leading to varied game play for players. Sometimes the embedded games share the same goal as the larger game, but can also differ. Within this lesson students are charged with exploring the design of “games within games” through the use of complex win conditions.

What you need:

-Index cards to create sample game goals
-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour

Design - 30 minutes
Playtest and Iterate - 20 minutes
Discuss - 10 minutes


30 minutes

1. Create sample game goals that can be drawn out of a hat or assigned to the class or individual students. Examples include:

    Eliminate 20 enemies and reach the goal block in under 30 seconds.

    Collect 100 points to activate the goal block.

    Stay alive.

    Collect 60 points within 60 seconds.

    Challenge students to design a game in Gamestar Mechanic using the assigned goal.

Playtest and Iterate
20 minutes

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

2. Playtesters should be encouraged to give the game’s designers feedback based on the following criteria:

Is the goal or goals of the game clear to the player? How are they communicated?

Is the game winnable? Is it balance—neither too easy nor too hard?

In the case of a game with a complex win condition, has the game been designed to take advantage of each different goal? For example, does it feel necessary to have to collect points AND beat the timer?

Have students customize their playtester feedback worksheet for this activity by including the above feedback criteria as open questions on the back of their “Playtester Feedback worksheet”.

10 minutes

Initiate a discussion. The following questions can be used to get you started:

At what point in the design of your game did you decide on a goal? Why did you choose that goal or set of goals?

What key design decisions did you make to allow the player to meet that goal in ways that were fun and challenging?

How did it go?

Were students able to create games within games?

Were they able to discuss the design decisions made in achieving this?

Are their games balanced—challenging but still beatable?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:23 AM