9.7 Goals and Creating Layered Play Experiences

Big Ideas for this lesson 
Guiding Questions          
Recommended Games     
Different kinds of goals can create different types of games. How do goals define how a game is played?

How do goals create challenge in a game?
Dungeon Crawler

Mountain Escape

Nocturne Hedges

What's on for today:

System sprites can be used individually or in combination to create simple or complex win conditions. In order to highlight this feature, students will practice creating games with variable challenge: system sprites will be added and modified to create games with increasingly complex win conditions.

What you need:

-Multiple copies of “Playtester feedback worksheet” per student

What's attached:

-Playtester feedback worksheet


Total: 1 hour and 20 minutes

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

10 minutes

1. Create or choose a few games for your class to play that highlight the use of single or multiple uses of system sprites. Make sure to choose games that highlight how the choice of a system sprite contributes to the overall feeling of the game. For example, a game with a timer can make the player feel under pressure. Or games that have a point requirement are often about exploring a space. Games with lives are often very difficult, since players have multiple tries.

2. If you are having trouble choosing a game or creating one of your own, refer to the recommended games for this activity.

10 minutes

Use the following questions to jumpstart a discussion about the games played:

What system sprites were used in the game?

What mood or play experience did it generate?

How could you use system sprites to alter the mood of the game?

20 minutes

1. Give students the challenge to create a Game- star Mechanic game with three levels. Level 1 uses one system sprite, level 2 uses systems sprites, and level 3 uses three system sprites.

2. Ask the students to think about how to create a game that feels unified, despite the variety of goals it might use. Students can think about how to tell a story across the three different levels, for example, or to create a game that gets increasingly complex, from level to level.

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:

Are the goals clear to the player?

How have the use of goals been organized from level to level? Do the choices seem logical or random?

What was the most difficult goal to meet? Why was it so challenging?

Circle Up
20 minutes

1. Hold a mini “games-festival,” where players travel from game to game playtesting all the games that were made during class.

2. Have the students leave written comments for each other on pieces of paper placed next to the stations, or on the “Playtester feedback worksheet” included here.

3. For advanced students, you can ask them to write down one or two questions about their game that they want feedback on, and have the students respond to these as they play the games.

How did it go?

Did students add and modify system sprite parameters to create different kinds of games?

Did they create games with increasing complexity?

Were they able to clearly communicate the goals of the game to their player?

Were they able to solicit useful feedback from their playtesters?

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Jan 4, 2011, 8:24 AM