Tuesday, December 29, 2009

January 2010: Mechanics That Artificially Lengthen Gameplay

January 2010's topic is Mechanics That Artificially Lengthen Gameplay, originally proposed by game design student Helder Mauricio Gomes Ferreira and refined by game designer Ryon Levitt and scholar Altug Isigan.

A significant number of players complain about game designs that seem to be deliberately wasting their time. Due to the amount of grinding and long walks that can be seen in this genre, it is often MMORPG's that are subject to such criticism. It appears, however, that from time to time all types of games and genres suffer from sequences that mindlessly waste the time of their players.

During its January rally, GDAM asks you to provide insight and answers to the problem of game mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay. In the broader sense, we ask you what methods or mechanics the game designer has at her disposal to lengthen gameplay without annoying the gamers. In particular, we ask the following questions in the hope to inspire you for articles:
  • What is the relationship between business models and mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay? Which business models or design principles built around mechanics that artificially lengthen gameplay could serve to increase a game's value for both players and developers?

  • How can dead time in runs and overall travel time be reduced without destroying the rationale behind the business model and the overall pace and rhythm of the game in question?

  • What design methods do exist that could be helpful in creating mechanics that preserve player motivation while gameplay is artificially lengthened? How, in that regard, can we utilize psychological processes like for example matching creatively?

  • What kind of ancillary reward systems do exist or could be developed and how could these help to foster a feel of environmental progression in the game that makes long walks feel like they are part of the game rather than being pointless and repetitive tasks?

  • What are design methods and principles that can be helpful in manipulating felt time and making it easier on the player when gameplay is lengthened artificially? How can we stretch game sequences by building additional moves into game mechanisms without making them feel artificial?


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