Monday, March 23, 2009

April 2009: Designing Quality 2-3 Hour Games

April 2009's topic, Designing Quality 2-3 Hour Games, was submitted by game designer Reid Kimball.

Reid writes:

As I grow older with more responsibilities and interests to pursue, my time available for playing games becomes limited. I often hear from friends and colleagues who bemoan the same problem, that they are unable to finish their favorite games.

With regard to singleplayer narrative based games, I often see gameplay mechanics repeated ad nauseam and I wonder, “What’s the point? There are no new gameplay mechanics to experience and the story is developing a snails pace because this is an obligatory 10 - 20 hour game.”

Why not develop shorter, tighter focused gaming experiences that are specifically 2 to 3 hours long? Here are some things I hope we can discuss this month about short 2 - 3 hour long games.

· Arguments for why a 2 - 3 hour game is a good idea.
· Arguments for why we shouldn’t make shorter 2 - 3 hour games.
· How can you ensure all players hit the average range of a 2 - 3 hour gaming experience?
· How would you design a game with a range of 2 - 3 hours in length?
· How does one market this new breed of short game to a customer base that is intimidated by lengthy games and those that expect lengthy games?
· How do we debunk the myth that quantity of playtime equals value for
their money?
· What price is appropriate for shorter 2 - 3 hour games?
· What types of games are possible for a 2 - 3 hour gaming experience?
· What should this new breed of game be called, if anything at all?

Reid Bryant Kimball is a versatile level and game designer who has worked for Ritual Entertainment, LucasArts and now is currently with Buzz Monkey Software. He's also a game accessibility advocate and closed captioning for videogames expert, having designed the Doom3 closed captioning mod.


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