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It's Raining Workshops!! : Rolocule - Game Design Workshop – Seamedu

As the previous blogs suggests, we’ve had plenty of workshops over the past few weeks, with roughly one a week. This week we had a workshop by Rolocule. Rolocule is a gaming company that started in November in 2010, and is based right here in Pune itself.

 The workshop was conducted by an alumnus of Seamedu Game School- Kunal Mordekar. He works as a Producer and Designer and has also previously worked as a Programmer.

At Rolocule he worked on Flick TennisMotion Tennis and Bowling Central as game designer, sound designer, game-play and graphics programmer, Associate producer etc . as required by the company. He is currently working on Dead Among Us (still in beta) as game and level designer and also associate producer. Here’s Trailer for some of these:

Bowling Central

Bowling-central

Flick Tennis Trailer

Flick Tennis

At the start of the workshop he mentioned that he would be getting us to learn how to create a new game design idea from an existing design which is already accepted and he chose the classic Battleship game for this activity. He said that the workshop would teach us how to face design challenges, what problems to address and what to not. These are the things that he started with in the beginning.

 What is a game?

A game is an interactive medium or form of media that engages a player, engagement being the most important part. Games are not necessarily digital. The key difference between play and game is, that a game has rules. A toy can generate ‘Play’ but not necessarily a game, since there are no rules for the person playing to follow. Movies are also a form of interactive media, but a game is decision based interaction.

 Rules?

Rules are necessary for a game. The rules govern the game. They tell the person what he has to do to win. Rules give the game a direction. All players must accept the rules and abide by them. Just interacting with something doesn’t make it a game.

 Identification.

Before you start with your game, even before you decide your Core Mechanic( A core mechanic is a central setting or mechanic that governs game-play. it is the thing that player does 95% of his game-play time); The first thing you should do, is figure out your audience/target audience. This defines and narrows down the direction your core mechanic might take. The order goes Target Audience > Core Mechanics > Aesthetics.

 Prototyping.

What’s a prototype? A prototype is a small version of your game, just to check if it works, if it’s playable and to see if your core mechanics are fun. Based on this testing, the designer can then decide to alter the game/prototype.

 Emergent Game-play.

After one has made a prototype, the designer should ‘Be a ghost’ and silently observe. If the players are doing something wrong, don’t correct them. Instead you let them play and see if they have fun with that instead and then you can take your game in that direction.

 So after this, he asked us if anyone knew how to play “Battleship” and since most people hadn’t, we split into groups of 2 each and played Battleship. After this, we were asked, what would you change in the game? Or what is it that you didn’t like in the game? And how would you change it. The problem we thought it faced was there’s now way to defend yourself and that we could actually reduce the time it takes to play the game. So we tried to see if there was a way to do so. We realised we couldn’t do this, without making the game way too complex, so we thought of what else we could change to make it better. We thought maybe we could add a a counter-attacking mechanic. So whenever you lose one of your ships, you can counter-attack with the same number of ‘attacks’ but they have to abide by the existing rules. (You fire the number of shot but in a consecutive horizontal or vertical fashion.) We tested our game-play and realised we actually add more fun then we did with the normal battleship and it took less time as well, which was our goal.

 Similarly just like our group, every other group had to do the same. Play the game and see what is it that they didn’t like and could change in the game. From this, we concluded that when editing a game, you don’t have to always add something directly to a game. First figure out the problems with the game and see how you can modify it. Adding something then is justified.