The Tools of Fun Design

janzeteachesit just posted:



This post works as a blend between two concepts we already talked about: the Colors of Fun and the Zooms of Game Design, explaining how to use them together and how to apply them in practice.

When we talked about the Zooms, the general idea was to progressively move from abstraction (i.e.: general view/zoomed out) to concretion (i.e.: detailed view/zoomed in).

When we talked about the Colors of Fun, the point was to classify or divide different kinds of experiences into recognizable categories.

The point of both these metaphors is to establish a language, but they need a practical application to be useful when synthesizing games. The chart above gathers the proposed tools for the Fun-Driven Design framework.

Here is a brief description of these tools, which will be detailed in other posts:

Learning Tools

  • The Synopsis (1x): a quick overview of what’s the game about.
  • The Plot

    (10x): a general brief about the story development and backdrop.

  • The Script: fully documented dialogs, storyboards, scenes.

Ownership Tools

  • The Features (1x): a description of remarkable features of the product.
  • The Valuables (10x): goods achievable in-game and their exchange rates.
  • The Economy (100x): the flows of resources and transaction flow balances.

Aesthetic Tools

  • The Theme (1x): the core of the artistic message of the game.
  • The Game Feel (10x): general guidelines about the game “look & feel”.
  • The Catalog (100x): a list of all the art assets needed for the game.

Expression Tools

  • The Rules (1x): games are simplifications of reality via these.
  • The Mechanics (10x): the inner workings & dynamics of combined rules.
  • The Algorithms (100x): the detailed description of the mechanics.

Challenge Tools

  • The Goals (1x): the main objective of the player in the game.
  • The Flow (10x): how does the player navigate through the game.
  • The Structure (100x): how does the challenge evolve through the game.

Activity Tools

  • The Pace (1x): how does time, speed and rythm influence the game.
  • The Loops (10x): what events repeat cyclically (info->action->result->repeat).
  • The Funnels (100x): what points of the experience leak engagement.

Social Tools

  • The Target (1x): who is this project for.
  • The Relations (10x): how does the target interact with other people.
  • The Return (100x): how does the player return value or refer users.

Immersion Tools

  • The Interface (1x): how does the player interact with the world.
  • The Contexts (10x): where and how does the player act.
  • The Mockups (100x): how does the user interface look.