A quick introduction to the highlights of computer game design.
The mini-workshop is a short version of the Fundamental Principles of Game Design workshop. It can vary in length from 90
minutes to 4 hours. The amount of material we cover depends upon the length.
How it works.
After an abbreviated version of the Fundamentals
opening lecture I break the group into teams. I give each team a game idea in a sealed envelope, and they concentrate on the very heart of a game, defining the primary gameplay mode.
A design team busy with their worksheets.
90 minute version: At this level, the mini-workshop is really just a "taster": 30 minutes of introductory lecture, 30 minutes of brainstorming for the participants, and 30 minutes of discussion afterwards.The team spends 15 minutes trying to identify the essential challenges and actions of
the game, then they divide into different roles: Mechanics Designer, User Interface Designer, and Storyteller. They spend the remaining 15 minutes documenting their own area. For the last half hour I pick a couple of the teams and we discuss what they came up with. If the group is small enough, we might be able to hear from all of them.
Three-hour version: Similar to the 90 minute version, but the lecture lasts an hour, the participants
spend an hour and a quarter on their game ideas, and we end with 45 minutes of discussion.
Four-hour version: This one is long enough that we can go into a little more detail, and end with short presentations. We also add another person to the process, the Art Director, making it a four-person team. The schedule is:
Lecture: one hour
Collaborative work: one hour
Individual work: 45 minutes
Consolidation: 15 minutes
Brief presentations: one hour
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