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Can a tool for modelling game design make it easier for designers?

Game Design

Trekking on mountains, running through forests, making tall building, fighting for a throne, creating an empire of own, barding off the zombies, diving into ocean life, creating self owned farms, zoos, islands and many more such thoughts and real life concepts have been creatively brought into gaming world and beautifully presented as session plays. Captivating creation holds success of a game.

Today with advances in technology, designing as well as developing games have become far easier or it can be quoted that what we imagine can be given form and face as a game quite easily with right knowledge and use of gaming and animation tools.

While whole ‘game model creation’ is a test of designer’s thoughts, creativity and extent of imagination, a lot depends on the use of available and appropriate game designing tools to be used by the team of engineers who finally develop the game. Some basic, most used and much famous game designing tools include the animation tools like:

  • Unity, UDA, XNA, jMonkeyEngine, Torque, BlitzMax are some game making tools used for 3D as well 2D games.

All these and many more are put to use by learned and professional engineers who develop a game design to actual executable game. Thus people from two disciplines work together to give face to a game we easily enjoy on our laptops. While designers have to explain the requirements and their creative expectations from a game to the engineer’s team, the engineers have a roller coaster ride fulfilling the designer’s expectations. The gap in imaginations power and creativity is huge among the two groups and thus models of expected game or game design are much needed.

Gamification of a story with interesting characters and binding story line is not only enough for a game to be a favourite among gaming enthusiasts. It needs to be a work of beautiful designing, creatively put together, perfectly animation and flawlessly execution. While many tools are available and being used, virtual modelling is being thought as a promising new aspect which could come with many benefits. If good creativity and effective usage of technical tools is used to create game models, it would become much easier for developers to actually have first-hand experience of the game before its launch. Many after-launch disasters could be anticipated and prevented this way.

Traditionally, modelling game designs has been put to use by many designer and engineers groups and has benefited them too. The traditional methods involved techniques where game related aspects like the obstacles, characters etc were given importance but later models gave importance to visualization of player and game character interaction as well. Some most used game design models that have benefited many game designing and game developing companies and organizations till date include:

  • Token based model, in this game characters plus fields, obstacles and even powers or weapons of the player are treated as pieces and the game design is diagrammatically explained as cascade of pieces. Sometimes hierarchy of structure trees are created with pieces connected through the direct or indirect relation among them, as in the game.

  • A modified version of the above game model designing is the Diagram based machination model where petri net (modelling language) along with the piece concept is used.

  • Further modifications in the above model lead to the ‘Game Alchemy’ model where the structure of the game along with the graphical representation of the game-player interaction was created for better understanding of the engineers.

  • Following ‘Game Alchemy’ came into play was the ‘Game Layer’ model where the whole design was divided to layers or slices so as understanding the game structure becomes easier. This kind of approach works best for complex and multilevel games.

Designers design and engineers develop the designed game plan into a full-fledged game. The association could benefit from game model facility, if available. Like models show off summer or winter collections from varied designers, different models for games of one category could be compared to rule out the worst and select to pursue the potential good goers. This way the huge effort of developers could be saved and re-directed towards something expected to have results rather than being wasted on a guaranteed failure.

Modelling game designs thus make work of designers much easier and that of developers more productive.

Author Bio: Jason Phillips is an avid gamer who loves playing online games. He is also a regular contributor at various sites. Here he has written for Zombie Games 365, a site where you can play zombie games.

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