Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What makes a game fun

Hello, hi,

My name is Joe and I'm a new PhD student at WVU, got my MS in CS just last year, and working towards the big goal with a vague idea and a genuine interest for AI in games. I'm hard of hearing, and generally have a tough time understanding people in a group setting, but usually if there's only one person speaking -towards- me, with a good voice, then it's fine. (Sorry if I seem confused sometimes, usually trying to figure out what you just said.)

Last semester I worked on the idea of "What makes a game Fun?" and found myself digging through a lot of unofficial resources towards concepts in a game that heighten the level of enjoyment had by players. I wrote a survey-type paper and outlined what I thought were the core values of "Fun in video games." Those four were Gameplay, Originality, Replayability and Story (GORS). Replayability is key; any time a player picks up a controller, there is a drawing factor that keeps them attracted to the game and continuously replaying. Once that allure is lost, replayability is lost, and the game no longer has potential to provide fun (at least for a while, but there's always a chance the allure returns at some later point - yet another key point to replayabilty.)

Anyway, second half of semester I put the four dimensions of fun together in a game which the user could play and "set" the levels of each dimension. i.e., the user would set originality to be of "low" setting, making item names and enemies sound very generic, as opposed to original and unique. Called Cre-Ativity, the game plays like Zelda, in a top-down fashion developed with OpenGL in C++. Players can use one of four weapons; acquire armor, gain experience, become stronger and bash enemies while exploring in aims of completing a general story-driven quest.

At this point, the semester was over and one of the key questions that remained was; "How could you develop story content according to user-input?" More on that topic to come.


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