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David Javelosa

Copyright © 2004-2014 David Javelosa unless otherwise stated.

Material based on Game Design Workshop
Copyright © 2004-2008
Tracy Fullerton
used by permission of author
week 04 - working with dramatic elements

dramatic elements in game design

The Challenge of the Game

[the "flow" diagram]

- Challenge that requires skill
- Action and Awareness
- Goals and Player Feedback
- Focus on the goal
- The illusion of Player Control
- Suspension of Disbelief/Loss of Self-Conciousness
- Suspension & Control of Time
- The Game becoming its own Experience

The Play of the Game
- What is the play potential?
- Does it compel the player?
- How and When do we know a game is going to be fun?

The Premise of the Game
- What is the premise of your favorite games?

Game Characters
- Do they drive the story? the game? do you drive them?

The Story
- Linear? or branching?

Law and Order Flow Chart

The Dramatic Arc:
(the golden mean)


Take a simple game like Checkers and discuss which dramatic elements could make it a better or worse.

List five games that rely on dramatic elements.

List skills that are typically required in game play. What skills do game players enjoy using?

List the types of feedback generated in three different games and how they relate to the final goal of each game.

What type of games would appeal to the various gamer "types"? and which are you?
- the competitor
- the explorer
- the collector
- the achiever
- the joker
- the artist
- the director
- the storyteller
- the performer
- the craftsman

List the premise for five favorite games and how they enhance game play.

Name three game characters that are most associated with gaming. What roles do they play? Describe their appeal.

Identify a game that is dependent on story and why it works. How does the plot relate to the gameplay.

Choosing a game based on a story, that you are familiar with, identify in the story the plot points below:

1. exposition
2. protagonist
3. main conflict
4. resolution action
5. rise in tension
6. climax
7. conclusion

In the same game, identify in the gameplay the same plot points above.

How would changes in the story or gameplay help resolve differences between the two?

reminder! - game report due week 05

Read class notes up to week 5.

Write a report - 2 to 4 pages typed; illustrations optional
This report will be an analysis of a game of your choice; either a traditional board game, video game, computer game, or on-line internet game.
The subject will be evaluated based on the game design elements discussed in class including:

- concept
- structure
- formal elements (including controls and interface)
- dramatic elements
- system dynamics
- is it fun? or is it D.O.A.?

Reading Assignment


- Game Challenge
- Game Play
- Game Premise
- Characters
- Story
- Dramatic Arc

  • Chapter 4 - Working with Dramatic Elements

Copyright © 2004 - 2014 David Javelosa