Game Design Concepts
The term “game design” is not well defined; it is used to mean many different things which oftentimes are only peripherally related to the actual design process, and many books purportedly on the subject do not adequately cover the core concepts of game design proper. The purpose of this thesis is to explore the more formal aspects of game design separate from other aspects of games such as art, production, audio, and programming. My objective is to flesh out a set of guidelines that can be applied across all types and media including both digital and non-digital games, and touch upon various difficulties and challenges that a game designer is likely to face in each stage of the design process from initial concept to playtesting and tweaking. Along the way I provide specific examples of how formal gameplay might be altered by specific changes to internal logic and mathematics, and how this might affect the experience for the players. The focus is on games as formal, mathematical systems, and I examine games from their basic elements outwards, though I also explore such topics as the incorporation of theme and narrative into formal gameplay. Throughout the thesis I present a number of different ways of looking at and thinking about gameplay, with the hope that the reader may emerge with a clearer vision of the underlying formal systems of all games.