Rachel Ombok



CS-UY 4553
Game Design


CS 4553 is about experimental game design. Design in this context pertains to every aspect of the game, and these can be broadly characterized as the game system, control, visuals, audio, and resulting theme. These aspects are explored through the creation of a few very focused game prototypes using a variety of contemporary game engines and frameworks, high-level programming languages, and physical materials. The objective is to gain a better understanding of what makes games appealing, and how game mechanics, systems, and a variety of player experiences that can be designed and iteratively improved by means of rapid prototyping and play-testing. This course was an elective class in my minor, Game Engineering.

Course Objectives
  1. Learn design practices and principles necessary to prototype and develop video games
  2. Develop an understanding on how technology, design, and philosophy affect the game creation process
  3. Learn about real-world implementation and design challenges faced by practicing game designers
Week 1: Minimalism

Dizzy Racer

In Dizzy Racer, you navigate through a basic 2D maze while trying to manuever different character positions. Play here.

The general purpose of minimalism in game design is to accentuate a game's specific elements by limiting the scope or detail of the other surrounding elements.

Week 2: Game Feel

Pinky's Adventure

Pinky's Adventure is a prototype game showcasing different game feel effects. Play here.

What is game feel? In game development, it's the various effects that add weight and "juice" to the game. It's a specific aesthetic and style added into a game. “The tactile sensation of manipulating a digital agent. The thing that makes your mom lean in her chair as she plays Rad Racer.” (Steve Swink). Game feel makes moving, interacting, winning and losing games fun. Examples: Screen shakes(collision effects, hard turns, acceleration or velocity, gravity), Sound(soundtrack music, background ambience and sound effects), SFX(explosions, footsteps, engines running), Particle Effects(gravel/dust kicked up, comic-book punch effect, blood splatter for damage, confetti for winning).

Week 3: Depth


Rush is a racing game where it's limitations help the player develop skills that help them succeed over time. Play here.

Which games have depth? Most people would agree that Chess is a deep. And that Candyland and Tic-Tac-Toe (Noughts and Crosses), and most “social network” games are not at all deep. Depth has to do with the complexity of decision making and skill building.

Week 4: Resources

City of Schemes

City of Schemes is a one-player board game where you play as a conniving noble trying to claim control of a medieval city. You have seven days and seven nights to try and max out either your Popular Support, Noble Support, or Military Support and seize the throne, after which your window of opportunity closes. But there are many ways that your schemes could come to ruin... If any of your Popular Support, Noble Support, or Military Support start the day at -20, you lose! Similarly, if your Suspicion ever reaches 100 you lose as the king's Inquisitor manages to catch you! Each day and each night you can select an action to take from around the areas of the city using your mouse, which will raise one resource and lower some others. Some actions require you to spend either Gold or Energy, and you can only take those actions if you have enough of those resources. Finally, at the start of each day you'll receive a random event. These can be either good or bad, and you'll need to adapt your strategy to what luck has in store for you! Play here.

Resources are quantities that affect gameplay, and can usually be both acquired and consumed. When designing resources it's important to consider availability, conversion, and relative value of such resources. It's important to avoid repetitive feedback loops, positive or negative. Avoiding the emergence of degenerate strategies and ensuring all systems stay relevant makes sure gameplay stays engaging.

Week 6: PCG

Garden of Flora

Garden of Flora is a PCG collecting game. Play here.

Procedural Generation is a method of creating data algorithmically as opposed to manually, typically through a combination of human-generated assets and algorithms coupled with computer-generated randomness and processing power. In computer graphics, it is commonly used to create textures and 3D models PCG is useful in game design because it helps support replayability, since varied content can lead to drastically different play experiences. Spelunky is a good example.

Final Project

Arena GT

This is a fun survival/action game with Ford GT as the main vehicle for the player. There are four types of power ups: Health, Nitro, Shield and Mine. Have fun destroying cars if you're good at it. Play here.