The Art of Design


Questions & Exercises

From the Art of Game Design (Schell)


I-1. Exercise - Draw your own map of game design concepts, any way you see fit. A good way to start is to write down concepts that you think are important to game design and to try to connect them together.

I-2. Question - What purpose do you think games serve?

I-3. Question - What principles of game design do you feel pretty sure are true?



1-1. Exercise - Tell 5 people you know that you are a game designer!

1-2. Question - What skills does a game designer need and how will they use those skills?

1-3. Exercise - Tell a story about a time in your life when deep listening made a difference.

1-4. Exercise - Tell a story about someone you know who has a minor gift, but not the major one.



2-1. Exercise - Think of a simple experience you had (the simpler, the better). Dissect your feelings about it using as many words as you can.

2-2. Exercise - Play a game and try to dissect the experience using the "Defeating Heisenberg" methods. Which methods work best for you? Why?

2-3. Exercise - Tell a story about a game you played that did a good job of capturing an essential experience.

2-4. Exercise - Think of a real world experience that you might want to capture in a game. Describe the "essence" of that experience.

2-5. Exercise - Design a simple board game that captures the essence of a real world experience.



3-1. Question - Which definitions in this chapter do you agree with? Which do you disagree with? And why!

3-2. Exercise - Describe a fun experience that is completely devoid of surprises.

3-3. Exercise - Describe a game that is not a problem solving activity.

3-4. Exercise - Design a game that challenges conventional ideas of what "game" means.



4-1. Exercise - Dissect a favorites videogame using the Lens of the Elemental Tetrad, and the Lens of Holographic Design.

4-2. Exercise - Come up with a story, a technology, a game mechanic, and an aesthetic style. Now make up a game that has the four things you thought of.



5-1. Question - Think of your favorite movie. What is its theme?

5-2. Question - You are going to make an arcade game about elephants. How will you theme it?



6-1. Exercise - Using the Lens of Infinite Experience, look deep inside yourself for a videogame idea that no one else could come up with but you.

6-2. Exercise - Make a videogame designed for people who like to play Bingo. Use the tetrad to brainstorm at least 10 ideas in each of the four categories. Then, mix and match them to come up with ten complete game concepts. Mark the three that are the best.

6-3. Question - Your boss tells you that he wants you to make a game that crosses Pac-Man with Quake. Using the Lens of the Problem Statement, what questions do you ask him?

6-4. Exercise - Perform "Slumber with a Key." When the key wakes you, design a game.

6-5. Exercise - Draw a picture of your subconscious mind. Or heck, get out of the way and let your subconscious do a self-portrait.

6-6. Exericse - Get together with a team, and using the brainstorming tips, come up with brilliant ideas for the "Mario World Massively Multiplayer Game."



7-1. Question - Think of a game that didn't make it in the marketplace. Take a look at it through the lens of the Eight Filters. What went wrong?

7-2. Exercise - Come up with a brilliant video game idea. Now, imagine that you work for a small game company, and have to produce a finished game in nine months. Using the Lens of Risk Mitigation, analyze your game. How can you mitigate each risk? If you need to change your design, go ahead, and perform a second risk analysis.

7-3. Exercise - Think of a videogame idea. Make a paper prototype, and try it out with friends. Did the prototype teach you anything?

7-4. Question - Name five popular games that have toy-like qualities.

7-5. Question - Name a popular toy that has no game-like qualities. How could you turn it into a game?

So you want to be a designer?