P4: What do you want your game project to feel like?

The purpose of assignment three is threefold:

  • To have each of you think through, and then pitch, a game idea
  • To implement a game-feel prototype based on your own ideas of what you are trying to accomplish
  • To provide a starting point for group formation for your final project

For this project, you will turn in 5 things (details below).

  1. (on the blog) A Game Description and set of Goals for your prototype, along with your Game Prototype and instructions to play it.  Due Wednesday Oct 9th, 9am.
  2. (on t-square) Your Game Prototype project.  Due Wednesday Oct 9th,12 noon (before class).
  3. (on t-square) A three-slide Powerpoint Pitch File that will be used in class that day. Due Wednesday Oct 9th, 5am
  4. (a URL to your video file, playable on a Mac, downloadable by professor) A 20 second video showing off your prototype.  Due Wednesday Oct 9th, 5am.

NOTE:  I’m serious about the time: I often wake up early and need to be able to start assembling the slides early.

Everything is due Wednesday morning at 5am, except the project, which you can clean up and submit a bit later that morning.   You will be presenting in class on Wednesday Oct 9th.  The presentation will be exactly 1 minute and 10 seconds long, as described in the Powerpoint submission section below.

You will present in alphabetical order, but I expect everyone to be there for the whole class.  We will take attendance before we start.

IMPORTANT:  I will be taking the powerpoint file you submit, and your video, and making them into a timed presentation. If they are late, you will receive the usual 25% deduction, but if they are turned in too late for me to add them to the presentation, you will get 0 points on the part of  your grade that is based on the class presentation that day.  Too late very likely means “after 8 or so” since I will be assembling the file before heading to class.  I will not be able to add a bunch of late files, and  so if you give me the file late, I won’t be able to use it and you will be stuck presenting without.

GRADING: This project is 15% of your grade.  The breakdown of grades is

  • 2% for the game description and goals
  • 5% for the presentation (quality of the powerpoint for presentation in this time frame, quality of the video for conveying your prototype, clarity of presentation)
  • 8% for the prototype itself (including how well it meets the goals)
The presentation grade will be partly based on the quality of the video and the slides, but will also be partly based on the quality of the presentation itself.  Practice, and be prepared.  This is VERY little time, and you should know exactly what you want to say ahead of time.  It will be obvious to us if you are winging it or otherwise poorly prepared, and you will be penalized appropriately.

Game Description

Your must sketch a summary of a possible pitch for a game.  You will put this on the blog, as the first section of your post.  You should put a title and one sentence description, then use the “more” tag to put most of the content on the single page post view.

The game you propose MUST exhibit all three aspects of Game Feel, according to Swink’s definition. 

You should do this BEFORE building your prototype even though I’m having you hand it in at the end.  (There are too many students, and too little time, for me to break this into a two part assignment.)

This pitch should be short, and include

  • An overview paragraph, with the high level idea of the game (2-3 sentences) and the setting, theme, metaphor, setup (2-3 sentences).  This paragraph describes the “idea” behind the game and the player experience you want to create.
  • A paragraph summarizing the goals the player has, the challenges the player faces (e.g., enemies to avoid, skills to learn, etc).
  • A paragraph about what the player does (second by second in the short term, minute by minute in the medium term). What is the feel, what are the core mechanics, where is the fun for the player, how does the world react to the player, etc.

This is not a complete design document, or a detailed pitch.  We don’t expect you to have everything worked out.  Think it through, well enough to give you something fun to aim for in your prototype.

It should be clear where you think the fun is, what would be “cool” about the game. But, do not get bogged down in details that you don’t really know the answer to yet.  Focus on explaining why it would be fun!

Goals for Your Prototype

The goals will be a second section of your blog post.

In this section, you will describe what your goals were for the prototype.  What did you want to build, and why?  Why is this prototype essential for both (a) demonstrating the fun of the idea, and (b) testing out some assumptions or ideas you have about mechanics, interactions and play. Summarize the objectives you had in a paragraph or some bullet points.

Again, write this down before you do the prototype;  it will help you focus on building the most essential things.

What you prototype is up to you, BUT I expect that it will be heavily weighted toward the feel of the character’s avatar and how it feels to play with it.  (Consider that the point of doing projects 2 and 3 is to gain experience at experimenting with giving a player the essential feel of you game interaction, and in testing it out and debugging it.)  Think about Brad’s guest lecture, and the early iterations he did with the squid game.  While some of them were technical and some aesthetic, all of them were aimed at giving the avatar the feel he wanted.

Game Prototype

The final section of your blog post will be your game prototype.

You will turn in your prototype similarly to how you have turned in the prototypes P2 and P3 (putting a playable game on the blog, and uploading the unity3d file and unity project to t-square).

Powerpoint Pitch File

You must turn in a powerpoint file with EXACTLY 4 slides.  I will append all of these slides together, and set them to auto-play.  The first slide will be 10 seconds, the remain slides will be 20 seconds each.  The 4 slides should contain

  1. Your name (this 10 seconds will be used to transition between the previous speaker and you)
  2. A title for the game you are pitching, your name, and a one sentence summary of the idea.  You should use this 20 seconds to start your pitch and summarize the idea for your game, and why it would be fun.
  3. An image and a few bullet points summarizing your prototype. You should use this 20 second to talk about what  you tried to do, what worked, and what were you not able to do.
  4. An empty slide on which I will place your video. You can talk over your video or not, as you see fit. You should expect it to start automatically.


You should create a 20 second video.  The video should show the fun in what you did.  It could be as simple as a 20 second clip of a recorded gameplay session, or you could clip together multiple sessions.   There are many easy ways to record movies from the screen.  On MacOSX X,  you can do a screen recording with the Quicktime Player, that captures both game audio and the microphone.  On Windows, utilities like FRAPS are inexpensive and very good (there is a free version that puts a watermark on the video, but we have a fraps license for the digital media lab machines, so you should be able to capture there without the watermark you normally get on the free version).  Don’t waste time with fancy editing, and please make sure you set up the video such that you can say what you want over it (since it will start playing automatically when it’s slide starts).

When you are done, put it somewhere that it is easy to download.   PLEASE, do NOT just put it in a web directory, as it is difficult to download videos with the URL in a web browser (most browsers just play them).  Put it in Dropbox and submit a shared URL;  put it on t-square in the P4-files directory, and submit a pointer to it.  Whatever you do, TEST that it can be downloaded on MacOSX (what the prof and TAs use).