Computer Game Design Class
Dr. Héctor Muñoz-Avila
Sources:
• www.wikipedia.org
• www.gamespot.com
• My own
Disclaimer: I use these notes as a guide rather than a comprehensive coverage of the topic. They are neither a
substitute for attending the lectures nor for reading the assigned material
A Brief History of Research on
Game AI at Lehigh
Research on AI & Computer
Games at Lehigh
Aaron Battalion
Todd Fisher
Hai Hoang
Stephen Lee-Urban
Marc Ponsen
Megan Vasta
Chad Hogg
Joe Souto
Kit Ming Chang
Frank Cremen
John Gerace
Ben Mautner
Chris Olsisnki
Jarret Raim
Justin Karneeb
Kellen Guillespie
Matt Dilts
http://www.cse.lehigh.edu/~munoz
Alexandra Coman
Ulit Jaidee
Dustin Dannenhauer
Giulio Finestrali
Seth T. Denburg
Nicholas E. Roessler
Nick Wuensch
Pete Biencourt
Matthew Kilgore
Steven R. Stinson
Matthew Mitchell
The Origins
• Long term interest on Games
• 2002: Aaron Battalion & Todd Fisher wanted to do an
Ind. Study on “Game stuff”
• 2003: First Installation of Unreal Tournament Bots at
Lehigh
First Steps: 2003
• Kit Ming Chang report on Age of Empires Rule-Based
System: “CLIPS”
• Frank Cremen, Ben Mautner and Chris Olsisnki build
Poker game
http://www.cse.lehigh.edu/%7Emunoz/projects/AIGames/pokerweb/LUPoker.html
• Small grant from NRL on game (military simulationrelated) research
Continuation - 2004
• Exploratory paper on hierarchical explanation in games
• Exploratory paper on using hierarchical planning for
controlling a team of Unreal Tournament bots
• First class Game Programming at Lehigh
– Graduate-level course
• Exploratory grant from DARPA on game (military
simulation-related) research
Expansion - 2005
• Paper on using hierarchical planning for controlling a team of
Unreal Tournament bots in the First International Conference
on Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Digital Entertainment
• Work on translation of gaming language to AI languages
• Paper on Reinforcement Learning in Real Time Strategy
Games (at Innovative Applications of AI conference)
• Grant from DARPA on game (military simulation-related)
research
• Donation from Poker Academy
http://press.arrivenet.com/tec/article.php/593714.html
• AI Game Programming course taught for the second time
– Undergraduate (senior) level and graduate level
Expansion II – 2006 - 2008
• Chapter appeared AI Game Programming Wisdom 3 on
hierarchical planning for controlling a team of Unreal
Tournament bots
• First time Game Design Class is taught
• Grants from different sources involving game research
• Cognitive study on how “fun” is affected by game
difficulty
Today
• Over 30 articles, book chapters and conference papers
on the topic of Game AI
• Continuous work on this area: 6 MS thesis over the last
years. Some topics:
– Learning to play in a turn-based RPG game
– Learning to play in a team-based first-person shooter
– Mimicking player’s actions
• Game design and AI Game Programing taught 4+ times
• PC of main conference in the field (AIIDEE since its
inception) and Associate Editor in main journal (IEEE
Transactions of Computational Intelligence and AI in
Games)
Myths About Computer Game
Design
Myth # 1: Computers have to play as good as possible
Myth # 2: Only programmers can design computer
games
Myth # 3: Succesful games need deep storylines
Myth # 4: Computer graphics “make” a game
Myth # 1: Computers have to
play as good as possible
You know what is an attack “Kung Fu” style?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-aTbfxwdYQo
•Only 2 enemies
are attacking at any
point of time
•The other
“appear” busy
•Same idea is
implemented in
many games
Caveat
• But sloppy Game AI programming can
lead to player frustration
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWQuDDYq-2w
Myth # 2: Only programmers can
design computer games
• In the “old times” it was like that
• Modern tools allow the design of “AI” behavior without
need of a computer programmer
Attack
~E
E
D
E
S
Wander
E
~S
Chase
D
~E
D
Spawn
S
Myth # 3: Successful games need
deep Storylines
Myth # 3: Successful games need
deep Storylines (II)
Storyline: "Murderous aliens have landed in futuristic Los Angeles, and
humans suddenly find themselves atop the endangered species list. The
odds are a million-to-one, just the way Duke likes it!"
Duke Nukem 3d
• Released in 1996
• Crude humor
 “That's gotta
hurt”
• Simplistic and
predictable storyline
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H
6JcZv3wPuU
Caveat
• Some games are memorable not only
because of solid gameplay but also strong
storylines
Myth # 4: Computer graphics
“make” a game
• Tale of two games:
Game # 1:
Game # 2:
•Top-notch (for its time) 3D
Graphics
•Real-time
•Dinosaurs!
•“beautiful” people
•“Realistic” physics
encoded in game
•2D graphics
•Turn-based
•Graphics highlight: Lead
designer appears in the game
•Roles a dice to decide who wins
combat
Game # 1: some screenshots
Game # 2: Screenshot
Myth # 4: Computer graphics
“make” a game
• Tale of two games:
Game # 1:
Game # 2:
•Trespasser (PC version)
•Gamespot.com score:
3.9/10
•Graphics grew old pretty
quickly
•Civilization II
•Gamespot.com score: 9.2/10
•Graphics are functional
•Considered one of the best
games of all time
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sBRfP
rCU0fo&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reaROufQ0Pk&feature
=related
Ok So What is a Good Computer
Game Design?
• We don’t know
– No easy answer
– So no “recipe” for creating good games
• We know that many (most?) games developed fail
because of inadequate design
• Strong evidence that “gameplay mechanics” have a
crucial role in the success of a game:
– Civilization
– Diablo
– World of Warcraft
– Heroes of Might and Magic
• We are going to study a model inspired by cognitive
science and other fields.
– We may not agree completely with this model. But provides a
good base for discussion into a complex topic
Computer Game Design Class
Narrative storyline
Game mechanics
– rules of play
class
Concept art
sound
graphics
Computer Game Design Class
• “Designing/programming games is not a game”
• URL of the course:
http://www.cse.lehigh.edu/~munoz/ComputerGameDesignClass/
• Text book:
– Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals
• Author: Katie Salen and Eric Zimmerman
• Optional text book:
– Game Design: Theory & Practice
• Author: Richard Rouse III
• Available electronically in campus computers
• Additional reading:
– The Art of Game Design: A book of lenses
• Author: Jesse Schell
Student’s Work (I)
• Written examinations:
– 2 tests (20% each)
– A final exam (35%; cumulative)
• Material for evaluations:
– Classes
– Chapters covered from text books
• In class we will typically cover only part of a chapter
• You are responsible for the whole chapter
• Strongly suggest that you read as we cover the topics
• Other work:
– Design project (15%)
– Homework assignments (10%)
• Attendance to class is required
– This is after all an elective course
Student Work (II)
•
Design Project:
1.
2.
3.
4.
•
Select a game of your choice
Write a document (10-15 pages) analyzing its design
according o the methodology studied in the course
Class presentation of the design
Groups of 2 or 3 people
Optional: (extra-credit)
–
–
Class presentation about a topic of your choice
Creation of a new game (groups of 2 or 3 people)
•
This may exempt you from the Final Exam. Most students end
up taking this option
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Computer Game Design Class