Games, Design, and Play: Elements

1. Identify the basic elements in a game of your choice (actions, goals, rules, objects, playspace, players).
Actions: Walk (no noise), run (makes audible noise), crouch (increases accuracy), shoot (other players or utilies), buy/reload/switch/pick up/drop weapons, aim down sights (enlarges scope), plant/defuse spike, use special skills/utilities
Rules: Each game has 2 teams of 5, one team defending and one team attacking the bomb planting site. Players use guns and abilities to exterminate the enemy team or defuse/detonate the bomb to win. Defenders must defuse the spike before the countdown or attackers win.
Objects: Multiple types of guns, character utilities (like blinds, grenades, barriers), ultimate orbs (for ultimate skill), boxes and barriers in the environment, doors and teleporters and ziplines.
Playspace: Each map are contained spaces with a defender spawn and attacker spawn as well as two to three bomb sites, areas where the bomb can be planted.
Players: 10 players per game except for in custom mode.

2. As a thought experiment, swap one element between two games: a single rule, one action, the goal, or the playspace. For example, what if you applied the playspace of chess to basketball? Imagine how the play experience would change based on this swap.

It would be interesting to swap the goal of chess to the goal of Valorant/bomb planting. The goal of chess is to checkmate the king, but instead of that, imagine each side of chess pieces having to have at least one piece cross to the other end to plant a bomb and prevent the bomb piece from being taken until it detonates would be a unique challenge, as well as preventing their own side from exploding. Each player will have to manage their pieces to

3. Pick a simple game you played as a child. Try to map out its space of possibility, taking into account the goals, actions, objects, rules, and playspace as the parameters inside of which you played the game. The map might be a visual flowchart or a drawing trying to show the space of possibility on a single screen or a moment in the game.
Jianzi is a game I played frequently during my childhood in China. It’s made of coin-sized metal plates to weigh it down with feathers on top to make it glide through the air. It’s often played in parks.

4. Pick a real-time game and a turn-based game. Observe people playing each. Make a log of all the game states for each game. After you have created the game state logs, review them to see how they show the game’s space of possibility and how the basic elements interact.

Real-time Game: Tetris
• Game starts with an empty rectangular playspace and a single random piece dropping down from the top of the screen.
• During the game, players can rotate the current block and place it down to fit with previously placed pieces. Every full row made is cleared and points are given.
• Based on time or the game mode, the new pieces falling down will increase in speed, giving players less time to react and put it in the best spot.
• The game ends whenever a piece extends out of the top of the playspace. The players can review their score.

The game has a constrained playspace and a handful of unique blocks that can be stacked. The randomized nature of the game makes it so that each game is different and unpredictable, but certain tricks can used in various situations. While everyone can have different ways of dealing with different blocks, experienced players usually employ the same tricks to counter each situation and maximize points (like stacking 4 rows with a space for a I-block to clear 4 layers at once), limiting the space of possibility.

Turn-based game: Truth or Dare
• The game starts with a player being asked Truth or Dare, where they can choose to answer a question truthfully or perform a dare. The player then answers a question or performs a dare based on their choice.
• The game then moves on to the next player, where the procedure is repeated.
• This continues until the players decide to stop.

This game has less formal rules than Tetris. It’s often played at parties, with the goals of socializing, getting to know each other better, or to entertain and pass the time. The rules are all dependent on the players involved, who can choose to defy them or invent new ones. The players can choose when to start or stop, and the duration of each round. They can choose the questions and dares they ask and they’re allowed to pick truth or dare, without knowing what they’ll be asked to do. The space of possibility is essentially infinite since there can be an unlimited number of players with different behaviors, different playspaces, infinite numbers of prompts generated by players’ imagination, and infinite possibilities in what is said or acted out.

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