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Re: [gamedev-175] more gaming with USAID?

From: Justin L.
Sent on: Monday, December 10, 2012 10:38 PM
Hello! My name is Justin Legrande. I am a junior member of the IGDA, and I attended the meeting last Tuesday.

In response to Dan Henry's question about suggestions for which games the core team should play for inspiration and analysis of design, it really depends on what kind of mechanics they want to provide the players.  

Do the developers want the players to have a lot of control over their actions, which could take place over a number of hours? Or perhaps, would the players only need to occasionally log in to check their status and current events, then log out after an hour at most?

Should the players need an encyclopedia of data which could be accessed from within the game to make the most of their experience? Or would the players only need rudimentary knowledge, drawing mainly from experiences outside of the game?

Would the server structure and user interface provide the players with instanced "rooms" for them to join? Or would a single, persistent world be created for all players to join?

Depending on how the developers want to deliver this experience to the players, they will need to answer these questions. If a more deeply involved and focused experience is desired, I would recommend playing Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri and the Civilization series for reference. They have a tough learning curve, though. If a more casual and leisurely experience is desired, I would recommend playing Theme Hospital and RollerCoaster Tycoon Deluxe for reference. They're fairly easy to jump into, despite the wealth of options available.

I can elaborate upon the mechanics and choice of design in a game session, if necessary. If you have any questions or responses, please feel free to ask.

On Thu, Dec 6, 2012 at 11:22 PM, Dan Henry <[address removed]> wrote:
thanks to everyone who came out to meet our USAID working group and hear about our project.  We've been wanting to link up with the Games Gateway group for a while, and we now wish we'd done it much sooner.  The time you took to listen and make suggestions was greatly appreciated.

I want to follow up on one suggestion in particular that I think you can help us with.

What games do you think the USAID IYCE core team should be playing?   Send in your suggestions.  Eventually, I'd like to set up a play session or two featuring a curated list of games that would be instructive (and fun!).  SimCity and CityVille are obvious candidates, but we are thinking thinking more broadly and generally as well given that playing games is new to most of the working group members.

My initial thoughts on how to curate this list was to orient them around objectives for these play sessions such as a) introduce some common game genres, b) show some examples of some basic game concepts like game mechanics, incentives / rewards, missions / quests, etc. c) illustrate game design principles.

My initial thoughts on structure of the sessions to make them manageable and most time-effective would be probably to have the team directly play games if they were easy to learn (i.e. casual games), but if they involve a significant learning curve, perhaps to have an experienced player walk us through some gameplay to exhibit the mechanic/principle we want to show, followed by discussion and perhaps hands on at that point.

What do you all think?  Would any of you be interested in volunteering to be player/experts, or participate in some other way?  Timeframe at this point would likely be after the New Year, but I may try to sneak in a short session with them before Christmas.

Thanks again, and regardless I'm looking forward to the next Games Gateway meetup!

Dan Henry

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