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Decrypting The Ciphers Of Gaming Design That Haunt The Gaming Industry

Gaming is all about fun! But gaming design is not that piece of cake and its different aspects that determine the gaming design. So, let us decipher the mysteries of gaming design and understand the design paradigm.

What makes the Gaming industry such a huge market today? With a revenue of $152.1 billion in 2019, the mobile gaming market has been leading the gaming industry and taking the gaming industry to the next level. But, there are ciphers to gaming design paradigm that needs to be decrypted for better gaming future.

Gaming is the most basic instinct of human activities from the start of evolution and now with revolutionary technologies like Augmented Reality and Virtual reality, there has been a radical shift into this industry. So, let us decrypt the ciphers of the Gaming design that haunt the designers.

The Gaming Core:

At every man's heart is a Game’s core that loops every time the player loses a life. The core consists of several vital activities for your game. Defining this activity and understanding the game’s vision can be a cipher that riddles a game designer. Take an example of a simple game like Subway Surfer- in this game the core loops define activities like surfing, jumping, ducking, collecting coins, etc.

The core loops are those markers that direct your game’s true direction towards ultimate game experience. It is as simple as it gets, the basics should be in place, for this to happen most designers need to be clear on the conceptual point of view. As the loops develop a sequential relationship from one another, it is important to understand the Game on the whole and not just the core part.

Defining the Characters:

Every game has a storyline, even the most basic game like “Super Mario” has an iconic character like “Mario”, think of “Pokemon Go” without “Pokemon”. This is the same as any game in the market. A designer’s job may or may not include preparing a storyline, but, defining the characters according to the storyline and a visual presentation takes way too much effort. 

For Game designers and creators, two of the most important characters in a Game are Avatars/Player characters and NPCs(Non-Player Characters). Avatars or Player characters are those which represent the user or player, while NPCs are computerized characters other than the players themselves. NPCs have been pivotal in games where Game stages progress through the gateways of different NPCs and their authority.

Further, there are games especially RPGs(Role-Playing Games) that allow the players to customize their own Avatars. This is quite a visual and technical challenge for any game designer to create multiple Avatar options and also create powerful NPCs that could visually appeal and yet support the main storyline

Gaming Graphics: 

The Gaming graphics have seen quite a revolution from the fixed 16 color palette to state-of-the-art Computer Generated-Imagery(CGI). CGI paradigm has already made its mark over the Gaming industry. One of the more popular usages of CGIs in the Gaming design is that of interactive characters. 
 

Multi-Player Paradigm:

As there has been remarkable development in the Graphics Processing Unit, the use of multi-player gaming in the gaming design has been widely used and since the hyper-casual games have shown rapid growth, multi-player gaming has seen ardent followers. 

Multi-player gaming got its technological boost through MCG(Multi-player Cloud Gaming). MCG is considered as the integration of multiplayer online gaming and cloud gaming paradigms. With real-time multimedia applications getting increasingly rich and demanding, offloading certain media computing tasks like video transcoding, image recognition from users’ electronic devices to the cloud in an interactive manner has gained traction. Many mobile app development services providers are now looking to develop real-time interactive apps for businesses and gamers. 

In a Cloud-gaming paradigm, all the gaming activities are hosted on the cloud and processing activities are done on the cloud server. A user’s device will need to display/play the game screen/audio captured and streamed by the cloud server and relay the user’s game input commands like mouse clicks, keystrokes, touch gestures to the server for game controls.  


Image Source: ntu.edu.sg

With the use of cloud gaming, gamers can enjoy the smooth gaming experience of resource-intensive games through their low-powered mobile phones. Above in the image, an MCG architecture is depicted where the multiplayer gaming host/server remains the same. The rendering servers linked to the client through the host server facilitates the multiplayer capabilities.

Much like the all famous- PUBG- Player’s Unknown Battlegrounds, where you can find unknown players from the cloud server to play, the battlegrounds are hosted on the cloud and the players just need to send inputs and commands. Though PUBG and other such Massive Multiplayer Games or MMOs often use two separate architectures-Client & Server. These games use a variety of Multiplayer technologies like LAN, UDP, TCP, etc. to make interconnections among the players and keep the game immersive. 

The Hyper Casual Phenomenon:

Hyper-Casual games make 62% of the top 30 game installs with 8 million/day. Gamers And especially, the so-called “Casual Gamers” have developed a liking for low-commitment entertaining games that is like a short burst. Many game designers and developers are now designing more casual games that can provide more fun in a limited time.

There are four basic pillars of hyper-casual game design:

  • Simplicity
  • Minimalistic
  • Infinite Replays
  • Effortless

There is very low or no Long-Term Value (LTV) for hyper-casual games and are mostly short-lived, some of the most popular hyper-casual games are, Sandballs, Fun Race 3D, Perfect Slices, Bouncemaster!, etc.

Rewards & Revenues:

As these two factors coincide with the gaming paradigm, designers must understand the importance of a player’s rewards structure and its impact on the in-app revenue perspective. Most of the games today rely on in-app and in-game purchases for revenue and there are options for players to utilize the video ads as a means to get some gaming reward.

The rewards structure should be designed to encourage player retention and yet should be able to align itself with the revenue structure of the game. Gaming Industry has been able to generate huge revenues through the merchandise that is available for purchase inside a game like personalized avatars, weapons, accessories for avatars, etc.

Conclusion:

Gaming Industry is bound to reach new heights with revenues up to $196 billion by 2022, with smartphone games being the largest contributor, contributing close to 36%. As the gaming paradigm shifts to new horizons of Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things, the challenge to design games with unique gameplay and high-end graphics will become more and stiffer.

Game designers need to understand the increasing demand for smartphone games and design the games to allow smartphone users to enjoy the gaming irrespective of device or the build type. As the games are more fun to play, the game engagement will soar and so is the gaming industry.

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