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Where is game design heading?

Contemplating the advancements of design in the next 10-15 years. Views from 3 industry professionals.

John Kaiser, Blogger

April 18, 2011

4 Min Read

Recently we have been posting Q&As with our guest judges on the official enterGAMEscribe.com blog: http://www.entergamescribe.blogspot.com

One of the queries was about how they see game design evolving in the future. Below are 3 of their responses:

Q: You have seen gaming evolve exponentially throughout your years in the game industry. How do you see game design evolving over the next say 5, 10, 15 years?


Jools Watsham

A: I wouldn't say that design has evolved at all in the past 10+ years. That is not a slant on the industry. The industry is still very young. The same design principles and practices that made great 16-bit games still stay true today. In fact, the birth of 3D games muddied the design waters for many years where designers entered the industry without knowledge of "2D design" and made fundamental mistakes when wrestling with the complexity of 3D game design. I think we have seen some individuals and certain development teams improve their craft by producing wonderful gameplay experiences, but it is interesting how many of the modern classics are rooted in so-called "2D game design".

Jeffery Buchanan

A: Humm… That’s the multi-billion dollar question isn’t it? Well, as recent events have shown, games are moving more and more into the lives of people who would not have even been considered as part of the gaming demographic 5 or 10 years ago. Mobile games, Casual Games, and Social Games have introduced the world of video games to not only new generations of players and a much broader demographic base, but they have brought new styles of game play to the video game world.

This progression is bound to continue, especially in the industrialized world and emerging 3rd world countries over the next decade. The rise of small developers and the opportunities for self-publishing on new digital platforms will open up new markets and even new play styles which will expand the realm of design as we currently know it. Technology will continue to drive innovation in design and spark new opportunities for companies and teams that are willing to step up and take on new challenges.

The games of today will spark new inspiration for what will be the design of games in 5, 10, and 15 years from now. National interests, laws, and cultures will continue play a part in affecting designs as they always have. Yet the general advance of tech and game design will see games rewarding players with hyper, intense experiences and tangible rewards on the high side, and psychologically pleasing but short experiences on the low end of quick in and out game play. Only continued economic, military, and political turmoil will slow this progress.

John F. Kaiser III

A: At their core, games haven’t evolved too much as far as fundamentals go, but the continued improvement of technology allows for developers to craft new experiences around those core elements. If you strip a game down to just blocks on a gray-scale screen you could not distinguish Gears of War from Gauntlet from Combat. That is not to belittle the achievements each game accomplished upon its release, but just showing that when you strip away all the graphics you are just a block moving about a defined space shooting smaller blocks to destroy the enemy blocks after you.

Most notably it is the graphics that have really seen the major leap over the years. What this
brings to the gameplay, and how I see it evolving, is that the player’s emotional connection to and impact by the game will continue to increase. This only will apply to some games though as regardless if Tetris is in 3D running at 60 fps in 1080p with each piece
comprised of 50,000 polygons and hand painted textures, it is still just Tetris. With the advent of motion controls and touchscreens over the past few years interactivity has evolved, but again what we are interacting with is fundamentally the same.

Probably the biggest evolution in design we will see will be in enemy and NPC AI routines. With the increase of processing power I think we will be able to walk into an area of a game and all the characters will have a purpose greater than “wait till you appear and attack you”… that we will see them interacting with each other and their environment in new creative ways. It’s superficial when you boil it down, but would add a greater sense of immersion.

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