quinta-feira, 13 de outubro de 2011

Game design process: a second approach

By Vince

In a previous post I’ve talked about the process to create a board game. In this post I intent to discuss a different kind of game design process, I want to discuss the creation of a mobile phone game made in SMS (short message service).

The game discussed in this case is a promotional game made to a Brazilian mobile company named VIVO and the name of the game is “VIVO EM AÇÃO” (something like “live in action” in English). This promotional action was a detective game with a history focused on clues and enigmas; the player takes an investigator role and needs to solve a lot of mysteries to have more chances to gain the promotional prizes (PlayStations, mobile phones, backpacks, etc.).

The game is based in mobile text messages. So we needed to create a script with information architecture basis; the script of the game is made of what we can call “decision trees”.

This is very simple to understand: it’s very similar to an old role playing game book. You read a paragraph and the text shows you a bunch of options to go ahead in the narrative.

For instance:

Detective, you are in front of the university. What are you going to do? Option 1: enter the building; Option 2: search for clues around; 3) Option 3: try to enter the back door

So each chapter of the game (and we made five chapters) looks like this:

As a promotional game, it is important to create points in the narrative where we can offer pay services from the mobile company. So, we decided to put – as a help to the players – hints and tips of the game that the player can buy using services and other tools of the company.

The great challenge here is to create a game based only in limited text (because each message needed to have a maximum of 138 characters) and build an immersive and fun narrative to get the player inside the story.

This promotion had a great audience. Around 2 million of people participating in it, making it a successful Brazilian case.

It was a great challenge to create this game because of his limitations. But I think that limitations are an important piece of the game design process.

And you? What do think about that?

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