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Portfolio of WritingIntroduction to Games Design___Design Museum reviewThis review is about the Design Museum’s “Designer Maker User” exhibition and the different “steps” for the design of something as well as the role of the designer, the maker, and the user.A designer is a person whose job involves planning the formation of a new object. Some people believe that a good designer is the one who turns an idea into something useful “(…) Modernists believed that good design was about usefulness – how well they performed its function.” (Designer Maker User (2017)). However, others believe that good design is something that cannot be defined and is all about the feeling attached to that object “(…) It might be something that is capable of provoking an emotional response” (Designer Maker User (2017)).The maker of a design plays a really important part in the design because without the maker (correct materials, correct process, correct production) the design remains an idea and doesn’t become anything usable (in a large scale). “A designer cannot claim to have truly designed something until they also know how it will be made” (Terence Conran).Users are the ones who will ultimately judge the end result of any design. They are the ones who will end up taking advantage (or not) of the design. Most of the times users are the ones that will provide the most useful feedback on any design potentially improving it. “As users, we have the power to influence design. Out choices will make some designs succeed and others fail.” (Designer Maker User (2017)).Both the designer, the maker, and the user have an important role in the creation of anything. The design museum was able to transmit that throughout the whole exposition explaining the several aspects of what the process is all about and what it consists of. Bibliography:Designer Maker User (2017), Exhibition. Designer Museum, London.Terence Conram, Designer Maker User (2017), Exhibition. Designer Museum, London.___Buchanan ResponseDuring modernism, we used to know what the moral purpose of Design was clear: Design is supposed to make the world a better place, everything in the world is about progress, and there was a clear idea that Design and culture extended each other and were reliant on each other.With the end of modernism, the idea that Design equals to progress no longer is accurate, due to the fact that what progress is for some people may differ from what progress is to others, “(…) in what some people refer to as the collapse of modernism. As he explains in his essay, the ideals of modernism no longer provide the unifying ideology of Design and world culture.”. Having this into consideration, Branzi expands his thoughts on the matter by exploring the approach claiming that “Progress no longer seems to be valued; instead, the unexpected is valued”. This argument can be easily countered with the following question: can’t the unexpected also be considered progress, if people learn and evolve from it?Buchanan indicates that because people don’t have a worldwide unifying ideology of Design, they can’t find individuality or purpose. It could be argued that people don’t need to have a worldwide unifying ideology of what Design is in order to find it’s purpose and it’s identity in their lives: “if there is no unifying ideology shared by the Design community and world culture as a whole, where does the individual find identity and moral purpose?”. Design can be several things, however, regardless of whether Design at the moment is something that is for the individual instead of for the “masses” can be argued. The fact is that we don’t know and are still at this point trying to define the era in which we belong because of it being such an abstract feeling regarding the matter.Summarising, Design is abstract. Whether it is something that can be defined or not, whether Design is individual or for everyone, or even whether Design needs to be recognized unanimously globally in order for it to have value are things that can be debatable and are unknown at the moment, therefore we don’t know what Design precisely is.Bibliography:Fry, S. (2017). The Pros and Cons of Iterative Development. online Available at: Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.Fullerton, T., Hoffman, S. and Swain, C. (2008). Game Design workshop. San Francisco, CA u.a.: CMP Books u.a..___What is the role of a game designer?In her book “Game Design Workshop”, Tracey Fullerton draws a parallel between the jobs of an architect and a game designer. Just like an architect drafts blueprints, a game designer is someone who creates “objectives, rules, and procedures, thinks up the dramatic premise and gives it life, and is responsible for planning everything necessary to create a compelling player experience.” (Fullerton, Hoffman and Swain, 2008).However, from this point of view, some questions arise: How can a game designer achieve all these steps?; What is the best way of designing a game?. As a response to these questions, Fullerton mentions the “playcentric” approach as a way of designing a game: “The role of the game designer is, first and foremost, to be an advocate for the player. The game designer must look at the world of games through the player’s eyes.” (Fullerton, Hoffman and Swain, 2008). Also known as the iterative method, this practice “relies on inviting feedback from players early on and is the key to designing games that delight and engage the audience because the game mechanics are developed from the ground up with the player experience at the center of the process.” (Fullerton, Hoffman and Swain, 2008) It can be argued that the “playcentric” or iterative method of game design also has its downsides such as that by being so focused on the small and constant improvements the designers lose sight of the essence of the game itself: “The biggest disadvantage of iterative development is that you’re so focused on small and frequent improvements that you fail to look at the big picture.”(Fry, 2017). Being blinded by the thrill and the pressure involved when making a whole game with a tight schedule to take into consideration, they end up not realising that, even though they are improving something every day, game designers get locked in that state: “The problem lies in the fact that the best results come from a mix of small iterative changes alongside a larger reworking of the product — but admittedly that’s an ideal goal that’s almost impossible to achieve.” (Fry, 2017).Ultimately there is no perfect way of designing a game, all game designers can do is try making their game in the best way possible by listening to feedback and balance that with finishing on time and not losing sight of what they want to build in the first place.Bibliography:Fry, S. (2017). The Pros and Cons of Iterative Development. online Available at: Accessed 5 Dec. 2017.Fullerton, T., Hoffman, S. and Swain, C. (2008). Game design workshop. San Francisco, CA u.a.: CMP Books u.a..___Interface vs GameplayVideo games can be challenging, in several aspects. The question that should be asked is whether the challenge should lie within the interface, the gameplay, or both.What differs games from other applications is that games are made to be challenging, games are made to be “fun”, on the other hand, applications dismiss the challenge due to their sole purpose of being the easiest to use and efficient possible. “Games must also be challenging, but challenge is something that applications are typically designed to minimize” (Davis, Steury and Pagulayan, 2005).There is the expectation that in a game the interface is simple and the game challenging, however, that doesn’t always need to be the case. Game designers can make a game’s interface slightly harder than usual, as an added challenge to the game, making it hard, yet playable. “(…) the interface is frequently considered a way to interact with the game, but not part of the gameplay. The implicit or explicit assumption is that the interface should be easy and the gameplay should be challenging”(Juul and Norton, 2009).  There are several games that will have a blurred line when it comes to the distinction between the interface and the gameplay. That blurred line is what ends up letting game developers do what they see fit for the game they have to design, and eventually leading to a shift in the development of their game.”While many games have no clear distinction between easy interface and difficult gameplay, the tension between the two is nevertheless a source of game innovation.”(Juul and Norton, 2009).Concluding, games can have a balanced amount of challenges between interface and the gameplay, but ultimately it comes down to the game designers to balance that out according to the type of game they want to create.Bibliography:Davis, J., Steury, K. and Pagulayan, R. (2005). A survey method for assessing perceptions of a game: The consumer playtest in game design. Game Studies: The International Journal of Computer Game Research, online 5. Available at: Accessed 6 Dec. 2017. Juul, J. and Norton, M. (2009). Easy to Use and Incredibly Difficult: On the Mythical Border between Interface and Gameplay. online Available at: Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.___Uncertainty as the strongest emotion in Video GamesOne of the main reasons people enjoy playing games is that, to an extent, there is always a certain degree of uncertainty involved in them. By having elements of uncertainty in a game, players will be encouraged to awaken their curiosity, which by then will lead to them wanting to explore, question, risk, and experience the unknown (to an extent).Uncertainty is definitely an important aspect of any video game because, without it, the game would be dull. Without uncertainty, a video game isn’t captivating, doesn’t motivate its player to keep playing, because the player will always know what the outcome will be, no matter what. This means that the so-called “game” is no longer a game and now became a narrative, a story, a fixed outcome, a predictable and boring program. “Interface clarity may still be desirable, but eliminating challenge and uncertainty is not.”(Costikyan, 2015)Everything playful must have a certain degree of uncertainty, due to that fact that without it, the game wouldn’t be playful in the first place, because in order for someone to play a game, they mustn’t know the outcome of that game before they start playing it, otherwise there is no point in playing it in the first place. “Uncertainty, in fact, is a primary characteristic of all sorts of play, and not of games alone; if you think like a programmer, you might say that Game is a subclass of Play and inherits from Play the characteristics of Uncertainty.”(Costikyan, 2015)Concluding, uncertainty and challenges are something that has to exist in all video games because without them, whatever is being taken into consideration isn’t a videogame, is a simulation, a dull application, a predictable and boring script without any sense of possible “fun” to be earned from “playing” it.Bibliography:Costikyan, G. (2015). Uncertainty in games. Cambridge, Mass. u.a.: MIT Press.___What is the importance of the Lusory Attitude? The lusory attitude is how a player should approach any game, regardless of the style or type of game. This “lusory” attitude roughly means that the player should enter any game with a playful mind. The lusory attitude allows players to “adopt rules which require one to employ worse rather than better means for reaching an end.” (Rules of Play, 2003)What differs a game from tedious activities is that games are meant to be fun, games are supposed to be for people to enjoy themselves, however, they still demand that the player follow certain sets of rules. If the players were to contest those rules, they wouldn’t have an amusing experience, instead, they’d be left with a tedious process that tells them what to do. This is where the lusory attitude comes in, by cause of it, players accept the rules without debating that they are good or not according to them. Players, by accepting these rules, are able to actually have a positive experience of the game, and actually, enjoy the feelings it was meant to project. “To play a game is to attempt to achieve a specific state of affairs prelusory goal, using only means permitted by rules lusory means, where the rules prohibit use of more efficient in favour of less efficient means constitutive rules, and where the rules are accepted just because they make possible such activity lusory attitude.”(Suits, 2005)To conclude, every game should be able to unwillingly subject their players to this lusory attitude because without it, it won’t be a good experience for the players to even play the game in the first place. Game designers build the game based on rules, and they will always have to be taken into consideration by any player of their game to be submitted by them.Bibliography:Rules of Play. (2003). Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press Ltd.Suits, B. (2005). The Grasshopper.___Different Player StylesThe core purpose of this essay is about exploring the different possibilities of player styles, it reviews points of view regarding what happens with player style diversity and how game designers should take that into consideration when designing their games. Should a game designer craft a game for a specific player type/group/category or should they form their games into something that tries to please every type of player, regardless of their affinity with a specific type/group/category?Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player TypesPeople tend to have different approaches when it comes down to the different types of games they play, as well as how they play them, for diverse reasons, “The point is that people play different types of games for different reasons.” (Juul, 2010). Because of this, there has to be a definition for game designers to know how to design a game if they pretend to direct it to a specific audience.In “Hearts, Clubs, Diamonds, Spades: Players who suit MUDs” (, 2017) Richard Bartle came up with a good method of solving this problem, and for that he created 4 categories in which the players can be inserted into Diamonds, Spades, Hearts, and Clubs, also respectively known as Achievers, Explorers, Socializers, and Killers. Achievers (Diamonds) hunt treasuresExplorers (Spades) dig up information Socializers (Hearts) empathize with other playersKillers (Clubs) kill others Anon, (2017)Unfortunately Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types is directed specifically for MUD games “Four approaches to playing MUDs are identified and described.” (, 2017) and not for all games, however there is still useful information that can be extracted from this taxonomy: games are supposed to be directed for the players, meaning that by identifying the type of player the game is directed for, game designers can best do their job forging the game into something of their liking and amusement.MDA’s Taxonomy of Game TypesSensation: Game as sense-pleasureFantasy: Game of make-believeNarrative: Game as dramaChallenge: Game as obstacle courseFellowship: Game as social frameworkDiscovery: Game as uncharted territoryExpression: Game of self-discoverySubmission: Game as pastime                                      In “MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research” it is argued that games tend to follow specific types, and regardless of the game, there are always characteristics they have in common. The examples above are the main examples used for language defining what those types of games are.The MDA’s approach to this matter focuses on the different types of games that exist and doesn’t properly assign words for player groups, however it still manages to differentiate the diverse types of players by categorizing them by the types of games they might play. “This taxonomy helps us describe games, shedding light on how and why different games appeal to different players, or to the same players at different times.” (Hunicke, LeBlanc and Zubek, 2004)MDA or Bartle’s Taxonomy on Player Types?While Bartle’s Taxonomy of Player Types focuses on the specific MUD type of game, it still brings up some extremely valid points for the general aspect of defining players into groups and Richard Bartle points out that players tend to follow the games made for what their specific player styles crave.The MDA’s Taxonomy on player types is good for defining games as inclusive of several categories, meaning a game can englobe more than one category and then it comes down to each player deciding on how to play the game the way they feel like is best for their respective playstyle.Ultimately Bartley’s approach to this problem is a good way of categorizing players, however, it won’t work to define them in every type of game. As a comparison, the MDA framework manages to provide a solution for this issue by defining some of the different characteristics games can have as well as giving the opportunity for game designers to tailor their games into whatever genre they wish. “While each are fun in their own right, it is much more informative to consider the aesthetic components that create their respective player experiences” (Hunicke, LeBlanc and Zubek, 2004).As an example we could use Mass Effect 3 and try to understand better how different play styles can be defined using both Taxonomies:Using Bartle’s Taxonomy:Achievers (Diamonds) hunt treasures – players can hunt for resources on other planets.Explorers (Spades) dig up information – players can explore other planets.Socializers (Hearts) empathize with other players – players can interact with NPC’s and will make moral choices.Killers (Clubs) kill others – players can kill NPC’s and a variety of enemiesUsing MDA’s Taxonomy:Fantasy: Game of make-believe – since the game is set in a fictional environment.Narrative: Game as drama – there is a linear path the player has to follow and pursue as a story.Challenge: Game as an obstacle course – the difficulty increases throughout the gameplay, enemies become harder to beat.Fellowship: Game as social framework – there can be an element of fellowship while interacting with the NPCs of the gameDiscovery: Game as uncharted territory – the game presents itself as a platform for space explorationExpression: Game as self-discovery – there are moral choices the player has to take Summing up, this comparison of the two Taxonomies gives us a really clear image that Bartle’s Taxonomy is limited and disregards the developer-friendly use of the categories, when on the other hand, MDA’s Taxonomy helps developers understand the type of game they are wanting to create and then players don’t necessarily need to be put into one category due to the fact that they can be part of several of these categories at once. Radoff’s Four Quadrants TaxonomyJon Radoff introduces his own taxonomy in hopes of finally solving this problem, and he does so by adapting Bartle’s taxonomy in order for it to be directed to any type of video game, instead of just specifically MUD games. He changes the names of the player categories into something more generalized, yet adaptable to any video game:Immersion: they get immersed in the game, equivalently to submitting themselves in the game, “living it” to a certain extent.Achievement: they want to achieve rewards, they value a more quantitative experience that requires few players in the game.Cooperation: they enjoy cooperating with other players and prefer a more qualitative experience.Anon, (2017)Competition: Players inserted in this category have a thrill for comparing their performance in the game with other players and crave a quantitative experience. “Adapted from Bartle, the four quadrants–immersion, achievement, cooperation, and competition–shape how players interact with a game, and also come into play in how consumers engage with a company.”(Radoff, 2017)On the upside, Radoff’s Four Quadrants taxonomy is able to give games a better categorization than Bartle’s taxonomy, by being more directed for any type of game. However, on the downside, this taxonomy, or any other for that matter, is unable to always describe every single different type of player, and game designers have to wonder whether they want to strive to create games that seek pleasing every player, or whether they need to separate these areas and create games for specific player categories.The Takeaway:Should game designers try building their games, aiming to please everyone in their audience of players? Or should they focus their game on a specific player type? From this analysis on 3 possible taxonomies for the different types of players, we can conclude that players can be inserted into more than one group or category at the same time, and the game can also either be open for all types of categories of players, as well as it can be closed for some, however, it ultimately comes down to the designer to figure out what type of game they want to make, and depending on the case, they can do either of both. Game designers can either focus the game for a specific group of players or try crafting their game into something that everyone will enjoy playing. By carefully researching players, game designers will end up being more comfortable understanding what the different player types are that will end up influencing the setting for their game, therefore also being able to provide them with a better overall fun and complete experience.Bibliography:Anon, (2017). image Available at: Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.Anon, (2017). image Available at: Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.Hunicke, R., LeBlanc, M. and Zubek, R. (2004). MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game (2017). Richard A. Bartle: Players Who Suit MUDs. online Available at: Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.Radoff, J. (2017). Understanding the Four Quadrants & How They Affect Your Product Design – a session at Gamification Summit NYC by Jon Radoff. online Available at: Accessed 6 Dec. 2017.Juul, J. (2010). A casual revolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

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