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Game Feel A Game Designer's Guide to Virtual Sensation

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ISBN-10: 0123743281

ISBN-13: 9780123743282

Edition: 2014

Authors: Steve Swink

List price: $49.95
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"Game Feel" exposes "feel" as a hidden language in game design that no one has fully articulated yet. The language could be compared to the building blocks of music (time signatures, chord progressions, verse) - no matter the instruments, style or time period - these building blocks come into play. Feel and sensation are similar building blocks where game design is concerned. They create the meta-sensation of involvement with a game. The understanding of how game designers create feel, and affect feel are only partially understood by most in the field and tends to be overlooked as a method or course of study, yet a game's feel is central to a game's success. This book brings the subject of…    
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Book details

List price: $49.95
Copyright year: 2014
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group
Publication date: 10/13/2008
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 376
Size: 7.50" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 1.936
Language: English

Why Feel, Why Now?
This chapter focuses on the impetus behind the book, asking the reader to recall the sensation of controlling a virtual avatar and talking about why feel is so important (and why it is often overlooked.)
The Grand Scheme of Game Design
This chapter assigns feel a place in the larger realm of game design, defining its scope and boundaries, talking about how it fits into creating the Ultimate Game Experience of life-enriching flow and empowerment
Using diagrams and research derived from Maslow's Pyramid of Wants and Will Wright's concept of Granularity, feel is identified as one of the atomic units of game construction, one of the most basic building blocks of interactivity
Games that don't Feature Virtual Sensation
There are some types of digital games
Civilization, Solitaire, the Sims, and so on - that don't focus on feel or utilize it as one of their core elements, separating them from what will be discussed in the book
An interesting aside is that we are indeed experiencing virtual sensation whenever we use a mouse but that it is so intuitive and familiar that there's really no rational motion translation or skill to build
This brings up an interesting point: much of the pleasure of controlling something purely visual is in the challenge of mastering it, in the obfuscation
In fact, we're wired to receive pleasure for remapping our neural pathways to gain skill and mastery in this way, and it's one of the reasons that overcoming challenges (playing games) is so pleasureable
What is Feel?
How do players experience feel?
It seems to be mostly subconscious, though there are some artifacts that will be of use to us
Citations here of various forum scrapings and interviews with players looking for feel descriptors (floaty, twitchy, smooth, unresponsive etc?)
What does academia have to say about feel?
What are the metrics that can be used for such experiences, and what kinds of research have been done along these lines?
How can we better know what players are thinking, experiencing, and feeling, and what beneficial, applicable research has come before?
A brief introduction to Flow Theory
Where does the rubber meet the road?
How do game designers categorize various types of feel?
What is their common language for describing it and what do they think about it?
How do they test for it? Is there any kind of standard emerging?
Where Does Feel Exist?
Virtual Sensation is a slippery phenomenon, arising from a system that includes software, hardware, input device, feedback device, and live players
Where does it occur, why, and how?
It appears to occur primarily in the player's mind
If we view this as the ultimate goal - programming the player rather than the game (a Will Wright quote) - we begin to see that many different, equally valid strategies arise for creating sensation
This includes physics simulation, baked or layered on animation, ancillary effects such as screen shake, and tactile or external effects like controller rumble
Interestingly, the only thing a game designer can really affect (unless that game designer gets to design controllers and hardware too, like Nintendo's Miyamoto) is the space between player and game, often called mapping
A final note here is on the power of metaphor to frontload a lot of player programming, to load up a library as it were
Using a strong, easy to comprehend metaphor lowers barrier to entry and makes it much easier for players to engage with and find enjoyment with a given virtual sensation
Genres: the Ugly Legacy
A brief discussion of Genre Theory in film and classification in biology followed by a survey of the current game genres we have
A possible alternative for classifying games based on player experience rather than metaphor, perspective, or common rules and structural el