Hello everyone. I'm Pere Nolla, professor of the video games Master at the UAB and today I'm going to tell you about the fifth module, video games design, on the "Videogames: what are we talking on?" course. I hope you like it. First we will see the contents inside this module. First of all we will talk on the task of designing, what does designing involve. And then we will focus on the importance of knowing the player. We will also speak about the idea creation and we will focus especially on the technical elements on video games designing such as the mechanics, the challenges and the gameplay. We will also talk on prototypes such as documentation, prototypes, levels design and the implementation of the design during the development process. So let's start. We will first talk on the task of designing. In video games world, designing implies thinking and adapting all the interactive levels that are part of the video game, always having clear the experience we want our player to have. So designing implies working at two levels. A more conceptual design part, and a more practical part consisting on implementing this design in the game engine. The video game design is limited by criteria and technological and artistic aspects. A specific technology can limit what can or cannot be done concerning to design, And the same problem happens in the artistic part. Certain kind of art can be very expensive and it can also limit the game design. Despite those limitations, video game design has gameplay as its main focal point. Design needs to focus on what the player does because this player's actions are mostly going to determinate the experience the player is going to have. In a chronological level, the initial phases are the following: first the concept, in which the characters are created and designed, as well as the main elements on the scene in which the game is going to take place. And this means that as we are creating those contents, we also need to generate their corresponding documentation in aim to take note of all those elements. A bit later, during the development process, this initial design will be first implemented through prototypes in aim to test it, and then it will be set in the definitive levels which have to be designed as well. So during the development process there is also a design implementation process, design testing and edition. The task of designing is usually carried by a specific work team and depending on the development team's size it might have more or less presence than the other teams such as artists or testers. However, it is important to take into account that designing is a group and transversal task. Designers must know how to integrate the participation and contributions of the members of the other group works such as testers, artists or animators. This means that at a design level we must talk with a lot of people and we must manipulate a lot of information. The direct conclusion of all this is that a good designer needs to have a really high communicative capacity. Next we will talk on the player. When we create a video game we are making a product that will be experienced by a third person, a user, and we must try to provide the best experience to this user. So when we design the game we must have very clear what kind of public we are going to focus. We must try to specify the audience target, we can't give any game to everyone, we must try to concrete it. This will let us adapt a better design to this kind of target and get to improve its experience. The important thing here is having the target clear from the beginning of the design. This also implies trying to get a bit inside the player's head, as well as knowing what they expect from the game, what capacities he has and basically what kind of experience he is going to look for when he plays. Focusing on the idea we want the player to have while he is playing is one of the great keys so that the design is good and efficient. Now we will explain aspects related to the ideas creation. Usually we link the start of a video game design to the apparition of an idea, usually from a designer, and the fact is that it hardly ever happens, as it is much more frequent that many designers work on many ideas in parallel, even with other teams' members, through many technical and creative meetings such as brainstorming, etc. So the starting idea is that usually we don't have just one, but many starting ideas which are just a starting point. They will evolve during all the conceptualization design process. When we are generating ideas it is very recommendable to compare our new ideas to video games already existing in the market. It is a very good guide to go developing those first ideas and getting a coherent design in the end. Another important element is the ideas originality. Usually we insist on having innovating and original ideas. And that's right, an original idea is always more interesting, but it is also true that the most important thing when designing a video game is that the design ends up being closed, finished. Because when the idea isn't original but the game is well designed is better than when the game is very original but it has errors. Well, now we will see the technical elements in video games design. We will begin with the mechanics, then we will talk a bit on the challenges and gameplay. Mechanics are the whole of interactive elements existing in a video game as well as the relationships between them. Mechanics can be a character, an enemy, actions such as shooting or jumping or some rules such as the number of lives. This mechanics concept is very complex, an open concept defined in different ways by many people. It is true that there are many groups of authors that subdivide them in scene, objects, behaviors and rules. But it is also true that almost every author has its own way of defining how he exactly conceives the mechanics concept. To see it clearly we will try to capture this through an example. We will choose Mario to show what can be understood as a mechanics whole. Now we will use Mario 64 as an example. Mario is an element, an object with many behaviors and regulated by certain rules. On the lower left image we can see many Mario jumping mechanics. This can be conceived as behaviors. The player can choose one or many of those concepts in every moment, to achieve the objectives it has in every level. In the lower right image we can see Mario in a level, and here we can see the different mechanics apart from Mario. Mario has to relate both to the static scene and to the moving objects, such as the footbridge or the enemy. There are many rules that regulate Mario's interactions, such as the number of lives or the collectible items such as coins, etc. And there are also rules which regulate the interaction between, for example, Mario and his enemies: if Mario touches the enemy he will be damaged. So, the different video games elements are basically conceived as different kinds of mechanics. Now we will talk on challenges, as video games are structured in many challenges the player must complete. And challenges are nothing but special rules, it is, a different kind of mechanics which determinate the conditions a player must achieve through combining other mechanics. For example, a challenge can be completing a level, another one can be picking up a special item, and another one can be defeating all the enemies. Usually those challenges are specified to the users when they start playing a level. Sometimes those challenges aren't even specified and the player needs to discover them first. Usually challenges are conceived so that the player has to combine mechanics it already knows to pass them. The scheme of creating challenges is very important because it encourages the player's desire to succeed, it makes him want to compete and makes him feel motivated. And usually what a player gets when he overcomes an achievement is an award mechanics. Somehow it is worth the effort he has put to complete this challenge. Another very important element we must talk on in a technical level is the gameplay. We talk about gameplay when we link the player to the mechanics. Basically gameplay is how the player experiences mechanics. For example, this image we see on the screen is a fighting game, a beat'em up, so we have a gameplay in which the player regularly needs to execute hitting, combat and defense mechanics in aim to get an action and tension intense experience. In this case it is a relatively short level, of about four or five minutes with enemy waves and probably each of those waves will have a different and progressive difficulty. If we were talking on another kind of game the gameplay would be different because we would be looking for another kind of experience. For example, in a stealthing game the gameplay will have less action, less combats, much more exploration and, logically, much more stealth. So, as a conclusion to this little group of technical elements referring to design we can say that basing us on the main ideas the design process keeps adding mechanics and challenges, always with the clear idea that the resulting gameplay provides our player the experience we want it to experience while it fits the kind of audience we want to target.