Top-down design is where you take something from reality and convert its features into a game. For instance; when implementing guns in a military shooter the developers have to weigh out things like fire rate, caliber size, and weight to give an idea of how the gun will perform in-game. The AK47's going to have lots of kick, a lot of punch, a low fire rate, and 30 rounds in the magazine by default. Almost every game has some level of top-down design in it these days.
Bottom-up design is where you have a unique design in-game. If there was explanation to how it worked, it would give an insight on what the made-up universe is like. It's not seen as often, but it's more likely to happen in video game universes that go all-out with their style. Maybe you get a rifle that looks like a weird AK47- only to learn that it's chambered to fire 7.92 Mauser rounds.
Last Edit: Aug 28, 2015 20:07:13 GMT -5 by Deleted
Day9's theory on what makes a competitive multiplayer game interesting.
If you don't have 30 minutes here's the TL:DW version: ENGINE - What is driving your players together to make them interact? STRATEGY - What permanent/semi-permanent elements of the game must the players try to conserve or budget? EXECUTION - What skills must you hone in order to play this game optimally? CONTENT - What is keeping the game from forming a meta for too long and making the game stagnant?
Last Edit: Oct 10, 2015 18:23:48 GMT -5 by Deleted
Our brains release a chemical called dopamine to make us feel happy when something good happens. Dopamine is also released at the first sign of something that has, in the past, been positive.
If you come across a chest in a loot-oriented game, your brain releases dopamine because opening a chest in the past has resulted in coveted loot. Making things more complicated, unexpected meaningful loot results in a bigger dopamine hit, which keeps players coming back for more in the hope that above-average rewards might again ensue.
The trick, though, is that the sporadic nature of loot means our brain is constantly trying to figure out how to get that dopamine hit, despite the other, logical parts of our mind knowing there’s no way to actually control the unsystematic environment.
I don't mind my primal instincts being tapped into. So long as I don't notice it, anyway. Once you learn that Cookie Clicker is just a Skinner Box for humans it hits you hard.
This article hints at why we love random loot in general. It's this idea that we get more dopamine when we don't think about what we're getting until we get it. There's this element of surprise, and it mimics the unpredictable nature of the real world. Here's a box that randomly spawns into the world. We know it's full of valuables, but we have no idea exactly how much. The anticipation alone is what makes people gamble despite the obvious fact that the odds are against them. If we know what's going to happen the surprise would be ruined and the dopamine surge would go away.
Randomness is a powerful tool when used right, and something that creates a lot of complexity through a simple system is what good game design is all about.
Four years ago someone named Errant Signal released a video on making video game adaptations. I thought it was interesting considering how this issue continues to be relevant to this day.
Applying these lessons to today it's noticeable how many more successes there have been in recent years. The Witcher 3 is an especially well-done game that parallels Batman: Arkham Asylum in how well it turns its source material into its own cohesive game. Games like Shadow of Mordor, and many Telltale Games also do this adaptation thing well.