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  •'s Game Design Challenge: Level Design Cues

    - staff
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Each Wednesday we'll propose a design question. You'll have one week to answer it (see below for how to submit your answers). The following week, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted along with some commentary.

    The Challenge
    Explain the cues and clues a player will be given to help her beat this game level: a prison.

    Assignment Details
    This Game Design Challenge was inspired by a comment at the Game Education Summit in Dallas (held June 10 and 11). As part of a panel discussion, some level designers were explaining the kinds of questions they were asked in job interviews.

    One example went something like this:

    Interviewer: "You're designing a level. The level is a prison cell, and the player has to escape. How does she escape? What cues do you place in the environment that tell her to how to progress forward in the game?"

    Part of the answer requires you to invent the surrounding context. Are there guards? Is there a key? Are there windows? What is the prison cell made of? What objects are in the room? What objects can the player move, pick up, throw? What year is it? What country are you in?

    How quickly do you want the player to solve the problem (it should be challenging, but not so hard as leave the player feeling bored or frustrated at being stuck in one room too long)? Are there any audio cues? Has the player learned a skill in a previous level that she should use here? Does the player possess any special powers or lack any basic abilities?

    To Submit
    Ask questions, or just share your zany ideas with one another on the forum until you work out something brilliant. Then send it to with the subject line "Design Challenge: Level Design Cues."

    Entries must be submitted by June 25, 2008. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title. Please try to keep your answers to 500 words or fewer -- unless they're really good!

    The responses for this challenge will appear the week of June 30, 2008.

    The next Design Challenge question will be posted June 25, 2008.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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