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  • Game Design Challenge: Free To Play

    - 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.

    Every other Wednesday we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted,
    along with some commentary.

    The Challenge

    Create a design for a free-to-play game.

    Assignment Details

    The free-to-play, pay-for-items model has become more and more prevalent. While it doesn't seem set to supplant the traditional model, there's an increasing demand for designers who know the ins and outs of this market. 

    Contrary to what you might think, say those with experience in the Asian markets where free-to-play originated and is the primary mode for monetizing games, you can't just slap a price tag on equipment and expect to sit back. It's an integral part of the game design, taken seriously by the creators at a fundamental level of the game's planning.

    Check out this article for just one insight into the issue. There's more reading to be done on the topic, of course. See what you can find. And, of course, there's still some controversy about the practice.

    This challenge leaves you open to experiment with genre and gameplay to arrive at the best and most interesting way to implement free-to-play. Though many of the free-to-play games are MMORPGs (like the pictured Maple Story), games like Combat Arms (an FPS) and Dungeon Fighter Online (an arcade brawler) show that you don't need to stay in that realm.

    And if, like many gamers, you don't like the idea of free to play -- think of this challenge as an opportunity to do it in an ethical and fun way!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forum. When your submission is complete, send it to with the subject line "Design Challenge: Free-To-Play." Please type your answer directly in the email body. Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, January 27

    Results will be posted Tuesday, Feburary 2

    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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