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  •'s Game Design Challenge: The ESP Game

    - Mick West and 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.

    This week's challenge is for programmers as well as designers. It comes from Mick West, a co-founder and former technical director of Neversoft Entertainment.

    The Challenge

    Design a simple game that might make a player believe he or she has psychic powers.

    Assignment Details
    People often perceive patterns in random data, a phenomenon called pareidolia. People also often a have a poor understanding of probability.

    Design a simple game that masquerades as an ESP test that takes advantage of these facts to convince the user that he or she has psychic powers.

    The game must rely on unskewed random numbers and not "cheat." You can focus either on the patterns that naturally arise in random numbers, or on positive reinforcement and misdirection to try to skew the player's perception.

    To Submit
    Use the forum to psychically coerce others into giving you their answers, or just to brainstorm with fellow programmers, designers, and other aspiring game developers.

    Send your answers to [email protected] with the subject line "Design Challenge: The ESP Game." Entrants are encouraged to give their submission or game a title.

    Entries must be submitted by July 9, 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 July 14, 2008.
    The next Design Challenge question will be posted July 16, 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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