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  • Game Design Challenge: Creating Fun Communication

    - 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 few weeks, 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

    Design a social interaction system for a massively multiplayer game featuring friendly characters who can't understand each other.

    Assignment Details

    MMOs are world games; some games, like Final Fantasy XI, operate on global servers. Beyond that, though, they're very often filled with fantasy races of markedly different backgrounds and even physiologies. Most, however, don't play into it very much.

    What kind of gameplay system would allow players who can't communicate by typing to interact?

    FFXI (pictured) has a simple translation system that functions to communicate set phrases between languages. But it's hardly a core part of the gameplay. What can you do to further integrate communication  into the game in an entertaining way?

    As part of this competition, you can deliver as much or as little of the MMO's primary gameplay system and mythology as you like -- whatever it takes to get your point across and build on it. But the crucial part of the challenge is creating a communicative gameplay system that will actually entice players to use it, and might even -- best case scenario -- allow players who speak different languages in real life interact meaningfully.

    The system should also function for NPC (computer-controlled) characters as well as live players.

    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 email [email protected] with the subject line "Design Challenge: Creating Fun Communication!" 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, June 24

    Results will be posted Tuesday, June 30

    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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