Game Design and Level Design – In Class Activity

Posted: September 18, 2012 in INFR 3330
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As an in-class exercise to help us think of game design and level design, the class was split up into 2 teams, A and B. The two teams were then each given a ball, Team A the infamous green noopsie and Team B a new blue ball. We were then told to create a game where the main goal was to get the ball into a bucket, which was placed in the middle of the room. Of course we as game designers, need to make this mechanic/goal more interesting and fun; create a game out of it.


Team A’s Ball Game – “Chaos Bounce”

Team A decided on doing a game which involved having two teams of 5 player each, standing on the tables in the lecture room. Each player was allowed to place one chair each onto the tables as an obstacle. From what I remember from the explanation and demonstration, the rules were as follows:

  • Each player is only allowed to take 3 steps every time the ball switches holder
  • To catch the ball/pass to another player the ball must bounce off a surface before another player can catch it
  • Goal is to get the ball into the bucket, set in the middle
  • Players can go around on the desks, blocking, throwing and catching

Layout of the game and players. RED is team 1. BLUE is team 2. GREEN is the bucket. BLACK are the chairs. BROWN are the desks.

I found that this game was essentially a slightly modified version of Handball, on desks, with chairs in the way. Was it a overall good design? There was a lot of movement and interaction involved, but I just found it slightly dangerous to be hopping around/running on desks 4 feet off the ground. I also did not really see much of a point the chairs posed as obstacles. At one point one of the chairs just fell of the desk and into the aisle, I think the chairs were just thrown in to make the game more intricate/complex when really it did not add much complexity to the mechanics of the game.

Team B’s Ball Game – Human Foosball

The other game that was thought up by Team B (which was the team I belonged to) was very similar to table soccer/foosball, except we use real people in rows and use our hands. The setup involved 4 players per row, first two rows were Team 1 players, third row was Team 2 players, fourth row was Team 1 players, and last two rows were Team 2 players. This allowed for 2 rows of offence per team and once row of defense for each team near the bucket. The goal is to get the ball into the bucket in the middle. The rules of the games can be summarized by the following:

  • Every player can move to each side by 1 step
  • Players are to hit the ball if it goes to them right away
  • No catching the ball and holding onto it
  • Teams must face their appropriate direction
  • If the ball goes out of bounds, ball is passed to the opposite team that the ball was hit out by

Here is the layout for the game from Team B. RED is Team 1. BLUE is Team 2. GREEN is the bucket. Arrows represent the direction which the players on that team must face. 

This game didn’t seem as involved as the previous games, since there were a lot more players (24 versus 10) so there was less room. In addition to that the inability to catch the ball made the ball bounce between players very quickly, so there was less time to react and move if the ball was headed into your row. This resulted in a swatting of the ball back and forth between players with minimal body movement.

Also I found that having 4 players per row caused a challenge of actually getting the ball in the bucket. I believe it would have been more “action-y” if the back row had 3 players, second row with 2 players and defense row with 1 player. This would create more of a challenge and a higher chance of the opposing team getting the ball into the bucket! I just noticed with 4 players on defense it was essentially a wall and near impossible for teams to score on one another.

Comparison Between Games

I found that the two games were decent, albeit rough ideas. Respectable and playable ball games made in 10-20 minutes.

How did the games do compared to one another?  Team B’s game was not as involved as Team A’s and what that means is there was not as much player movement, it was more stationary since the players themselves were the obstacles (defense). As Professor Nacke indicated, this game was more of a Level Design, where the vast amount of players included (24) into the game were obstacles as well, but all got to play the game; versus Team A’s game which was more focused on Game Design itself. The difference may sound insignificant, but Team A’s game focused more on the concept of the game and how it worked itself, while Team B’s game focused on how we can include the players and get everyone playing in the game/how we can have players interact with one another.

Hopefully as the semester goes on, I will learn more about good Game Design, which will help me think of better games for these in class activities.

Get those gears moving and think of more ideas!


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