Design Dive #26
Designing For Down Time
Paul Stephanouk - Design Director of Candy Crush. Previously EA, Zynga, Bossfight, Schell Games, Big Huge Games. 20 years experience building and running creative teams.
Kelly Tran - Co-founder and Game Designer at Evolved Play. Previously, Game Design Professor researching games and players at High Point University. PhD in learning and tech. Solo Twitch - Group Twitch - Website
Ian Schreiber - Senior Game Designer Oxide Games, previously Assistant Professor Rochester Institute of Technology.
Xelnath - Game Designer World of Warcraft, League of Legends, Ori and the Will of the Wisps, Snackpass. Founder Game Design Skill.
Anthony Wong - Game Designer at The Bad Nomads.
Brandon Dolinski - Level Designer Eidos Montreal. Previously Mass Effect Andromeda and Dragon Age.
Christopher Schmidt - Game Design Director at Bioware.
Brian Shurtleff - Game Designer at 1st Playable Productions.
Dave Neale - Designer of several Sherlock Holmes boardgames and 5 Minute Chase from Board & Dice. PhD Researcher and consultant in the psychology of play.
Omar Soliman - Team Lead at The Bad Nomads.
Alex Clark - Senior Game Designer at Nitro Games.
Zorbaz Englander - Creative writer and game designer on Old World.
Mohamed Abdel Khalik - Head of Game Design Relations at Machinations.
Types of games
Board games - not your turn.
Soccer - ball on the other side of the field.
RTS - things happening on the other side.
Idle games - energy timers.
The downtown can be a core activity like socializing in MMOs.
Hanging out in town between combat.
While there is a game underlying all this, socializing is a core activity.
Candy crush is a small game that is very focused
There are activities around core loop.
Players want to crush candy or they’re out.
Candy Crush fills a block of time.
Downtime paces for more intense experiences.
Different types of downtime.
It’s also player dependent.
Some players may be focused.
Down time can be integrated into the game experience.
Fractal Design of Downtown.
Strategic Layer - Preloads etc.
Between levels take a break and calmly think for next mission.
Which champion you will play in LoL.
Tactical layer - what you do in the experience.
Changing situations in bursts but not always intense.
Skill layer - moment to moment.
You don’t want targets to pop up same time.
Pedal to 10 will make players no longer excited.
You need to manage the pacing.
Purpose - can players purposely express themselves towards the goals they’re working on such as going back to town and preparing my gear for the next adventure.
Inverted penalties - rested XP - turn a 50% negative into a bonus.
Return mechanic - go and come back.
Play the right amount and have something that lures you back tomorrow.
Don’t over indulge.
Aligning goals = fulfilling player fantasy.
Hard stops break that fantasy.
Knocked out of the game until the next round.
Traverse big area until you can go to the next quest.
Definition - Player cannot engage with the verbs.
Create supporting mechanisms that bridges downtown.
Among Us after dying.
Meta behavior - using the experience of one game outside the boundaries of the core game and using that to prepare for the next game.
Losing in Mafia.
Loading screen are downtimes.
Players want to optimize.
Building games with limited planning horizons.
Variance or limited information keeps players from overthinking it.
Co-op games suffer from Mr. Smartypants telling everyone what to do.