Games Design @ Hull School of Art and Design


Games Design – Theory & Practice (Y2, S3)

Year 1 of my Games Design Course, a module based on theory & practice. Year 2, Semester 3.

Game Theory – 1.1 – What Makes Games Interesting?

There are many reasons why we play games from design to mechanics. Below I explore what makes game interesting (in both digital and non-digital context) looking at environments, characters, story lines, graphics, game mechanics and popular game franchises.

Story lines

A lot of games are well known for their story lines, characters and environments can impact the story, however I believe it is the game mechanic ‘Ownership’ that makes us feel the way we feel when playing video games.

The Last of Us

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This game is incredibly well-known for its intense story line, incredible environments and immersive interactivity. In 2014 the game won a BAFTA games award for the story along with many other awards including awards for audio, performance and best game of the year. The story is intense and features many sections to get your heart racing which may include jump scares and dark/spooky environments. The game is fun, however I believe we don’t play it for fun; I believe that we play it to find out more and more of the story as we go along (purely for curiosity) and to see the relationship of both characters grow. Most recent games are almost always featuring a companion which also adds to the story as you get to know them along your journey and then something intense/dramatic will happen therefore affecting the players feelings.

The Bioshock Game Series

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This game series is very consistent, I do find that the game can be boring when doing repetitive fetch quests, however, when the quest links more towards the main story line it gets rather interesting as the game is clever in which you can depict what is actually happening; by this I mean the game is so confusing that there are many ways that you can depict the ending and even parts of the story. Some of the story line has been set in stone, but the games complexity is what makes it so interesting. I have played Bioshock Infinite about 3 times now just so I can understand and wrap my head around the main story line, I’ve even looked at the DLC’s in relation to how they fit into the main story line. Most of the game mechanics stay the same, the only thing that technically changes is the constants and variables which is explained in the main game. “There is always a lighthouse, there is always a man, there is always a city” – Elizabeth states within the main story of Bioshock Infinite, the first Bioshock features an underwater city (Rapture) and a man (Jack) and the lighthouse (portal to infinite universe i.e. a tear via the luteuce device.

Assassin’s Creed

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This game series is again known for many great game aspects, however I think the story lines for these games are amazing as they teach us about history and what it was like in that sort of time era. Most of the games feature a character called Ezio and throughout the game series we grow attached to him and other characters which then affect the story line and also our feelings. The story lines are very interesting and there are also many fetch quests, however these fetch quests (unlike other games) are not boring as you still get to free roam around the city with amazing free-running and parkour mechanics as well as beautiful landscapes to view.


LA Noire

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Within this game you play as a detective called Cole Phelps who has just recently joined the Los Angeles Police Department. Although he isn’t a well-known or iconic character such as Mario or Sonic I chose to write about him because his character is unique as we feel the way he feels throughout the story and we watch him grow as a character as you rise through the ranks of the police department. Phelps goes from Patrol Officer to Detective to homicide to vice to then get demoted to arson after a series of events happenend to then unfortunately lead to his death. As well as seeing how his work life is going we also get a glimpse of his home life and we do feel sorry for him at most of times. Also to gain more interest in the game we also have a companion with each promotion. The companions all have different personalities so it gives us a chance to like and hate (as well as having the usual enemies/suspects).

Murdered: Soul Suspect

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Again another detective game in which the main aim is to uncover the mysteries about the deaths of characters. When the detective gets close to uncovering the mystery of the serial killer known as ‘The Bell Killer’ he gets attacked and pushed out the window by the killer. Ronan (the main protagonist) dies and turns into a ghost, he is then informed by his wife (who was already dead) that to rejoin her in the afterlife he needs to solve the case of ‘The Bell Killer’. The story line is good, however it has been said to be the only good thing about the game. I have played it and I do admit it would be hard to replay it as it would be very boring because you know all the mysteries that have been solved  also when in trouble or around enemies you can only really run away. It could have been better if they worked longer on the game or made it today with the technology we have in which we can program AI to learn from your mistakes as well as randomly generate the levels.

Skyrim, Fallout, Saints Row, Grand Theft Auto etc.

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All of the above games feature character customization and character development/progression. I am a really big fan of games like this because designing your character is so much fun; you can make it look like you, make it look like a celebrity or even make it look really creepy and alien-like. When playing as a character you have created you feel a lot more involved and when looking at Grand Theft Auto and the Elder Scrolls we get to see other players character creations online as well as show off our own. I also find that with games like this we enjoy it more as when the main story line is over we still have the chance to unlock items and customize. Character progression is great as it keeps the players so interested and when we have great story lines, great characters and large, immersive environments like all of the games above we find ourselves within a state of flow.


Rise of the Tomb Raider 

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When the new Tomb Raider games were announced I became quite worried just like many others as most people prefer for good games to stay in their original state, however, the outcome of these games is truly amazing as Lara is looking more realistic, the story reveals more about how she became the Tomb Raider she is and most of all the environments are so immersive. I like the environments in this as the detail is incredible. If there is snow Lara walks slower the thicker it gets, shivers when shes cold and leaves footprints therefore we feel more immersed when playing the game as seeing her reaction to the weather and we actually understand the difficulties she must be facing. When in water her hair and clothes get wet and again we get reactions from her when she enters cold water. As well as the environment affecting Lara, the environment itself gets affected in many ways; paths crumble and the environment can be quite interactive such as smashing walls down, discovering murals and walking into death traps.

Resident Evil 7

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This game has only just come out and I am already amazed by the environment. The graphics are in so much detail from a completely realistic human to centipedes that are so real you don’t want to go near them. Obviously I don’t know too much as the game has only just been released but I know the environment puts the player on edge at all times (as it is a horror game) and the environments are quite enclosed as the player is restricted to tight, confined and scary spaces. They have really put a lot of thought into making this game because they have considered every little detail. One of the main NPC’s named ‘Mia’ is incredibly detailed and I actually questioned if the start up was live action or not as she looks so real.

 Spyro the Dragon

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Graphics aren’t always the most important. The 1998 Spyro the Dragon game had such an amazing environment which was great for exploring. When looking for inspiration for my game I looked at Spyro the Dragon because the environment is quite free roam and you have a range of levels and area hubs to explore. There are many themed levels which makes the game even more interesting. Compared to other games I feel like it is very simplistic; I’m not sure if that is because of the time era it was made in or if that is the way in which they decided to go for making the game but simplicity really made the game quite fun to charge around.

Non-Digital Games


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Monopoly, now known as the game that tears families apart. The game was and still is popular but no one can finish the game as it takes too long to complete and most people are arguing within the first ten minutes. The game is now popular due to the many special releases they have made such as:

  • Monopoly Token Madness.
  • Monopoly: Ultimate Banking Edition.
  • Monopoly Junior Game.
  • Monopoly.
  • Monopoly: Star Wars.
  • Monopoly Empire.
  • Monopoly Junior: Disney/Pixar Finding Dory Edition.
  • Monopoly Junior: Yo-Kai Watch Edition.
  • Monopoly Jackpot.
  • Monopoly: Angry Birds.
  • Monopoly: Disney Princess Edition.
  • Monopoly: Despicable Me 2.
  • Monopoly Junior: Frozen Edition.
  • Monopoly Junior: Disney Sofia the First Edition.
  • Monopoly Grab and Go Game.

and those games above are just the ones from the Hasbro website, here is a link to another site which shows all Monopoly Releases (some may be digital).

The game is now mainly bought as a collectible item and can be sold for incredible amounts of money. As a Games Design student who is a fan of Fallout 4 I am interested in the Fallout version of monopoly and I also have the disney version, whereas people with other interests such as Game of Thrones or Breaking Bad can pick up a monopoly set thatt they can enjoy.

Dungeons & Dragons

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This game is very popular and brings many people together. You can create and enjoy many stories as well as read about stories told by fantasy authors. One person is known as ‘The Dungeon Master’ and they control most of the story (they are almost like a narrator), the others play the game by rolling dice to depict parts of the story and aspects of their character as well as actions they might take throughout the game. The game is great for improving imagination and becoming a creative. However there are some issues; even though the game might be quite good to play many people don’t give it chance as it can be seen as ‘unpopular’.


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I chose to write about this game as it is something that can be played without technology, without a board and even without words. The game requires one person to act out actions so that the other people playing can guess what the word is e.g. if the subject was ‘The Little Mermaid’ the person acting would make little actions then act like a mermaid and the other would have to guess. At the beginning of the action the audience are told how many words it is and also what type of media it is. As simple as this game is (not needing anything at all but players to play the game) people have still made it digital. The digital version is called heads up and the bonus with this game is that it records the players actions and scores points.

My Favorite Games 

Fallout 4

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I really like this game and I was in such a state of flow that I just ignored every other game I had until I had explored everything I could within the game. The game gives us the option to have a companion and we also get a choice of companion in which they all have their own unique personalities and abilities they give us when we achieve 100% happiness within the relationship. The map is rather large as well and even when you attempt to uncover the whole thing you still uncover more. There are many weapons and weapon modifications as well as modifications to armor and your own power armor suit. The environment is amazing and very different to see and that goes with Fallout 3 as well as Fallout New Vegas.

Abe Game Series (Oddysee, Exoddus and New ‘N’ Tasty)

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The game series that got me so interested in becoming a gamer but also scared the life out of me as a child. The original game was so good in its time and so good now that they have decided to remake it, also there will be another Abe game being released soon which has a new story line so fans are incredibly pleased. The game is fun to play as you have to take many risks, be patient and have a childish sense of humor as the game features very informal wordplay, funny but brutal deaths and a Mudokken full of gas. I really like the transformation the game made from Oddysee to Exoddus as you can see the improvements that were made were the improvements we wanted e.g. speaking to more than one mudokken at a time and having mudokken’s with feelings.

Rayman (The Original)

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I really like the original Rayman which was released on PlayStation 1 for its 2D aspect and its difficulty. I tried to recall playing the game as a child and all I could think about was the first level set and then I recently played it again and remembered that as a child I could never get past those levels and still to this day I find the game intense and difficult. The game has some characters but little detail about them. Usually the NPC’s are usually in danger or in need of help. Also the game is all text and Rayman is mute apart from grunts and little noises.


Game Theory – 1.3 – Flow Within Games – PC Games

For three of our game theory lessons we have been split into groups of three. Each group will spend one lesson playing either board games, PC games or console games then in the next lesson the groups will swap roles. My group is listed below along with a link to their blog:

Kelly-Ann Bright:

Laura Skipworth:

Harry Javan:

Mark George:

Our group played PC games first.

DinoRun played by Kelly-Ann

Kelly-Ann played a game called DinoRun  which is in fact a game that was made purely to entertain computer users when their internet is either being slow or not responding. The game is really fun and addictive and gets it game mechanics from games retro arcade games in the fact of avoiding enemies and objects as your character runs. The game features a dinosaur in which you press the space bar to make him jump; the dinosaur runs automatically (all you need to do is jump to avoid things). Also the art style is very simple and computer based, it looks 8 bit.

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi was the founder of Flow Theory and when incorporating flow theory into this game I would probably say this game gives you the feeling of either boredom or relaxation. I say boredom because of the repetitiveness of the game and relaxation because of the fact of the game is trying to prevent you from being bored whilst waiting for your internet to load up.

It features Agon (competition) from Roger Callois categories of play however I don’t feel like it features Alea, Illinx or Mimicry.

Also there are no achievements, no violence, no change of environment yet I do believe it could fit into the socializers section of Richard Bartles theory of player types as when trying to get a high score we try to compete and we socialize with others to find out their high score.

Fitting this game into the 8 categories of fun by Marc Leblanc I would say challenge as once the game goes on it can be quite challenging; without this aspect the game would not be able to end and it would get rather boring.

I wouldn’t really say the game relates to Maslows Hierarchy of Needs, however when Kelly played the game she had a sense of love/belonging as she really liked the little cute dinosaur character.

Here is the link to the game, if you have any thoughts or opinions on the matter please feel free to comment below on my blog post:


Pokémon Revolution Online played by Laura

Laura plays a game called ‘Pokemon Revolution Online’ which is a fan made Pokemon Multiplayer Online game in which players can talk to each other, trade Pokemon and battle just like the original Pokemon games.

I would say there is a level of boredom in my opinion yet sometimes a state of flow. The game is rather large and can play different depending on which way you play it and which starter Pokemon you pick; also if you are new to the game it may be rather exciting whereas if you have played the games for so long and collected all of the Pokemon you may be lost with what to do next and therefore get bored. However, many people have found this game to put them in a state of flow as it links in with so many other game theories as seen below.

There is definitely some Agon (competition) when it comes to Pokemon as the game features the chance to collect creature called Pokemon and the more you have means you are a better Pokemon Trainer, Alea (Chance) is also included as you don’t know when or where you will come across a Pokemon. Illinx (Disorientation) could be featured in the game as when in a battle certain attacks can affect your Pokemon and the screen may move or icons may appear above the characters head to show disorientation. Mimicry is another feature as many people like to cosplay as these characters within the game also you get to create your character.

When looking at Richard Bartle’s Player Types I wouldn’t say Killer as a player type within this game as when you are in a battle characters don’t die and there isn’t really much violence; however I would say achiever, socializer and explorer player types can be found playing this game as the game is open world, achievement is when you collect Pokemon or win battles and socializer would be for when players talk to each other and trade.

Looking at the 8 categories of fun I would say all of them fit into this game and that is why this game can easily fit into the theory of flow.

Sensation – The game is so immersive and fun to play.

Fantasy – The Pokemon are fantasy as they don’t exist in real life (however I feel a lot of people wish they did) also the world you play in could exist in real life although it still has its little elements of fantasy throughout the game.

Narrative – There is always a story to be told with the Pokemon games, however I don’t think that narrative is the most important part of the game series as most people just play the game to catch Pokemon and take no interest in the story itself. As well the game has a television series in which narrative is more important.

Challenge – It certainly is a challenge as some areas are not accessible and Pokemon can be hard to find and hard to catch. I find trying to remember everything a task as you need to keep track of your Pokemon health, inventory as well as your tasks and quests.

Fellowship – People who like Pokemon definitely get along as a group. On our course I know that the first year group all get along through their knowledge of Pokemon because they can venture together, battle and trade. It is a great way to add socialization to a game.

Discovery – Within this game you discover items to keep in your inventory for future use, Pokemon is obviously the key point of discovery and also uncovering all of the islands and areas for you to explore. Discovery plays a large part in most games and especially this one.

Expression – The game features expression in the fact that you can prioritize which Pokemon you level up and fight with.

Submission –  The game gives you much freedom and some tasks so simple that you feel relaxed. You can do battles to level up your Pokemon and even do pageants in which you enter your Pokemon for their personality and appearance.

Within Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs I would say that Pokemon could fit in the self-actualisation stage of the hierarchy of needs as there are senses of morality, problem solving and acceptance. A lot of players love this game so much that they try to bring it to their everyday life and now they can with the Pokemon Go app.

Operant Conditioning is within this game as when the player achieves something they gain positive reinforcement as they get XP (experience points). When they lose a battle they can’t use downed Pokemon which would be negative reinforcement.

Here is the link for this game:


Happy Wheels played by Harry Javan

This game was very popular when it came out especially as a youtuber (known to be quite famous now) named Pewdiepie advertised the game even more by posting a gameplay video. The game is most popular for its funny ragdoll features and chance for creation.

I think the game differs depending on the environment and the character as some characters drive different vehicles which may have different effects such as driving faster or being bulky to get past obstacles. I played the game and felt a sense of boredom as the game doesn’t always work successfully. Some of the games have been made by other players. At times I felt anxiety because I knew what I had to do but I just couldn’t do it and had to restart the level all the way back to the beginning.

There is Agon (competition) within this game as your task is to get to the end of the level and some do better than others, we then get competitive and try to complete as many levels as possible. There isn’t any Alea (chance), Illinx (Disorientation) or Mimicry.

I believe that all player types are mentioned as there is a lot of cartoon gore as your player and even NPC’s can die gruesome deaths (Killer), Achiever is when the player completes a level, socializers is when players make gameplay videos and socialize with members of the public to give feedback on the levels and explorers is testing out all of the given levels.

I feel that out of all of the categories of fun there are only two that fit with this game. These categories are Challenge and Discovery. The main reason people play this game is to discover all of the levels. To discover the levels you have to get to the end to see what happens. This makes this tough though as the challenge can be highly difficult.

I feel that the hierarchy of needs comes into place when safety is involved. A lot of the game is based on morals, some of the characters are elderly or children and when a challenge is failed they an die a gruesome death, some question if it is morally wrong to place this game.

The game features a lot of positive and negative reinforcement. When in a level you might replay it lots of times just to succeed and get to the end, positive and negative reinforcement help us get to the end for example if you was to fall down a hole you would replay the level and jump over that hole.

Here is the game if you want to play it. Please again feel free to give any feedback you have down in the comments below:

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League of Legends played by Mark George

This game is a top down game in which you create a team, fight and level up. As a team you compete in battles that can last over an hour and complete objectives and achievements. The game competes against the World of Warcraft franchise as they have their similarities.

I have never played the game as even though it is free there are so many add-ons that are in need of getting to make the game interesting. I’m not much of a PC gamer but I know that a lot of people get into so much flow that they will play the game continuously for hours. It goes to show that being in a state of flow can be dangerous as there has been numerous reports of people getting injured and even death has occurred due to too much gaming. One guy had a heart attack from lack of sleep, food and water as well as gaining stress throughout gaming also another person passed away after completing a gaming marathon due to a blood clot. Although gaming may not be the main cause it still contributes when you play games way too much. (Read the full article here:

These categories of play fit into this game as Agon (competition) is obviously the battles that take place, Alea (Chance) the items you come across and the enemies you meet, Illinx (Disorientation) isn’t in the game as far as I know but Mimicry is a large part of this franchise as many people choose to cosplay as characters from the game.

All player types work with the game as you kill enemies, achieve objectives, socialise with other players and explore an immersive world.

The game features most of the categories of fun including sensation, fantasy, challenge, fellowship, discovery, expression and submission, however I’m not too sure on the narrative but it is known to have characters that have a great character background to make the game even more immersive.

To sign up to the game ‘League of Legends’ follow this link:

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Life is Strange played by Hannah Bales (Me)

This game is a Role Playing Game and Puzzle Game. You play as a girl named Max Caufield (an 18 year old student) who has just arrived back in her home town. She keeps having visions of a storm that is going to happen and doesn’t know what to do. She ends up discovering a power in which she can reverse time ever so slightly to alter actions gone wrong. Throughout this game you have to choose between the rights and wrongs and depict the games true ending.

I find the game quite fun to play as I like to play third person RPG games because you get to relate to the characters and feel all sorts of emotions that your player also feels. The game can be so immersive because when you have the choice of a certain way to end the game you somehow feel a sense of determination in which you feel the need to end the game correctly (even though there can be many endings and possibly no right or wrong answers). There are many characters you get to know and the game also turns into a detective game when you try to uncover different personalities.

I think the game definitely uses Skinners Operant Conditioning as a bad choice could lead to a bad consequence whereas a good option will lead to a good result. Also I feel like the game does appear on the flow theory chart a lot as the game can put you in a state of flow, but you can get bored as it can be quite repetitive, however, we continue to play the game as we are curious to how the game will end and what happens next; this is achieved by the game being made episode by episode.

To play the game login to ‘Steam’ and download it from the ‘Steam Store’.


Game Theory – Easter Egg

The game theory online brief via the New Media site is very easy to read and understand, however part 2 section 2.4 just says ‘Easter Egg (TBA)’. Today we found out what the easter egg was, our teacher wanted us to act as if he was a client and he delivered us a task to complete within our 3 hour lesson. The task was to create a kiosk to fit a scene created by Doug Chiang, it was required that we design a kiosk that would fit well with the scene, one that would be of relative size and it was recommended that we just design it however we also had the choice to create in 3D also. Below is the image of Doug Chiang’s Spaceship concept art.


Doug Chiang – Spaceship Cockpit

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After looking at this image I did some more research on other concept art within spaceships and I also looked at other work by Doug Chiang.


Doug Chiang – Star Wars Concept

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Spaceship Cockpit Design

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3D Spaceship Concept

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Alien Spaceship Cockpit Concept

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I really like the look of some of these images because of the shapes and the great amount of detail. Also the ones with colour in them look so bright and futuristic. As we were to behave like this was a client project we asked all the questions before the task began and then afterwards no questions could be asked. There was a lot of free rein within this task and after completing the task there was a lot of questions I would have like to have asked, however under the pressure I didn’t have any thoughts. I would have asked questions about colour, shapes and possible use of the kiosk.

After doing the research I started drawing some quick concepts. As shown below.


Above I mocked up some quick sketches of a computer kiosk thinking about the shapes that were used within Doug Chiang’s concept art. I made the screens square as well as the keyboard and base but then I used pipe work and cylinders as I noticed some pipes and compression systems were amongst the chosen scene. I do like the bottom right image as it is rather neat and square; it would fit nicely within the scene, I also like the way in which the screen is designed on the bottom left side.


Looking at the last image of research I tried to use that as inspiration for the screen. I created a circle screen, however I wasn’t to certain that it would blend in with the scene. I then decided that instead of making it circle I should make it curved (just like modern television screens are like today), I would like to model a curved screen also as I am fond of the idea. I then thought about desktops and created one in which had different trays and files as an organised kiosk but with this design I thought it would be too bulky. I even looked at a hologram table as the client did say futuristic, however it would be rather large to fit into the spaceship cockpit. I then finally came up with the wheel idea. Looking at Chiang’s work on the Star Wars concepts I liked the one with the wheel so I incooperated that into a computer.


The computer features a wheel for transport, a block mechanism to stop it from rolling about when on board the ship, springs for comfort, a moveable keyboard and 3 screens for immersion and workspace.


Above is my final concept with a touch of colour. I would have liked to have added more colour but I didn’t manage my time as well as I could have. I spent a lot of time on concept art which isn’t too much of a bad thing as it provides me with ideas and variety.

I am not happy with my final renders as I struggled to get the lighting right even though I was happy with the final model. I would maybe make the wheel a bit bigger so it was more realistic and I really want to work on my rendering and lighting so I don’t struggle when my hand in dates arrive. Overall I really enjoyed the project as I proved to myself that if I put my mind to it I can get lots o work done within the given time limit.

Game Theory – Feminist Frequency

When viewing videos by Anita Sarkeesian I feel she can be quite biased against games and how they portray women. Although I don’t agree with most things she discusses she does have some valid points of interest so I decided to analyse 2 of her videos.

Video 1 – All the Slender Ladies: Body Diversity in Video Games.

Character Diversity

  • Male characters have many variations in body type whereas female characters always have similar slim figures. E.g. Overwatch, Street Fighter, League of Legends.

“A slender figure with prominent breasts is viewed as the standard design”. – Anita Sarkeesian

Game Examples – Batman Games, Dishonored, Enslaved, Remember Me, Heavenly Sword, Final Fantasy, The 3rd Birthday, The Devil May Cry, SplatterHouse, Dead or Alive Xtreme 2, Lollipop Chainsaw, Blades of Time, Bayonetta, Wet, Star Wars, Primal.

She believes female characters would show more personality if the body types varied.

  • If women do have a different body type it is usually exaggerated. E.g. Fat Princess, Dead Rising.
  • Taking age into consideration, men vary in age – women are usually npc’s and sometimes not important.

Video 2 – Strategic Butt Coverings

  • How camera angles and clothing can alter the way we look at the characters.
  • Game cases /covers. E.g. Wet, Remember Me.
  • Tomb Raider games are third person and show the whole body and clothing which is quite revealing.
  • Batman Arkham City players focus is directed to Catwomens butt due to camera angles and rule of thirds. Catwomen also has revealing, tight clothes and an exaggerated hip sway.
  • During a scene in Enslaved the camera pans down the characters body and views the enemies through the characters legs.
  • Tomb Raider: Underworld – Clip scenes and gameplay camera pivots around butt. similar to Xblades and Lollipop Chainsaw.

Mens Butts hidden with clothing or having no emphasis or definition:

Prince of Persia, Gears of War, Kane & Lynch, Binary Domain, Alan Wake, Assassin’s Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, Watchdogs, The Saboteur, The Devil May Cry, Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, Dantes Inferno, Batman Arkham Series .

Advertisements and game covers: Life is Strange “protagonists butt isn’t emphasized or centralized. The  camera angles work in conjunction with the story so we can identify her as a human being” – Anita Sarkeesian.


I do agree with what Anita Sarkeesian has to say with some characters however she only mentions certain games. There are many other games out there that show women in a more realistic fashion especially when looking at games being released now such as the new Tomb Raider that was purposely less over exaggerated as many women complain about how women are portrayed within games.

Game Theory – Discuss Flow, Categories of Play and Hierarchy of Needs in Relation to your Favourite Game


Learning about the theory of flow within our game theory classes we have been tasked with answering the question above. The question requires us to choose our favorite game and discuss it using the methods from Mahaly Csikszentmihalyi, Roger Caillois and Abraham Maslow. My chosen game is Bioshock, for many reasons, I have decided to discuss the game series as a whole as all of the games have reasonable links to these famous theories.

All three of these theories are quite different but yet still share some similarities; these theories are quite unnoticeable whilst playing the game as you start to engage in the state of flow, however, when thinking about each theory it is quite noticeable as you progress further in your chosen game. I believe that some games may not have some features such as vertigo and competition when speaking about the categories of play whereas when talking about the hierarchy of needs it is incredibly difficult to get to the self-actualization stage and only you can know for yourself when you have reached that stage. Also before I knew about flow theory I was unaware of what was keeping me so interested in certain games whereas I had less interest in others.

Flow Theory

“The best moments in our lives are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times… The best moments usually occur if a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi,

The quote above really helped me to understand flow theory as you look at the flow theory chart he made you can see that being in the state of flow is when we are truly happy. We are not happy when the challenge is too high as our anxiety becomes a problem and we then start to feel alert as well as stressed, we don’t like to be too skilled as we like a bit of a challenge so that we don’t become bored or depressed. Being in a state of flow is what keeps us interested in playing a game. When we become so immersed in a game that we ignore the world/reality around us. Mahaly Csikszentmihalyi is a pioneer of the scientific study of happiness; when he was younger he was intrigued by a lecture presented by a man by the name of Carl Jung, after World War II Csikszentmihalyi searched for the answer to how people managed to find happiness after the war and what causes happiness so he looked at religion, art and philosophy. When you are in a state of flow you engage with your creativity and you are completely focused on the activity present.

To test this state of flow Csikszentmihalyi used students as test subjects by giving them a beeping device; this device would beep randomly throughout the day and the student would have to record their current state, thoughts and feelings. He discovered that when students became mainly focused on one task they happened to be happy and in a state of flow, whereas when they had no activity and no one to speak to they became bored, relaxed or in a state of worry or anxiety.  This was named the Experience Sampling Study (also known as the beeper study). Csikszentmihalyi was a strong believer of our consciousness being a part of this theory; he thinks that if we learn to control our consciousness that we have more of a chance of being in a state of flow also he believes that power and judgements can have a negative impact on the state of flow. Many people react different to the state of flow; some people are almost always in a state of flow which can depend on religion and their way of life. Buddhism and Taoism are two religions in which feature being at peace and finding enlightenment (also known as being an ‘Autotelic Self’).

Placing Bioshock into the theory of flow chart is my opinion, other people may not enjoy the game for unknown reasons, however, I feel that flow is very opinionated because each person has their own game style and favour other games. I believe that Bioshock is along the top of the flow chart as I can be in a state of flow at times, however, I get very stressed at times because when playing the game on normal difficulty you have unlimited respawns but when you play it on the hardest difficulty you have to start the game again. Flow is dynamic and not static (the state of flow will change). The story is mainly what gets me into a state of flow as it is so mind-blowing and the characters are greatly interesting. Being in flow is amazing as I get to forget about the bad things that may have happened around me in reality and I get to be immersed in an amazing, interactive underwater city. Games that feature fantasy elements allow me to become so interested as it is something we don’t see every day and the environments are incredible to look at. When people get angry in reality they tend to smoke or drink whereas I can play Bioshock and virtually take out my stress by smoking and drinking for health/power and also killing enemies and completing questlines.

Below are some elements of flow from notice how they all fit perfectly into the Bioshock game (almost as if the game developers did it on purpose).

  1. There are clear goals every step of the way – The game has a slight free roam feature, however the quest lines guide you a lot and there is always a quest to keep you busy.
  2. There is immediate feedback to one’s actions – Once a quest is finished you will get a notification, achievement or story/character interaction.
  3. There is a balance between challenge and skills – Although the game can be quite difficult, having the chance to respawn so frequently gives the player hope and they can keep on trying.
  4. Action and awareness are merged – There are incredible amounts of action within the game and you have to be aware of what is going on so that you can understand the plot and enjoy the game.
  5. Distractions are excluded from consciousness – I ignore reality when playing this game because I need the challenge and skill to be balanced I become completely focused.
  6. There is no worry of failure – I don’t worry about failure because I know I have a chance to respawn close by and maybe collect items I missed previously by respawning to a separate point.

Categories of Play

Roger Caillois has a theory which mentions four categories of play and two types of play. The two types of play are ‘Padia’ and ‘Ludus’; Padia means without rules and Ludus means with rules. To understand this you also have to understand the four categories of play which are ‘Agon’, ‘Alea’, ‘Illinx’ and ‘Mimicry’. Agon is all related to being competitive, over the years most games have been competitive as an example Pong was one of the first games released and trying to beat your friend at that was competitive enough. We play games to win and to be rewarded, as much as we do also play for fun we all would much rather appreciate a game that offers rewards as well as fun. Many game mechanics can make a game competitive such as levels, achievement, reward systems and cascading information. When I have a friend that plays the same game as me we will most likely have a discussion on what level we are currently at or how many achievements have we earned; even when playing a one player game that isn’t supposed to be competitive we still find a way to beat each other at it, such as Skyrim in which I always try to have better armor or weaponry compared to my friends. In my chosen game Bioshock you can go online and compete against other players from around the world in mini games that slightly relate to certain aspects of the game. I also use the difficulty settings as a way to be competitive as it is incredibly difficult on the hardest mode and currently nor me or my friends have completed it on any of the games from the series.

Alea isn’t featured in as many games however when it is in a game it is either really obvious or unnoticeable.  Alea means chance and that means the game will most probably be addictive. When a game features any sort of gambling we still become addicted so it is a great feature. An example would be lottery on Super Mario Party 8 or visiting the casino in Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. My chosen game has chance elements when gathering supplies. When hacking vending machines or turrets you have small chances to hack successfully or gain a special bonus during the hack. You can increase the chance of getting a special bonus by enhancing your characters abilities throughout the game.

Illinx is disorientation, dizziness or illusions. I suppose you can talk about this in and out of game as now that we have virtual reality there has been many reports of it causing nausea and illness when played for too long. We also have 4D rides that make us feel like we are in that world. Within games we get many ways of being disorientated, drinking/drugs make the screen go blurry and the character is harder to control, blood on the screen when we are nearly dead can affect our gameplay therefore making our skills weaker in game and reality and even having crazy quest lines such as the Fallout 4 Nuka World expansion in which you can visit a funhouse. In the Bioshock game series I have been disorientated many times. In Bioshock 1 & 2 water pours from the outside in broken areas of the city (as the city is underwater) and when going through this water the screen goes incredibly blurry and the screen has a water effect so that it makes it difficult to see for 2-3 seconds which especially makes it difficult within combat. Bioshock Infinite however is set in a city based in the sky and when jumping from one building to another using a device called the skyhook the vision can become quite blurry because of the fast movement. The effect isn’t as bad in Bioshock Infinite as you can choose how fast to go whereas in the first two Bioshock games it is hard to avoid water at times.

When talking about mimicry within games it can be quite difficult as there is such a range of ways to use this category of play. We see mimicry of games in reality when we go to comic conventions or live action role play conventions as people like to cosplay as their favourite characters. Cosplaying is dressing up as your favourite character in real life, many people have different opinions on this as it can be strange to some extent, however if you really like that character and want to be immersed in a game even further then why not dress as someone you love. I previously cosplayed as Harley Quinn because she is a well-known character and she looks great as well as having such a fun-loving personality. I saw a girl at comic con dressed as a Bioshock character and I loved the outfit so I complimented it and we became friends all just because of the process of mimicry. Mimicry can occur during games, such as when you enter character creation and create someone you want to look like during the gameplay.

Hierarchy of Needs

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is made up of five stages and these five stages are split into 3 groups in a pyramid diagram. ‘Physiological Needs’ and ‘Safety Needs’ are both in the Basic Needs group; physiological needs include the need for food, water, shelter, warmth, sleep etc. whereas safety needs explains itself with needing safety and security. ‘Belongingness and Love Needs’ and ‘Esteem Needs’ are in the group named physiological needs. Belongingness and Love Needs are social related whereas Esteem needs are senses of achievement and accomplishment. Finally there is the ‘Self-Actualization Need’ which is in its own group of Self-Fullfilment Needs; this stage is the hardest to reach as it is at the top of the pyramid and consists of gaining full knowledge on your given potential and you as a person.

This hierarchy of needs can relate to reality and in-game just like most of the other possible theories around flow.  When we are in a state of flow (in-game) we can be so immersed in the virtual world that we forget about our everyday life. Some cases around the world have led to malnourishment and lack of sleep due to being so immersed within gameplay that we forgot our own basic needs. When applying basic needs in game you think about your status bars, health, power and other elements such as sleep and weather make effect our playable character. When playing survival games we need to consider our basic needs as our character won’t survive without them. ‘The Long Dark’ is a game set in a cold environment in which the player has to consider how cold the character is as well as focusing on food, water and sleep. ‘The Forest’ game makes the player empty their backpack contents on the ground so they feel more vulnerable towards the enemies when wanting to look at the inventory. My chosen game ‘Bioshock’ has health items and pickups to help the player throughout the game.  The player collects ADAM which is a form of power that can then be spent at a Gatherer’s Garden vending machine, also money can be collected to spend at normal vending machines and consumables are collected throughout the game such as cigarettes, bandages and potato crisps to increase the players health and power.

When playing Bioshock my safety needs are at a high standard. I hack as many robots and turrets as possible to help me survive longer and be my security. Even when a Big Daddy is in the room I know that if a splicer hits him by accident he can kill them for me (a Big Daddy won’t attack me unless I harm him or a little sister). Also when playing the first Bioshock I enjoy having Atlas as my company throughout the beginning of the game just as much as when I play Bioshock Infinite and I have the company of the amazing character Elizabeth who will help to keep me safe as she will throw me first aid kits, salts and ammo when needed. As well as protagonists helping me I also have characters that are nor protagonists or antagonists such as the Big Daddy or Songbird. They will choose to help me depending on how I treat them and how the storyline/ quest falls into place. This then links to belongingness and love needs as the characters are amazingly placed and presented. Elizabeth was one of the first characters to use surround sound, when Elizabeth is behind you it sounds like she is behind you and when she is far away you can’t hear her as much compared to when she is stood right next to you therefore making the character feel even more interactive and making us more immersed in the game. Also making us believe that Big Daddy and Songbird are the antagonists however it turns out that they just seem to be trying to help us or protect others.

Esteem Needs, I feel like I have accomplished the game once it is over. The game is so mind blowing that when you complete it you have to take a deep breath and think about the plot in more detail and depth. I feel a sense of achievement when finishing the game because I can earn a good or bad ending, obviously my aim is to earn the good ending and I then look forward to the game developers possibly making another game. I like earning achievements on this game, even though some can be quite tricky but I am mainly focused on finishing the story and helping the characters that need help to be free. Little sisters and Elizabeth want their freedom and when you complete the game and win their freedom you feel happy.

I am unsure to whether I have reached the full self-actualization, however I feel like I might have touched upon it slightly, when I fully level up a character by the end of a game and feel more confident than I did at the start, that is when I feel I have reached self-actualization. Unlocking all of the achievements and completing the game makes me feel successful and gives me confidence in reality as well because when I first started playing Bioshock I struggled incredibly but the more and more I played it then made me better at first person shooters.


In conclusion I believe that the theories brought forward have such an impact within the gaming world/environment. It was incredibly interesting to learn about and throughout this essay I have definitely been in a state of flow. Although there are other theories that link well with my chosen game I believe these three theorists have so much knowledge on achieving happiness and enlightenment as well as making us aware of the elements that can decrease or affect our state of flow.  Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs taught me to keep track of my own needs as well as my in game characters needs, Caillois helped me to understand the four categories of play and how they can keep us immersed or interested in a game and Csikszentmihalyi taught me the theory of flow and how much depth you can go into when talking or even experience such a subject.


Images and References



And my edit via photoshop




Man, Play and Games – Rodger Caillois

Csikszentmihali, M 2002 Flow


Game Theory – Self Initiated

After lots of thinking I have decided on a main game idea. I wrote my project proposal and throughout the proposal I changed many ideas and throughout creating the main game I will most probably come across some game changes. To finally decide on a game idea I had an in depth discussion with my teacher to understand what would be possible to make and what would also provide me with a challenge, I also created a survey in which I asked my classmates to answer. The survey features each game idea I created and I asked students to choose their favourite. Two ideas became favourites:

Idea 5 – Spyro/Gex style game. Finding Collectables to complete a level, also featuring a free-roam hub area and player choice of levels.

Idea 6 – Horror style game either 2.5D side scroller or third person view (similar to the way in which Crash Bandicoot plays). Cartoon low poly theme, jump scares and lots of enemies.

My idea at the moment (it still might have some slight changes) will play similar to Crash Bandicoot and Spyro as there will be a main hub area with separate themed level areas with individual levels inside. Rather than having a horror themed I have decided to do themed levels/areas. Below is my research towards my game ideas and inspirations.

Level Areas

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Crash Bandicoot: Warped – Medieval Area

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I like this game style and also the level area idea as the main character starts in one area and then walks into a themed zone which then gives you the option to choose 6 levels that match that theme. For example the theme above is Medieval so the environment around Crash Bandicoot features castle pieces, a time turner and some sort of wooden device.

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Crash Bandicoot: Warped – Futuristic Area

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This is the futuristic area which features futuristic skyscrapers and lots of lights to give a very technical effect. Again this is a really great area to explore as are the others. This game is great as it features many different levels that delve into different eras.

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Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back – Level Areas/Main Hub

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In this Crash Bandicoot Game the levels are not based on time periods, they are based on environments in general. For example jungle, snow, sewer, night etc.

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Spyro the Dragon – Town Square Level Entrance

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I like the level entrances to the Spyro levels because they don’t give anything away about the level theme but the title. Most of the doorway frames look quite similar, however depending on the time of day or weather the sky inside the portal will be different such as Town Square is at sunset (late afternoon) so inside the portal you can see a nice orange sky.

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Spyro the Dragon – Dark Hollow Level Entrance

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In this level you can see a night sky as the level is set during the night. I also like how the game is very consistent with the font as from portal levels to gem values you can see this font.

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Super Mario 64 – Level Entrance via Painting in Themed Area

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Such a classic game, Mario 64 has the use of paintings as your transportation to your levels. The main hub area is Princess Peachs Castle in which you can find many hidden secrets and find many collectibles. The aim of this game is to progress from level to level by collecting stars to get further on in the game and finding your friends. In the later edition on the Nintendo DS you start as protagonist Yoshi whereas in the older version you start as iconic protagonist Mario. As you explore the different rooms of the castle you come across different paintings/levels and usually depending on the level the painting matches the theme of the room e.g. this water level is set in a water themed room.

Super Mario 64 – Hidden Level Entrance Inside Boo Ghost

Within the castle there are hidden levels so that you can earn extra stars and there are even stars hidden around the castle. In this example their is a hidden level found inside a ghost. If you are a big Mario fan you will know that these ghosts disappear when you look at them and reappear whilst chasing you and when you are not looking at them, after defeating the ghost it drops a mini-mansion in which you can then explore as a level.

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Gex: Enter the Gecko – Hub Area, Level Entrance to Toon TV 

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This game isn’t as well known as Super Mario, however I love the way in which you are teleported to your levels via a television screen. The hub area isn’t really the best yet the game was released in 1998 so for its time it is ok. There are some aspects of the main hub area that I like such as the different colours to represent some areas, secret/hidden levels and interactive objects (the televisions); I don’t really like how plain the hub area is as all of the floors and walls are mainly all the same texture, also there is just a bit of blue or white as a background which does make the hub stand out but I think it is just too plain.

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Donald Duck: Quack Attack – Level Area no. 1

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Such a classic Disney game in which you play as Donald Duck. This game features a main hub area at the Duck house and then it has platforms you can stand on which transport Donald to different themed areas which then feature 6 individual levels that relate to the themed area.

WatchMojo – Top 10 Video Game Hub Areas

This video shows the top ten video game hub areas and explains very well each area and game. WatchMojo is very trusted and is watched by many, I find them great to look at for ideas.

Character Design

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Crash Bandicoot and Coco Bandicoot – Crash Bandicoot Game Series

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Girls Who Hack: Coco Bandicoot Was My Childhood Role Model

Generation gone: Where PlayStation mascot Crash Bandicoot is today

Looking at characters I am looking for a low poly style. Most of the games I am looking at can’t help but be low poly due to the time era in which they were made, yet some have been purposely made low poly for the choice of art style. Above is Crash Bandicoot and Coco Bandicoot from the Crash Bandicoot game series. The characters are low poly yet very recognizable. Crash is quite slim and lanky, whereas Coco is slim and small; comparing these to their older brother Crunch he is rather large in comparison.

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Spike – Ape Escape

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The Ape Escape character has changed over the years, however I chose the character from the first game because he is low poly. His hair is spiked (also matching his name) and he is that low poly you can even see some of the topology.

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Lara Croft (young) – Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation

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Out of the large range of Tomb Raider games I decided to pick Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation because I played this so much as a child growing up with games and also I find the character looks so different to most of the other character designs as she is a lot younger here in this game. Again this game isn’t supposed to be low poly, however it is just because of the time era it was made. Also I quite like the clothing here as it sparks the look of a little adventure.

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Donkey Kong – Donkey Kong 64

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Donkey Kong is just as loved as Mario, Spyro and Crash Bandicoot, however he is shaped different to the others. He is strong and has longer arms because of the type of animal he is, I have to take into consideration animals as characters as most games feature animals as the protagonist.

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Sam and Max – Sam and Max: Freelance Police

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From the subject of animals I have also looked at the game Sam and Max, this game was originally 2D, however the decided to make it 3D and the characters are quite low poly but the polys have been smoothed out. Simple characters made for a classic game remake.

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Pyramid Head – Silent Hill Game Series

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Pyramid head isn’t really low poly but his mask is amazing to look at for my sort of art style. In the original game Pyramid Head was low poly again due to the time era in which the game was made. Looking at his mask and his weapon though gives me ideas for my character design and also just the fact that the character is so well known due to his design and his appearances.

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Manny Cavalera – Grim Fandango

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A game I have not yet played, however the art style looks quite interesting. Also this game has been remastered lately but still has the same art style. Again it is low poly and the art is different as each level is set on November 2nd (Day of the Dead) which has such an amazing advantage towards the art style.

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Alice – Alice: Return to Madness

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This game isn’t really low poly but i like the art style and I like the outfit changing. Most levels throughout this game feature different outfits depending on the level theme. Alice in Wonderland is great to look at as so many people see the story of Alice as a way to express their art e.g. Disney, Tim Burton etc.

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Link – Zelda: Wind Waker

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A game I haven’t played but it looks like a very different take compared to the other Zelda games. I like the low poly style yet I would add a bit of edge to their faces as they look very rounded.

Art Styles

Ylands is a sandbox / survival game with a gorgeous, low poly style. It’s still very early in development, but the description hints at an interesting mix of world-building, exploring, crafting - and just trying to stay alive. Looking forward to how...

Ylands is a sandbox / survival game with a gorgeous, low poly style. It’s still very early in development, but the description hints at an interesting mix of world-building, exploring, crafting - and just trying to stay alive. Looking forward to how...

Ylands is a sandbox / survival game with a gorgeous, low poly style. It’s still very early in development, but the description hints at an interesting mix of world-building, exploring, crafting - and just trying to stay alive. Looking forward to how...

Ylands – Survival Game

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This is very similar to what I am wanting to achieve. A preview screen on the oculus gave me the idea to do the low poly style game, however this game is something similar to what I would like to accomplish as it is low poly, third person and it also serves as inspiration towards most of my design work such as character design and environment design.

Aer Game – by Forgotten Key

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Necropolis Game

Low poly style yet it differs from the others as it is quite dark and has certain hues coming from each light e.g in the image above most of the environment is blue because the flames and the pyramid light are blue. The character isn’t as low poly as the environment which makes the character stand out, however their outfit is also blue (bit of a cold colour).

Jackie Chan Adventures Game

This was a childhood favourite for me as there was a cartoon show of this and then the game was made so it was a great transition from tv show to game as the art style was similar and still portrayed in a cartoon fashion. The lines are more bold and I think nowadays a lot of games use this art style to make bold statements. Games such as Borderlands and any Tell Tale game has the use of this art style.

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MineCraft is such a well-known and popular game yet I am just not a fan of it. I really like low poly art styles but in my opinion I believe that this is just too low poly. I like the concept of creating your own world but I just can’t get into this game. Also a lot of people try to make really detailed towns or cities which look realistic because they have used so many blocks but I just don’t understand the point in that as the game is supposed to be for building low poly. Example above. I do think it is a great thing to


The game seems very relaxing to play especially by watching the trailer above. The music is nice and calm and even though you are flying a ship you can see a bit of freedom from the bird looking ship as it slowly strokes a wall with its wing. It seems interesting and is mainly a collectible based game in which the player learns a lot about the artifacts that you collect and about the environment around them as well as upgrading your own ship.

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I really like the environment and I also like the way in which the character was designed. I automatically think about using a normal human shape whereas this character is quite small with a large head for a more cartoon-like style. Also the shadow is a pretty good touch to the scene even if this is just a poster.

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Sea of Solitude

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Yet another low poly style but the water is incredible. I’m not entirely sure how they managed to do the water but it looks quite real as it is reflective and there is also a current if you look carefully. I really like the pastel colours, most of the games I have researched so far have quite bright colours so it is nice to have a different game style that isn’t so much in the players face.

Game Theory – Game Research and Influences


Our task is to create a 2D or 3D fully immersive game to present to the class and our teachers. We have no given theme or style however we have to make sure we can link it to flow theory by making the game so interesting that we become in a state of flow when we play it. This is a completely independent task but we can still ask for help from the our classmates and our teachers, I can even use surveys and questionnaires to help towards my feedback and research.

My Favourite Games

Fallout 4 – When I started this Games Design course I had played games similar to Fallout such as Skyrim (which was also made by Bethesda) however I had never played the Fallout game series. I got an Xbox One for Christmas and because I wanted a 1tb Xbox I got Fallout 4 along with it. Now it is one of my favourite games. Even though I played the 4th Fallout first I still even tried the other games. I am a big fan of RPG’s because they are so immersive and even when you finish the game you still have side quests and collectibles to keep you occupied. Also a key feature to Fallout which I really liked was the chance to interactive with your companion. Within Fallout 4 you can choose a companion, some can be good than others and some can just be so annoying. I really like Codworth, Cait, Dogmeat and Nick.

Another thing about Fallout 4 that I love is the DLC’s (Downloadable Content). Even though I am making a lot of progress on the game I have still not yet finished I also have the chance to buy extra add-ons that extend the game so I have yet even more to do. 2 DLC’s feature extra maps that are almost as big as the main story map.

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Bioshock Collection – Again I was introduced to the Bioshock games at University and I’m so glad I was as the storyline to them is astounding. I was so used to third person games that when I played Bioshock it introduced me properly to first person gaming; now I play a lot more in first person when given the choice. Bioshock is playable online however with it being an old game not many people are on the servers. I really enjoyed Bioshock Infinite as it explained a lot of the story even linking back to the first and second Bioshock. I currently do not known if there is going to be another Bioshock but hopefully they make a game in the similar sort of style. The use of powers (plasmids) and choice in weaponry is amazing as well as having great NPC’s that are incredibly involved with the plot.

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Abe Game Series (Odyssey, Exodus and New ‘n’ Tasty) – An old game that has been remastered that is an absolute classic. Unfortunately the game is not as recognised as games such as Spyro or Crash Bandicoot, however when coming across fans of Abe I become so happy as it is a game with so much to talk about. I prefer the second game (Exodus) as the developers clearly learnt from their mistakes. The first game is great but there are some slight changes in the second game that just make life easier; for example you can speak to more than one muddoken at once and you can possess more enemies and even possess your own farts and use them as an explosive weapon (as strange as that sounds). The character is fun-loving and so comical, you can even get to know him on the start up menu so that you can get to know the controls more.

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Gex: Enter the Gecko  – Again this game is an unrecognizable game to most yet I still loved it as a child. Playing this on the PlayStation 1 was amazing and with such a character as Gex you can’t get bored. Gex is such a funny character with many catchphrases (look at for catchphrase examples). The game features many levels displayed as television screens and is very interactive also some levels feature different costumes that Gex can change into, the first costume being a bunny rabbit.

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Batman Arkham Series – I have always been a Batman fan and was so happy when this game series came out. Batman Arkham Knight is supposedly the last Arkham Game, however they are bringing out the games remastered. I am a big fan of the game because I love the character Harley Quinn, she is such a fun loving and clumsy character that has many costumes throughout films, television shows and games. Below is just a few of her outfits:

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Classic Harley Image Source:

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Arkham City Harley Quinn – Image Source:

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Arkham Knight Harley Quinn –

So as you can see there are many outfits, that is not even all of them. I like that about a character because even some of her old outfits have been an easter egg within the games. Having a character with a various amount of costumes gives the player a bit more interest in that character, especially when you can  choose the costume.

Tomb Raider Game Series – Everyone knows of the Tomb Raider games and there has been many released, the games are even being released now and they are incredibly realistic. I really enjoy Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation as you play as Lara Croft when she is younger and discover so much about her; I think that character development is important especially when it is the same character throughout the whole game series. However in Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness you can play as a male character known as Kurtis Trent and the plot is quite interesting.

Games I Want to Play 

Portal – I have always thought the challenge of this game will be too high. It looks so complex, however so fascinating. I love the puzzle aspect, it’s great to have such a puzzling game that is more fun than educational, also everything within the game is so clean and simple looking yet the game itself  is incredibly complex.

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Gears of War – The storyline for this game is supposed to be really good and the characters are very interactive. Many people that I have spoke to who have played this game said that the characters get along like a family and when one is lost it is quite upsetting. Also the environments are very busy and look extraordinary.

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Dark Souls – I really like dark games like this purely for the character appearances/creation, the environments and the challenge; Dark Souls definitely has the challenge. One of the reasons I have never played it is because it features permadeath (permanent death) meaning once you die you start right from the beginning; although you have the option to change it the game still sounds like to much of challenge to me but I need to at least try the game.

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Borderlands – I don’t really known much about this game, however I know it is quite well known and popular. The main reason I want to try this game is because the art style looks so fascinating as it is very comic like and cartoony. Also the characters look really interesting.

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Watchdogs – I have never got around to play this game but I saw a method of advertising that they used featuring gamification.

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Game Ideas and Influences

Mr. Runner – The first game style that came to mind was a 2D side scroller. My logic behind this was to believe that it would be the easiest game style to blueprint within Unreal Engine, however the aim of making our games is to challenge ourselves so I am also taking into consideration other game styles as well as art styles. I looked at the Mr Runner game because it is quite an addictive game. The player has control of the character yet you can’t actually stop the character you either just slow down or speed up therefore the game still has a bit of control other the player.

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Super Mario Bros. Nintendo Wii Remake –I loved the original Mario games and I was happy to find the made this one as it was similar to the originals but it had better graphics and it was 2.5D. I like games like this for their unique use of parallax scrolling, character design and level design. I also play the Abe Oddworld which is a similar style of game which was also remade. If I was to make a game like this I would try my best with the storyline as some of these games can turn into addictive platformers in which the player forgets about the main story and just tries to accomplish the levels and get to the end of the game.

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Crash Bandicoot Game Series – The first Crash Bandicoot game was released in 1996 and as soon as I was old enough to hold the controller it was along one of the first games I  played. Most of the game series are level based which includes one main hub area (in which the player starts the game, interacts with the main storyline and returns to after finishing each level), Level areas (themed e.g. snow, jungle, aztec, futuristic etc.) and within those level areas are individual levels. I think the game is quite unique as in some games you have the chance to play as other players. In Crash Bandicoot Warped and Wrath of Cortex you could play as Crash’ sister Coco even with it being level based and a platformer. When playing the spin-off racing games you had more of a choice in characters even including the enemies. Character selection is good as it gives you a sense of ownership and it also allows you to get closer to the characters and learn more about them. Also Crash Bandicoot has a companion called Aku Aku who plays the role of your life counter. When you collect 3 Aku Aku boxes you have a temporary shield, whereas when you get hit by enemies too much you lose your companion and then lose the level and are returned to your last checkpoint.

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Spyro the Dragon – Like Crash Bandicoot I have played this game since I was little, however this game has many hub areas. Once enough Gems have been collected an NPC will allow you to travel to either a boss battle or new hub area which will contain more unique levels. Both these games have a lot in common such as having a companion, collecting items and defeating enemies as well as they layout of the game. Also the characters are so iconic as their games are still being made to this day. Character design is a big feature and in these games there are lots of friends, enemies, companions and playable characters.

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Kingdom Hearts 1 & 2 – I like these games however I did get out of the state of flow a lot as the levels of difficulty varied. But the reason I gain influence from them is due to the customising and companions. Throughout the game there are many levels that you travel to using a map, these levels are either anime/final fantasy based or Disney (as Square Enix joined up with Disney to create this game) when in a level you play as Sora or Roxas and you can have 2 followers/companions at a time to help you fight. Most of the time you have Donal Duck and Goofy with you but when you enter a level you can sometimes swap out Donald or Goofy with the themed character, for example if the player was to travel to the Beauty and the Beast world you would be able to have the beast fight by your side.

You can’t actually customise the look of your character but you can choose your weapons, abilities and skills. You can even choose these for your companions. I think that is great as you can level them up and make them better. I like choosing my own weapon as they look different and they all have different powers and abilities. However even though the player has no control of the costume design, when entering certain levels the characters may change (as seen below).

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Donald, Sora and Goofy Classic Outifts.

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Donald, Sora and Goofy Lion King Level Transformations

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Donald, Sora and Goofy The Little Mermaid Level Transformations

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Game Theory -Gamification TED Talks

Gamification to improve our world: Yu-kai Chou

TEDx Talks – Yu-kai Chou

  • The average gamer is 35 Years Old.
  • 68% are over 18.
  • 47% are female.
  • More adult  women that under 18 male, “Everyone can be a gamer.”
  • Gamification putting fun game elements into boring real-life context.
  • Don’t just use points, badges or leaderboards for a gamification feature.
  • Good Gamification = challenging, interactive and social.
  • Octalysis – Display that shows examples of gamification.

Octalysis Gamification Framework

Image: Yu-Kai Chou Octalysis.

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  • Pain Squad – Epic Meaning and Calling
  • Nike Fuel Band – Development and Accomplishment
  • Fold it – Empowerment of Creativity and Feedback
  • DragonBox – Ownership and Possession
  • OPower – Social Influence and Relatedness
  • KickStarter – Scarcity and Impatience
  • Speed Camera Lottery – Unpredictability and Curiousity
  • Zombies Run – Loss and Avoidance.

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Game Thoery – Lesson 2 – (Flow Theory)


Game Theory

[The text below is my notes from my second lesson of Game Theory, these notes may not make sense in some form to others but I am able to understand them clearly enough.]

  • Learn the Learning Outcomes
  • Next Week = 3000 word essay
  • Man Playing Games – Rodger Caillois
  • Eric Zimmerman
  • Katie – Anthology
  • Theory of Flow and Category of play

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Image: Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s Theory of Flow

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Padia – Without Rules

Agon – Competitive

Alea – Chance

Illinx – Disorientation

Mimicry – Copy/Imitation 

Ludus – With Rules

Information Above: Rodger Caillios -4 Categories of Play

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Image: Richard Bartle – Player Types

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Image: Marc Leblac – 8 Categories of fun

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Image: Abraham Maslow’s Pyramid

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Image: Burrhus Frederic Skinner – Operent Conditioning

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Game Examples Compared (in my opinion) to the theory of flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s

Fallout 4 – Flow

Bioshock – Worry/Anxiety

Abe’s Oddysee/Exoddus – Arousal

Spyro – Relaxation

Look at other Flow Theory Chart

Make your own flow?

Forming own rules when playing games. Padia -> Ludus

Live Action Role Play = Mimicry

Link theories, discuss correct people and word count  – Learning Outcome 1

Ebay = most profitable game (bids) pretending to be a buyer or seller (mimicry) competitive.

Link research into gamification

FourSquare App

‘The Gamification Summit’

‘GWC – Conference’

Extrinsic and Intrinsic




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