Hatchlings Games

Web Gaming 2.0 Revolution

Encephalon: High Level Goals

When developing a game, we must have a shared vision and common goals. This is especially true when venturing into unknown territory. The design goals are set from the point of view of the player.

The high level goals were determined over the past four months during group discussions, one-on-one discussions among different members, analyzing and prototyping. The following are these goals, read from the player’s perspective:

Goal 1: If I try hard enough I can win!

Goal 2: I want to create and share, so I belong to the world

Goal 3: Everything in Encephalon is real

Various concepts, described in more detail below, provide the framework for our game design. Each high level goal has corresponding concrete goals. These concrete goals are attempts to merge the high level concepts into the pre-existing design document (latest at time of writing, v1.81).

Ultimately these three goals lead back to the ultimate goal: FUN. A good game is always fun. That goes without saying. Read Raph Koster’s a Theory of Fun for Game Designers if you want a great read on fun. The book (and much of Raph’s writings) and deep conversations with Iris about games had influenced my view on games. The basic theme of a Theory of Fun is equation of fun and learning (Fun = Learning). So if fun is learning, then we first need to know what we are trying to teach.

Very briefly, goal #1 focuses on the gameplay, where we aim to teach strategic thinking and tempo control. Goal #2 focuses on the customization and community, which cultivates creativity, innovation, progress and spirit of sharing. Goal #3 brings in the immersion, where we hope that our players through their imagination can bridge their virtual and physical realities to learn more about our world, its themes, its message of peace and consciousness. So you can say that Hatchling’s goal for Encephalon is to promote peace by encouraging consciousness through mental and spiritual growth.

Note that Raph has started his own web 2.0 gaming startup, Areae.

Because we are using an experimental, player (or play) centric game and world design model, the development & production methodology employed for Encephalon would have to be equally experimental. After all it is the result of development and production that the players see. The development timeline of a game (and world) such as Encephalon ought to be long (maybe years), we are planning to release the game by parts. Our first release, the first planet should be at the end of February.

The reason for the early release date is related to our choice to develop a web game, or more specifically, as a web 2.0 service. Web 2.0 services are quick to deploy, so why should a web 2.0 game be an exception; following the open source mandate: release early, release often. We really want to see the player’s reactions to our concepts. More on production methodology, schedule and budget after these game design discussions. Do stay updated, or better still subscribe to the RSS feed.


January 2, 2007 Posted by | Education, Encephalon, Game Design, Web Gaming 2.0 | 1 Comment