Getting Started in Game Development: Develop Strong Video Game Ideas | Isaac Blake | Skillshare

Getting Started in Game Development: Develop Strong Video Game Ideas

Isaac Blake, Game developer of Innkeeper Games

Getting Started in Game Development: Develop Strong Video Game Ideas

Isaac Blake, Game developer of Innkeeper Games

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9 Lessons (30m)
    • 1. Learn Game Design!

    • 2. Brainstorm Game Ideas

    • 3. Target Transportation and Flow

    • 4. Use Emergent Storytelling

    • 5. Use Indirect Control

    • 6. Avoid Ludonarrative Dissonance

    • 7. Align Narrative with Reality

    • 8. Balance Difficulty with Ability

    • 9. Upload Your Project

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About This Class

In this fast-paced game design and narrative design crash course, you'll learn about 5 techniques for player engagement (ludonarrative scaffolding) and 2 routes to player immersion (transportation and flow) that make your games more fun. There's no coding required at all. If you're looking to learn about game development, game design, narrative design, or just need to come up with game ideas and brainstorm video games, this class is for you. 

We'll analyze Undertale, Celeste, Skyrim (and Skyrim Grandma / Shirley Curry's emergent storytelling), Eastshade, Stardew Valley and more along the way as examples. You'll apply these concepts to a video game idea you generate, which you'll develop and strengthen over the course of this game design class.

We'll discuss everything from Uncharted's ludonarrative dissonance in games to Mario's difficulty balancing, with World 1-1 as an example.

5 techniques to achieve player engagement in video games:

  1. Work with Player Choice and Emergent Storytelling
  2. Use Indirect Control

  3. Align the Messages of Gameplay and Narrative (Avoid Ludonarrative Dissonance)

  4. Align Your Narrative with Your Player’s Reality

  5. Keep Difficulty Balanced with Ability

Got a class request or just want to chat game design? Join our Discord server! (I've decided to disable the Discord server link. Feel free to post a discussion or email me ([email protected]) if you have any questions!)

Resources and further reading:

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Meet Your Teacher

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Isaac Blake

Game developer of Innkeeper Games


Take the new Godot class here!

I'm Isaac, and I teach game development here on Skillshare via small, hands-on projects. I'm making this little nook a comprehensive resource for game developers, covering concepts like game design, game engines, techniques like procedural generation, and more. Follow me here on Skillshare to be notified when your next game development class is fresh from the oven.

I make Innkeeper Games, a one-person game studio making warm games about community with comfortable atmospheres. I'm currently working on a comfy and gamified productivity tool called Slumber Party.

I love creating classes and lessons, and as a computer science student I've served as a tutor of object-oriented progr... See full profile

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1. Learn Game Design!: In today's class you'll be generating video game ideas and strengthening them using five techniques that are part of what I call ludonarrative scaffolding to increase player engagement and enjoyment. I will also be talking about two different routes that games can take to achieve player immersion. Along the way, we'll analyze Undertale, Celeste, Skyrim, Eastshade, Stardew Valley, and others as examples. I'm Isaac and I make Innkeeper Games, which is a small indie game studio that focuses on fostering a sense of community. Innkeeper Games also publishes classes here on Skillshare surrounding many aspects of video game development. Our goal is to become a comprehensive resource for our fellow game developers. So if you're interested in that, follow us here on the platform. For your class project, We'll be brainstorming video game ideas and choosing at least one of them to strengthen using the techniques of ludonarrative scaffolding. Personally, I recommend a blank sheet of paper and a bunch of colorful pencils and pens. Whatever medium you choose for your brainstorming, make sure that it doesn't hold you back creatively. Once you've finished a class, you'll upload a photo of your video game idea to the class project gallery where we can all give you feedback and check out your cool ideas. And our first lesson will start generating game ideas and cover some great tips for having productive brainstorming sessions. I'll see you there. 2. Brainstorm Game Ideas: Okay, So first it's important to acknowledge that not everyone, in fact, probably very few people can just sit down and decide to have some great ideas. In 2005 a group of graduate students created over 50 games in just one semester. One why they did this was just have a ton of game ideas, and they found that they weren't at all successful when they just sat down together and tried to think of great game ideas. More often than not, You get your best ideas when you're not spending time trying to find them, the team of students noted. As far as we can tell, your mysterious brain does a lot of thinking when you least expect it. Having said that and this lesson, we're gonna talk about some ways that you could hopefully speed the process along a little bit. People seem to be pretty great problem solvers, and it seems to be a lot easier to think of a solution to a problem and just have a great idea out of nowhere. The team of students own experienced help support this, and they said somehow it became easier to be creative when there were restrictions in place . So the first thing we're actually gonna write down is a list of constraints that will help guide you. Constraints are factors internal and external, that sort of restrict what you can create. Their things like time limits and budgets. Constraints help us keep arkels realistic while also giving us a little bit of a creative boost. I've come up with a few constraints to write down on my piece of paper. For my own project. The game must be made within three months. The game must be made by just one person, and the game must not cost more than $100 to make. Go ahead and write down some constraints of your own video game ideas, these air crucial not just for brainstorming but also for maintaining the scope of your project as a whole. So this is a very important step. Okay, now I'm trusting that you come up with some constraints. The next thing we're gonna talk about is Goal's. A goal sort of encompasses everything that you want your game to achieve creatively or persuasively. Maybe your goal is to share a specific emotion with players or show them a world that you've been building problem statements help us zero in articles while giving us a criterion to evaluate all the ideas that we come up with. Once we've made open idea, we can ask it, How well do you solve my problem statement and meet my goals? If you have an idea that doesn't meet your goals, keep it. But it's not for this project to help you generate some goals and problem statements here, Cem prompts What messages or feelings do you want to convey? What are you feeling right now? What do you wish you were feeling? Is there something you want to persuade others of or teach through a game? Personally, I've been most productive with coming up with goals and problem statements when I'm trying to generate a specific experience that I want to share with my players. So some example problem statements that I might come up with could be dead. Players interested in exploring nature create a sense of community and share that with players teach players about the importance of choosing between right and wrong and everyday interactions. For my own project, I'll be moving forward with the idea of getting people outside and exploring nature because of especially passionate about places like state and national parks. They mean a lot to me, and that's an experience I feel like I could share. Now take some time to write down some goals that you might want to explore and choose one to move forward with the rest of the class. This is by no means a final decision. You can always come back and revisit the others later, but for now, try to explore just one, and this lesson recovered. Some prompts in techniques for having productive video game planning sessions in our next lesson will cover two different routes that games take to achieve player immersion. All the techniques will be talking about as part of Ludo. Narrative scaffolding directly fall under these two terms. I'll see you in the next lesson. 3. Target Transportation and Flow: Every single aspect of your game, both narrative and looted communing, procedural or gameplay related, should be connected to the core goal that you've described in chapter three of the book, videogames and medium that demands our attention. Brett Shrek, rights that a game stability to engage players is likely to have a strong influence on the degree to which the players buy into the games. Argument. Engaging your players is critical if you want your games goal to mean anything. So how do we achieve engagement by targeting transportation and flow? Ok, first, what is transportation? Well, check writes that transportation is a psychologically engaging or immersive state expected to specifically result from a narrative. And crucially, people who are transported into a narrative world are more connected with the narrative than the real world. You can think of transportation as total narrative immersion. When players are transported into your game world, they're literally more connected with your game world than with reality. Think of a really good game, movie or book that made you feel transported. For me. Sometimes it happens when I get kind of a disoriented feeling when I stop reading a book, stopped playing a game, or walk out of a movie theatre. It's like suddenly have to adapt to the real-world again after being stuck in this narrative world and enjoying it. But that feeling of being disoriented is generally how I know that I've been transported. We want to target transportation because narrative immersion can lead to enjoyment and it makes players more likely to want to engage with the core narrative goals that you've set out for your game. Now flow is essentially the equivalent of transportation. But for things that are more procedural like dodging bullets are slicing boxes, share credits that players in a flow state feel complete control over the task. A lack of self-awareness that their actions are immediately linked to their thoughts. A sense that time passes very quickly and intrinsic motivation to continue and a great sense of reward from completing the task. Czikszentmihalyi, The person who sort of pioneered the concept of flow, characterized it as the optimal experience, one that is supremely engaging, enjoyable, and productive when a game's difficulty level is perfectly matched to your skill level and there's minimal friction between your player input and the actions you see playing out in the game. You're in a state of flow. Slip into the flow state most easily when I'm playing a platformer like Mario or playing a really challenging level of beat savor. It doesn't feel impossible, but it's so engaging and so rewarding that I just keep going. So why do we want to target flow? Well, several studies that share it goes into more detail about show that when players get into the flow state, they're more likely to want to come back and play the game again. Check also thinks that because the flow state is enjoyable and cognitively demanding, it makes players more likely to engage with your message persuasively, bringing them closer to your main game goal. Over the next few lessons, we'll cover five techniques that are part of lunar narrative scaffolding that helped games target their goals via transportation and flow. For each technique that we cover will also look at some games that use those techniques really well. Next we're talking about player choice and emergent storytelling. I'll see you in the next lesson. 4. Use Emergent Storytelling: when asked what makes games different from more traditional media like books and movies. Narrative designer Evan School X of the main difference is the player the player expects to be able to influence the game world. The characters and, of course, the story. And during gameplay, stories that weren't planned by a writer or anyone else in the development team can emerge spontaneously by adding players into the equation, Games automatically introduced the element of player choice. Some games go as far as to write this into their narratives to great and popular effect, and the RPG under tail players consistently encounter monsters when they encounter the monsters, they can choose whether they want to fight them or just dodge their attacks and compliment them. Reassure them instead, over time, player choices will lead to very divergent Narratives that have been pre written into the game again can get really heartbreaking, and the monsters might either shun the player or start to be nice to them. This works really well for under tail. In a few ways, First, players can make choices as themselves, making it feel like they're really a part of this game world and boosting transportation Additionally, since players come players themselves, it makes him question how they would really act in reality. Under tales core Gingold could be make players think about how expected or normal endgame behavior like killing every monster you encounter contrast with what's ethically sound and what might be expected. In reality, you can see how implementing player choice and divergent narratives in the way that under Till does supports that goal. Players could watch the game respond to the choices they make. This shrinks the gap between player and protagonist and brings the player closer into the Games world. This is transportation. Last lessons under tell features multiple routes that players can explore. Based on these divergent narratives, the game has added replay ability value Do Keep in mind, though, that adding extra divergent narratives like Under Tell does adds a ton of extra work for developers. This might push you outside your constraints. Obviously, the more separate storylines you'll have, the more work you're creating for yourself. Additionally, if players don't go back and replay your game to look for all those divergent narratives, you've wasted a ton of time creating them for this one player who just wanted to play the game once and experience your story line in the one way when talking about player choice and divergent narratives, Evan Scolnik says many games strive to find ways to give this power of the player, but the fact is, we just can't afford to do it on a huge scale. But games don't need tohave divergent narratives written into them in order to future player choice. In fact, most games feature player choice, and this does affect the narratives that players experience, Scolnik says. This is kind of like a sports game in sports. There's no pre written narrative, but there's player interaction and rules and randomness, and all these things sort of interface and interact to create a different story each time the game is played. One game mechanics allow players to create their own narratives. Were there gameplay? It's called emergent storytelling. Skyrim. The first person open world RPG game, is another example of emergence storytelling. Now Skyrim does incorporate diverging narratives into its quests. Quest can have different outcomes. Baseball players choose to do skyrim, lets players explore the world and complete quests in the order that they want to, and they could opt out of quests entirely. They can also build up unique sets of stats for each care that they create, like swordsmanship and magic. And the unique ways that they choose to build up their character can then impact the way that they complete quests, engage with non player characters and the world itself. Also, random encounters with characters like The Headless Horseman can just add to the tales that your character, Comptel, that little bit of extra randomness helps keep your story interesting. Surely Curry, known on the Internet a skyrim grandma, takes this idea of emergent storytelling a step further, specifically in Sky Room. She knows the game of Skyrim really well on. Before she even starts a play through, she creates detailed characters with rich backstories and personalities set in the world of sky room. Then she records her gameplay, playing as those characters and using her own voice to narrate their experiences in the world. She uploads these videos to YouTube and has an audience of thousands and thousands of people who enjoy watching them for the unique storytelling. Shirley Curry is a fantastic storyteller, and she uses the game of skyrim as her medium For my own game idea that I'm coming up with . I'm sort of thinking about ways that I could get players too engaging experience with national and state parks. And I think one way I can do that is to create a scavenger hunt that players could complete and explore and whatever order they like. I think that giving players that freedom and sense of discovery is really important for fostering my goals of exploration. It also uses emergence storytelling in a unique way. You can't really choose whether your game will incorporate player choice, but will you write it directly into your story? If so, how? How you specifically keep your story within your constraints? Will you allow players to explore the world in your that they want to create the room unique characters or use some other strategy? In our next lesson, we'll talk about guiding players to your game, will, allowing them to maintain their player choice and their sense of freedom. It's a technique called indirect control, and I'm excited to explore with you. I'll see you soon 5. Use Indirect Control: Jesse Shell describes indirect control in detail in chapter 18 of his book, The technique of indirect control is essentially the concept of trying to control a player's behaviors while still affording them a sense of freedom. One of the most common methods of using indirect control is to implement and to environment design. We can use indirect control to highlight the areas that we want players to spend most of their time in or guide them along a certain path. The method is kind of everywhere in games and you might find it in reality too. And in fact, here at y, we talked a little bit about constraints and their effect on freedom earlier when we were talking about brainstorming. And a similar concept kind of applies here. Like, I don't have to walk this path and I don't feel controlled. But rather than feeling to free, I feel like I have some guidance in the same way that barn is a visual point of interest. Also, even though no one has told me not to walk on the grass, I'm definitely sticking on the path regardless, indirect control lets players keep their sense of freedom without letting them feel overwhelmed. And it also kind of keeps them from getting lost. Here's something kind of interesting. Your players probably won't even notice when you're using indirect control. And a game that he and others were designing, Jesse Shell encountered a problem. They wanted players to approach an NPC when they first got into the room. But instead they were kind of like wandering all over the place, not actually talking to the NPC at all. So what they did was add this red line that goes straight from where the player enters the room directly to the NPC. Before adding the red line, players had too much freedom and too little guidance. They were just freely wandering the room. But after the red line, they were walking straight to the NPC and talking to them because they just had this path. And here's the real kicker. Shell says, the most troubling part was in the interviews afterwards, upon asking players why they followed the red line in the throne room, they would say what readLine players didn't even notice the red line, let alone feel controlled by it. East shade is a stunning first-person game. It's actually my favorite video game that uses indirect control really well in the game, players play as a traveling artists visiting the island of E shades. So they explore the island painting it's beautiful landscapes in inhabitants. Now that's a lot of freedom and each side uses indirect control to help prevent players from getting lost while encouraging exploration. C, in order to make paintings in E shade, players need to collect a resource called inspiration. They get inspiration by visiting unique and interesting places on the island. Most of the quests that players go on involved creating some kind of painting. So in order to be able to complete the quests, the players need to explore. This itself is a form of indirect control since it gives players goals that aligned with the core mechanics of the game, issued features to major towns, beautiful landscapes and tons of gorgeous landmarks for players to find and likely to encourage exploration. Players don't start the game with a map. So to prevent players from getting lost, E shade uses a crisscrossing network of paths that cover most of the island, including linking the main cities together. Players can totally choose to stray from the path that they want to and go out on their own adventures. But sticking to the paths give them some guidance and prevents them from getting lost. Now interestingly, when E shade particularly wants players to explore, it removes the paths or makes them harder to find. This encourages players to grow on their own and maybe intentionally it a little bit lost, since not everything is covered by a path. When players discover something cool, like a landmark or a beautiful scene that's not on a path that feels like a really special discovery. And this way I think that removing indirect control can be just as powerful in some cases as adding it if it's safe for you to go out right now, look for some methods of indirect control that your town uses is, can be things like landmarks, sidewalks, paths, signs, and write down any methods that you see them use. You might be able to employ these strategies for your own game idea. For my scavenger hunt idea that I'm building, I might have a similar strategy to E shade and have paths between some interesting landmarks in scavenger hunt items and have other items that just aren't on the paths and the players have to discover for themselves. Since my main game goal is to get players to explore this kind of natural simulation. I think it's really important that maybe I let players get lost a little bit. Well, you use indirect control to balance player freedom in your game. If so, how, and if not, why don't you think you'll need to use it? Jot down some of your ideas. In our next lesson, we'll talk about pluto narrative dissonance and why some people advise that you should avoid it. I'll see you there. 6. Avoid Ludonarrative Dissonance: To be able to understand Luder narrative dissonance in video games, we first need to talk about mechanics. Now, there's not really a clear definition, but shell sort of describes mechanics as the core of what a game truly is. There the interactions and relationships that remain when all of the aesthetics, technology, and story are stripped away. Mechanics are the connections between players, non-player characters, space time, and the actions and the verbs that do players can actually execute little narrative dissonance describes what happens when gameplay, often via a game's mechanics and sometimes via emergent storytelling diverges from a game's narrative goals. It's kind of like those stories were the main character goes through the whole plot like mercilessly slaughtering everyone they come into contact with. And then at the end that they finally get to the big baddie and they're like, no, I don't want to fight you. I am a bigger person than this. Except the difference between Leno narrative dissonance. And this is that luminary dissonances between narrative and gameplay. And this other thing is between narrative and itself. The Uncharted series of video games is often criticized for its liberal narrative dissonance. In that series, the main character, Nathan Drake, refuses to kill people in the main narrative out of cold blood. However, players can control Nathan Drake to just mercilessly kill hundreds of people. A character Drake shows no remorse for those actions, although they're supposedly not at all in line with his character. This is an example of Lutheran narrative dissonance and you can imagine how it might be a little bit jarring to players. It removes them from the transportation state. The developers might have resolved this little narrative dissonance a little bit by giving Nathan Drake and in-game reason to have killed so many people. This could be Nathan Drake is actually a really awful person. Or maybe there's some kind of crisis or some other reason that Nathan Drake has to act desperately in this situation. But instead, there's just no explanation. Nathan Drake is left as this likeable character in the main game narrative, and yet he's killed hundreds of people under the player's control. The developers even acknowledged this criticism in Uncharted four, where they created an achievement called pseudo narrative dissonance. Players can earn the achievement by killing a 1000 NPCs in game. I should say here that Pluto narrative dissonance isn't always a bad thing. Sometimes it can be useful to take your players out of the endgame narrative and make them consider their surroundings, moving them from that transportation state. But by choosing to avoid lunar narrative dissonance and aligning your mechanics with your narratives, you allow players to engage with your direct game goals both in the flow state and in the transportation state. And this can be incredibly powerful, specifically by having your mechanics directly aligned with your game goals. You tap into something called procedural rhetoric, because procedural rhetoric requires player action to complete the argument. It has some advantages over other kinds of rhetoric and could be increasingly persuasive in my game idea. For example, consistently encouraging players to explore an in-game state or national park could encourage them to explore a real-life one. We've already talked a bit about undertaking. But if you're not familiar with his combat system, it's kind of like this mixture between an RPG turn-based game and a bullet hell game on a player's turn, the player can choose between a few verbs. The core of this choice is fighting an acting. The player's ability to choose between these verbs. So adjacently to the games mechanics supports the game's narrative goal of encouraging players to think about how their everyday choices might impact the people around them. Additionally, the characterization of the player character changes over time based on which of these options you're selecting more often, this ensures that the distance between player and protagonist is kept small. This is in sharp contrast, the Uncharted series, which has problems with Pluto narrative dissonance because players can go and kill people. While Nathan Drake is apparently still a good likeable character on the monsters turn the monster attacks the player. Screen. A black box appears and the player is given control of a heart shape. As players have been taught since the beginning of the game, the heart is meant to represent the protagonists soul by creating this kind of symbolism, the game continues to establish a link between the narrative and the gameplay. The monster then sends bullets, harmful pellets, and visually interesting patterns continuously, the bullets can take narratively interesting shapes like skulls, tiers or other items, and their colors can vary as well. Undertaking uses the shapes of the bullets to once again tie the mechanics back the narrative. So if a character is crying, that their tears might be the bullets that the players have to dodge. If their player doesn't make those little heart-shaped dodge the attacks from enemies, they risk being killed by the monster. These are just some examples of how undertake directly links the narrative and the gameplay and doesn't let that connection Paul apart. Since the main goal of my game idea is to get players to explore nature is crucial that my mechanics reward players who looked for more than just what's on the scavenger hunt list and want the game to feel less like a series of destinations and more like a true exploration. To do this, I might offer a variety of ways that players can interact with their environment consistently, no matter how close they are to a scavenger hunt item, like maybe they can look under leaves no matter where they are and find hidden items that aren't on the list. How will you design mechanics that specifically support your game idea goals? Take a minute to write some ideas down. I'll see you in our next lesson where we'll talk about aligning your game world and game experiences with reality. 7. Align Narrative with Reality: Aligning a game's narrative with the players. Reality is a common technique that we see used everywhere in games. It's a pretty simple one, and there's lots of examples. We already know that to achieve transportation in games, you have to bring players closer to your game narrative than their own world so that they're more in tune with your game than with reality. We can do this by blurring the lines between reality and the game world to ways that we can blur those lines are creating similarities between the two worlds, like making the settings similar and aligning the players experiences with the player characters experiences. Here's a really common example of where that's used. All players of all games started the game for the first time. At some point, a strategy that a lot of games used to make this of starting less abrasive is to make the player character suddenly starts something at the beginning of the game to in detail. And yes, we're talking about undertake again, but just briefly, I promise, before the player even has controlled the player character suddenly falls into the underground from the overruled, and the narrative picks up from this new point. Similarly, at the start of Animal Crossing New Leaf, the player character is on a train moving to a new town and upon arriving out of nowhere, they're expected to assume the role of Mayor. This is a huge change in the player character's life. At the beginning of ISS shade, the player characters on boat heading for each shade to visit the island for the first time. And then there's this massive shipwreck and any sense of the player characters normalcy is gone. Lastly, at the startup portal, the player character Charles suddenly wakes up after a long slumber to instructions from Gladys about some upcoming tests. All of these games trying to bridge the gap between player and protagonist by having the player character starts something big and new for the first time. At the same time as the player is starting the game for the first time. This isn't hopes the player will sort of sync and declare character shoes a little more easily. And once we've done that, we're that much closer to getting them into transportation state. The more you know about your game ideas target audience, the easier this becomes to achieve, since you can sort of take characteristics of your target audience and implement them into the player character, the game start evaluators that players might be sick of corporate jobs or desk duties when they're expected to sit at a computer and be productive. So it designs declared character to share that experience. And at the beginning of the game, the player character quits their job and Georgia Corporation to start a new life at the grandfather's farm. It's starting Valley. Are you noticing the pattern here in my game idea, for example, my target audience might be a group of people who feel trapped or cooped up in their day-to-day routines. So maybe I'll implement that in my player character and have my player character be really sick of their day-to-day routine. So they decide to get together with a couple of friends and visit a state or national park. If you have a player character in your game, well, you try to synchronize the player characters experienced with the players. Use your brainstorming sheets to write down some ideas that help you align your game world and your game narrative with reality. In our next lesson, we're talking game difficulty. 8. Balance Difficulty with Ability: As we discussed earlier, we can best get our players into that state of flow and their ability level is perfectly balanced with the game's difficulty. In this lesson, we're going to talk about a few techniques that games use to keep players in that flow state for longer and therefore keep their players coming back. First, increase your game's difficulty over time as your player slowly master the skills they need, many games do this by increasingly difficulty marginally, each level. Games can also do this by teaching players new mechanics, little by little. Mario platformers do this very well. The first level of the game world 1-1 is designed so that players curiosity and intuition is all they need. And the first few seconds of play, players are confronted with the goombas slowly approaches them. They either die, jump over the enemy or destroy it by landing on top of it. Right afterward they see their first question-mark blocks. Hopefully they tap them and get coins of visual and audible reward. If they do, they learn that it's good to hit the question mark blocks and they might get a power out for Mario that makes it bigger. It's not as tutorial and players have a whole lot of freedom here. But by jumping over that first goombas and tapping those question-mark blocks, players learn a lot. They learn about question-mark blocks. There can be coins and power-ups in them. They learn about enemies in the game, and they learn that you can destroy a lot of the enemies in the game just by landing on them. Best of all, they do this just by their own experimentation. There's no restriction here. The level goes on like this, giving players more and more interesting challenges designed to teach them something. And it's always based on these tools that they've already learned how to use, which is just moving and jumping. And we're gonna put a video over on the class resources section that talks about world 1-1 and the masterful design that goes into it in more depth. Because I think it's really to look at after players have that foundational skill that they get through experimentation and world 1-1, designers can add more and more interesting, difficult challenges to future levels to keep players in that flow state for longer. The second way to balance difficulty is to let more advanced or skilled players cut through the easy parts of your game really quickly. This is another example of where mandatory tutorials can be frustrating for players. Not only do tutorial modes restrict player freedom with direct control, they also prevent people from skipping over them. This means that more advanced players, even people potentially experiencing your game for the first time, might get frustrated. They can't get into that flow state. And so they ditch your game altogether by giving players the ability to breeze through levels as quickly as they're able to and through them, the designers of Mario ensure that more advanced players can get to the harder levels quickly. This helps ensure that the levels that Mario players actually spent time in are the same ones that get them into the flow state because their difficulty level is perfectly balanced with their skill. Lastly, just let players adjust the game difficulty for themselves. I'm not talking about easy, medium, and hard modes that players are just confronted with at the beginning of the game, that kind of leaves players wondering, well, what's the right way to play the game by making players choose right at the beginning. They don't actually know what level of difficulty is suited for them. They're not the best judge at that point. Instead, here are two strategies that you can use to let players adjust the difficulty level for themselves when they're qualified to one ad hidden challenges to your game and Mario levels have three Secret gold coins per level, each with a small hidden Challenge players have to complete to get to them. There are completely optional, but they add more interest from more advanced players to offer game settings that allow players to change various difficulty settings. Specifically, this option is ideal for a few reasons. First, it lets you offer a default mode of play that most players experience at least once before they go into the Settings panel and try to change the difficulty. Secondly, by allowing players to tweak specific settings after they've already experienced a default mode, you let players Taylor the difficulty specifically to the level that they prefer. For example, the game Celeste offers an area and they're settings interface that allows players to slow down the game a little bit or get extra boosts. Adding this kind of a settings penalty your game more accessible to people who might not otherwise be able to get into that state of flow through your game game makers toolkit. It goes into more depth about this in a very interesting video that I'll link in the class description. Interestingly, you can also do something similar in terms of difficulty balancing with transportation and the game transistor. You control a character called Red, who's just been attacked. Her voice has been stolen and she's using this tool called the transistor to try to reclaim her city cloud bank before it's completely processed by this computerized digital force. Aside from that one sentence, there's not really any other world-building or narrative that you need in order to enjoy the game. But it's absolutely there if you go looking for it, as players sort of explore the world and defeat the enemies in the world, they gain access to secret files that go way into depth about the backstories of the characters there facing, the more you explore it, the more narrative you discovered. And it's actually a pretty complex and challenging narrative. But it's not there for the players who don't want it. To some extent, this lets you transport yourself into the game narrative as much as you want to. As a player, you have the option to choose whether you want to just focus on the mechanics or focus on the narrative or both, the developers sort of just leave it up to the player how much they want to digest. I recommend chapter 13 of shells book on lenses for more information on balancing game mechanics. I think for my specific game idea of exploring in a state or national park, it makes the most sense for players to sort of find easier items on the scavenger list and also harder items on the scavenger list. Maybe there are easier items that appear closer to spawn and harder items that kind of are further and further and further away from where players start in the game, maybe early on in the game. I'll also include a secret item that players discover so that they learn that there are secret items early on, how will you balance mechanical difficulty in your game with player skill? Well, you try something similar with narrative and transportation. Write down anything you can think of when you're brainstorming sheet. 9. Upload Your Project: In this course, you've come up with some game ideas and brainstorm ways to make them stronger using techniques of lunar narrative scaffolding, we covered a lot in this course. We started out with talking about brainstorming techniques and then we learned about transportation and flow. And then we learned about a bunch of different techniques that you can use to kind of get your players into those States, have transportation and flow and keep them there for longer. Along the way, we looked at a bunch of popular games that use these strategies really well as examples. Thank you so much for joining me in this class. I really hope it helps you learn how to strengthen and develop your own game ideas using the techniques of Pluto narrative scaffolding. At this point, please take a picture where screenshot of whatever medium you chose an uploaded to the project gallery section so we can all check it out and give you feedback. As you know in Keeper games is a great place to learn about game development online. So you're in the right place to continue strengthening and honing your craft. Follow us here on skill share to get notified when we publish our next class. If you're ready to get started coding, there's an introductory level class waiting for you. There'll be a Lincoln, the class description as well as on the incubator games still share profile page. Join that in Keeper games discourse server if you just want to chat game design. We've also got a channel where you can request specific classes that you're interested in seeing on the Skill Share platform wherever it is online, I hope you combine. Visit us again soon. We've got a nice warm spot by the fire and a cup of tea waiting for you. See you then.