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The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses

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Lesson 8 of 10
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Worlds Contain Spaces / The Look and Feel of a World is Defined by its Aesthetics / Some Games are Played with Other Players / Other Players Sometimes Form Communities

Matthew Colon October 14, 2020
  1. What types of game spaces does your game project use (linear, grid, web, points in space, divided space)?
    1. Within those game spaces, what landmarks are you using to provide direction, create interest, and make your spaces memorable?
  2. How are you currently using art and audio in collaboration with game development? Are they in balance or does one side have more control over the other’s domain?
  3. If your game project involves more than one player, what from the following does your game provide to your players? Are there any of these that are missing from your game that should be there?
    1. Competition
    2. Collaboration
    3. Meeting up
    4. Exploring friends
    5. Exploring self


Pick some of the lenses below and discuss their questions in regards to your own game projects:

Lens #92: The Lens of Inner Contradiction

  • What is the purpose of my game?
  • What are the purposes of each subsystem in my game?
  • Is there anything at all in my game that contradicts these purposes?
  • If so, how can I change that?

Lens #93: The Lens of the Nameless Quality

  • Does my design have a special feeling of life, or do parts of my design feel dead? What would make my design feel more alive?
  • Which of Alexander’s fifteen qualities does my design have?
  • Could it have more of them, somehow?
  • Where does my design feel like myself?

Lens #94: The Lens of Atmosphere

  • Without using words, how can I describe the atmosphere of my game?
  • How can I use artistic content (both visual and audible) to deepen that atmosphere?

Lens #95: The Lens of Spectation

  • Is my game interesting to watch? Why or why not?
  • How can I make it more interesting to watch?

Lens #96: The Lens of Friendship

  • What kind of friendships are my players looking for?
  • How do my players break the ice?
  • Do my players have enough chance to talk to each other? Do they have enough to talk about?
  • When is the moment they become friends?
  • What tools do I give the players to maintain their friendships?

Lens #97: The Lens of Expression

  • How am I letting players express themselves?
  • What ways am I forgetting?
  • Are players proud of their identity? Why or why not?

Lens #98: The Lens of Community

  • What conflict is at the heart of my community?
  • How does architecture shape my community?
  • Does my game support three levels of experience?
  • Are there community events?
  • Why do players need each other?

Lens #99: The Lens of Griefing

  • What systems in my game are easy to grief?
  • How can I make my game boring to grief?
  • Am I ignoring any loopholes?