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  • Game Design Challenge: Combat-Free Zone

    - Danny Cowan
  •'s Game Design Challenge is an exercise in becoming a game developer, asking you to look at games in a new way -- from the perspective of a game creator, producer, marketer, businessperson, and so forth.

    Every month, we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have two weeks to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). After the two week submission period elapses, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted.

    The Challenge

    Design an MMO without any combat elements.

    Assignment Details

    Combat is a major gameplay component in many commercially released titles, and massively multiplayer online (MMO) games like World of Warcraft and Guild Wars 2 are no exception. Not all games that deliver an online multiplayer experience need to focus on combat, however.

    Second Life, for instance, started out as a weapons-focused open-world game, but later ditched the combat to refocus on building and social aspects. Ever, Jane, meanwhile, is a Jane Austen-based MMO that relies on user roleplay and environmental customization instead of combat. Another memorable example is Glitch, a browser-based collaborative MMO where users worked together to solve the mysteries of the game world. Despite being active for only a short time between 2009 and 2012, Glitch has already seen multiple revivals with Eleven and Children of Ur. Clearly, there's a demand for gameplay variety in online multiplayer experiences.

    For Game Career Guide's latest Game Design Challenge, your job is to design an MMO without any combat elements.

    Your entry can otherwise feature gameplay elements from any genre, but it must be suitable for an online multiplayer setting. Some possible ideas include an RTS where players manage a fast food restaurant during rush hour, a team-based MMO in which firefighting squads must work together to extinguish fires in open-world city environments, or a multiplayer adventure game where colonists collaborate to build a peaceful civilization on an alien planet. Feel free to get creative with themes and mechanics, and have fun!

    To Submit

    Work on your ideas, figure out your strategy for coming up with a solution, and ask questions on the forums. When your submission is complete, send it to [email protected] with the subject line "Game Design Challenge: Combat-Free Zone." Please type your answer directly in the email body -- do not submit .pdf or Word documents.

    Submissions should be no more than 500 words and may contain up to three images. Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, May 16.

    Results will be posted Tuesday, May 22.

    Disclaimer: is not responsible for similarities between the content submitted to the Game Design Challenge and any existing or future products or intellectual property.


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