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  •'s Game Design Challenge: The Crate

    - staff
  •'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.

    Each Wednesday we'll present you with a challenge about developing video games. You'll have one week to brainstorm a brilliant solution (see below for how to submit your answers). The following week, the best answers and the names of those who submitted them will be posted along with some commentary.

    The Challenge
    Come up with a list of 10 items that could be used as a crate.

    Assignment Details
    You're at the Game Developers Conference and you meet a game designer who says he works for Sci-Fi Games Studio (note: this is a fictitious company name). You and he strike up a conversation, and you ask what he's working on:

    "I can't say. I'm under NDA right now," he replies. "But I can tell you that we're in the very early stages of preproduction for a next-gen console game."

    You firmly decide that this will not stop you from networking with this guy. "Without saying anything about the game," you say, "can you tell me vaguely what kinds of challenges your team is facing at this stage in development?"

    "Sure," he chirps. "The artists are fleshing out early concept sketches for characters and NPCs. Oh! The designers and artists have been working together to come up with a new object in the game that will essentially be a crate, without being a ‘crate,' if you know what I mean."

    "Neat. Maybe I can help you come up with some ideas! What's the game about again?"

    "I can't say," he reminds you.

    Given what you do know, make a list of 10 items that could replace a standard "crate" in a video game that your new friend can pitch in the next design meeting.

    Consider what information you do have:
    1. The company is called Sci-Fi Games Studio. This might tell you something about the kinds of content the company is likely to be working on.
    2. You want to provide a range of ideas, since you really don't know what the game will be.
    3. "Crates" need to be simple objects which, in and of themselves, don't take up a lot of memory (read: low poly count).
    4. Crates are used for storing, blocking, building, climbing, throwing, smashing, and more! The object needs to be versatile, movable, stackable, and stable when situated on the floor.

    What else do you already know? What other assumptions might you make? Discuss them on the forum

    To Submit

    Come up with a list of 10 items. You may add a few words to each item about the source of inspiration or explanation for why it would work -- but be brief! Artist: You may sketch some ideas if you like (save it as a .jpg and attach it to the email, or host it online and provide the URL).

    Type your list of 10 things directly into an email and send it to [email protected] with the subject line "Design Challenge: The Crate." Be sure to include your full name and school affiliation or job title.

    Entries must be submitted by Wednesday, July 2, 2008.

    The responses for this challenge will appear the week of July 7, 2008.
    The next Design Challenge question will be posted July 2, 2008.

    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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