Sites of Play: Locating Gameplace in Red Dead Redemption 2

Westerside Andrew Holopainen Jussi
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

In Video Game Spaces (2009), Michael Nitsche proposes three indicators of ‘placeness’ in video games: identity, self-motivated and self-organised action, and traces of memory (191-201). We read this notion of placeness as closely aligned to, or overlapping with, the understandings of place and site articulated in theatre and performance research as site-specific performance. Here, we articulate the ideas (and analyse the experiences) of placeness and sitedness in Rockstar Games’ Red Dead Redemption 2 (RDR2) through an analytical conversation between performance studies and games design research with a human-computer interaction bias. Through a close-reading of gameplay experiences (Bizzocchi and Tanenbaum, 2011), we individually experienced over 30 hours of RDR2 gameplay while taking notes, recording, and capturing screenshots. During our individual analyses, we met periodically to compare notes, discuss notable game moments and share analytical insights. At this intersection of game research and performance research, we ask to what extent the theoretical articulations of aesthetic/affective experience in physical, corporeal and material spaces can develop – and further nuance – our understanding of how place is experienced (and thus designed) in contemporary videogames. In doing so, we propose the term gameplace as a means of articulating what this article will define as the affective relationship between place, experience and play.


Good Game Feel: An Empirically Grounded Framework for Juicy Design

Hicks Kieran Dickinson Patrick Holopainen Jussi Gerling Kathrin
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

Juicy design refers to the idea that large amounts of audiovisual feedback contribute to a positive player experience. While the concept is popular in the game design community, definitions of the concept remain vague, and it is difficult to analyze which elements contribute to whether a game is perceived as juicy. In this paper, we address this issue through a combination of industry perspectives and academic analysis to provide a more detailed understanding of contributors to juicy design. We present results from an online survey that received responses from 17 game developers, and create an affinity diagram to derive a framework that facilitates the analysis of juicy design rooted in developers’ perspectives. Through application to two commercially available games, we refine the framework, and contribute a tool that makes the idea of juiciness actionable for researchers and designers.


First-Person Walkers: Understanding the Walker Experience through Four Design Themes

Muscat Alexander Goddard William Duckworth Jonathan Holopainen Jussi
2016 DiGRA/FDG '16 - Proceedings of the First International Joint Conference of DiGRA and FDG

The First-Person Walker genre is defined by minimal player interactions, a deliberate slow pacing of the game play, and ambiguous goals. These distinct characteristics of First- Person Walkers challenge how we may consider a digital game. As such, there is a gap in understanding the design attributes that contribute to the unique game experiences afforded by ‘Walkers’. We conduct a player experience study of four Walker games, Gone Home, Dear Esther, Proteus, and The Stanley Parable. From our analysis we discuss four distinct design themes specific to the Walker game experience: 1) player interaction, 2) temporal space, 3) player focus, and 4) ambiguity. We consider how each of these themes can be used to enhance the design of First-Person Walker player experiences.


Game Design Patterns

Björk Staffan Lundgren Sus Holopainen Jussi
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

We present a model to support the design, analysis, and comparison of games through the use of game design patterns, descriptions of reoccurring interaction relevant to game play. The model consists of a structural framework to describe the components of games, and patterns of interaction that describes how components are used by players (or a computer) to affect various aspects of the game play. Focusing on the patterns and identified methods for using them, we describe the development of the model and how we are currently working to enlarge and validate the collection of patterns.


Some Notes on the Nature of Game Design

Kuittinen Jussi Holopainen Jussi
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

The focus of this paper is to have a critical look at the current game design literature through the analytical lenses of the current state of the art in design research. The aim is not to create yet another prescriptive framework for game design but rather an attempt to connect the game design studies to general design studies in a stimulating way. We first discuss what has been said about design in general, including industrial and graphic design, engineering, architecture, and even software design. We will then continue discussing game design specifically compared to the design in general and point out similarities and especially differences. This leads us to a somewhat obvious claim that doing game design is an activity similar to any other design field but that the form and the content are specific to the game design context. Even though this claim might sound obvious it has some unexpected consequences: firstly, it grounds game design in the large body of existing design research and, secondly, it helps in identifying the crucial activities, forms, contents, and contexts that determine the nature of game design. We look at six game design books alongside two distinct but mutually supporting models of design in general. Our focus is in understanding game design as a situated activity and to see how this notion is discussed in the game design literature.


Describing Games: An Interaction-Centric Structural Framework

Björk Staffan Holopainen Jussi
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up

We present a structural framework to describe games in terms of components. The components are divided into four major areas: meta-structure, bounding, narrative and objective. The framework is developed to be used in conjunction with game design patterns, descriptions of patterns of interaction relevant to game play. We describe the development of the framework and how it relates to patterns.


Modelling Experimental Game Design

Holopainen Jussi Nummenmaa Timo Kuittinen Jussi
2010 DiGRA Nordic '10: Proceedings of the 2010 International DiGRA Nordic Conference: Experiencing Games: Games, Play, and Players

This paper uses two models of design, Stolterman’s and Löwgren’s three abstraction levels and Lawson’s model of designing, from the general design research to describe the game design process of an experimental pervasive mobile phone game. The game was designed to be deployed at a big science fiction convention for two days and was part of a research through design project where the focus was to understand which core mechanics could work for pervasive mobile phone games. The design process was, as is usual for experimental designs, very iterative. Data were gathered during the design process as entries in a design diary, notes from playtesting and bodystorming sessions, user interface sketches, and a series of software prototypes. The two complementary models of design were used to analyse the design process and the result is that the models give a good overview to an experimental game design process and reveal activities, design situations, and design choices which could have otherwise been lost in the analysis.


Narrative Friction in Alternate Reality Games: Design Insights from Conspiracy For Good

Stenros Jaakko Holopainen Jussi Waern Annika Montola Markus Ollila Elina
2011 DiGRA '11 - Proceedings of the 2011 DiGRA International Conference: Think Design Play

Alternate Reality Games (ARG) tend to have story-driven game structures. Hence, it is useful to investigate how player activities interact with the often pre-scripted storyline in this genre. In this article, we report on a study of a particular ARG production, Conspiracy For Good (CFG), which was at the same time emphasising the role of strong storytelling, and active on-site participation by players. We uncover multiple levels of friction between the story content and the mode of play of live participants, but also between live and online participation. Based on the observations from the production, we present design recommendations for future productions with similar goals.


Player Perception of Context Information Utilization in Pervasive Mobile Games

Paavilainen Janne Korhonen Hannu Saarenpää Hannamari Holopainen Jussi
2009 DiGRA '09 - Proceedings of the 2009 DiGRA International Conference: Breaking New Ground: Innovation in Games, Play, Practice and Theory

Pervasive games combine real world and virtual game elements in game design. A player might need to find WiFi hot spots, move to different locations based on mobile network cell IDs, or to do certain tasks at different times of the day. These are just few examples how the real world elements can be utilized in game design. The possibilities for using this kind of context information seem versatile, but there is very little knowledge about how players perceive these features. In this paper, we describe a user study where we investigated utilization of multiple context information types in a pervasive mobile game. The results indicate that context information creates a new challenge layer to the game as the players also need to consider issues outside the game world. In addition, the players found context utilization interesting, but it should be carefully explained for what purposes context elements are used in the game design. If the players do not understand the connection between the context and the game design, the feature is not attractive. In our study, time of the day was perceived as the most interesting context information in the game because the utilization was straightforward and easily understood by the players.