A Taxonomy of Game Engines and the Tools that Drive the Industry

Toftedahl Marcus Engström Henrik
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

Game engines are a vital part of a game production pipeline, but there is a vagueness of definitions regarding the boundaries of components in a game engine and the rest of the production tools used in a game development pipeline. The aim of this paper is to nuance the use of the term game engine and to put it into the context of a game development pipeline. Based on data from the current state of game production, a proposed taxonomy for tools in game development is presented. A distinction is made between user facing tools and product facing tools. A defining characteristic of the production pipeline and game engines is their plasticity. One of the conclusions is that a “game engine” as a single entity containing the whole game production pipeline is not desirable due to the large number of competences and needs involved in a game development project.


A Recipe for Disaster? The Emerging Ludo Mix and the Outsourcing of Narrative

Bjarnason Nökkvi Jarl
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

Employing The Final Fantasy XV Universe as a case study, this article examines how the changing climate of game development, in tandem with established media mix strategies, contributes to the emergence of the ludo mix as media ecology. Through a comparative analysis of the climate of modern game development and the adoption of media mix strategies, as they relate to the franchise in question, the case is made that these two distinct phenomena intersect to create novel challenges and incentives for a particular kind of game development, wherein the mitigation of mounting production costs has resulted in the strategic outsourcing of Final Fantasy XV’s core narrative, negatively affecting the games critical reception. These findings posit challenges for the future of the ludo mix as the evolving technological, aesthetic and economic climate of game development continues further down the path that has led to this outcome.


In Situ: Researching corporate diversity initiatives with game developers

Westecott Emma Stein Suzanne Hsu Cheryl Rahman Kashfia
2019 DiGRA '19 - Proceedings of the 2019 DiGRA International Conference: Game, Play and the Emerging Ludo-Mix

This paper explicates the design and development of a feminist action research pilot that studied and supported the launch of a diversity initiative within a major game development studio. Drawing on methods from design research including rapid ethnography and model making, we describe the stages our pilot study followed, including key models and high-level findings, as well as outline the ways in which we collaborated with our research partner in this initial stage. Use of these methods helped us build an integrated model that can be used as a strategic tool to direct the focus of ongoing work by our partner and other developers. By sharing our process, we hope to illustrate one way that researchers might engage design research methods in service of equity work of this nature in partnership with the game industry.


Localization from an Indie Game Production Perspective – Why, When and How?

Toftedahl Marcus Backlund Per Engström Henrik
2018 DiGRA '18 - Proceedings of the 2018 DiGRA International Conference: The Game is the Message

This paper investigates the process of game localization from an indie development perspective. The global nature of the digitally distributed game industry gives opportunities for game studios of all sizes to develop and distribute games on a global market. This poses a challenge for small independent developers with limited resources in funding and personnel, seeking to get as wide spread of their game as possible. To reach the players in other regions of the world localization needs to be done, taking language and other regional differences into consideration. In an AAA or big-budget game production, these questions are handled by separate entities focusing solely on the localization process – but how do small independent game developers handle this? Indie game developers in Sweden, China and India have been interviewed to investigate the research question of how indie game developers handle localization in the development process. The results point to a widespread use of community- and fan translation, and that only basic localization is done i.e. culturalization aspects are not considered. The results also show that the reason for localizing can be both business decisions but also to spread a specific message using games.