At the 2011 Game Developer's Conference, esteemed designer Chris Trottier assembled advice from her astounding career as a game designer on famed games such as Farmville, The Sims, and others we all know and love. Trottier says there is now, through Facebook, a new portal for a whole slew of players not before accessible. Experiencing the breakthrough new market with The Sims was a precursor to the sea change we are experiencing now with social games.
Designers are finding all kinds of people who didn't think of themselves as being into games. Trottier calls these "accidental gamers." Game designers are not used to this challenge-- most designers have traditionally designed for those already, at least somewhat, into games. Accidental gamers are different kinds of players and don't arrive to games "preloaded" to play games.
Trottier then discussed the state of mothers and their own resource management games. As little NPCs with a range of AI states, children themselves play a significant role in the life of some players. When kids melt down, parents deplete resources. (Parental Players might be very angry at the way in which the design of the parental game was tuned!) To Trottier, Moms game during those in between times, such as naptime, often when they are tapped out of energy. Designers could think of games that might pour a proverbial glass of wine at the end of the day, or be charming, or be a friend. She articulated "The Art of Woo," that is, the way in which a game might in fact court the player with fun, charm, and value.
03 March, 2011