Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Game Design and Ratios.

Fraction, Symbol, Icon  I downloaded a game which is designed to help students learn to work with ratios but I'm not sure its a good one.  The premise is the student is given a ratio such as three greens to one red and they have to connect them together with a finger drawn line.

I played it but it seemed just like any other fancy game. I'm not sure how it teaches ratios to students.  But ratios are often used in game design itself.

One type of ratio is a fixed ratio which is where the game designer sets up a ratio after so many repeated actions.  An example might be an extra charge after collecting 20 jewels.  This happens all the time and doesn't change, thus its fixed.

This ratio leads to a period where not much happens until the player decides to go after the goal.  Then the player will move as fast as possible to achieve the goal and getting the reward.

The other ratio is a variable ratio, where the number of action changes so it requires a different number every time to achieve a goal.  For instance, the number of enemy fighters shot down to get a new fighter of your own, changes each time.  The variable ratio encourages more regular activities without the pause associated with the fixed ratio.

Not all rewards are on a fixed or variable ratio.  The designer might choose to use a fixed interval where the player receives a reward.  It might be one reward for every hour played.  It stays the same.  Where as the designer might choose a variable interval where the time played varies before earning the reward.

In a sense the intervals are also a ratio.  Instead of 1 new protection for every 15 wizards dispatched, it might be 1 new protection every 20 minutes.  Its a ratio using time rather than objects.

In addition, the golden ratio plays an important part in game design.  The golden ratio (1:1.61) is used to create proper looking surroundings for the game itself.  So by applying this rule when creating the background, trees, etc, you get a more realistic look because this ratio is found throughout nature and we are used to seeing things that way.

The golden ratio is often used in by dividing the scene into thirds to get a rough idea of where to put things.  In some games, the first third line represents the horizon while the second third is the architecture line.  Other games use the first third line as a line while the second third is the eye height line for the characters.  The vertical lines express where the enemy stands and where the hero or your character stands. 

Again ratios.  I love that ratios are found in game design because there are so many resources out there to teach students game design.  What do you think.