Game Design

Four games


Game Design (Spring 2008) was a lecture- and project-based course taught by Jesse Schell at Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center. The class centered on mechanics and processes of good game design and the application of these principles to create compelling experiences.

Hopscotch Assignment: Hot Lava Crossing

circular rugs

Hot Lava Crossing is a variant of hopscotch that uses small circular rugs instead of a hopscotch board. Skillfully throw and hop across rugs to be the fastest to cross the hot lava!

The assignment was to identify problems with and improve upon the game of hopscotch. My goals with this hopscotch variant were to make the game more challenging, more fun to watch, and better able to support variation in strategy and playing styles.

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Dice Assignment: Pox

Pox dice game illustration

Pox is a two-player game of chance, voodoo magic, and contagion. Stick a foam "pox board" with a needle to infect the dots on your opponent's dice, then watch as the pox spreads from dice to player!

The assignment was to create a game that features dice as a central component. I pushed myself to focus on the "die as physical object" and come up with a way of looking at dice that was new to me. Although I was not entirely satisfied with Pox's final rule set, the deconstructionist approach I took—in which the dots on a die can be affected/manipulated independent of the die itself—was fascinating to explore. 

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Adventure Assignment: The Headless Hero

Headless hero

The Headless Hero is an adventure role-playing game module for three players. When one of the player characters' heads is stolen by a mysterious wizard, zany hijinks ensue in their quest of recovery and revenge!

The assignment was to create and run a three-hour-long role-playing game session for a small assigned group of classmates. As a first-time gamemaster with an inexperienced group of players, my primary goal was to construct story hooks compelling enough to sustain players' interest and motivation throughout the entire game.

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Freestyle Assignment: Octopus versus Squid

Octopus versus Squid

Octopus versus Squid is a two-player battle of tangling tentacles to control the most pegs on the board! As Octopus and Squid, players stretch their rubber bands across the board to capture pegs, steal each others’ territory, and lock one another down in a many-armed wrestling match.

The assignment was to design, develop, and playtest a game of a style and type of my own choosing. My goal was to create a game with a relatively simple ruleset that supports strategy, experimentation, and discovery. Inspired by the physical object of the geoboard, a peg board used in math classes to explore geometrical concepts, I adopted the geoboard as a game board and rubber bands as game pieces. These unusual materials suggested a host of novel game mechanics involving stretching and bending the bands, evoking the feeling of tentacles grappling for control of the board.

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