Shaping the youth
Its going to be a special topics class on casual game design. I will be creating the curriculum from the ground up so I thought I would post here as I work on it.
What are Casual Games?
Yeah, this is a very sticky question but I will tune it for the class and the goals of the class.
There are many general rules that casual game live by. File size, commitment, etc. I also have many personal rules which could be boiled down to "be nice to your player."
My goal is to get the student to see that the core of game design is not just throwing out ideas. It's easy to say, "I have an awesome game idea, Zombie Chickens vs. Robot Monkeys," but its another task entirely to work out mechanics, levels, weapons, etc.
I want to use 2 exercises. One will allow students to come up with any mechanic. This should be something really focused. For example, a new weapon in an existing game, etc.
The second exercise will be a mechanic that fits a specific idea. Like the memory game I metioned in a previous post.
How Mechanics Create Dynamics
You need to predict how your core mechanics will be used. This helps you build around your core and also helps you find flaws in your designs.
Innovation vs. Polish
Students should understand how these two goals work with/at odds with each other.