So what is a game?
A game has been called a form of art in which participants, called players, make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal.
Important ingredients:
  • players
  • making decisions
  • a goal or outcome
  • rules (resources, game tokens)
  • artificial, limiting context

Important game play elements
  • Reaction speed
  • Experience
  • Insight
  • Cleverness
  • Surprise
  • Emotions

Action, Adventure (incl. RPG), Strategy, Simulation (Vehicles, Management, Construction), Puzzle, Competition (Sports, Online), Education
  • Action - Frantic button pushing,Reaction speed,Experience
  • Adventure (incl. RPG) - Story, Surprise, Emotions
  • Strategy - Non-trivial choices,Insight and cleverness,Experience
  • Simulation (Vehicle, Management, Construction) - Optimization exercises, Insight, Experience
  • Puzzle - Hard analytic thinking, Cleverness
  • Competition (Sports, Online) - Beat the other players

Here is a guide to designing games - this document describes the process of game making.

Designing Games – a guide
Some of the elements that seem to be common to many (if not all) games include:
  • Games are an activity.
  • Games have rules.
  • Games have conflict.
  • Games have goals.
  • Games involve decision making.
  • Games are artificial, they are safe, and they are outside ordinary life. This is sometimes referred to as the players stepping into the “Magic Circle” or sharing a “lusory attitude”.
  • Games involve no material gain on the part of the players.
  • Games are voluntary. If you are held at gunpoint and forced into an activity that would normally be considered a game, some would say that it is no longer a game for you.
  • Games have an uncertain outcome.
  • Games are a representation or simulation of something real, but they are themselves make believe.
  • Games are inefficient. The rules impose obstacles that prevent the player from reaching their goal through the most efficient means.
  • Games have systems. Usually, it is a closed system, meaning that resources and information do not flow between the game and the outside world.
  • Games are a form of art.

Here is a list of game properties proposed by Greg Costikyan in a British Role-Playing journal. In 1994:
A puzzle is static. A game is interactive.
A toy is interactive. But a game has goals.So Sim City is a toy.
Stories are linear. Games are not.
Traditional artforms play to a passive audience. Games require active participation.

A Game design tool Read this then use the design tool to help you in designing your game.

Game Theory reference material
Gamemaker Language reference
For information about how to write the code for Gamemaker use DragNDrop to GML converter.

A game is a form of art in which participants, termed players, make decisions in order to manage resources through game tokens in the pursuit of a goal.
Some things to consider in game design:

Goals. Opposition. Resource management. Information. What decisions do players make in this game?

What are the players' goals? Can the game support a variety of different goals? What facilities exist to allow players to strive toward their various goals?

A game without struggle is a game that's dead.
What provides opposition? What makes the game a struggle?

What resources does the player manage? Is there enough diversity in them to require tradeoffs in making decisions? Do they make those decisions interesting?

What are the players' tokens? What are these tokens' abilities? What resources do they use? What makes them interesting?

Given the decisions players are required to make, what information do they need? Does the game provide the information as and when needed? Will reasonable players be able to figure out what information they need, and how to find it?

How can players/characters help or hinder each other? What incentives do they have to do so? What resources can they trade?

How does the game evoke the ethos and atmosphere and pageantry of its setting? What can you do to make it more colorful?

How can elements of simulation strengthen the game?

What things do the players encounter in this game? Are there enough things for them to explore and discover? What provides variety? How can we increase the variety of encounter?

What can you do to make the player care about his position? What is the overall emotional appeal of the position, and what can be done to strengthen that appeal? Who "is" the player in the game? What is his point of view?
(only in multiplayer games)
What sorts of roles does the system permit or encourage?
(multiplayer again)
How can the game better encourage socialization?

Ideally, a game should be tense all the way through, but especially so at the end. What can be done to make the game tense?
Player interaction
When playing the game are there consequences of certain actions that affect the other players in the game too? For example, will items be traded during the game?
Decision making
Will the game be dependant on luck (eg roll of the dice as in snakes and ladders) or will it be dependant on decisions made by the players (eg assessing the players’ situation before making a
Pace of the game
A good game moves along at a fairly quick pace. Players have more fun in games if their turn comes round frequently!
Every game must have rules set out that define the way the game is played, who wins and any activities within the game.
They should consider different game styles and list games they like and dislike to help them think about what makes a good game.

The Process

Throughout this course we are concentrating on the DDE cycle (Design Develop Evaluate). It may be represented like this

Although in reality it is often more likely to be like this.

With our limited time we will be unlikely to go through an iterative approach.