Games Concepts

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The follow text comes from a research to make the Actor Templates of Game Editor. The idea was research the common elements of the games and transform this elements in templates for Game Editor. The most of text here is not original. It's came from some sites and books and needs citation.

General Character types

  • Hero: main character (player avatar)
  • Mentor: advises the hero (used in RPGs)
  • Higher Self: What the here want to be
  • Allies: Characters in the game to help the hero
  • Shape Shifter: characters thats appear in many formats
  • Threshold Guardian (end-of-level boss): is the hardest enemy of the level
  • Trickster: characters that only hinder the hero
  • Shadow: can affect the hero
  • Herald: used to make changes in the game flux

Game Types


  • Score
  • High Score
  • Level
  • Lives remaining
  • Power bar
  • Generic counter (to monitor some variable in the game)

Artificial Life

  • Games which involve the growth and/or maintenance of digital creatures

of some sort, which can die without the proper care by the player.

  • Often growth and the happiness or contentedness of the characters are the goals of the game


  • An adventure game is an interactive story about a character who is controlled by the player
  • Text entry (verb + nouns, UP, DOWN, NORTH...)
  • Needs a parser to understood the command
  • Fires an action (changes the room, show a text, ...)
  • made up of multiple, connected rooms or screens
  • finding keys
  • unlocking doors
  • Characters are usually able to carry objects, such as weapons, keys, tools, and so on
  • Players often are able to carry objects which are kept track of by an inventory function
  • exploration, collection or manipulation of objects, puzzle solving, and a reduced emphasis on combat and action elements
  • Challenges:
    • Finding keys to locked doors:

By doors and keys, we mean any obstruction that prevents progress and any object that removes the obstruction. Many adventure game puzzles are of this type. The challenge as a designer is to give players enough variety that they don't all seem the same.

    • Figuring out mysterious machines:

This is, in effect, a combination lock instead of a lock with a key. The player has to manipulate a variety of knobs to make a variety of indicators show the correct reading. Try to make their presence reasonably plausible, too many adventure games include mysterious machines that are clearly just a puzzle, not a realistic part of their world.

    • Obtaining inaccessible objects:

In this kind of puzzle, there's an object, whether it's a treasure or something needed for some other purpose, that the player can see but not reach. The solution is often to find a clever way of reaching the object, perhaps by building some device that will give access to it.

    • Manipulating people:

Sometimes an obstruction is not a physical object, but a person, and the trick is to find out what will make the person go away or let the player pass. If it's a simple question of giving him something he wants, then it's really just a lock-and-key puzzle. A more creative approach is to create a puzzle in which the person must be either defeated or distracted.

    • Navigating mazes:

This is an area that's deliberately confusing to move around in so that it's hard to know where you are and to get where you want to go. Use mazes sparingly. They're easy to make badly but difficult to make interesting. A maze should always contain cues that an observant player can notice and use to help her learn her way around.

    • Decoding cryptic messages:

Many players enjoy decoding messages, as long as there are sufficient clues to help out.

    • Solving memorization puzzles:

These puzzles require the player to remember where something is, a variant of concentration. She can usually defeat these by taking notes, but that's reasonable enough; it's how we remember things anyway. The real challenge for you as the designer is to create a realistic reason for the puzzle to be in the game.

    • Collecting things:

This is really a compound version of other puzzles; the player's job is to find all five of the pieces of the magic world.

    • Doing detective work:

The basis for lots of police-procedure games, detective work is great fun. Instead of solving a "puzzle" per se, the player has to figure out a sequence of events from clues and interviews with witnesses. It doesn't necessarily have to be a crime; it could be any unknown event.

    • Understanding social problems:

No, we don't mean inflation or unemployment. The challenges of understanding, and perhaps influencing, the relationships between people is a little-explored aspect of adventure game design. Most of the people in adventure games have very simple, mechanical states of mind. If we devote a little more effort to it, people, rather than objects, could become the primary subject of adventure games, and this would make the games much more interesting.

    • Doing detective work:

The basis for lots of police-procedure games, detective work is great fun. Instead of solving a "puzzle" per se, the player has to figure out a sequence of events from clues and interviews with witnesses. It doesn't necessarily have to be a crime; it could be any unknown event.

    • Understanding social problems:

No, we don't mean inflation or unemployment. The challenges of understanding, and perhaps influencing, the relationships between people is a little-explored aspect of adventure game design. Most of the people in adventure games have very simple, mechanical states of mind. If we devote a little more effort to it, people, rather than objects, could become the primary subject of adventure games, and this would make the games much more interesting.

Graphic Adventure

  • Full screen (clickable objects in whole screen)
  • Half of screen with text or icons


  • Games involving characters who fight usually hand-to-hand, in one-to-one combat situations without the use of firearms or projectiles


  • Games which simulate the play of a pinball game


  • Games in which the primary objective requires movement through a

series of levels, by way of running, climbing, jumping, and other means of locomotion.

  • Characters and settings are seen in side view as opposed to top view
  • These games often also can involve the avoidance of dropped or falling objects, conflict with (or navigation around) computer-controlled characters, and often some character, object, or reward at the top of the climb which provides narrative motivation.

Role-Playing Games

  • Games in which players create or take on a character represented by various statistics, which may even include a developed persona.
  • The character’s description may include specifics such as species, race, gender, and occupation, and may also include various abilities, such as strength and dexterity, to limited degrees usually represented numerically.
  • Character generation screen (Character information) (numeric change with slides, lists, ...)
    • Race
    • Experience
    • Strength
    • Dexterity
    • Hit points
    • Burden
    • Oil time
    • Torch time
    • Injuries
    • Rooms
    • Treasures
    • Saves

  • Some other common attributes (based on Advanced Dungeons and Dragons):
    • Strength
    • Dexterity
    • Wisdom
    • Stamina
    • Intelligence
    • Charisma

  • Primary and secondary attributes (Fallout 2):
    • Primary set of attributes:
      • Strength
      • Perception
      • Endurance
      • Charisma
      • Agility
      • Intelligence
      • Luck
    • Secondary set of attributes:
      • Hit points (calculated from strength and endurance)
      • Armor Class (based on agility)

  • All the basic character development decisions, and some in-game decisions,

are based on tests against some combination of these attributes

  • These tests are usually done via simulated die roll

  • In-game screen
  • Inventory screen
    • array of boxes
    • Each box can carry one type of item, and assuming an item is small enough,

several items of the same type will be stored in the same box, up to some maximum limit

    • A limit of items can exists
    • Usually item weight is used as a secondary constraint. It does not matter how many boxes the player has free; his character can only carry so many "magical lead weights of righteous indignation."
    • The itens can exists in a single slot. So, empty slots can be reorganized to have a new item
    • All itens can have the same size on the slots
    • A game item can be drag to the inventory (and removed later)
  • based strongly around a story
  • Text feedback
  • Interaction Model:
    • character management
    • navigation and control
    • and inventory
  • Class system:
    • is an arbitrary set of restrictions that prevent characters of a certain class from learning particular skills.

Strategy and War Games (Blizzard's Warcraft )

  • Have some features of RPG games like inventory and character information
  • Controlling large groups of units to solve a goal that could not be achieved by one unit alone
  • The map is hidden until the player reach the location (automapping)
  • Left-clicking to select a unit
  • Right-clicking on an object to select a context-sensitive action for the unit to perform on that object
  • Click-drag to select a group of units
  • Unit training
  • Indicator bars above the units can be used to show some property
  • Circles bellow the units show a selected state
  • Fog of war: The player can see only enemy units that are within the line of sight of any of his units

Shoot ’Em Up (or Shooter) (the "’Em" is short for "them")

  • Games involving shooting at, and often destroying, a series of opponents or objects.
  • games usually require quick reflexes
  • usually feature multiple opponents attacking at once or multiple objects which can be destroyed
  • are two main classes of scrolling shooter:
    • with fixed scrolling, where the screen would continuously scroll in one direction
    • with variable scrolling, where the player had some degree of control over the scroll direction.

  • types of Shoot ’Em Up games:
    • the player-character moves horizontally back and forth at the bottom of the screen shooting upward while opponents moving around above shoot downward (as in Space Invaders)
    • the character moves freely about the screen, encountering opponents from all sides (as in Berserk or Robotron: 2084)

Construction and Management Simulations (Sim City, strategy games)

  • Most CMSs give the player the chance to build and manage some entity, using two general sets of tools: one for building and one for managing
  • The rules of a CMS define its internal economy and the ways in which the player can influence that economy.
  • An economy is a system in which resources are produced, consumed, and exchanged.
  • Resources:
    • Resources can be tangible, requiring storage space that must be constructed and paid for, or intangible, occupying no physical space and costing nothing to move from place to place.
    • Every resource, intangible or tangible, must have one or more sources
    • The sources can have a production rate for each resource
    • This production rate can be fixed or variable, and rates can be different at different sources
    • Sources can be limited or unlimited
    • If the entire game contains only a limited amount, the game can be said to be closed-ended. The game must eventually end or fail when the essential resource is gone.
    • If the amount of the resource is unlimited, the game is open-ended, it can continue indefinitely.

  • Drains:
    • A drain is an activity that consumes resources.
    • The two most common drains in CMSs:
      • construction, building or buying new things to serve some purpose
      • maintenance, ongoing spending required to prevent loss or decay
    • Construction happens only when the player wants it
    • Maintenance can be player-controlled, but it is often an automatic function that occurs whether the player wants it to or not.

  • Converters:
    • A converter is a location or activity that turns one or more resources into another.
    • It drains one resource while serving as the source for another at the same time.
    • In designing a converter, you must specify the input-to-output ratio between resources consumed and resources produced, as well as its production rate.

  • Construction:
    • Construction is the part of the game that lets the player exercise her imagination and create something unique and personal.
    • Construction itself isn't the challenge in a CMS. The challenge is in obtaining the resources needed for the construction.

    • Construction types:
      • Buy:
        • When the player buys an object (a segment of wall, say), the resources to build it are deducted from stockpiles, and the object immediately appears in a designated location.
        • happened instantly

      • Design-and-build:
        • This mechanism is more often seen in games in which the player does a little construction, then some management, then more construction, and so on.
        • the player marks out an area where new construction will appear.
        • The game often displays the new building in a ghostly, semitransparent form to indicate that it is under construction.
        • takes time to build

  • Demolition:
    • You should consider whether you want demolition to cost something, cost nothing, or actually earn money. If it costs money to demolish something, you are, in effect, penalizing the player for changing his mind and perhaps encouraging him to plan more carefully in the future.
    • A player must never be able to sell an item back to the computer for more than he paid for it, unless he has expended further resources to upgrade it somehow.

Persistent Worlds

  • permanent environments that players can play in, retaining the state of their avatar from one session to another

Action Games (shooters and non-shooters)

  • The primary model in action games is based purely on fast interactions hand-eye coordination and reaction speed.
  • The player is usually given direct control over a single avatar.
  • the control methods for action games are usually extremely simple

Other game type structures

  • Action
    • Beat-'Em-Up
    • Platformer
    • Fighting
    • Shooter
      • Scrolling
  • Adventure
  • Arcade
  • Cards & Lottery
  • Driving
  • Kids
  • Puzzles
  • Strategy
  • RPG
  • Simulation
  • Sports

Game Elements


  • A level is a specifically defined area in the game arena, in which the objective for the player is to complete a specific task.
  • A set of themed levels usually ends with an encounter with a big boss
  • In some cases, the boss has to be defeated with the use of power-ups and/or skills that the player gained during the preceding level set.


  • The most straightforward form of checkpoint is that the avatar appears in the same location where it died or appears in the last safe location before it died
  • The state of the level is unchanged the avatar just reincarnates, and play continues.
  • A game can have several checkpoints in a single level. So, when the player dies, can returns to the last checkpoint


  • Initially, the number of lives provided usually ranges from between three and five.
  • A life is lost by collision with an enemy or some other dangerous structure.
  • Extra lives can be earned either by picking up a power-up or reaching a certain score threshold multiple.
  • The player's avatar is usually invulnerable for a few seconds when reappearing after losing a life
  • When all lives are lost, the game is over.


  • The player's avatar is given a limited amount of energy
  • The avatar isn't destroyed immediately on contact with the enemy. Instead, energy is drained from the avatar. When all the energy is drained, a life is lost.
  • replenished by the use of a collectible or a power-up.

Time Limit

  • The time limit design element is indicated by the use of a timer that counts down from some initial value to zero. When the timer reaches zero, an action occurs that causes a major event in the game.
  • types:
    • level timer:
      • The player has a limited amount of time to complete the level, and if he fails to do so, the level is reset
      • Often, this is accompanied by a life loss
      • if the level is finished with time left over, then this excess time is multiplied by a constant as a score bonus.

    • countdown to a catastrophe:
      • The player has to achieve some task before the timer runs out, or the task will become much more difficult to achieve.

    • limit the effectiveness of power-ups:
      • When the timer runs out, the temporary power-up that it governed is removed, and the player's avatar reverts to the normal state.


  • It is how the player is intended to measure her success against others
  • are recorded in high-score tables for posterity
  • Many games also reward skillful play with bonus scores and multipliers


  • As a reward for progress, the player is given the opportunity to increase the strength of his avatar.
  • In the case of a shooter, this can come in the form of stronger weapons or shields.
  • types:
    • Permanent:
      • A permanent power-up is one that remains with the avatar for the remainder of the game (or at least the current life or level).
    • Temporary:
      • Temporary power-ups are usually short lived (anything from a few seconds up to a couple of minutes) and provide the avatar with a powerful advantage for a short time (such as shields).
      • The general rule is that the more powerful the advantage, the shorter the time it is available for.
      • An alternative to the time limit is to allow a certain amount of usage.


  • Collectibles are bonus objects that allow the player to augment his score.
  • collectibles can unlock secret levels or cause special bonus events.

Smart Bombs

  • The function of the smart bomb is to clear the area immediately surrounding the player of enemies.
  • Usually, the player is given a strictly limited number of smart bombs, and opportunities to replace them are either extremely rare or non-existent.


  • Moves the player to another game location


  • The enemies that confront the player's avatar can be introduced in a number of ways generally called waves
  • Types:
    • appearance times of the enemies are (for the most part) pre-scripted.
    • approaching wave formation is to make the enemies materialize randomly.

The Big Boss

  • In many games, the end of a group of themed levels is guarded by a large enemy, the boss character, who is significantly harder to fight than any of the previously encountered enemies.
  • Boss characters often can't be hurt by normal methods and require a special attack method to be damaged.
  • Can be a much bigger and stronger version of an enemy that the player has already encountered.
  • The pattern of a succession of levels increasing in difficulty and challenge to a climax with the boss, before starting again at a slightly lower difficulty level

Wildcard Enemies

  • many games use a randomly spawned wildcard enemy to provide a fresh challenge to the player, and break up the predictability of wave-based gameplay
  • are normally mixed in with normal enemies
  • behave in a somewhat random or unexpected way

Locked Door and Key

  • The player encounters a locked door (an obstacle) that requires a key to open it. The key is hidden somewhere in the level, and must be found in order to open the door.
  • Key is not necessarily a physical key
  • a key is used to open a door to give access to another key which in turn opens another door that the player encountered previously.

Monster Generators

  • It's an object that generates fresh enemies to confront the player.
  • The monster generator isn't always visible
  • destroy the monster generators, and no more monsters will appear
  • the generator will spawn an infinite number of monsters or just a limited amount before being spent.

Dungeon Exits and Level Warps

  • The dungeon exit signifies a transition within the game. Usually, this transition involves progressing to a new level, or a new area within the current level
  • usually guarded by enemies and/or is well-hidden


  • a small dynamically updated map or radar display in the status display
  • can show the entire game world to the player
  • can show a zoomed-out view of the area surrounding the player
  • can have the map build up as the player explores

Item Collection

  • Provide the player with a system to hold collected itens and select later


  • You can define an object that have some stages to build. Each stage demands on predeterminated quantity of resources (wood, stones...)
  • When the object reach a level of some resource, they can advance to a higher stage (floor, walls, second floor...)
  • The housing concept can be useful for other kinds of objects, like ships, farms, factories...
  • Define the min and max quantity of resources to hold, the time step to get the resources (1kg/s, for example)