8KindsOfFun.com:The collected game design rants of Marc "MAHK" LeBlanc
Because you asked, here is a brief list of the "Eight Kinds of Fun."
Game as sense-pleasure
Game as make-believe
Game as unfolding story
Game as obstacle course
Game as social framework
Game as uncharted territory
Game as soap box
Game as mindless pastime
Audio and Video
It's about time some of this stuff appeared in prose form. If only I
could take credit.
MDA: A Formal Approach to Game Design and Game Research
This is an excellent elucidation of the Mechanics/Dynamics/Aesthetics
(MDA) framework. It was written by Robin Hunicke and Robert Zubek for
the AAAI workshop. (I am listed as an author, but I provided only the
concepts, not the actual prose.) It's an academic paper, so be warned
that the writing is a little more pointy-headed than something you'd
see in Game Developer.
Tools for Creating Dramatic Game Dynamics
This is an original essay I wrote for Eric Zimmerman and Katie Salen's excellent book, The Game Design Reader: A Rules of Play Anthology
This essay is not yet available online, but you can buy
the book from MIT press. Well worth it!
Game Design Workshop
This workshop is an intensive 2-day curriculum where attendees work in
small groups on game design problems. The design problems involve
playing a game, analyzing its aesthetics, and then modifying it to
satisfy some new design constraint (or to fix a design bug).
The workshop has been running at the GDC since 2001.
Here are slides from lectures and sessions I presented during my
recent speaking tour.
Intuition and Intellect: Deconstructing the Design of Oasis GDC 2005
This lecture talks about the design Oasis, an award-winning downloadable game
which was created by Andrew Leker with considerable help from myself.
It uses Oasis as an opportunity to discuss MDA, and the implicit "intuition vs. intellect" debate within the game industry.
Mechanics, Dynamics, Aesthetics Northwestern University
This classroom session presents the
Mechanics/Dynamics/Aesthetics (MDA) framework that I use for talking about game
design. It was an interactive class session, using Sissyfight 3000 to demonstrate
some of the key concepts of MDA.
The Last Mile: Game Design from a Programmer's PerspectiveUniversity of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania State University
This lecture presents the MDA framework, focusing on Aesthetics and
going into less detail on Mechanics and Dynamics than the Northwestern
slides. At UPenn, we played Three
Musketeers and used it to talk about dramatic structure in games.
At PSU, the "interactive" portion was removed for time and format
Ten Interview Questions for Game Programmers
This is a technical lecture about game programming. It's a survey of
game progamming topics, presented as questions a game programmer might
get asked at a job interview. It's targeted both at computer science
in becoming game programmers, and at programmers in other fields who
are interested in finding out what sorts of problems come up in game
I suppose the ulterior motive of this lecture is to
point out just how "hard core" game programming really is: to encourage
aspiring game programmers to take their math and CS education
seriously, and to convince programmers in other fields that game
programmers aren't just slackers who can't get a "real" job.
Most of these are actual questions that I have either asked or been
asked at an interview. (Apologies to the folks whose questions I stole.)
Some are questions that I haven't ever used, but might in the future.
Video Game Math: Circle-on-Circle Collision Detection
This is a high school trig lecture. It shows how to solve a common
game programming problem using only high-school-level trig. It's
targeted at high school trig students who are wondering "what is all
this stuff really good for?"
If you are a high school math teacher and would be
interested in having me to come to your school and give this lecture, please contact
live in the Bay Area, but travel to places like Boston and Detroit a
few times a year.
Formal Design Tools: Emergent Complexity,
Emergent Narrative GDC 2000
Formal Design Tools: Feedback Systems and the
Dramatic Structure of Competition GDC 1999
I'm working on prose versions of the talks, but it's been like
pulling teeth. If you would like to see these talks as papers, pleasepester me via email and maybe
I'll be inspired to finish them.
P.S. If you were expecting a fancy page with slick graphics and
"multimedia goodness," then your ticket to disappointment city has
been punched. I'm a firm believer in function over form when it comes
to web pages, and take pride in the fact that my pages are compatible