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Game Design School - BASIC GAME LOOP

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After this page:
  • You understand what makes a game tick
  • You know what you need to provide for the player
  • You can build a basic game loop
  • You understand rewarding is in the very core of any gameplay


This is one of the most important things to study on our online game design course.
Aim to get your player to the positive satisfaction loop :)


In any given game, this is what happens.
Player enters the game and asks
1) What
What should I do in this game?
If the player can't find the answer, the player will quit the game.
Sample "what": kill zombies.
If player gets the what, next the player will ask:
2) How
How do I do it? Again, if answer is not provided, player can quit the game.
Sample "how": find the loaded shotgun and shoot the zombies.
3) Goal
After getting these, even from the intro or splash screen, player should know what is the goal and player start to aim for this.
Sample goal: kill all zombies in Level 1 to protect your family.
4) Challenge
If there is no challenge in reaching the goal, it's not a game or it's just too east, and player might quit again.
Sample: zombie are coming from all directions and you need to unlock a door to get more ammunition
5) Reward
After learning what to do in the game, how to do it, getting to the goal and overcoming the challenge, player needs to be rewarded.
The reward can be a new unlock, new weapon, new item, there are so many options.
Also, the player should be greeted and complimented!
"You read this far, you gonna learn to be a great designer!"
Didn't that feel somewhat good :D
6) Why
This can come at any point during the first hour. You start wondering why do I play this game.
You should give the player a reason, give them a motivation through story or so and answer what is the reason to play the game.
You will even start to wonder: "Is this a game I like? Is this something I could spend some time with it".
Here you make the decision whether to continue with the game or not.
Here you also just about make the decision is this a game you could probably buy.
In this the storyline, long term goal and metagame can help.

TETRIS SAMPLE Tetris Game Design Examples

If you've never played Tetris here's how the Core loop would go it.
What: What is this game, how do you play this. You could understand from a single picture that the single piece should be matched with the others.
How: Adding a little arrow to a picture could help you understand that you can rotate the pieces. Otherwise you would learn it via tutorial or reading about the controls.
Why: Tetris usually only has one reason: don't hit the top of the screen or you lose. This could be expanded with a storyline or a deeper reason.

Goal: Your goal is to rotate the pieces so that they fit the bottom row as well possible to create complete rows which are then removed. Your goal is to not hit the top of the screen.
Challenge: The challenge to the game comes from the different shapes of the pieces, that they drop down and that the speed increases as the game advances.
Reward & Satisfaction: You get reward whenever you can fit a piece nicely as this helps you in the game. When ever you complete a row as this is removed as a reward. At this point we could show some particles effect to the player to celebrate this. Player gets satisfaction when ever a row is removed.


Exercise xxxTITLExxx
Intermediate - 1 hour


Exercise xxxTITLExxx
Easy - 1 hour