Game/Level Design Analysis

My colleague Pascal Luban founder of the Game Design Studio just released a new description of his companies methods.

The Game Design Studio is a consulting firm whose mission is to support its clients in the video game industry in designing their games.

Our objective is to support our clients in creating their own design, not to do the game design for them. To accomplish this, we bring a complete range of services that are tailored to bring the very specific know-how required at any moment during the design phase of a game: definition of the concept, game design doctoring or coaching, work on gameplay mechanisms, script writing, level design, etc.

Why do I blog this? what is interesting here (with regards to my interests) is the tool Pascal developed to analyse games. For instance, the methods he set up for level design analysis is very relevant. I like the visualizations he worked out, for instance to depicts how players del with difficulty throughout the levels (picture on the left) or how to adapting the pace of the level to the game genre (picture on the right): He used it to analyse existing games like Crash Bandicoot, the following example Pascal shows is the difficulty analysis for the second level of Crash Bandicoot 2: According to him, judging on this graph, "a trend clearly appears. The game is moderately difficult for the first half then offers two major challenges followed by a cool down period. This is probably not the result of luck but rather a well-thought level design strategy.". I think this sort of tools are very relevant; however I envision lots of ways to move forward, especially through user testing and data-analysis, which is somehow something I am working on (with our work about mobile games here at the lab for instance).