Sample final questions
Listed below are enough questions for several midterms.
There will also be questions covering material which
was on the assignments!
Not all questions are equally difficult (or equally time consuming)
and so would be not all be worth the same.
- Give an example of a game with weird physics. Pick a
game which is supposed to be based on physical laws (of some
reasonable universe, i.e. not Tetris nor even Super Mario) and
explain carefully how some phenomenon in the game is not
based on normal} physics. Be precise about what exactly is
abnormal about the behaviour - give laws, quantities,
relations, etc using mathematical formulations.
- Why is polling bad?
- Give and explain at least 3 different physical laws which
are important in physical simulations (using formulas and
- Ch.1: What is a game? Give a short description of the 4
fundamental ideas/concepts of a game.
- Ch.1: How do games entertain? Explain some of the different
ways a game entertains.
- Ch.1: List the 3 kinds of immersion and give an example of each
(examples don't have to be the ones given in class)
- Ch.1: What is gameplay? Give both components of the
game mechanics which comprise gameplay.
- Ch.1: What is different about video games (as opposed to
generic games). Give at least 4 items where there is a substantial
- Ch.1: Give 3 (of the 5) Good Rules of game design, and give a short
- Ch.1: Give 3 (of the 6) supporting elements of a design, and give
a short explanation
- Ch.1: Give 4 (of the 10) challenge types, along with an example
of a game that illustrates that type of challenge particularly well.
Justify your example.
- Ch. 2: (Design process) What are the two most common misconceptions of
game design? Illustrate these with examples
- Ch. 3: (Game Concepts) Explain why it is a good idea to
``think about player actions first'' when designing a game.
- Ch. 3: (Game Concepts) What are the 8 fundamental game genres?
- Ch. 4: What is a Game World? What are the purposes of a
- Ch. 4: What are the dimensions of a game world? Explain each
dimension and give an issue relating to each dimension
(typically giving 4 of the 5 would be sufficient for full marks)
- Ch. 5: What is the difference between functional and cosmetic
attributes in game customization? Give examples.
- Ch. 5: Give various ways in which creative play can
- Ch. 6: What is the difference between specific and
- Ch. 6: What are the different categories of choices given to
players when designing their own avatar?
- Ch. 6: There are several issues to consider while designing
the visual appearance of characters. Discuss 4.
- Ch. 6: An important aspect of designing main characters is
character depth. What are different ways one can
impart depth to one's character? Give specific examples
in each case.
- Ch. 6: Discuss character dimensionality, in terms of
emotional dimensions that the characters can show. Illustrate
your answer with examples.
- Ch. 6: There are multiple aspects to voicing a
character. Discuss 3, giving specific examples for each.
- Ch. 7: What are the reasons to put stories in games? And when is it
a waste of time?
- Ch. 7: What are the key concepts in storytelling?
- Ch. 7: Storytelling, especially in a game, can proceed in various
different ways. What are they, what are the advantages /
disadvantages, and give examples.
- Ch. 7: What is a scripted conversation? How would one implement
- Ch. 7: Game series interact with storytelling in complex ways.
Explain the various ways a story can be woven into a game
- Ch. 8: Give some general principles of player-centric
- Ch. 8: Give some items of "What the player needs to know" and
link them to issues of user-interface design.
- Ch. 8: Give some items of "What the player wants to do", and
link them to issues of user-interface design.
- Ch. 8: Outline some techniques for 'Managing Complexity'
- Ch. 8: Explain issues of perspectives (camera models), and what
game genres 'fit' each perspective.
- Ch. 8: Explain the different kinds of indicators
- Ch. 8: Give classes of new input devices, and include specific
examples from each class.
- Ch. 8: Explain the different navigation mechanisms found in
- Ch. 9: Explain the hierarchy of challenges.
- Ch. 9: Explain some of the commonly used challenges
(there are lots, and a certain amount of complexity would be
expected in the answer to this question, in other words it
would likely be worth a non-trivial number of marks, corresponding
to requiring non-trivial details).
- Ch. 9: Explain the relationship between skill, stress, and
- Ch. 9: How do you maximize your chances that your game is "fun"?
- Ch. 10: What is `Core Mechanics'? In detail, what does the
game engine `do' that corresponds to core mechanics?
- Ch. 10: Explain resources, entities and entity-relations, as
they pertain to code mechanics.
- Ch. 10: Give the programming analogy to resources and
- Ch. 10: Explain the concepts of the `internal economy' in
a game, including the ideas of drains, sources, converters, traders
and production mechanics. What are feedback loops, mutual
dependencies and deadlocks in this context? Furthermore,
explain the difference between static and dynamic equilibrium.
- Ch. 10: What are the 4 design rules associated to Core
- Ch. 11: What is a dominant strategy?
- Ch. 11: Explain how rock-paper-scissors is a perfectly balanced
- Ch. 11: How does one create balance in an asymmetric game?
- Ch. 11: Expand PvE and PvP, and explain what they are.
- Ch. 11: How would you go about making a PvE game fair?
- Ch. 11: What are some ways of balancing PvP games?
- Ch. 11: Explain the different types of difficulty
(absolute, relative, perceived). What is a difficulty
- Ch. 11: What are the advantages of difficulty modes?
- Ch. 11: What is positive feedback, and how does it help
balance a game?
- Ch. 12: What is ``level design'' (the 6 parts of the user
experience that must be designed for a level)?
- Ch. 12: Discuss some of the Key Design Principles (there are
10 of them).
- Ch. 12: Explain the different kinds of layouts
- Ch. 12: What are the factors which contribution to
`atmosphere' in a level?
- Ch. 12: What are the items to worry about when designing the
progression from level to level?
- Ch. 12: What are the 5 pitfalls of level design?
- Ch. 14: What are some game features specific
to Strategy Games? What about important core mechanics most
prevalent in that genre?
- Ch. 14: Explain issues of the presentation layer
which are important for Strategy Games.
- Ch. 16: What are some game features specific
to Sports Games? What about important core mechanics most
prevalent in that genre?
- Ch. 16: Explain issues of the presentation layer
which are important for Sports Games.
- Justify the statement ``A game is just a real-time database
with a pretty front-end''.
- What is the principal job of the ``database''
component of a game? Describe it in terms of
secrets and services. How does it related to mods?
- Discuss the (software) components that make up a modern game.
Make sure to talk about secrets.
- What is the principal job of the ``physics engine''
component of a (physics-based) game? Describe it in terms of
secrets and services.
- Overall: There are some very serious mistakes one can make
when designing a game. Pick and explain 5.
- What are the parts of a game which can be tested automatically,
and which require user testing?
- What can be done to a game engine to make sure testing can be
- Explain some of the issues of scaling games across displays
of different sizes. Use Plants vs Zombies to illustrate your