Sample questions

Listed below are enough questions for several tests. Chapters refer to the 2nd edition of the textbook -- these will be updated too. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. Give and explain at least 3 different physical laws which are important in physical simulations (using formulas and pictures).
  3. Ch.1: What is a game? Give a short description of the 4 fundamental ideas/concepts of a game.
  4. Ch.1: How do games entertain? Explain some of the different ways a game entertains.
  5. 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)
  6. Ch.1: What is gameplay? Give both components of the game mechanics which comprise gameplay.
  7. Ch.1: What is different about video games (as opposed to generic games). Give at least 4 items where there is a substantial difference.
  8. Ch.1: Give 3 Good Rules of game design, and give a short explanation
  9. Ch.1: Give 3 (of the 6) supporting elements of a design, and give a short explanation
  10. Ch.1: Give 5 (of the 10) challenge types, along with an example of a game that illustrates that type of challenge particularly well. Justify your example.
  11. (Design process) What are the two most common misconceptions of game design? Illustrate these with examples
  12. (Game Concepts) Explain why it is a good idea to ``think about player actions first'' when designing a game.
  13. Justify the statement ``A game is just a real-time database with a pretty front-end''.
  14. What is the principal job of the ``database'' component of a game? Describe it in terms of secrets and services. How does it relate to mods?
  15. Discuss the (software) components that make up a modern game. Make sure to talk about secrets.
  16. What is the principal job of the ``physics engine'' component of a (physics-based) game? Describe it in terms of secrets and services.
  17. Why is polling bad?
  18. Name 3 Game Design Principles (as covered by Sal) and explain them.
  19. (Game Concepts) What are the 8 fundamental game genres?
  20. What is a Game World? What are the purposes of a game world?
  21. 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)
  22. What are the advantages (and disadvantages) of borrowing a known setting for a game?
  23. What is the difference between functional and cosmetic attributes in game customization? Give examples.
  24. (Understanding your player) Expand out the OCEAN model of player characteristics
  25. (Understanding your player) Pick 2 of the 5 Domains of Play, and explain how they relate to player preferences.
  26. Explain the statement "Women are a Market, not a Genre"
  27. Give 5 of the "Seven Kisses of Death" of kids' game development.
  28. Give various ways in which creative play can be constrained.
  29. What is the difference between specific and non-specific avatars?
  30. What are the different categories of choices given to players when designing their own avatar?
  31. There are several issues to consider while designing the visual appearance of characters. Discuss 4.
  32. 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.
  33. Discuss character dimensionality, in terms of emotional dimensions that the characters can show. Illustrate your answer with examples.
  34. There are multiple aspects to voicing a character. Discuss 3, giving specific examples for each.
  35. What are the reasons to put stories in games? And when is it a waste of time?
  36. What are the key concepts in storytelling?
  37. Storytelling, especially in a game, can proceed in various different ways. What are they, what are the advantages / disadvantages, and give examples.
  38. What is a scripted conversation? How would one implement this?
  39. Game series interact with storytelling in complex ways. Explain the various ways a story can be woven into a game series.
  40. Give some general principles of player-centric user-interface design.
  41. Give some items of "What the player needs to know" and link them to issues of user-interface design.
  42. Give some items of "What the player wants to do", and link them to issues of user-interface design.
  43. Outline some techniques for 'Managing Complexity' in games.
  44. Give the four different player interaction models, with examples.
  45. Explain issues of perspectives (camera models), and what game genres 'fit' each perspective.
  46. Explain the different kinds of indicators that occur on HUDs
  47. Give classes of new input devices, and include specific examples from each class.
  48. Explain the different navigation mechanisms found in games
  49. Explain the hierarchy of challenges.
  50. 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).
  51. Explain the relationship between skill, stress, and absolute difficulty
  52. How do you maximize your chances that your game is "fun"?
  53. What is `Core Mechanics'? In detail, what does the game engine `do' that corresponds to core mechanics?
  54. Explain resources, entities and entity-relations, as they pertain to code mechanics.
  55. Give the programming analogy to resources and entities
  56. 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.
  57. What are the 4 design rules associated to Core Mechanics
  58. What is a dominant strategy?
  59. Explain how rock-paper-scissors is a perfectly balanced game.
  60. How does one create balance in an asymmetric game?
  61. Expand PvE and PvP, and explain what they are.
  62. How would you go about making a PvE game fair?
  63. What are some ways of balancing PvP games?
  64. Explain the different types of difficulty (absolute, relative, perceived). What is a difficulty progression?
  65. What are the advantages of difficulty modes?
  66. What is positive feedback, and how does it help balance a game?
  67. What is ``level design'' (the 6 parts of the user experience that must be designed for a level)?
  68. Discuss some of the Key Design Principles (there are 10 of them).
  69. Explain the different kinds of layouts
  70. What are the factors which contribution to `atmosphere' in a level?
  71. What are the items to worry about when designing the progression from level to level?
  72. What are the 5 pitfalls of level design?
  73. Overall: There are some very serious mistakes one can make when designing a game. Pick and explain 5.