Towards Minimalist Game Design

Andrew Nealen, Adam Saltsman, Eddy Boxerman

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Abstract

    In this paper, we describe a design methodology that we have termed Minimalist Game Design. Minimalist games have small rulesets, narrow decision spaces, and abstract audiovisual representations, yet they do not compromise on depth of play or possibility space. We begin with a motivation for and definition of minimalist games, including terms such as "rules," "mechanics," "control," and "interface," and illustrate the importance of artificial design constraints. Using a number of examples, we show the strengths of minimalist game elements in systems, controls, visuals, and audio. Adhering to these constraints, these games feature a small set of mechanics and one core mechanic, while still being sufficiently deep and allowing for player exploration and performance. This depth comes from procedural methods, combinatorial complexity, probability, obfuscation, challenge, or any combination thereof. Our methodology embraces principles of holistic design, where there is no "filler," and where every element of the game contributes to the play experience in some meaningful, deliberate way.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011
    Pages38-45
    Number of pages8
    DOIs
    StatePublished - 2011
    Event6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011 - Bordeaux, France
    Duration: Jun 29 2011Jul 1 2011

    Other

    Other6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011
    CountryFrance
    CityBordeaux
    Period6/29/117/1/11

    Fingerprint

    Mechanics
    Chemical elements
    Fillers
    Control systems

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Artificial Intelligence
    • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
    • Human-Computer Interaction
    • Software

    Cite this

    Nealen, A., Saltsman, A., & Boxerman, E. (2011). Towards Minimalist Game Design. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011 (pp. 38-45) https://doi.org/10.1145/2159365.2159371

    Towards Minimalist Game Design. / Nealen, Andrew; Saltsman, Adam; Boxerman, Eddy.

    Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011. 2011. p. 38-45.

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

    Nealen, A, Saltsman, A & Boxerman, E 2011, Towards Minimalist Game Design. in Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011. pp. 38-45, 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011, Bordeaux, France, 6/29/11. https://doi.org/10.1145/2159365.2159371
    Nealen A, Saltsman A, Boxerman E. Towards Minimalist Game Design. In Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011. 2011. p. 38-45 https://doi.org/10.1145/2159365.2159371
    Nealen, Andrew ; Saltsman, Adam ; Boxerman, Eddy. / Towards Minimalist Game Design. Proceedings of the 6th International Conference on the Foundations of Digital Games, FDG 2011. 2011. pp. 38-45
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