Game Design & Development I
CGR 125
Instructor: Morrison

Game Design Assignment #2

Choose One: “Who Are You?” Or “What’s the Point?”

Who Are You?
Memorable characters in video games—Link, Lara Croft, Master Chief, Duke Nukem, and Solid Snake—are sometimes bigger than the games in which they initially appeared. However, for every well-known character, there are at least 100 characters that have faded blissfully (if regrettably) into obscurity. For this assignment, your goal will be to create a character from the ground up. You need more than a visual, though. To complete this challenge, you need a fully rounded character with a time and a place, a past, and plans for the future. Your character may be fictional, but it must exist in the real world in the past or present.

Components Required

  • Internet connection for research
  • Concept sketch (scanned and part of the paper)
  • Character interview
  • Biography including strengths, weaknesses, personal history, and two defining moments
  • Story arc (3 paragraphs)
  • 2-3 page assignment total


Suggested Process

  1. Select a time period and a place for your character.

If your character is for a particular game that you have already been working on, then maybe you’re already finished. Otherwise, select a time period or a place that you’re interested in, but do not know a lot about. This natural curiosity will serve you well as you research your character’s history. (If you don’t care much about the history of Ireland in the year 800, then randomly selecting it for your character isn’t going to make you care about it more.) If you are completely uncertain about what to research, type the formula into a cell in Microsoft Excel: =RAND()*2009. The formula will kick out a random year between 0 and 2009. You can set the cell to show you no decimals or just ignore them. Every time you press F9, you’ll get a new year. If you prefer a non-digital method, roll three 10-sided dice to get the last three digits of the year, then roll a fourth die for the thousands digit and re-roll if it isn’t 0, 1 or 2.

  1. Complete the interview.

For your character, pretend you are interviewing that person. Think about how he would answer these questions. Answer them for yourself, on your character’s behalf.

o    What is your name? Gender? Race? Religion? Age?

o    Where were you born? What about your parents—where are they, and are they alive? When you were growing up, did you struggle, and if so, in what way?

o    What year is it now?

o    How would someone stereotype you at a glance?

o    Do you have a romantic partner? If so, whom?

o    Who is your best friend and what is he/she/it like? How would your friend describe you?

o    What is your economic situation? What have you done for work?

o    Would you steal? How do you feel about lying? Can you be trusted by your friends? Do you have any other vices?

o    What makes you happy? What makes you sad?

o    What is the one secret that no one must know about you?

o    Are you afraid to die?

o    Do you have any phobias?

o    Are you quick tempered or patient?

  1. Create deliverable.

What’s the Point?
Exploring different story arcs allows designers to consider multiple possibilities for a single story concept. In this challenge, your goal is to develop an arc for a single story concept and suggest gameplay mechanics that might facilitate your story’s progression. The concept for your story is up to you.Select from the story arcs covered earlier in this chapter—the three-act story arc, the five-part hero’s journey, and the 14-part arc from the Screen Writer’s Master Chart. You may also use the character you developed in Challenge 1, if you like.

Components Required

  • Internet connection for research
  • 2 Paragraph statement on your story’s basic premise
  • Three-act story arc or
  • Five-part hero’s journey arc or
  • 14-part Screen Writer’s Master Chart arc (2-3 pages)


Suggested Process

  1. Choose a premise.

If you have a story in your head, you’re already part-way there. If not, there are a lot of places you can look for starting points. Choose a character, or a situation, or a goal, and build from there. Or look at the different acts in a typical story arc and ask yourself what you would want to see in each act. You can start at the beginning with an inciting moment, or you can start at the end and then work backward.

  1. Grow your story.

From your starting point, work your way forward and backward, adding detail until you have a complete story arc.

  1. Think of gameplay.

For your story, what kinds of mechanics and dynamics would fit well?

  1. Create deliverable.