Design Practice case study

Choose a CRPG that you believe, from your own experience of playing it, is an excellent example of the genre (or use one your instructor assigns). It should be a single-player CRPG for the purposes of this exercise. You are free to select one with a single avatar or one in which you control a party. Write a report documenting the features that place it in this genre as opposed to another one and explaining why you believe it is superior to others of its kind. Be sure to cover at least the following areas:

■ Consider how much time you spent before the start of the game selecting, creat­ing, or modifying your avatar(s). Was that time well spent? Was the system easy to follow and to use? Once in the game, did you feel that you had made good choices? If not, with what information could the developer have provided you to make char­acter selection easier?

■ Describe how well the game maintains your immersion within the gameplay.

Are there any interface interruptions that remind you of the computer? Are there any game mechanics that should be hidden but are not?

■ Describe how well the game maintains your sense of immersion and emotional attachment through the character development of your avatar. Are the dialog choices fitting for your character and do they reflect the personality of your charac­ter? Do NPCs respond appropriately to the behavior, actions, or dialog choices you make? Does your play in the world impact the story?

■ Review the interface for the inventory. Does it make it simple for you to store or use items? Are there limitations to the inventory system that impact your ability to play or that require you to spend an inordinate amount of time manipulating objects?

■ Address the experience points and leveling up of your character(s). Does it make sense? Were you able to clearly understand how the leveling up worked when you selected your avatar(s)? Do you feel that the XP and leveling is well balanced and does it enhance or hinder the game play experience?

The design questions in the next section may help you to think about these issues. In your report, use screen shots to illustrate your points. End the case study with suggestions for improvement or, if you feel the game cannot be improved, sugges­tions for additional features that might be fun to have in the game.

Alternatively, choose a game that you believe is particularly bad. Do the same case study, explaining what is wrong and how it could be improved.

A case study is neither a review nor a design document; it is an analysis. You are not attempting to reverse-engineer the entire game but simply to explain how it works in a general way. Your instructor will tell you the desired scope of the assign­ment; we recommend from five to twenty pages.

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