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    What can you generally find from a city?

    Game Design and Theory


    What can you generally find from a city?
    by U23910@UICVM.bitnet

    Awhile back someone asked for detailed info on cities. Well, I have a listing of everything every encounted in a city by myself and the groups I have gamed with. This could get long.....

     FOOD & LODGING                          MERCANTILE
       Eatery/Resturaunt                       Market (General)
       Tavern                                  Livestock market
       Club                                    Slave market
       Hostel                                  Bazaar
       Inn                                     Auction block
       Rare woods              Imported goods              Trinkets/curios
       Ink                     Dice                        Sweets/candy
       Maps                    Books                       Toys
       Furs                    Magic items/Charms          Hardware/Tools
       Spices                  Firewood                    Soap
       Herbs                   Glass                       Perfumes
       Paper                   Leather goods               Pets/Familiars
       Ceramics                Jewlery                     Brooms
       Charcoal                Musical Instruments         Cloth
       Rope                    Wool                        Cosmetics
       Linen                   Mirrors                     Games
       Pipes/Tobacco           Gifts                       Wigs
       Whips                   Furniture                   Saddles
       Rugs/Tapestries         Nets                        Flowers
       Artworks                Sundials                    Costumes
       Potions                 Livestock                   Slaves
       Religious items         Novelties                   Antiques
       Miniatures/Figurines    Coins                       Candles
       Bait & tackle           Ships supplies              Apothocary
       Cutler                  Weaver                      Furniture carver
       Tinker                  Limner/Painter              Haberdasher/Hatter
       Alchemist               Clothier                    Cobbler/Shoemaker
       Metal worker            Carpenter                   Distiller
       Mason                   Potter                      Leather worker
       Goldsmith               Whitesmith                  Silversmith
       Blacksmith              Dyer                        Herbalist
       Seal maker              Roofer                      Exterminator
       Lauderer                Artificer/Mechanician       Taxidermist
       Artist                  Sculptor                    Fuller
       Wheelwright             Butcher                     Cooper
       Locksmith               Thacther                    Woodcarver
       Bonecarver              Gemcutter                   Chandler
       Cartwright              Tanner                      Shipwright
       Wainwright              Bookbinder                  Porcilinist
       Fine metal worker       Glassblower                 Farrier
       Teamster                Sage                        Marshall
       Realtor                 Lawyer                      Dentist
       Hunter                  Healer                      Astrologer
       Undertaker              Surgeon                     Animal trainer
       Astronomer              Scribe                      Nusremaid
       Trapper                 Teacher                     Tatooer
       Spelunker               Mountianeer                 Navigator
       Miner                   Messenger                   Massage
       Hypnotist               Guide                       Fortune teller
       Concubines              Forester                    Fence
       Surveyor                Recriuter                   Hawkmaster
       Copier                  Translator                  Mystic
       Arbiter                 Cartographer
       Wine                    Meats/Butchery              Foodstuffs
       Bakery                  Fish                        Dairy goods
       Brewery                 Smokehouse                  Ale
       General food & drink    Fine food & drink           Grain
       Liquor                  Cheese                      Beer
       Fresh food
       Warehouse               Stable                      Kennel
       Mews                    Silo
       Theater                 Museum                      Stadium
       Ampitheater             Circus                      Gynasium
       Fairground              Tourement field
       Pawnshop                Foundry                     Trader/General store
       Lumber                  Construction company        Brothel
       Rentals                 Zoo                         Greenhouse
       Laundry                 Casino                      Bank
       Nursery                 Mill                        Moneylender
       Smelters                Training school
       Censor                  Baths                       Clinic
       Hospital                Mayor's home                Town hall
       Mint                    Library                     Sherrif
       Watch tower             Meeting hall                Guard headquarters
       Jail                    Prison                      Asylum
       Treasury                School                      University
       Archives                Park                        Cavalry stable
       Civil court             Criminal court              Bureaucrat
       Tax collector           Toll collector              Palace
       Punishment square       Barracks                    Customs
       Rangers                 Sailors                     Merchants
       Fighters                Alchemists                  Entertainers
       Wizards                 Fishermen                   Caravaners
       Metalworkers            Mercinaries                 Slavers
       Artists                 (Smugglers)                 Astrologers
       Carpenters              Jewellers                   Tailors
       (Thieves)               (Assassins)                 Wainwrights
       Shipwrights             Apothecaries                Physicians
       Stonemasons             Moneylenders/-changers      Barristers
       Artificers              Steersmen & navigators      Messengers/Heralds
       Blacksmiths             Armorers & weaponsmakers    Coutesans
     HOUSING                 RELIGIOUS                   MISCELLANY
       Boarding house          Temple                      Lighthouse
       Home                    Monastary                   Monument/Monolith
       Estate                  Shrine                      Citadel
       Apartments              Abbey                       Icehouse
       Flophouse/shelter                                   Embassy
       Armor                   Wizard
       Sheilds                 Witch
       Bowyer                  Ambassador
       Fine weapons
       Armor repair

    And this is not a complete list, either! I can now think of several things that have been left off, but these are all things that we have encounted while adventuring in urban settings. I'm sure you can think of several more.

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      Hyper what?
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      Let me play this thing already!
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      An example of an ad that runs on social media
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      Ball Blast does just that. The moment you fire up the game, you’re presented with the game screen which says “swipe to shoot”, and that’s the only gameplay ‘tutorial’ you ever receive. You touch the screen, and the canon starts shooting bullets.

      How inviting!
      When you start shooting, you notice that the canon also has the ability to move horizontally by following your finger. When your brain has become used to the idea of shooting and moving, multiple numbered balls enter the game area for you to shoot. You shoot the balls, watch them explode dropping coins, and realize that bigger balls burst into smaller ones. Simple, isn’t it?
      Same goes for this neat little game called Stack by Ketchapp which also boots at the game screen, allowing the player to start the game by tapping anywhere. As soon as you tap, you watch a square move to-and-fro, and you learn that whenever you tap, the moving square drops on the stack of squares below and any part which is outside the stack gets trimmed out. Because these games boast a simple single mechanic, it’s reasonably easy to teach it without using complex tutorials. The player learns by failing and overcoming the challenge. The gameplay is “Youtubeable”, meaning, it’s easy to learn by just watching.

      Get in and get out!
      Have you noticed how easy and quick it is to start playing a hyper-casual game on your phone? You take the phone out, unlock it, tap on the game’s icon, and within 2 seconds you are in! Isn’t that great? 
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      EDIT: In the short feedback loop illustrated below, you’d realise that the player also improves by failing, thanks to Sampath for pointing that out!

      If you’ve managed to create a game with a fun gameplay hook and the players love it, know that’s probably the only thing they care about in your game. Ball Blast puts me right into the action as soon as I start the game because it understands my needs — instant fun. No UI transitions, cutscenes, or texts. 
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      While at work, I often take breaks in the form of short game sessions on my phone and I rely on hyper-casuals for the same, because I know I don’t have the time or the environment to play anything “complex“. Hyper-casuals give me my dose of fun when I want it and where I want it.
      Give me all the power!
      This is where things get interesting. As mentioned earlier, the core gameplay is what makes the player stick. It’s simple yet addictive, and mastering it encourages the player to come back. If you remember Ball Blast, you’d wonder what’s so fun about shooting balls repeatedly? I wondered the same when I saw the game’s ad for the first time — “Okay, this looks fun, but would it still be fun after a couple of days?”. To answer that question in short — yes, it was fun, and it still is!
      To better understand what makes the core fun, we have to talk about the key behind it — upgrades! 
      In Ball Blast destroying the balls reward you with coins and gems, a form of soft currency. Let’s talk about coins, as gems only allow you to purchase cosmetics, and don’t affect the gameplay much. Coins are used to upgrade your canon. There are four types of upgrades available:
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      Levels are well-balanced to support this loop by giving you areas to showcase your power and then introducing stronger balls, encouraging you to upgrade the canon even more. The progression is not only meaningful but is easy to convey. Spend just five minutes in the game, and you’ll see what I am talking about. 
      Another game which uses this methodology quite well is Mr. Gun by Ketchapp. You kill bad guys, they drop coins, and you can use these coins to buy guns with better damage and fire rate, enhancing your ‘power‘ in the game. You are introduced to your first premium gun pretty early, as a gift, and that’s how the game teaches you about upgrades in the form of new weapons and how they can benefit you in the game.
      I’d also like to use this opportunity to compare this type of hyper-casuals with dungeon crawlers. Bear with me, please. 
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      Ball Blast makes you feel powerful the same way but instead of using better gear, it allows you to improve/upgrade your canon, and carefully paced levels keeps you craving for more power.
      What if there are no upgrades?
      You may ask — “upgrades are cool, but what about games where there are no upgrades?” 
      I say to you — good question! 
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      Nowadays, you’d often come across levels-based hyper-casuals. Instead of an endless-type of gameplay, they break down the experience into custom-crafted levels where each level has something unique with increasing challenge, generating curiosity, which encourages the players to keep going and “beat” the game. It’s also a great way to convey progression, moving the player from level to level.
      The Secret Sauce
      So far we’ve talked about how hyper-casuals attract players via aggressive social media ads, retain them with snappy onboarding, engage them with simple-but-power-craving mechanics, but is that all?
      A magical element, invisible to the naked eye, is what I believe, the MOST important aspect in a game – Gratification.

      What is ‘Gratification‘? The official definition states:
      To better understand it in terms of game design, it can be defined as a form of visual/audio/emotional feedback received after performing an active or passive action in the game, which makes the actions joyous and meaningful. The action could be as simple as walking or jumping or shooting a bullet.
      Let me give you a few examples:
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      Nex Machina by Housemarque (the king of Gratification) – when the bullet hits an enemy, you get the confirmation of a successful hit via a subtle white flash over the enemy, who dies with a big explosion of cubes accompanied by relevant sound effects, giving you a sense of satisfaction and euphoria, by killing just one enemy. Imagine killing the boss. Different guns, enemies, levels, gratify the user at each point. I highly recommend playing this game!

      By this time, you might have realized that Gratification is such a broad topic that it probably needs a separate blog post. But, the reason I wanted to talk about it is to highlight how some of the best hyper-casuals understand Gratification well and use it to deliver a fun experience.
      Remember Ball Blast? The ultra-responsive canon’s movement which accurately follows your finger, the hit feedback on bubbles and how they burst into smaller bubbles, the effect of temporary powerups on gameplay, and of course the ‘upgrades‘ – all these elements work together to deliver joyful feedback throughout the game. 
      Take any good game, and analyze the factors which gratify the actions making them enjoyable and you’d notice how these subtle details, often un-noticed, adds to the fun and immersiveness. Hyper-casuals are no different, and good designers take Gratification into account while crafting these systems. Another great example is Stack Fall (by Voodoo). You control a bouncing ball which falls when you tap and hold on the screen, breaking a stack of blocks along the way. Paint splatter, haptic feedback, destruction of blocks, are some of the elements that are really gratifying and enhance the experience.

      No matter what the action is, the player should feel satisfied doing it. Imaging a platformer game where the character jumps but when it lands, there’s no animation to convey the change of state or dust effects on the ground where he lands, imagine how odd and boring that’d feel. And it’s not just confined to game actions, you can also gratify the user through the UI by using relevant and subtle effects, and animations. One example I can think of is Homescapes. When you clear a level, multiple effects and animations play out to emphasise your victory and gratify your accomplishment. It’s even more rewarding when the level is hard, and you finally manage to clear it, the gratification received at the ‘Level Cleared’ screen makes it worth it. Not just the UI, but every action you make in a level is profoundly satisfying and a joy to watch.

      Now that’s what I call a HD quality GIF!
      An engaging core loop combined with elements to enhance Gratification makes up the majority of the ingredients required to create a fun hyper-casual game.
      To conclude…
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      What do you think about hyper-casuals? Do you think it provides a fresh perspective in game design? Is there anything that you’ve learned from the genre?
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      As an Indie Game Developer, he operates under the label of Lucid Labs, where he has managed to create an Editors’ Choice game on the Apple App Store and was fortunate enough to be a part of Google’s first ever Indie Games Accelerator, and successfully graduate out of it.  During his tenure as a Game Producer, he has shipped more than 15 games, in genres ranging from puzzle, RPG, match-3, social casino, arcade, and fantasy sports, satisfying more than 10 million users.
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      Twitter: @wearelucidlabs | @notthatchirag
      Instagram/Facebook: @wearelucidlabs
      Note: This article was originally published on Chirag's blog, and is republished here with kind permission.
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