Is a responsive game design possible?
So today I went and explored a feature that a client had in mind for a “totally responsive game experience that scales up or down based on device size. ” I don’t even know if the term ‘responsive game design’ is a real term or not, but I went on to explore it anyhow. In my research, I discovered something known as adaptive game design, which I shed light on at the end of this post.
Totally responsive game design is a big question mark in my mind at the moment as I am not sure if this term even makes much sense. Long story short as mentioned by Benson Wong, CTO of Lucky Lady Games, “you still *have* to design for the screen you are showing your content as there is no magic there yet” – This post is written Jan, 1, 2014. (Yes it is New Years Day and I am writing about responsive game design!)
” but the code you write can run anywhere (essentially) and generally w/ casino games it doesn’t require that much processing power so speed isn’t that big of a deal. You still have scale things up / down like if the device has less graphics/cpu power vs. more but even the slowest device i found that supports html5, the firefox phone,ran FreeSlotsMania.com pretty good w/ sound.
What is responsive design?
The term responsive design comes from web development. If you aren’t familiar with web development terms, here is a definition from HowDesign: “Responsive design is the process of adapting a design to match the environment of the user. This means styling a site one way for mobile devices, another for tablets and yet another for desktop computers. The design styles itself differently depending on the size of browser window.”
I am familiar with responsive design for content-based websites but to cross-over this technology as a gaming experience (new coined responsive game design) is a whole different ballpark.
A few issues I think about responsive game design as a game designer are:
A) A game experience is different than content feeds. While a website you can move ‘boxes’ and ‘fill’ available space via css/media queries, a responsive design for gaming needs to deal with a deeper level of user interaction. We may have UI but what about UX? How do we offer a positive yet seamless user experience? I am not saying it can’t be done, but finding the balance will definitely be tricky.
B) Different devices serve different needs. Having one set game ‘features’ that scale up and down based on device size can end up feeling lazy rather than innovative. The experience to be created should be done in-line with how the device is normally used. IE. App gamers have shorter but more frequent sessions and therefore we should design/highlight features they use most.
C) Art work dimensions. Having responsive design in games may require multiple particular optimizations as well as front end code hacks Eg. Background design & UI positioning
Beyond responsive design – a look at adaptive game design
There is a new buzz word in town and that is adaptive game design!
Taking the lessons we learned and talked about from Responsive Design, game creators are discussing the viability of adaptive game design, or a future of games and a gamer’s experience that exist across multiple devices, adapting based on how you interact with the game’s content.
“We can shift around the problem entirely by providing an entirely new class of entertainment to our end user. What I propose is a progressively enhanced, responsively designed approach to web gaming that encompasses all devices, everywhere, by providing engagement across all levels. This involves breaking away from the idea of building a game, and instead, building a lasting, engaging experience.” — Build New Games