Game Designers In Detail is an interview series between a current NYU Game Center MFA student and a PRACTICE speaker. PRACTICE is the NYU Game Center’s annual conference that takes a close look at the concrete challenges of game design, creating a context for conversation among game designers of all types.
Own Bell: You have done a lot of work exploring complex issues including designing in four-dimensions and displaying on computer graphics at SIGGRAPH. How does solving these technical problems inform your approach to game design?
Marc ten Bosch: Miegakure is especially interesting to me because the technical and game design aspects are so coupled. Players use visual cues to understand how the game works, and the more correctly the game can simulate the fourth dimension, the more players can pick up on an underlying consistent pattern. On the other hand I try to keep certain aspects of the game fairly simple to make it appear simpler and behave like a regular game. So whenever I improve the visuals of the game, I need to keep in mind how this balance will be affected.I also approach game design as a science as well as an art. A lot of puzzles in Miegakure are about interesting topological facts: for example in 4D chains need to be made from a series of interlocking spheres and rings as opposed to just interlocking rings. Finding the underlying mathematical representation of a puzzle allows it to be understood in a clearer way. Another thing I might think about is the graph of possible states a puzzle can be in, and whether certain types of graphs create better puzzles than others.