Tufts OpenCourseware
Author: Ming Y Chow

Tufts OpenCourseWare
Introduction to Game Development
M. Chow
Spring 2012


Assignment 2: Designing the One-Button Game

This assignment with worth 25 points, to be done individually.


Unfortunately in this economy, no employee is indispensable at WageSlaveGames, Inc. The sole premise of WageSlaveGames, Inc. is to create simple and addicting games for people who love to play computer/video games, but simply do not have the time and money to do so. The CEO of WageSlaveGames, I.M. Picky need to layoff 75% of the company to make the company more lean and profitable. To achieve this, he is putting every game designer's job on the line. How? Every game designer has to design the next big game: a one-button game. The best design wins.

You, one of the hapless souls of WageSlaveGames, Inc., have to develop this one button game. This game is to be played on a television screen. The console is a small box 3.9" (l) x 3.9" (w) x 0.91" (h) with an HDMI connector, and has built-in Bluetooth and Wi-Fi. The only constraint to this game is the controller: it has one button 3" (l) x 3" (w) x 2" (h) (think of the Staples "Easy Button" toy). However, you are free to hack the internals of the controller.


In no more than 3 pages typed, in memorandum format addressed to CEO I.M. Picky, write a design document for this one-button game. Your document must contain the following sections and information:

  • Game Title
  • Overview:
    • The basics of the game
  • Rules
  • The hardware (e.g., any mods?)
  • Gameplay Mode:
    • Setting
    • Challenges
  • Core Features in the Game
    • Be sure to describe each feature and why it is important
  • Game Mechanics
    • Data and algorithms used
    • Actions (i.e., what does the player need to do to tackle the challenges)
  • Internal Economy:
    • Define the lives, ammo, money, health points, etc., in the game
    • How are they produced or obtained?
  • Game Balance:
    • Positive feedback
    • Negative feedback
    • Adjusting the game's difficulty
  • Victory Conditions:
    • How do you win the game? If there is no way to win the game, what is the player trying to accomplish?
    • How do you lose the game? (if applicable)
  • Storyboard and Interface Design:
    • On plain white paper only (i.e., no notebook or lined paper)
    • Provide mockups and Description
    • Primary mode screen
    • A few screens that demonstrate the core features and game mechanics
  • Business Case:
    • What other games out there are like this (i.e., market research)?
    • How do you make money?
    • How would you attract players and customers?

This document must be submitted to CEO I.M. Picky by xx/xx/xxxx (in class), or else you will lose your job!


  • Use your creativity.
  • This assignment may seem overwhelming, but in the professional-world, you need to convey your ideas concisely because people (especially upper management) simply do not have all the time in the world for you.
  • The following is an example of a memorandum header:
    TO: I.M. Picky
    FROM: M. Chow
    DATE: February 8, 2012
    RE: One-Button Game
  • Read "Designing Games for the Wage Slave" at http://www.gamedev.net/page/resources/_/creative/game-design/designing-games-for-the-wage-slave-r2121
  • Read "One Button Games" at http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20050602/green_01.shtml
  • Mockups can be drawn electronically or by hand and they do not count towards the 3-page limit.
  • You will be graded on conformity to the rules, content, creativity, and the selling potentials of the game.