Super Mario Galaxy director talks 'Player-Based Design'

Super Mario Galaxy director talks 'Player-Based Design'
Michael French

By Michael French

November 27th 2007 at 3:49PM

Yoshiaki Koizumi opens Montreal Game Summit with keynote on designing games in 3D

In a lively keynote opening the Montreal Game Summit, the director of Nintendo's recently released and widely acclaimed Super Mario Galaxy today discussed his career and design philosophy, urging fellow developers to always keep focused on how players may struggle with 3D game environments.

Taking players through the lessons learnt during a 16-year career at Nintendo that has seen him work on the likes of Super Mario 64, Zelda: The Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask, Donkey Kong Jungle Beat and Super Mario Galaxy, the first Mario game for the Wii.

Koizumi said he always focuses on the movement of the game character: "The reason I spend so much time on it because Mr Miyamoto has taught me that if it does not feel right it can effect the players appreciation for the whole game."

It was very important for all developers to acknowledge that 3D worlds, while full of potential, can be discriminating to some players, said Koizumi, pointing out potential problems caused by depth misperception, getting lost and motion sickness.

"These are the things we worry about most when creating a game in a 3D world," he said, outlining how his team have addressed each of the points by tweaking in-game cameras, adding landmarks to game environments and adjusting gameplay to suit 3D environments.

'Player-based design' is his key philosophy, he said, explaining it as being "all about designing the right balance of fun and complexity with the palyer in mind".

And developers must embrace the challenges that game design poses, he added.

"But we also focus on the positive, such as creating a sense of surprise. We also aim to create 'easy play' and an enivornment that lets people enjoy themselves."

He added: "The road between Super Mario 64 and Super Mario Galaxy was like a journey on a long road movie; sometimes fun