Game Design Canvas for Google Play Challenge

Woman with gray hair explain a game design canvas.

Change the Game Challenge is an initiative brought by Google Play to inspire teens to build a more inclusive future for mobile gaming. The challenge was made available to girls between 15 and 21 years old attending elementary school. The prizes include get to know Google’s office in São Paulo, have access to online courses and work with Google’s partners. Isn’t that amazing?

Having said that, I wanted so much to contribute to this project!

In the end, I came up with a pretty good solution for a better understanding of game mechanics and goals, applying product thinking and storytelling techniques. I called the Game Design Canvas.

Game Design Canvas Workshop

Thanks to Barbara Cabral, GDG community member, I was able to facilitate a workshop talking about the project and about the Game Design Canvas I created especially for this challenge. The result you can check below:

Canvas board

Since this challenge was for girls between 15 and 21 years old, I thought it was very important, besides the parts of a game that makes the game what it is (goals, resources, and powers, mechanics), to focus on the Learning Journey: will the player be able to develop analytical skills or maybe think about different strategies? We often think that games bring no learning at all but we might end up finding that every game does bring a learning opportunity after all.

During the workshop I also presented two games translated into the canvas (thanks to Lucas Popenke, our iOS Cupcaker – you rock, Lucas!) that you can check below: 

Candy Crush Saga Game Design Canvas

Candy Crush Canvas Board

The Sims Game Design Canvas

The Sims Canvas Board

About the Game Design Canvas

The Game Design Canvas contains building blocks to create a game – and not necessarily all of them will be populated. It is just a fun and visual way to help consider all the key aspects of a game – the product thinking way – considering the player first (character, in what world will be in, learning journey), job to be done next (goal and how to overcome obstacles) and finally the output required to make it happens (mechanics and resources and powers related to it).

Here at Cheesecake Labs, we believe that in order to create the utmost value with a product (in this case, a game), we must think about what you can do with the game much more than what the game can do for you — it sounds the same, but they are completely different approaches.

The Sims is not providing you the ability to play a game — it is making it possible to live the life you perhaps wanted in the real world, plus knowing how it will turn out after some time.

I hope that this mindset inspires you to research further about Product Thinking and empower you to build more meaningful games and consequently, products. 

The power of stories

When creating a game, no idea should be put away until they’re sure about which story they would develop for their game. The girls were able to consider several opportunities and stories to be written based on the canvas and how the building blocks were structured.

I hope you can use the canvas to generate insights in your endeavors. 

About the author.

Roberta Oliveira
Roberta Oliveira

Serial Ben & Jerry's eater. I love to hike and have fun with my daughter Nina. Huge Friends (the tv series) fan - Oh. My. God!