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  So what's the gameplay in my game?  (Read 10244 times)
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Offline oNyx

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


pixels! :x


« Reply #30 - Posted 2003-08-22 02:47:09 »

> Q3 - that let you see where your opponent was looking at

I guess that was more a "techy" thing at the beginning. I don't know if it was intended but you can (ab)use the head animation for simple yes/no communication in team games Smiley

> Meta games

If you give the players a level editor gameplay can change drastically. A recent example is the "ski jump map" for Q3:

http://www.betamap.de/files/Maps/q3skijumph.zip (624kb)

Basically it's just a big ramp (as seen on tv) with a special snow texture (a shader with surface_params slick).

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Offline beowulf

Senior Newbie




got root?


« Reply #31 - Posted 2003-08-22 13:07:36 »

I would just like to throw in my .02 on the concept of graphics / sound content as a component of game play.  I feel from my personal gaming experience and from a number of books I've read on such subjects, that content is really tightly coupled to the game play issue.  A major factor in a game's success and "fun factor" is the player's ability to get "into" the game.  The game has to fulfill them on several levels to accomplish this.  Visiual stimulation is only one level. Likewise, an adrenelin rush from a challenging twitch-and-click is only one level as well.  The more levels that you can fulfill will help you peg a player's fun meter and make your game something they want to come back to.

Take a game that you really enjoy. One that you feel can stand on its own for game play alone. Then turn off the sound completely and play again. It still plays the same (unless directional sound is a critical factor, of course!) and is hopefully still fun, but I would be surprised if you didn't feel something was missing.  Likewise, crank the graphics down to the lowest available setting and you will probably get the same "not quite" feeling.  So the sound and graphics content of that game are indeed important factors in the player's imersion.

This doesn't mean you have to write the hottest possible 3d engine that can push billions of pixels per second.  It just means you need to create an environment (graphics & sound) that is right for the feel you are trying to get with your game.  You can play WarCraft 2 today, many years after it came out, and probably not say "boy I wish the buildings were all 3d". The graphics and sounds are right for the game and the mechanics of the game play are well thought out.  As a result, WC2 is almost timeless.  As I mentioned in another thread, I still enjoy playing X-Com to this day. The graphics would be laughable if someone tried to release it as a new game today, but they are right for that game and I do not find myself wanting something better.

To tie this into the meta-game concept, let's look back at the ball analogy.  The ball and it's physical characteristics are the core of the mechanics of your game (game play).  However, the environment you create to play with the ball (the rules of the game, the play field, etc) are all intricate and necessary components to the specific ball game being fun.

-Lawrence
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #32 - Posted 2003-08-22 14:14:02 »

Quote
You can play WarCraft 2 today, many years after it came out, and probably not say "boy I wish the buildings were all 3d". The graphics and sounds are right for the game and the mechanics of the game play are well thought out.  As a result, WC2 is almost timeless.


I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Without question, graphics, sound, etc all contribute to the aesthetic experience of a game. IME though, if the game mechanics or gameplay are not compelling on their own, no degree of aesthetic embellishment is going to give you that "timeless" experience.

When I think about gameplay vs graphics, it makes me think about chessboards and monopoly sets. There are thousands of "custom" designed varieties of these games, but they are still the same game. If I buy a Civil War chess set, it becomes a game of North vs South. If I buy a Baseball chess set featureing the Yankees vs the Mets, it becomes a metaphor for the World Series. If I buy the Star Wars Edition of Monopoly it changes the theme of the game from real estate development to galactic conquest. Most of those who buy these "designer" games already own either a generic (in the case of Chess) or the original (in the case of Monopoly) version of the game, so clearly these customizations add to the aesthetic enjoyment of the game for those who buy them. However, the game mechanics are the same, no matter what form they come in.

I've heard people use the following argument against the FPS genre of games:  A great game comes out, you play it for a while, and then the next year a new game comes out with better graphics and a new and more complex "story" and the old game, while perhaps not forgotten, goes on to gather dust on the shelf. If this is the case, then how can you call any of these games "timeless"? But what about "Doom?" people say, or "Half-Life?" those were great games and they still are! Perhaps, but how many of you will go back and spend hours again on Half-Life after HL2 comes out?

Just like the Baseball Chess set or the Monopoly: Star Wars Edition, the design of these games contributes greatly to the aesthetic experience of the game, but this is an ephemoral quality, whereas the gameplay is what makes the game of FPS popular and will probably continue to do so for years, if not centuries to come.

Another way to look at this is to make an analogy with another medium. Romeo & Juliet has been performed for centuries, has been set in a variety of locations and time periods, and has been used as an allegory for a host of different subjects & issues (compare the Franco Zeffirelli film with Baz Lurhman's) The acting, the direction, the sets, light, etc. all contribute to whether a particular production is successful, but what makes R&J "timeless" is the thing all these productions have in common, namely the story.

"Stories aren't games!" you cry, "and games aren't stories!" Very true. Theater and film and books are narrative experiences, games are interactive experiences. The way I see it, game mechanics are the interactive analog to stories in narrative media. It's what defines a game, and the "story" of a game (in the narrative sense), is like the acting, sets, props and costumes in a play. It can contribute greatly to the success or failure of a particular interpretation of a game, but is independent of the qualiy and timelessness of the game itself, which is embodied in the game mechanics and gameplay.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline Breakfast

Senior Member




for great justice!


« Reply #33 - Posted 2003-08-22 16:27:13 »

The thing about bending rules is a really good point- I remember the entertainment we got from playing Quake 1 with the FOV on 170 degrees. Eventually we developed a kind of FOV handicap system for a while, where the better you were the higher your field of view had to be.  
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #34 - Posted 2003-08-22 16:46:33 »

You stray a little too far into gross generalizations for my liking...

Quote

I think you've hit the nail on the head here. Without question, graphics, sound, etc all contribute to the aesthetic experience of a game. IME though, if the game mechanics or gameplay are not compelling on their own, no degree of aesthetic embellishment is going to give you that "timeless" experience.

When I think about gameplay vs graphics, it makes me think about chessboards and monopoly sets.


No disagreement w.r.t chess-sets. But the following are not true:

"all computer games SUBSET_OF chess"
"all computer games SUBSET_OF (UNION (all board games))"

I know I'm stating the obvious, but the point is that those statements don't even come close to being true.

If you want to claim that soft-content is no more than embellishment - that the gameplay has to be right first, that a game cannot stand on great soft-content alone - then you can't do it by generalising from something as backwards and dumb as chess. My main gripe against chess is that it's a one-dimensional game. Even if you look at the meta-games that people play with it, it's still only a two or maybe three dimensional game (the additional dimensions being "psychological gameplay [feints etc]" and "endurance [who gets tired and makes a mistake first]") - apologies to chess afficionados if there are a couple of other dimensions I've not mentioned!.

The primary dimension is that it's a combinatorial game where the number of possible game-states is far far far beyond the capacity of anyone to comprehend, and the only way to predict the outcomes from a given state is through simulation. I.e. it's a game that is so computationally intensive to strategise about that it is always complex to play. And yet you can create short-term and long-term strategies within that massive search-space. And the search space is so huge that your opponent can only spot your strategy with HUGE difficulty. But that's all there is to it.

Everquest, OTOH, has a hell of a lot more dimensions (e.g.  socialisation, levelling, etc). This is mainly because of the blurring between meta-game and computer-game, where metagames are deliberately supported by the game-design. To quote one of the Ultima Dragons (IIRC), when talking to the Ultima 8 dev team about a pre-release version of U8 (and this is certainly a quote that Raph Koster would have known about during EQ's design) "No, you don't understand; it IS about baking bread!!". The point being made was that the Ultima series cultivated a hardcore audience who played it for its effectiveness at world simulation (they played a metagame of using it as a world-simulation rather than as an adventure game); the computer game was about following a plot, playing through quests. Some people would just fire it up and bake bread all day, then fletch some arrows, do a bit of hunting, wander around the game world, etc.

If you want to talk about how "graphics, sound, etc all contribute to ... a game", you either have to start from multi-dimensional games, the really rich stuff like EQ's, or if you want to make life easy, at least start with the rich singleplayer stuff, like the U series. Or else you have to specifically exclude them from the discussion.

I'm afraid that, for me, chess just doesn't even come close to being relevant in such discussions; it's the stone-age abacus that's feeling it's age next to a Cray supercomputer (although no-one would deny that abacuses still have value, are desirable, and can even be better than a supercomputer in some situations).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #35 - Posted 2003-08-22 17:03:20 »

Quote

...
Just like the Baseball Chess set or the Monopoly: Star Wars Edition, the design of these games contributes greatly to the aesthetic experience of the game, but this is an ephemeral quality, whereas the gameplay is what makes the game or FPS popular and will probably continue to do so for years, if not centuries to come.


I do agree with what you say when applied to chess and Monopoly, but the point I'm trying to make is that the gameplay and the graphics etc (I think that's what you mean by "the design of these games" above, going by the context?) are not always non-intersecting sets; computer games tend to expand the area of intersection (possibly only because they can offer so much more richness than other gaming-media, such as board games, ever could). Some elements of the graphics etc are a part of the actual gameplay.

Quote

Another way to look at this is to make an analogy with another medium. Romeo & Juliet has been performed for centuries


I almost walked into the troll-trap there, but resisted at the last minute Wink. Suffice it to say that R&J is a formulaic story that was ripped-off (like much of Shakspeer's best work) from other authors and playwrights, and there have been *millions* of abominable productions of R&J - if there's any timeless quality to the play, then it's obviously very weak, given how easy it is to murder, and end up with a truly ghastly production.

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #36 - Posted 2003-08-22 17:22:21 »

Sorry for the slightly delayed reply. I forgot to sacrifice a goat to Linus today, and so when I clicked on the reply button Linux bombed and corrupted two hard-drives in the process. God, I love linux!

Quote
Indeed, you picked the wrong example but in your previous paragraph just there you have shown yourself to be an enlightened wizard.

Meta games.


I'm afraid I can't take much credit Smiley. I may be one of the first to talk about them here, but the concept itself has been kicking about for quite a while in MMOG-design circles. I can't find any references to people actually naming the concept, but it's only the last step after all the observational work has already been done by people like Raph K (UO, EQ, and now SW:G), and god-knows how many MUD admins over the year (starting with Bartle and Trubshaw).

Quote
Your thinking here is sheer genius, and it shows us how we can't see the wood for the trees.


Does no-one else here think about meta-games all the time? If not, perhaps it's worth me trying to write it up, pull together all the sources, research, and observation, and try blasting it out at Gamasutra etc...I admit it's never come up in conversation, not even with the few freelance game-design specialists I know, but I'd just kind of assumed... Roll Eyes

Quote

So back to a specific example: what's the metaphysical "ball" in my game? What's the arbitrary ruleset I've imposed, and what's the scope for having fun by bending the rules?


If you can make head-or-tail of the email I sent you, it might help a little. The "available strategies" that you have to think about when running through the process have a lot of similarity to "meaningful ways in which you interact with the game" - so identifying them might help with demonstrating the ways in which your game channels people's metagame play...i.e. the metagames it [your game design] encourages.

Or, if you're looking for a list...

  • Dodging skill (simple) - navigation+dodging (harder) - navigation+dodging+tactical shepherding of enemies (really hard)
  • Examples: manoeuvering is hard enough to make "playing without using the fire button" a significant challenge in itself. As you get good enough to fly around at full speed and dodge everything, you start to try doing the same, but trying to make arbitrary waypoints in the process - perhaps giving yourself a time-limit (would be easier if the game had a bonus timer for you to time yourself by!). If you get really good, you might deliberately incite jelly-incursions, just to show off "how many seconds you can survive". Basically, dodging and navigation are no longer good enough - you have to plan ahead where and how you're going to lure them, and do this at very high speed.
  • Playing with the fire button held down all the time...this could be better supported by having a "percentage kill ratio" and "shots fired" on the score-bar that is updated in real time.
  • Playing without moving. I mention this mainly because I suspect many beginners start off like this (you see the crosshair, you're playing for the first time, you probably choose to concentrate on learning to shoot well before learning to drive. YMMV of course - a LOT - from player to player). It's perhaps a playstyle you should do more to discourage early-on, because it leads to bad habits that make it harder and harder for the player to improve...

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #37 - Posted 2003-08-22 17:58:57 »

Quote
You stray a little too far into gross generalizations for my liking...

No disagreement w.r.t chess-sets. But the following are not true:

"all computer games SUBSET_OF chess"
"all computer games SUBSET_OF (UNION (all board games))"


I'd never suggest such a thing. It would make as much sense as saying:

"all food SUBSET_OF cheese"

The fact that filet mignon is nothing like cheese, doesn't make cheese, as an example, any less relevant in discussions of how we eat & digest food. If I were comparing world simulation games, I wouldn't use Chess as an example any more than I would use cheese in a comparison of beef cuts. Of course I probably wouldn't use Alien Flux either.

Quote
If you want to claim that soft-content is no more than embellishment - that the gameplay has to be right first, that a game cannot stand on great soft-content alone - then you can't do it by generalising from something as backwards and dumb as chess.

I don't understand. Are you arguing that the gameplay doesn't have to be right? or that a game can stand on great soft-content alone?

Quote
Everquest, OTOH, has a hell of a lot more dimensions (e.g.  socialisation, levelling, etc). This is mainly because of the blurring between meta-game and computer-game, where metagames are deliberately supported by the game-design. To quote one of the Ultima Dragons (IIRC), when talking to the Ultima 8 dev team about a pre-release version of U8 (and this is certainly a quote that Raph Koster would have known about during EQ's design) "No, you don't understand; it IS about baking bread!!". The point being made was that the Ultima series cultivated a hardcore audience who played it for its effectiveness at world simulation (they played a metagame of using it as a world-simulation rather than as an adventure game); the computer game was about following a plot, playing through quests. Some people would just fire it up and bake bread all day, then fletch some arrows, do a bit of hunting, wander around the game world, etc.

I'm still confused. You seem to be violently arguing my point. Your whole description is of the activities the players engage in, the way they interact with each other and the world as it is defined and enabled by the mechanics of the game (it may not be the "superficial" game described on the box, but it is one implicit in the rules of the simulation) All of which is independent of audio & visual fidelity, or even temporal or geographical setting (players engage in the similar types of activities, for similar reasons, in Star Wars Galaxies)

Quote
If you want to talk about how "graphics, sound, etc all contribute to ... a game", you either have to start from multi-dimensional games, the really rich stuff like EQ's, or if you want to make life easy, at least start with the rich singleplayer stuff, like the U series. Or else you have to specifically exclude them from the discussion.

I chose Chess and Monopoly to illustrate the distinction between the mechanics of a game and its implementation, specifically because they *are* simple examples. I appreciate your description of EQ as it supports my thesis by providing a more sophisticated example of the same principal.

Quote
I'm afraid that, for me, chess just doesn't even come close to being relevant in such discussions; it's the stone-age abacus that's feeling it's age next to a Cray supercomputer (although no-one would deny that abacuses still have value, are desirable, and can even be better than a supercomputer in some situations).

Okay, I get it that you don't like Chess Wink

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #38 - Posted 2003-08-22 18:22:59 »

Quote
I do agree with what you say when applied to chess and Monopoly, but the point I'm trying to make is that the gameplay and the graphics etc (I think that's what you mean by "the design of these games" above, going by the context?) are not always non-intersecting sets; computer games tend to expand the area of intersection (possibly only because they can offer so much more richness than other gaming-media, such as board games, ever could). Some elements of the graphics etc are a part of the actual gameplay.

I agree, but then again if a chess board didn't have squares, you couldn't play chess. A game, no matter how simple the mechanics, must still be realized through it's content. What's relevant is the distinction between those elements (graphic or otherwise) that enable certain types of activities and behavior to take place, and those elements that support the overall aesthetic experience, but don't alter the gameplay itself. There's a flip-side to this as well, which is that "soft-content" can often alter the mechanics of the game for the worse. Using a FP POV in an RTS might make the visuals more "realistic" but could destroy the (intended) game mechanics by making it next to impossible to coordinate one's forces. In this case, the game doesn't simply look different, it actually becomes a different game.

Quote
I almost walked into the troll-trap there, but resisted at the last minute Wink. Suffice it to say that R&J is a formulaic story that was ripped-off (like much of Shakspeer's best work) from other authors and playwrights, and there have been *millions* of abominable productions of R&J - if there's any timeless quality to the play, then it's obviously very weak, given how easy it is to murder, and end up with a truly ghastly production.

You are 100% correct on all counts (except with regard to the "timelessness" of the play). Whatever you or I might think of the it, the play continues to be produced, and people to continue to "rip" it off (eg West Side Story) so clearly there is something that has enabled the story to persist for 500+ years, despite the fact that there have been countless god-awful productions of it.

Likewise, I anticipate that 500+ years from now, people will continue to play FPS and world sims despite the fact that untold millions of bad games will no doubt be produced in these genres.

You keep taking such exception to my examples, and yet in each case, you seem to be supporting my argument.  Huh

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #39 - Posted 2003-08-22 20:21:15 »

Quote


I'd never suggest such a thing. It would make as much sense as saying:


Of course not...but you were using a metaphor to talk about computer games that was based upon aspects of, and observations from, chess. I was pointing out that chess is too far removed from computer games to have any relevance to this discussion (although it IS a game, and it DOES have issues of gameplay-vs-graphics etc of it's own...as you pointed out).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #40 - Posted 2003-08-22 20:41:53 »

Quote

...What's relevant is the distinction between those elements (graphic or otherwise) that enable certain types of activities and behavior to take place, and those elements that support the overall aesthetic experience, but don't alter the gameplay itself.
...
You keep taking such exception to my examples, and yet in each case, you seem to be supporting my argument.  Huh


I suspect it's partly a problem of us meaning slightly different things for the same words.

We started talking about "gameplay", and whether the graphics etc affect the gameplay. My claim all along has been that some soft-content (including graphics) can sometimes be a part of the perceived/actual gameplay. This is sometimes because they affect the meta-game gameplay, (e.g. my example of AF's fluffies - I wouldn't play the same metagames without the fluffies; there'd be no point) and I include this when I talk about "gameplay".

You seem to draw a hardline, and say that graphics have an important role to play, and are part of the experience, but are not part of the gameplay. ... at least, that's what I've understood you to be saying? You've used metaphors like chess (which I've then said is too different to be a valid comparison) in which I thought you were saying that the graphics are not part of the gameplay (when you talk about different chess-sets not changing the game itself).

Obviously, when you change the graphics, you've changed the player's perception of what they're playing - perhaps from a medieval fantasy RTS to a boring office-management simulation (same gameplay, different graphics). But I'm claiming that sometimes you've actually changed the gameplay as well, purely by changing the graphics.

Another attempt at an example (from MMOG's again Smiley):

If you change the player models in an MMOG from detailed models with customisability to, say, flat-shaded cuboids, people play the game differently. This has been demonstrated in various different abstractions - the most common examples are where experimentation like this has been done in text MUD's, often by accident (including accidentally wiping the player-descriptions file, or accidentally disabling the advanced-user commands [including the ones for maintaining or creating personal descriptions] in the parser, etc, etc). The changes in player behaviour, when NONE of the game dynamics have changed, are verifiable fact. For instance, people socialise differently just because you changed the appearance of the people they're socialising with - and we're not talking about making all the good guys into slavering orcs or something equally subtle or subliminal, we're talking about very big obvious in-your-face de-humanisation that the player is 100% aware of. If they think about it.

A significant percentage of people seem unable to help themselves from judging a book by it's cover. I've seen rational, logical, intelligent people play a strategy game and do some stupid things based on how a unit looked. E.g. I've seen people be overly protective of a unit that looked "cute" or "defenceless" (it didn't have a big enough gun!) even though they KNOW it's one of the toughest units in the game. I've also seen them throw away strategically valuable units because "I don't like how they look" - even though these players ARE competing to WIN! They just want to win on their own terms - and that is affected by graphics.

Please, someone either explain to me how this is NOT gameplay-from-graphics, or else just confirm for me that graphics can be a part of the gameplay - even though they have no part in the mechanics of the game (i.e. they aren't mentioned in the rule-book).

malloc will be first against the wall when the revolution comes...
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 282
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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #41 - Posted 2003-08-22 23:01:12 »

This is a bit like watching a newbie trying to pick up a powerup in Alien Flux - they've got their sights on what they want to do but strangely they circle round and round it...

What everyone here's trying to say, and it's the answer I was trying to get in my original post, is that you can call the whole shebang "gameplay" if you like; or, you can try and split it up into discrete components that interact with each other, and we might call those components things like metagames (eg. bending the rules), graphical emotional cues (the delight of discovery), immersion (where the player is helped into a meditative state by various mechanisms - and we can break this one down into all sorts of bits too), mechanisms (the unbendable rules from which we must derive our emergent behaviours and), reward feedback etc. etc. etc.

Am I on the right track?

(Andy - haven't read all of that doc. yet - reads like a bloody phD!)


Cas Smiley

Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #42 - Posted 2003-08-22 23:43:16 »

Quote
Please, someone either explain to me how this is NOT gameplay-from-graphics, or else just confirm for me that graphics can be a part of the gameplay - even though they have no part in the mechanics of the game (i.e. they aren't mentioned in the rule-book).

I wasn't trying to suggest that graphics had *no* effect on the gameplay, only that there was a distinction between those elements that affect or determine the gameplay of a game and those that affect the experience or perception of the game without affecting the gameplay. In my previous example, I showed how changing an RTS from an Isometric View to a FP POV might improve the visual experience of the game while damaging the gameplay, simply by making it more difficult for the player to keep track of what's going on. The rules may be the same, the types of activities one can engage in may be the same, but the gameplay is completely different. At the same time, two different FPSs may have completely different "stories" & graphics but still have essentially the same gameplay.

You've pointed out that personal aesthetics can have an influence on the way people play a game, thereby making it difficult to seperate the gameplay from the aesthetic experience of the game. While I agree with this (my daughter can't get into Monopoly unless she plays the "dog") it's a lot harder to assess, because it is so subjective. While the line may be a bit blurry, I still make a distinction between changes in a game that may inspire differences in strategy because they make you think about the game differently, and those that force differences in strategy as a result of the change they make to the play mechanics. (I introduce the term "play mechanics" to mean the rules or constraints governing how you "physically" interact with the pieces in the game vs "game mechanics" which I'll use to describe the rules for winning)

To use Cas's PacMan example, I'd argue that changing the ghosts in PacMan to aliens and the PacMan to a spaceman might completely change my perception of the game, but wouldn't necessarily change the gameplay. I might prefer to play the original PacMan. I might even be more inclined to play the original because the graphics made it more "fun" but to me the gameplay is the same. The skills I use are the same, the optimal strategies for success are the same, etc. However, I think giving PacMan a gun does completely change the gameplay, as would altering the controls, because in both cases you are altering the play mechanics by forcing the player to change the way they play the game.

So I do think we have different views on the subject, though only slightly, in that I view gameplay as a combination of game mechanics and play mechanics, but leave off those elements that may influence the player psychologically but don't necessarily change what the player can or cannot do in the game, whereas you choose to include these elements because, as I'll agree, they may have a definite affect on how a given individual chooses to play a game.

The one place where I think we disagree most strongly, is that I don't think this debate is by any means limited to computer games. The same arguments could be used in a discussion of Monopoly. If one's preference for a certain color influences which properties they buy then is the gameplay in a monochromatic version of Monopoly therefore different because the player no longer relies on that color preference as part of their strategy? (that's a hypothetical question.  Smiley)


Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #43 - Posted 2003-08-22 23:53:03 »

Quote
What everyone here's trying to say, and it's the answer I was trying to get in my original post, is that you can call the whole shebang "gameplay" if you like; or, you can try and split it up into discrete components that interact with each other, and we might call those components things like metagames (eg. bending the rules), graphical emotional cues (the delight of discovery), immersion (where the player is helped into a meditative state by various mechanisms - and we can break this one down into all sorts of bits too), mechanisms (the unbendable rules from which we must derive our emergent behaviours and), reward feedback etc. etc. etc.

Am I on the right track?


I don't want to speak for anyone else, but, as you've probably guessed, I tend to fall into the latter camp. It's probably just the academic in me, but I find that by breaking things down into their essential elements, it's  easier to identify parallels between seemingly disparate games (and media) This helps me to understand what's really going on in a game, and what effects certain kinds of changes are likely to have on the overall experience.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
Offline blahblahblahh

JGO Coder


Medals: 1


http://t-machine.org


« Reply #44 - Posted 2003-08-23 11:10:29 »

Quote


So I do think we have different views on the subject, though only slightly, in that I view gameplay as a combination of game mechanics and play mechanics, but leave off those elements that may influence the player psychologically but don't necessarily change what the player can or cannot do in the game, whereas you choose to include these elements because, as I'll agree, they may have a definite affect on how a given individual chooses to play a game.


Yeah, I agree that it's just our different perspectives on what one should mean when talking about "gameplay" Smiley.

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...
I still make a distinction between changes in a game that may inspire differences in strategy because they make you think about the game differently, and those that force differences in strategy ...


I think "force" is the key word here. When you spoke of R&J, I almost included an anecdote from back when I used to study English Lit, but wasn't sure why it was relevant. Now I think it was my subconscious making a connection I hadn't noticed Smiley. The two most senior dons in the English department - both grey-haired academics - became so enraged in the midst of a group discussion (amongst students - the dons were supposed to be there just to provide additional direction and thoughts) about Shakespeare that they almost started throwing punches. The reason? Violent disagreement about "All possible interpretations of Shakespeare's plays are equally valid if they make sense within the play" vs. ""Only the interpretations which the author intended have any validity". The parallel here is that you (I believe) believe that only that gameplay that is FORCED upon a player is really gameplay, whereas I believe that anything that affects the playing-process is really gameplay. AFAICS neither is right or wrong, but they are irreconcilable.

FYI, I used to believe the "forced" version, because I hadn't perceived there was any difference! I didn't believe that any non-forced changes could occur; I thought that changing the graphics etc could not and would not in any way change the way that people played the game. It was when I realised that it could and did that I switched to a different perspective Smiley. If It's not that I feel I've changed from a worse to a better definition - if I'd appreciated the difference from the start, I would never have believed in the "forced" version. Shrug.

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The one place where I think we disagree most strongly, is that I don't think this debate is by any means limited to computer games.


Oh, only in that I've noticed it to much greater extremes in computer-games, and hardly noticed it at all in other media such as board games. I think that's my own ignorance though...and the kind of people I've played board games with over the years Smiley (which is a much smaller set than the number of people I've played computer games with - and I've also played many many more computer games; so I guess it's just that I have a much smaller sample-size for board games, and my observations there are just wrong).

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Offline blahblahblahh

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« Reply #45 - Posted 2003-08-23 11:45:01 »

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What everyone here's trying to say, and it's the answer I was trying to get in my original post,


Wow! We actually answered the question? Cheesy

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(Andy - haven't read all of that doc. yet - reads like a bloody phD!)


Chuckle. Artifact of the list where I posted it...heavily moderated, very high SNR. Vague posts get vague responses; if you want well thought-out responses, you have to get the ball rolling Smiley.

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Offline oNyx

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« Reply #46 - Posted 2003-08-23 12:32:42 »

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[...]The parallel here is that you (I believe) believe that only that gameplay that is FORCED upon a player is really gameplay, whereas I believe that anything that affects the playing-process is really gameplay.[...]


A game can offer some goals but I won't call that forced.

I believe that gameplay is a subjective/induvidual thing. Everyone change the controls and plays for different reasons.

As a gamedesigner you build the world and create some rules - the indivudal game experience (gameplay) is up to the player.

Some games offers more/a better gameplay-potential then others.

弾幕 ☆ @mahonnaiseblog
Offline Athomas Goldberg

Junior Member




Grrrrrr...


« Reply #47 - Posted 2003-08-23 14:12:29 »

Quote

I think "force" is the key word here. When you spoke of R&J, I almost included an anecdote from back when I used to study English Lit, but wasn't sure why it was relevant. Now I think it was my subconscious making a connection I hadn't noticed Smiley. The two most senior dons in the English department - both grey-haired academics - became so enraged in the midst of a group discussion (amongst students - the dons were supposed to be there just to provide additional direction and thoughts) about Shakespeare that they almost started throwing punches. The reason? Violent disagreement about "All possible interpretations of Shakespeare's plays are equally valid if they make sense within the play" vs. ""Only the interpretations which the author intended have any validity". The parallel here is that you (I believe) believe that only that gameplay that is FORCED upon a player is really gameplay, whereas I believe that anything that affects the playing-process is really gameplay. AFAICS neither is right or wrong, but they are irreconcilable.

In which case, the issue may have to do with the semantic definition of "gameplay" As I hate arguments over semantics, I'll stop using the word and just get at what interests me about the discussion, but before I do I'm going to throw another wrinkle into the debate here, just to see where it goes:

I read this in some magazine somewhere about the Sims Online: A group of friends would create challenges for each other. One challenge was to see who could get a girl into a private room and engaged in some amorous activity in the shortest period of time.

Why do I bring this up? Because I believe that even though, the "pickup game" was not necessarily part of the game design, it is a full-fledged "game" created by the players using the SO "pieces" and has qualities & characteristics that can be described in their own right, independent of the specific intentions of Will Wright and the makers of SO. That said, I would also argue that SO was designed so that people could in fact make up these kinds of games.

My point is that I don't view the definition of a game as something controlled completely by the manufacturer of a game, but a function of the game that is *actually* played.

To address your comment regarding R&J, I personally fall into the "all interpretations are equally valid" camp.  The question I'm trying to answer is this: If it's possible to have many valid interpretations of the same game, how do you determine that they really are interpretations of the "same game"?

EDIT: If I make the Capulets Israeli and the Montagues Palestinian, it becomes a play about ethnic & political conflict, but it's still R&J. If I keep the same actors, sets, props & costumes, but change the script to Hamlet, is it still R&J? (Another hypothetical question)

The distinction I've been trying to get at is between those elements that MUST exist in order for two games to be considered equivelant, and those that are specific to a given interpretation of a game.

They way I look at it now, thanks to this discussion, is that this equivelance can happen on many different levels, all of which are equally valid, but each of which says something different about the game. On one level, live-action Capture The Flag is the same game as Quake CTF because the rules and goals are essentially the same; on another level they are different games, because the physical interaction in both games is completely different. Taken a step further, Quake CTF played with the standard issue characters is the same game as Quake CTF where the characters have been replaced with cute, furry animals, because the physical interactions are the same; on another level, they are different games because one's perception of the characters and environment are going to be completely different. Equivelance, in this regard, is thus a function of the level at which one makes the comparison.

EDIT:  I also think that examining the differences and similarities between equivelant interpretations at various levels can lead to a better understanding of the game, and offer insight into how a game may be further modified or reinterpreted.

Athomas Goldberg
Project Lead / Wildcard
Game Technologies Group
Sun Microsystems, Inc.
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