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Design naming conventions

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  • Ryan Kelln
    ... Combining those two misses a subtle but important point. The first is the actuality of the player s role and empowerment and the second is the perception
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 1, 2003
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      > > From: Ryan Kelln [mailto:ryankelln@...]
      > > > From: "Brandon J. Van Every" <vanevery@...>
      > > >
      > > > - physical manipulation
      > > > - play style
      > > > - the psychological
      > >
      > > Agreed, although I think I'd slightly change the the categories to:
      > >
      > > 1) user interface and player empowerment:
      > > - what the player can do, how they recognize what they can
      > > do, and how they actualy control the game
      > >
      > > 2) style and feel
      > > - what the player perceives their role as, how they perceive
      > > the game world, and how they want to control the game
      >
      > But your (1) and (2) both talk about player empowerment. How about
      > changing (1) to simply "User Interface?" This would encompass icon
      > manipulation, contextual navigation, and physical manipulation within
      > the simulated game world. The term "UI" is readily recognized by
      > programmers. The problem is when the term "UI" stands for *everything*
      > that goes on in a game. We need to find a way to succinctly divorce UI
      > from other game concepts. Testing UI early and often, I don't have a
      > problem with. It's testing the other stuff early and often that's
      > problematic.

      Combining those two misses a subtle but important point. The first is the
      actuality of the player's role and empowerment and the second is the
      perception of role and empowerment that the player has. When the two align
      then you've got a good design. Typically these two are combined under UI...
      but I think the appropriate testing for each differs considerably. The tests
      you do for (1) won't necesssarily test for (2).

      > I feel a need for something more firm than "style and feel."

      Me too, and Id welcome some terminology that really matches the meaning.

      > > 3) algorithm
      > > - what makes controlling the game challenging, interesting, and fun or
      > > otherwise (the "point" of the game)
      >
      > By that definition, a story is an algorithm. Which might not be a bad
      > way to look at a story, but it's not how story-oriented people usually
      > think. Such a technical name biases the category towards programming.
      > What's a name that non-techies would readily grok? Is "game structure"
      > adequate?

      Yes, Id consider story to be algorithm - much like your 3 act linear story
      structure. "Game structure" is a little misleading implying too much stasis
      and not enough dynamism, maybe "gameplay" is closer. Algorithm has technical
      roots but I taught the lead designer at my previous company to use it
      appropriately. :) Still there needs to be a better word...

      > > Category (3) is the most critical but the most variable when
      > > it comes to testing.
      >
      > Well, you can't test the ultimate payoff of a story, its climax, until
      > you've gotten pretty much the whole thing done. However, you can tell
      > whether it's a "page turner" or well paced at every stage. Do new
      > playtesters find it interesting or boring as they proceed through the
      > game?

      Agreed - that "page turning" quality is definitely noticable at most stages
      of development and can be tested for. Whats a good term for that? Perhaps
      just "quality".

      I might disagree with out about the ultimate payoff though. Im not sure, but
      I think that a good algorithm/story/etc expressed on any level can be
      identified by those with proper training as having quality or not.

      > We also have replayability to worry about, except perhaps in adventure
      > games. Does the game remain interesting as it is replayed, or is it a
      > one trick pony? "Insaniquarium" springs to mind.

      To me replayability is more like a genre. It isn't a requirement and forcing
      it on certain algorithms will only make them worse. I have one design for a
      game that is really only meant to be played a single time - one single
      session even. I still think the design works and would be a lot of fun.

      Cheers,
      Ryan
    • Brandon J. Van Every
      ... I don t like the term gameplay because I think an awful lot of people automatically think of video gameplay or sports mechanics. The historical weight
      Message 2 of 2 , Jun 1, 2003
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        > From: Ryan Kelln [mailto:ryankelln@...]
        >
        > Yes, Id consider story to be algorithm - much like your 3 act
        > linear story
        > structure. "Game structure" is a little misleading implying
        > too much stasis
        > and not enough dynamism, maybe "gameplay" is closer.

        I don't like the term "gameplay" because I think an awful lot of people
        automatically think of video gameplay or sports mechanics. The
        historical weight of the word has never described story. In fact, it is
        common for game designers to talk about gameplay and story as being
        separate from each other.

        “Game Dynamics” is a bit vanilla, but might work if people in industry
        are put through a sufficiently militaristic program of reindoctrination.

        > > Well, you can't test the ultimate payoff of a story, its
        > climax, until
        > > you've gotten pretty much the whole thing done. However,
        > you can tell
        > > whether it's a "page turner" or well paced at every stage. Do new
        > > playtesters find it interesting or boring as they proceed
        > through the
        > > game?
        >
        > Agreed - that "page turning" quality is definitely noticable
        > at most stages
        > of development and can be tested for. Whats a good term for
        > that? Perhaps just "quality".

        No, “page turning” is far more specific than “quality.” “Quality” is a
        terribly overused word that doesn’t mean anything by itself. Hmm.
        Something about capturing player attention. Audience captivation.
        Hooks. Pace is an important component here. Well, the magic term isn’t
        coming to me right now.


        Cheers, www.3DProgrammer.com
        Brandon Van Every Seattle, WA

        20% of the world is real.
        80% is gobbledygook we make up inside our own heads.
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