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Rewarding the notplayer...

Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2010, 09:35:59 pm »

Abilities -> World Knowledge

You probably mean "game world" knowledge, right?

I've always been interested in applying the player's knowledge of the real world somehow. The problem is of course that different people's knowledge might differ greatly because they live in different cultures. So you'd have to find things that people have in common. And that might be too basic for interesting interactions.
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2010, 09:45:58 pm »

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You probably mean "game world" knowledge, right?
yeah.

And about real world knowledge I am pretty much against that unless (as u say) very basic stuff. I think a game should be grounded the game world. If real world stuff is needed, than the game world needs to be real and allow the player to find this out through the game interactions..
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2010, 09:57:36 pm »

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You probably mean "game world" knowledge, right?
If real world stuff is needed, than the game world needs to be real and allow the player to find this out through the game interactions..

Do you have a reason for this?

When, in Amnesia, e.g., you expect the player to look in drawers for items, are you relying on real world knowledge, on knowledge of your specific game world, or on game cliché's? A reliance on game cliché's could be very useful for the seasoned gamer because the interaction comes almost natural to them and doesn't remove them from the narrative too much. But I can imagine a novice gamer would have a hard time suspending disbelief if they realize they need to go through each and every drawer.
(I'm not criticizing your design at all -on the contrary: I think you've achieved a masterful balance between interactive storytelling and symbolic gameplay. Just using the drawers as an example.)
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2010, 10:06:27 pm »



So the vertical axis is the negative element offered by the game.
While the horizontal axis is the positive element offered by the player.

The thing that bothers me about this representation is that it casts the two elements of the interaction into very specific roles. Surely it's possible to achieve flow in a conversation, for instance, where the elements are equals. And both speakers feel the flow! Is this because, in a conversation, the speakers alternate between offering challenges and meeting them with their abilities? If so, would it be possible to implement this in a game? Can the player challenge the game once in a while? And could the game be required to use its abilities to meet the player's challenge? Can a game be "in the zone"? (hope I'm not bothering you all too much with my obsession with "living" software... -feel free to ignore)
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #34 on: February 15, 2010, 10:22:07 am »

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Do you have a reason for this? [...]
This is of course a fuzzy line here and one could question how universal drawers and such things are. But I think that opening stuff is a basic sort of interaction and exploring hidden spaces is a kind of human instinct. Just see how children tend to pull out any drawer and open any door that they find. Who knows what goodies that are hidden? Smiley
As for how it works in our game, the idea is kind of that player could (if they wanted) only examine drawers that are at interesting places. For example, if found in a work worm, it seems more plausible that the drawers will contain interesting things, than drawers in a hallway. Right now we have spammed items everywhere just to reward whenever the player takes time to examine the environment more closely.
I have managed to get my father to play the game, and he seems to be doing fine so far Smiley

What I meant with world knowledge was mostly specific facts or practices that might be common in the real world. For example, if that player had to do a thumbs-up-movement in order to get a ride, I would consider that bad design unless the game world had somehow stated this fact. The same would be true for an action that required the mixing of chemicals without stating a formula in the game (for example assuming that all knows HCl is an acid).

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an the player challenge the game once in a while? And could the game be required to use its abilities to meet the player's challenge? Can a game be "in the zone"?
I really like questions like this and I really think your analog of the game as something living and emotional as really good and helpful. It might be that I am somewhat of a sci-fi junkey, but I do not see that too far fetched that killing enemies in games might eventually even become a moral issue. Do not wanna go off-topic about that now though Smiley

How would one go about challenging a game (given our current technology)? I think think the first step is having some kind of adaptive element in the game (which could perhaps be quite simple) that would try and keep the experienced focused on certain things. The challenge would then be that when the player chose to interact, the game would have to adapt itself and make sure the focus was intact. There could be a sort of exchange in this manner.

I do not think it is all that far from how some IF games work. Since you can type whatever you like, when ever you do an interaction it does not feel like pressing buttons (even though that is essentially what you are doing), but rather rather an action of "free will". Then when you try out crazy stuff and the game is able to respond, it gives me a sort of warm fuzzy feeling, almost like the game met my challenge and is playing with me. Also note that IF games are very close to a conversatiion (as you essentially "talk" to an interpreter). One example game would be Lost Pig. It is a really charming and cute game and allows for some really funny interaction. It can be played online here:
http://jayisgames.com/games/ifiction/game/lostpig?game=lostpig
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #35 on: February 15, 2010, 11:15:09 pm »

One could argue that adaptive difficulty systems are an example of a game changing its abilities in response to a challenge posed by the player (the challenge being either "I'm too good" or "I'm too bad"). It's a very poor example in terms of narrative content, though.
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #36 on: February 15, 2010, 11:18:50 pm »

What I meant with world knowledge was mostly specific facts or practices that might be common in the real world. For example, if that player had to do a thumbs-up-movement in order to get a ride, I would consider that bad design unless the game world had somehow stated this fact. The same would be true for an action that required the mixing of chemicals without stating a formula in the game (for example assuming that all knows HCl is an acid).

Interesting point. I definitely agree with this if the knowledge is required to solve a puzzle or otherwise essential for playing. Because you can never be sure what the player knows and what he doesn't.
But how do you feel about less essential things? Interactions that are not required to make progress?
(I'm interested because my ideal game contains zero essential interactions: everything should be optional and the game basically becomes whatever you make of it)
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #37 on: February 15, 2010, 11:42:14 pm »

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But how do you feel about less essential things? Interactions that are not required to make progress?
As along as there is "something for everyone" I guess it is not that big of a problem. I do like the idea of playing the game any way you like, mixing acids and hitching rides while doing so Smiley However, I guess it all depends on what kind of game you are making and to what kind of audience. I do however think that as much as possible of the interaction space should be available and not locked away because of cultural background or whatnot. I see it as a sort of goal that anyone (given a few basic requirements like age, being human, etc) should be able to pick up and have access to most of the game. Otherwise it feels like locking away things unless you know the secret password.

I have not given this too much thought though, so I might change my mind if you have arguments for the other side Smiley
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #38 on: February 16, 2010, 12:42:15 am »

I don't consider it locking away. I think of it as building on top of something, skipping some steps in order to get deeper.

We did get in trouble with this though with Fatale. We had overestimated people's knowledge of the theme of the femme fatale in general and the legend of Salome in particular, let alone Oscar Wilde's version of it. So much so that several people read the play first before playing Fatale. Which is not altogether a bad thing, but not what we had expected.

Fairy tales are better as a common ground to start off of. People don't know their bible (or historic literature) anymore!
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #39 on: February 19, 2010, 02:36:32 pm »

We did get in trouble with this though with Fatale. We had overestimated people's knowledge of the theme of the femme fatale in general and the legend of Salome in particular, let alone Oscar Wilde's version of it. So much so that several people read the play first before playing Fatale. Which is not altogether a bad thing, but not what we had expected.

Fairy tales are better as a common ground to start off of. People don't know their bible (or historic literature) anymore!

I watched the film version (which featured Oscar Wilde in a play-within-a-film fashion), which was rather excellent. I knew a lot about Wilde but the play was unknown to me, rather a novelty. I think the problem with Salome was I did not know what to expect and it was hard to find out purely from the interaction. The problem for me was more the lack of clear interaction than lack of understanding of the story.

It is a problem I am working on myself, however. I added a section to the start of my game in which you see the character's hand and press a key to "take control" over it. Text will appear that says that in this game you do not play a person, nor yourself, but part of someone's subconscious. I know that in 25 years this message will be laugh-worthy but I think for now allowing people more view on what their actions will be like is a great addition because people will now be able to know what will be their reward and their actions: rather than assuming from previous knowledge (and given that there is no previous version of this, their knowledge would be wrong).

Hooking into something Thomas and I were speaking about in my research thread (which I am still working on Wink), this message is communication between me as a designer and the player... I also adapted my interface to be of a different style to the game content to keep a sort of 'distance' between the player and the character; I made some design errors in making the character capable of 'symbiosis' with the player so I prefer people listening to the character like a story and interacting with him more out of mimicry play than a feeling they are ultimately involved.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2010, 02:41:10 pm by Jeroen D. Stout »
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #40 on: March 03, 2010, 06:57:22 am »

Really interesting course of conversation going on here. Smiley

I think that Thomas is already experimenting with an adaptive game system by making the game adapt to player death.

The basic point of Jenova's thesis was that you could design a dynamic difficulty system through the rules themselves, as opposed to programming AI to try to understand what the player is doing "organically."  In this way, the player actually chooses the difficulty through explicit actions.  He applied this through eating food.  When you eat the "deeper" food item, you go deeper, where the game becomes more difficult.

I think it's a very clever idea, and makes a game very reactive to the player.  However, it's very directly reactive.  To me, a conversation is more indirect in comparison.  At one point, the other party might change the subject or react in a way you don't expect.  The not having direct control over the other party in a conversation is what makes conversing so nuanced; it requires you to be sympathetic - to be sensitive to the reaction of the other party.

In contrast, flOw (the game) has you in direct control all of the time.  At any moment you can go deeper or shallower; you know exactly what to expect (in general terms).  I think this makes perfect sense when you consider that the basis of the concept - the book itself - is about self-service.  It teaches you about the concept of flow to maximize your own happiness.  This isn't to say that the book is about being selfish in the derogatory sense.  In fact, it argues that selfless pursuits are among the best ways to maximize your own happiness.  But hopefully you get what I'm saying in that even the selfless acts are ultimately in service to the self.  In a game, this would obviously play out in you getting to choose where the flow is for you.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2010, 07:03:07 am by God at play »
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #41 on: March 03, 2010, 09:10:39 am »

Thank you for putting the finger on what I dislike about this Flow theory business!
I think experiences can be far more interesting and meaningful if you're jerked around on the flow diagram once in a while. But more importantly, I think we shouldn't be designing purely for giving the player pleasure. Pleasure is a tool that we can use in our communication with the player. It should not be a goal.
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Re: Rewarding the notplayer...
« Reply #42 on: March 03, 2010, 09:16:22 am »

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I think it's a very clever idea, and makes a game very reactive to the player.  However, it's very directly reactive.  To me, a conversation is more indirect in comparison.

Also, it might be a little different experience if the player was not so aware of tuning the the experience and instead unknowingly adjusted the difficulty. This might destroy the whole concept though, so not sure it would work.

I am not sure that "Flow" is a holy grail either and many of my favorite moments in life have been far from flow-like. "Flow" is borderline additive behaviour (and note that many reviews describe the game fl0w as addicting!!) which is far from a design goal for me. One would like to have flow when doing something worthwhile, like building a house or whatnot and not when playing some nibbles-clone Tongue This means that developers also have a responsibility when creating games, which I think few really care about.
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