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1  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Exploration... in its widest sense. on: September 01, 2010, 02:22:04 AM
I understand what you're saying, Michaƫl. But I do think the concept of exploring concepts rather than simulated locations holds a lot of value. Much like following Wikipedia threads from one to the next, depending on what piques your interest. I find that kind of exploration to be thoroughly interesting.

I would disagree that standard videogames spoon-feed players, at least not in all cases. Often, there is an amount of spoon-feeding necessary to get people going, as there is in almost any activity, like riding a bike. But I wouldn't call it passive at all. Developing strategies in any competitive game, for example, is a very active experience that requires creativity and active testing and analysis, all of which is very stimulating. I'm talking about games with defined goals in this instance, but the fact that I worked out my approach on my own and made it work was stimulating and enjoyable, and I knew my strategy was my own. This could equally be applied to any game without strict goals. In fact, I'm sure that people who've pioneered machinima in particular games, or made something they thought was awesome in a physics engine have felt the same satisfaction.

Perhaps more food for thought, I had a very fun exploration activity in real life. A friend and I from university set ourselves the challenge to walk from Coventry to Leamington Spa in a day, without directions. We roughly knew which direction Leamington was in, but that was it, and the rest was up to us. And it was really exciting trying to find our way there and guess where we were. In a sense, Warwickshire was the game world, and we set ourselves our own goal, to see what we hadn't seen before and do what had never been done (at least by another student).

Maybe there's something to be said for that experience.
2  Creation / Notgames design / Re: Exploration... in its widest sense. on: August 31, 2010, 01:41:20 AM
I always found that the literal take on "exploration" was a little dissatisfying. That is, exploring an existing landscape and looking for different objects or items seemed a little dull, and it was always the "pesky gameplay in-between" that I wanted to do. I think the main problem was that prodding around someone's pre-designed level until you found something was a fairly unstimulating experience. You knew a designer had hidden your target somewhere and you just had to prod around until you found it. The "gameplay" sections tended to be more interesting, because you were forced to actively do something, and to think.

I always enjoyed the exploration present in Ikaruga, where you can explore different approaches to the levels in an attempt to increase your score. Or in Kongai, where you can explore different character combinations and strategies and see what works.

I understand these games aren't very closely linked to the philosophy of notgames, but I think there's something of real value there. I found the nonliteral sense of exploration much more interesting than the literal. Perhaps because what I was exploring hadn't already been determined by a designer, and I wasn't just following a set path. Or maybe it was because my exploration had a more unpredictable outcome. One that changed the play experience rather than just advanced it to the next step.

Food for thought perhaps.

I like what you say about music and painting, Utforska, and very much agree.
3  General / Introductions / Hello all on: August 31, 2010, 01:26:48 AM
Hi, I'm Alistair Aitcheson, and I'm just starting out as an indie developer from the UK.

I'm very interested to find out what people are doing and to find out more about "notgames" as an idea.

My website's http://www.alistairaitcheson.com/ if you're interested in seeing some of my work Smiley
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