Archive for game design

when does tragedy = gameplay?

The tragedy of the commons is an economics theory, according to which individuals, acting independently and rationally according to each one’s self-interest, behave contrary to the whole group’s long-term best interests by depleting some common resource. 

Take an example of overfishing. Every fisherman knows that if there is too much fishing then eventually fish stocks will run out. If all the fishermen could agree to fish at sustainable levels then the fish stocks could last forever. However, if one fisherman starts to overfish then eventually the fish stocks will run out.

When this happens the others might as well overfish as well to get as much as possible before the stocks run out. It only takes someone to start overfishing to mean that it is then logical for everyone else to overfish. The first person might start because they think that just them overfishing will not make any difference but once they start then everyone else soon joins them and the stocks run out.
This is similar to the prisoners’ dilemma. However in the prisoners’ dilemma individuals cannot communicate and so, if they act logically, then they won’t co-operate with the other players and will end up with a worse outcome. In the tragedy of the commons everyone can communicate but it still leads to a situation where a collective resource is overused.

There are some great gameplay opportunities lurking in this kind of model.
Especially where information is limited in some way, and there are competing personal goals that are not always clear to all players.

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too busy to watch the ads on TV

Should game session length mirror the length of ad breaks on TV?

“While 50 percent of DVR users would routinely skip ads, “the number is declining now,” said Poltrack, “because they’re too busy on their phones to fast-forward through the ads,” given that two-thirds of users watch TV while also engaged with a second screen.

http://www.adweek.com/news/television/dont-panic-says-cbs-more-people-are-watching-tv-now-decade-ago-166313
via http://ben-evans.com

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if you decide to be in the dog food business…

Be delighted to eat dog food.

It makes no sense to disdain the choices your customers make. If you can’t figure out how to empathize and eagerly embrace the things they embrace, you are letting everyone down with your choice. Sure, someone needs to make this, but it doesn’t have to be you.

If you treat the work as nothing but an obligation, you will soon be overwhelmed by competition that sees it as a privilege and a calling

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/08/if-you-choose-to-be-in-the-dog-food-business-.html

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politicians use the focusing effect

The Focusing Effect – People place too much importance on one aspect of an event and fail to recognize other factors
http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/236681

Could be useful when thinking about presenting choices to the player in negotiations, where the information we provide doesn’t have to be ‘fair’. In most circumstances you want the UI information provided to the player to fairly represent the data and encourage a reasonable skilled choice from the player. In negotiations, or in situations of political will, the ‘character’ wants to manipulate the player and can lie, cheat and skew the information that they present to the player. It is then up to the player to use their knowledge, skill, perception etc to understand the situation in front of them.

“Nothing In Life Is As Important As You Think It Is, While You Are Thinking About It” – Daniel Kahneman

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pick the right number of choices

Every choice takes some mental energy. Make the choices you offer the player ones that matter and that they should care about. Don’t make them burn energy on thinks that don’t matter or aren’t meaningful. 

The only thing worse than never having a choice is always having to choose 

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the role of a whip in political games

Thinking about the possible roles in a multiplayer game with a more political aspect. Player’s will need to organize, recruit and remind players of their goals etc. This matches the real world role of a whip.

A whip is an official in a political party whose primary purpose is to ensure party discipline in a legislature. Whips are a party’s “enforcers,” who typically offer inducements and threaten party members to ensure that they vote according to the official party policy.

 A whip’s role is also to ensure that the elected representatives of their party are in attendance when important votes are taken. The usage comes from the hunting term “whipping in,” i.e. preventing hounds from wandering away from the pack. In the United States there are legislatures at the local (city councils, town councils, county boards, etc.), state, and federal levels. The federal legislature (Congress), state legislatures, and many county and city legisltive bodies are divided along party lines and have whips

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YouTube and Twitch are part of the game designers ecosystem

“Because there’s so much awesome stuff that’s happening on YouTube, the videos that people are posting, the amazing creations that people are making on Minecraft, all the League of Legends stuff – this didn’t exist before. I think the innovation is just happening in a place where it might be a little bit outside of the control of the developer.”

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