Check out the “Feedback!” tab up top for the link to the sports game feedback form.
Professor: Eddo Stern, firstname.lastname@example.org
TA: Mark Essen, email@example.com
(Office Hours: Game Lab, Tuesdays 12-2)
Check out the “Feedback!” tab up top for the link to the sports game feedback form.
Let’s look at “Go Fish” as an example of these three concepts. In “Go Fish” the operational rules go as follows: 2-6 players use a standard deck of cards, one of whom is a dealer that deals each player 5 cards at random. The player to the left of the dealer begins the game by asking a specific player for a specific rank of cards, i.e. “Josh do you have any 10s?”. If yes, then the asked must hand over all of his or her cards rank to that asker and the asker gets anoter. If not, the asker must draw a card at random from the deck and add to hand. The next turn goes to player who says “Go Fish”. The goal of the game is to have the most books of 4 cards of same rank. When a book is completed, it is turned face down onto the playing area. The game continues until there is no stock cards left or a player has no cards left in his or her hand.
The constitutive rules of “Go Fish” are the general structures of a standard 52 card deck: 4 suits (heart, diamond, spade, clover) and 13 ranks (2-10, Ace, Jack, Queen, King).
2. In your opinion what does the element of randomness contribute to making a game more compelling? (Please incorporate concepts from the reading in your answer.
A sense of mystery makes any situation, be it watching a movie or playing Clue, more compelling and exciting. This holds true for “Go Fish” as well, where players do not know whether the next card drawn will be benefit self or other player. In playing “Go Fish”, randomness is an important concept in the operational rules as it establishes a framework for competition and fairplay.
3. Describe examples (not found in the reading) of these key cybernetics concepts : a positive feedback loop and a negative feedback loop.
A positive feedback leads to an exponential growth, positive or negative, leading to a polarization across the spectrum. A candid example of this is dating. When a guy has a girlfriend, he gains the interest of the other girls. But once the guy becomes single and is ready to approach his suitors, their interest has wained away because he no longer has a girlfriend.
The implicit rules are the unsaid rules of conduct and fairplay, in “Go Fish” this includes no cheating, such as hiding a card; taking more cards from the stock than allowed; and good sportsmanship.
A negative feedback loop always seek a balance between the extremes, and in the case of games, to level the playing field. A prime example of this can be seen in the NFL draft where the worse a team is, the higher its pick will be in the NFL draft, and the higher likelihood it will have of drafting good players who will improve team performance.
4. In your own words explain these terms from the field of Game Theory: Saddle Point, Prisoners Dilemma, Zero Sum Game
A Saddle Point is the perhaps one of the worst things that can occur in a game. It is a strategy that guarantees winning, regardless of any other factor in the game, including the other team’s strategy. A Saddle Point takes away any thinking and strategy-creation in a game. An example is in Mario Kart 64′s Koopa Troopa beach level where a hidden tunnel almost guarantees winning for any player that uses it. This tunnel, however, is not always used because players may not know about it or they are unable to make the jump inside the tunnel.
A Prisoners Dilemma is a situation that leads to a suboptimal outcome for two players, arising from the mutually-held fear that the other might double-cross. The irony, however, lies in the fact that both players would receive a more desired outcome if both would cooperate with each other. But as a result of not knowing how the other will act, there is an incentive to change your strategy, leading the other player to likewise change their strategy, which creates a suboptimal outcome for both.
A Zero-Sum game is a game that one player’s winning depends directly on another player’s losing, so that every point won correlates to a point lost. This fact lends itself to the term “Zero Sum” because the sum of the outcomes will always equal zero.—
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The goal of the game is to be the player who collects the most pieces of the city. Each player will get to “roll” through the city colleting as much as possible while the city manager tries to slow down and if possible stop the other players. Players will get the chance each turn to try and consume another part of the city or steal part or what another player has already accumulated.
Getting Started –
First the “city manager” must build the city using the game board tokens. Starting with a 4 x 4 grid the manager then expands in any direction (up or out) until they have used 40 tokens. The manager will then place the three player tokens in the center of the city in any order that they choose. Then the manager will place their own token on any square in the city.
1 Turn –
Players – Roll a six sided dice to determine the number of movements that player will get that turn. The player will then have the choice to move to a new square and pick up a piece of the city or to try and steal a piece from another player. For a player to be able to pick up a piece of the city they must have more pieces accumulated than the height of the city square (so if the square is 5 pieces tall the player must have at least 6 pieces accumulated). The player will also have the opportunity to steal pieces from other players, in order to do this they must use one of their movements to bump into the other player if they have more accumulated pieces then they successfully steal one piece from the other player. This will continue until all of the city squares have been picked up.
Manager – The city manager does whatever he can to stop the players from taking all of the city. Each turn they will roll a six sided dice to determine the number of city squares they will get to place that turn. They will then place the squares however they see fit. They will also get the chance to move their game token. This manager token can’t be passed by players unless it is attacked by more than one player in a single round.
Game comes to an end when all the pieces from the game board have been collected and the city manager token has been defeated. The winning player is the one with the most total pieces collected.
Players- 3- 8
Game Pieces- 8 player cards, 50 tokens, 60 cards, 1 piece of paper, timer.
In this game you will venture into the “spiderhead” laboratories and join Dr. Abnesti as he attempts his trials on his wide array of drugs. You will have you with and will pushed to the limit in this social study as you attempt to outwit the doctor and you fellow patients to try and “escape”.
To begin the game the player playing as the doctor (or both the doctor and his assistant if more players are playing) will write down on the sheet of paper how many of the players will be alive after 15 turns, the then proceeds with 15 rounds of play. The game is played in two phases planning and action. During the planning phase each player will draw a card then they will have 2 minutes to choose the card they will play, patients will play 1 card each and the doctor will play one for each player. The action phase will then start with the doctor revealing and playing all of his cards then the patients will play. Winning is accomplished for players if they can beat the doctors plans after 15 turns, for the doctor victory is accomplishing what was written on the paper at the beginning of the game. Any player who surpasses their level of veraline at any time can not play cards until they are given darkenfloxx again, at which points levels go down to 0. Any player who goes over their level of Darkenfloxx at any point is dead and out of the game.
The concept of my story was based off the Story “Puppy” from George Sauders. Originally, I read the story as if the white trash mom had raised her own child as a puppy. Later I had learned that the mom actually had a child and a puppy. Regardless, I took advantage of that mistake and turned that into an alternative narrative for my game. In this version, the puppy is the child, and he is exposed to the public before the game starts, hence the goal to be recognized as a good neighborhood. The story includes the buying of the “puppy” and it’s possible death from the storyline, but this time it’s up to the players.
1.An embedded narrative story is one that is entirely predetermined from the outset. No matter what the player does, the story plays out the same way every single time. Emergent narrative, however, changes based on the player’s decisions and actions. I don’t think one is any better than the other, but they do lend themselves to different styles of gameplay.
Dead Space is an example of a game with an “embedded narrative.” Every single time you play the game, the player must go to the same areas in the same order to experience the game. Every single playthrough, the same characters die at the same point in time and the same enemies are faced. There is some player decision with regards to which way to go (ie go left first or right first), but in no way does it influence the unfolding of the narrative.
Mass Effect and its sequel, on the other hand, are examples of a game with an “emergent narrative”. The way the story plays out is entirely dependent on what choices the player makes. Some characters may die in one playthrough or end up being the hero in another – it completely depends on the player choice.
2a.Narrative descriptors are what keep the player immersed in the game play and story. Something like dead space could be played with every enemy and character replaced with gray boxes inside of gray rooms, but it certainly wouldn’t convey the same story and it could hardly be considered the same game. While cutscenes may explicitly tell the narrative of the story itself, the narrative descriptors, such as music and art direction, within the gameplay are what tie the cutscenes together and keep the player within the narrative world.
b.Games without narrative descriptors often feel as though they have no story. I feel that there are few games nowadays like this. Pong, for example, has no narrative descriptors. There is no attempt to make the graphics or world into anything specific. Geometry Wars, similarly, doesn’t skin the shapes into anything specific or tell a story with the graphics or sounds that it presents.
c.Narrative descriptors justify and can imply operational and constitutive rules. The narrative descriptors give the designer a reason to do something. Rather than say “this gray box produces balls that fly at you and cause damage”, it can now be justified and made more interesting with “the tank is shooting at you.”
3a.Cutscenes can, depending on the player, add or detract from the gameplay. “Core” gamers will often skip them while new players will watch them to gain more context. This means that the designer cannot rely on the player having seen them and should allow the story to grow within the context of gameplay. Having cutscenes certainly isn’t bad, because it can add something extra to the story if the player so desires, but to a player, any time watching a cutscene is time not playing the game.
b.I personally am on the fence about the proper use of cutscenes. On one hand, they take the player’s control away and out of the game environment completely and make them stop everything to watch a movie. On the other, a cinematic can add a lot that can’t be had within a game. Powerful frame composition and dynamic angles can add a lot to a moment in the narrative, but these story elements often cannot be incorporated into gameplay.
In game story telling can work really well, however. Games like Dead Space and Half-Life 2 allow the story to unfold while the player is still in control, which is really nice. One thing that I hate about cinematics is that I lose the feeling of control that is inherent in games. My feeling is that cinematics should only be used when a narrative story element cannot be conveyed through ingame story telling.
1.Diegetic narrative elements are those that are inherent to the story – the setting, characters and plot, for example. These are the elements that have been a part story telling and narrative since its beginning. Extra Diegetic elements are those that arise as a result of the story being told in the form of a game. Glitches and other technical artifacts fall under this category – or player actions that are not explicitly embedded within the game’s world.
2.This paradox can be exemplified by medieval mmorpgs, such as World of Warcraft. The narrative of the game tries the position the player in an old world that is nothing like what exists today, yet it is played on modern tech. This can remove the player from the experience and “spoil” it. Other “artifacts” of the technological interface, such as glitches, further interfere with the experience.
3.Sanctioned Artifact: In many modern shooters, when the player takes damage, their health gets dangerously low. However, after a short period of time their health regenerates to full. It doesn’t work like this in real life. “Invisible walls” are another example.
Technological Artifact: Glitches fall into this category – things that happen because of a computer-related error as opposed to something that would have happened in the narrative. Characters bouncing or jittering as they move or even just stand is one example. Some others can be game-breaking, such as when a character falls through a world model due to a glitch.
Gameplayer Artifact: These are caused entirely by a player. Sometimes when I’m playing a game I make the character do stupid things for the hell of it – obviously not part of the narrative. For example, I might make Kratos run around in circles, or jump off of a cliff because I’m bored.
Metaphorically Patched Artifact: In Zelda, after a boss fight, a teleporter takes you back to the entrance that is disguised as a magic ring because it would be unreasonable or impossible to ask the player to walk back through the dungeon.
4.Science Fiction games have emerged as a popular genre because I think people are fascinated with dreaming of the future. New technologies are often showcased and displayed and the media reports on it because the public wants to see what comes next. Science fiction games allow for indulgence and immersion in even the most ridiculous futuristic and technological scenarios. This is why science fiction has become a popular genre in which to frame a game.
5.Film and television often put the viewer in a position of watching another person do something, where as games place the player in a position of being the main character. While film can portray a romance between two people and that love can be emulated, it is much harder to create that same feeling in the player that would be presumably felt by the actor on screen. That same connection is not there. Romantic options may also be controversial and often seem to be relegated as “sex games”. Games, for whatever reason, are viewed differently by the public than other forms of media.
6.Games, because they need to be ever dynamic, cannot portray real world video or photography in the way that film or television can, which has a far greater impact on people than a digital character. No matter how advanced graphics become, I think a photograph or video will always have more impact than a computer generated image. Games can also not absolutely dictate what will happen in the same way a film can. The player can always do something out the ordinary that detracts from the experience of the narrative. While film and television are entirely self contained, games require and rely on an outside player to complete the story. Technological limitations will always be a limitation in some regard for games, while movies will be able to convey whatever imagery they want because of inherently longer time allowances to render and calculate physics and graphics.
here is my final design document, hope everyone has a great summer.
The polemical game I played was Darfur is Dying, featuring villagers being confined by the soldiers and hunted down if they were to rebel. The point of view in this game is the attempt to stay alive by foraging for water and bringing it back to the village. The game was more of a political statement than a conventional one, showing the happenings in the village of Darfur and what the villagers were experiencing.
I noticed that the game continued after the forage for water in an eagle-eye view of the game as the character I just played so I could take care of the village or forage for more water. In the bottom-left hand corner, there was an option that led to a list of options, one which included the option to send an actual message to Obama or make a donation to Darfur. Having this game on such a website wasn’t a game for fun, or so I realized this afterward. The only reason why the designer would add some sort of agency in such a documentary was probably to state the eventual outcome of the village of Darfur if the situation was not taken care of.
The player is able to control most of the agency the game provides during the forage for water. The player literally takes control of the character they chose to be at the beginning of the game and runs around the desert in order to find the water faucet while avoiding soldiers. Later in the game in the village, the player has the ability to interact with his/her environment in order to support the village for as long as it can stand. Sooner or later the player has to forage for more water. In my opinion, the foraging is the most interesting part of the game, since the player gets to play in a real-time environment running around and avoiding soldiers in order to reach a goal while being very nerve-wracking.
It is pretty much given by the game illustration that the game is set as a “documentary” with much agency. While playing the game, I felt like I really didn’t want to get caught by the soldiers and what would happen if I got caught. Even if the game over screen appeared, it would not show me what happens aside from the obvious, probably to leave the player in thought about what happened. The difference between this game and a regular news report is that the news provides a linear, set explanation of a situation while the game provides a more diverse setting to the player in order to place him/her in such an experience while keeping the same point of view and properly project the happenings in Darfur.
The most interesting part of this game is the link to the actual events in Darfur. By that, I mean that this game’s purpose is directly related to that of the situation in Sudan. After playing the game I was also tempted to help donate after seeing such a situation that I have made for myself. Also, although the game was probably inaccurate in terms of what happened, the real situation is probably nonetheless the same than the game itself. I also noticed that the amount of water that the forage provides is enough to supply the village for a good while. However, the amount of water seems unrealistic in terms of how much a regular person needs in order to live. These exaggerations help emphasize the problem of the villagers of Darfur and make the player very sympathetic to the villagers.
1. In MMORPGs, the diegetic part of games is the clear elements regarding the theme and context of that game. In most medieval games, the diegetic attributes are most usually associated with medieval themes themselves. The extra diegetic part of games is the less clear elements of the game that contribute to the plot or progression in a game. In medieval themed MMORPGs, these are usually a given to the player in order to help progress the plot.
2. The central paradox of immerse narrative and computer paradox refers to the digital space provided by technology, usually for gamers (like our fellow MMORPG player) that would otherwise be impossible to experience in the real life. Usually in these virtual spaces, the narrative is exaggerated, along with regular human properties and their surroundings.
3. A sanctioned artifact- Something that cuts out logic but fits into a video game, like jumping 10 feet high or having extra lives
A technological artifact- as it says, anything that has to do with technology not really related to the game itself, like when a player disconnects from a game during a dungeon
Gameplay artifact- is directly derived from the game, like hitpoints or experience
Metaphorically-patched artifacts- Anything not part of the game but implemented into it, and probably harmful to the regular gameplay, like glitches.
4. In my opinion, the most dominant genre in modern gaming would be MMORPGs themselves with medieval settings, whether it’d be in Europe, Asia, or fantasy (to name a few themes). Gamers most usually like to look past on these times since they never got to live through them. Only now, the game is projected as a virtual world with magic, superpowers, and other exaggerated abilities in order to enhance this experience the gamer really never had in real life.
5. Romance is a theme that occurs between two genders, usually. With this in mind, it gives designers very limited elements to play on, since most humans already get the gist of romance. This is why most of these games tend to end up being visual novels, in order to contain an enhanced, lengthened, and interesting story.
6. In a game, limitations may include anything that a film, writing, or television have not. The latter subjects are very linear, as a game’s only job is to branch off from a linear story or situation and provide the audience with choices. However, the designer is limited to only what he/she can come up with when making a game.