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I Have No Words & I Must Design by Greg Costikyan


* Every game is interactive.

-Games are not static but change with player's actions; the game state changes in response to your decision.

What does player do in a game?

-Considers the game state

-Responds in a fashion calculated to help him achieve his objectives

-Tries to decide on the best course of action

* Games are goal directed interaction.

? Is struggle essential to the games ?

-Yes. There can be no game without struggle, because people would not feel any sense of accomplishment.

Competition is only a one way of struggle.

The game should create desire to achieve the game's goals. The players agree to behave as if the goal is important to them when they play.

* A games requires players to struggle interactively toward a goal.

A game's structure does not dictate outcomes, but guides behaviour through the need to achieve goal. A game shapes player's behaviour, but does not determine it. Games should provide freedom for the player to experiment alternatives.

A designer should consciously decide on what kind of experiences they want to impart to the players and create systems which enable those.

* A games's structure creates its own meaning. = It is endogenous to the structure.

-Example: Monopoly money has value when you are playing the game. MonopolyMoney has meaning endogenous the game of Monopoly.

* Games are fantasy/fiction.

-Even a non-fiction game recontextualizes the reality to establish its own endogenous meanings.

Entertainment (film, music, novels etc.) requires structure and endogenous meaning.

* Games contain tactile pleasure/joy.

LeBlanc's Taxonomy (8)

1- Sensation/Sensory Pleasure: visuals, audio, touch, feeling of game controls, muscle pleasure

~ Creating sensory pleasure is important BUT it is a supporting factor, not the essence of design.

2- Fantasy: when designing it is important to think about how everything you do (writing language, graphic style etc.) helps sustain a sense of place, of immersion in the universe of game.

3- Narrative/Sense of Drama: increasing tension in certain parts, story telling...

4- Challenge/Notion of Struggle: defining what is that players will find challenging and tuning the challenge with tests.

5- Fellowship: shared intense experiences breed a sense of fellowship (points of contact, reasons to feel friendly).

6- Discovery/Exploring the world of game: Something new to explore is emotionally compelling (sense of curiosity) and exiting (the mystery of unexpected encounters).

7- Expression/Self-expression: Games give an opportunity to the players to express/present themselves via virtual fashion, names, characters, choices, style and etc.

8- Masochism: Players want games to be struggling. Then they can make the transaction when they play and submit themselves to the game's structure.

Intentionality in our designs is what can make us an artist: Aiming for certain player experiences and designing the games which can generate the intended behaviour.

I would like to add here a TEDTalk on the topics of fiction and identity politics by a famous novelist. I had watched this before, and thought it was an interesting topic of discussion.


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