Dinofarm Community Podcast

Discussion in 'Game Design' started by SwiftSpear, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    Episode 1 is live:
    https://redless.github.io/Dinofarm-Community-Podcast/

    We'll sort out the technical limitations that required it to be split into 3 parts, and figure out how to get it up on itunes and the various podcast apps, but it's available to listen to or download right now, so come get it!
     
    richy, BrickRoadDX, Hopenager and 3 others like this.
  2. Jon Perry

    Jon Perry Well-Known Member

    I really enjoyed this, guys. Please do more.
     
    SwiftSpear likes this.
  3. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    We definitely will do more! Please disagree with us and argue with us so we have more content for future podcasts :D

    Or you can also agree and expand on stuff we've said, that's also very helpful!
     
  4. Erenan

    Erenan Well-Known Member

    Would you mind supplying a brief summary of topics discussed?
     
  5. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    This show we mostly explore the limits and advantages of considering Information horizon in design which naturally morphs into discussing the way the mental exercise of learning to understand games works within the human brain.

    00:00: Information Horizons (Input vs output randomness)
    11:52: Playing to win vs game design
    17:30: Game timers, mental calculation, and more information horizon
    22:30: Limits of fog of war information horizon
    28:35: Calculation vs Analysis
    30:28: Intuition vs Calculation
    49:00: Understanding space vs time
    52:00: More Intuition vs Calculation
    58:20: Learning to play strategy games (More playing to win stuff)
    1:12:20: "The best way to learn a game should be playing the game" (and more turnbased games with timers)
    1:19:00: The players responsibility in learning to play a game
    1:21:45: Sirlin's version of "playing to win" is okay, but you should not to design games STRICTLY for playing to win
     
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2017
    Erenan likes this.
  6. Jon Perry

    Jon Perry Well-Known Member

    I think the big takeaway from the episode was that this stuff isn't neat and tidy or fully figured out yet. It felt like sort of an exploratory conversation, so I didn't disagree with too much.

    Although, as I've argued elsewhere on this forum, I still think the input/output randomness distinction is bad and unhelpful. So I could pick a fight about that if you want...
     
    BrickRoadDX likes this.
  7. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Listened to it! Been crazy busy these last two days but tomorrow I'll post it on the Dinofarm website. Good work all. I will also post some of my responses to some of the things said in there.
     
  8. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    Finished show notes V 1.0

    This show we mostly explore the limits and advantages of considering Information horizon in design which naturally morphs into discussing the way the mental exercise of learning to understand games works within the human brain.

    00:00: Information Horizons (Input vs output randomness)
    11:52: Playing to win vs game design
    17:30: Game timers, mental calculation, and more information horizon
    22:30: Limits of fog of war information horizon
    28:35: Calculation vs Analysis
    30:28: Intuition vs Calculation
    49:00: Understanding space vs time
    52:00: More Intuition vs Calculation
    58:20: Learning to play strategy games (More playing to win stuff)
    1:12:20: "The best way to learn a game should be playing the game" (and more turnbased games with timers)
    1:19:00: The players responsibility in learning to play a game
    1:21:45: Sirlin's version of "playing to win" is okay, but you should not to design games STRICTLY for playing to win
     
  9. richy

    richy Well-Known Member

    Enjoyable discussion! Favourite quote, re. players playing to win:

    "...make(s) the player into an automaton who calculates until they've squeezed the lemon dry and their hands are covered in lemon juice blistering in the sun!"
     
  10. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

  11. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

    richy likes this.
  12. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

  13. VMaikel

    VMaikel New Member

  14. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

  15. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

  16. KindFortress

    KindFortress New Member

    I thought there was some confusion here in the very definition of what a mechanism is - and thus also what a core mechanism is. As I thought about it more, it seems like the confusion is related to the different ways we're using mechanism.

    One way to define a mechanism is the rules by which a game defines a set of valid inputs or triggers and turns them into outputs and statuses. Playing Risk? A valid input is rolling dice to attack and defend. The rules of who has the higher roll and how tiebreakers are resolved define outputs of which units are removed. Taken together, this is the combat resolution mechanism.

    But the core mechanism of Risk isn't the combat resolution mechanism. It's area control. To win at Risk, you have to occupy all the territories on the board. You use the other mechanisms, like the movement mechanism, the reinforcement mechanism, etc., because you are motivated by the "core mechanism" of area control. But area control isn't really a mechanism, it's the higher-order idea that controlling many/all the territories is how you achieve victory.

    Thinking about Tetris, the core mechanism is tessellation. You're trying to fully cover an area. Tetris makes tessalation more interesting by limiting the directions from which you can add pieces (only from above), and the time you have for doing so - both because the tiles drop and because the incomplete lines pile up. It also creates a tension between scoring high by giving bonuses for clearing multiple lines at once, and between clearing many lines, which is more easily achieved by clearing opportunistically. But the core idea that Tetris is built around is tessellation.

    A more complex example: Can't Stop is a racing game, which describes the setting of the game and its victory condition (first to achieve something), but the core mechanism is risk management of a 2d6 normal distribution. That core mechanism is specifically expressed by how you select your three 'stocks' each turn - the three runners you set in motion - and then your decision to roll again or save your progress.

    Compare this to Cataan. You could characterize Cataan as a race to 10VP, and there's reasons to do so. You could also call it a civilization game, or a resource management game, or a trading game. All of these are meaningful descriptions. But the core mechanisms, as I see them, are the same risk management of a 2d6 normal distribution, and set collection. You're trying to position yourself to generate resources based on that 2d6 distro, and then spending those resources in specific sets to gain victory.

    To be specific, the Core Mechanisms of a game are the central dynamics that define both the 'what' and the 'why' of players' decisions in a game. I think this actually harmonizes Redless' and Keith's approaches. A harmonious, unified design will have mechanisms that feed back into the core in visible, predictable and significant ways.
     
    keithburgun, SwiftSpear and Bucky like this.
  17. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

  18. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

    Oops forgot to post about it here, thanks!
     
  19. SwiftSpear

    SwiftSpear Active Member

  20. keithburgun

    keithburgun Administrator, Lead Designer Staff Member

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