Book Review: Salen, K. and Zimmerman, E. Rules of Play Anthology. The MIT Press, Boston, MA, USA -READ

Player experience starts before the game beings, during the purchase and other engagement building up to the excitement of playing.

different kinds of pleasure from play


chance-based play

mimicry/make believe


Achievers – formal status , hierarchy

Explorers – knowledge

Socialisers – frienships, entwork influence

Killers – competition , fighting skills


At every course of action, a decision basaed on key goals, opposition, resource management, information


Unwritten rules, such as how deicsions are made, timing decisions, and social interaction during play are just as important as the written rules

Players break rules.  What are creative impulses behind rule-reinvention?

HOw to design games: 

iterative design

Knizia “fun and excite ment cannot be calculated  but experienced

Lord of rings desing:

1. prepare each playtest session in detail

2. plan exact issues to monitor and test in advance

3. record relevant data about game flow

4. analyse results and make exploratory chagnes which input into next test session

this continues for many months, sometimes years

disccus with testers what worked well and what didn’t.

sometimes make changes on the spot and play again

careful of never ending tweaks

Characters in games:

Caillois: mimicry/imagination, pretending to be another

Game Community

Peer influence in gaming – players do things they’re not supposed to . behavior not predicted. break rules, cause grief. also inventive.

Game community has shared social culture. community requires membership. learn by wtching.

metacommunication, immersion and agency collide in RpGs. action and rules, concentrate on the flow of action and participation in it.

Game Design models: to understand how something works build a model.models don’t have to be physical. just need shared vocabulary. Intention , goal , story. Adventure barrier (such as dragon object)

Game economies – resources. supply, cards, experience points, knowledge, ownership, love, favours, good will of community, money. food. sex. fame. information

Castranova: scarcity is what drives fun in virtual worlds!

scarcity: 1) how to create and evolve avatar skills/abilities/appearance 2) difficulty of acquiring goods and services 3) competition for social roles. Healthy mix of all Bartle 4 players for good game. increase achievers by reducing killers and if killers too high then increase explorerrs

Space: pace of the game – speed. 2d or 3d space.

Jenkins space facilitates narrative experience. spaces like backyards differnt play. Jenkins: play spaces for girls adopt a slower page and are less filled with dangers, invite gradular investigation and discovere, foster an awareness of social reltions and search for secrets, centre around emotioantl relationsh between characters…allow for exploreation of physical enironments, but are really about the interior world of feelings and fears.

Space is more than pixels. it is more environemtn,

What’s a game?

Costikyan: players, decisions, resources, tokens, and goal. Games are a form of culture.

Bjork argue against deintion.

Juul: game is a rule based system with a variable and quantifiable outcome, where different outcomes are assigned different values, the playrer exrets effort in order to influence the outcome, the player feels attached to the outcome, the conequences of the activity are optional and negotiable.

play: free, separate, uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules

Game categories: Agon – competitive, compbat, rivalry based on speed endurance strength memory skill ingenuity etc, winner and loser. eg chess

Alea: decision or sign, dependent on things outside player., negation of will. games of chance.

paidia: tumult agitation, kite flying, solitaire, patience, crossword puzzle

mimicry: temporary acceptance of imaginary universe.

llinx – pursuit of vertigo, destroy stability of perception and have volumptuous panic. extreme sports.

games: purposive interaction, goals, opposition. sumilation adds insight to narrative. variety of encounters. position identification (care about the sides and outcomes). role playerin. socialising. narrative tention (page turner equivalent rising tention as in story and climactic resolution).

Lesson learned from Ken Birdwell – The Cabal:

half life development: rther than give in to pressure to ship out, take time to work through make levels fit together, ensure that the game play eg fighting monsters is good for palyers. add experiential density – more things that happen. player acknowledgement – gmae world acknowledges players for each action

– evey action has reaction eg shoot gun have hole in wall. finally players should blame themselves for failure. more game designers is better than one -create a cabal. brainstorm and take notes. ideas convert to story line. 3 engineers, level designer, writer, animator. then form mini cabalas. people were energised by working in collaboration, sick of working in isolation. document 200 pages. one person assigned to follow entire sotryline and maintain doc. story = 30 hour movie. Being a storywriter is crucial- paging, plot twistss, consistency.

game development behan 2nd month into cabal. by third month could start game testing.

testing was one outside volunteer in 2 hr sessions. one person watching and designer, sometimes engineer. observers nto allowed to talk. increase ssave game, after testing , graph problem areas . plater spent too long without encounters, too long with too much health, too long with too little health, improve save game.

Are videos waste of time?

1. active, critical learning- encourage active and critical, not passive learning.

2. design- apprecaite design at core of learning

3. semiotic – interrelations within and across multuple sign systems (images, words, actions, symbols, artifacts) to create a complex learning system

4. semiotic domain – mastering at some level,

5. metaalevel thinging – critical thinking about relationshps of semiotic domain being learned.

during process, personality clash. at least one person needs to understand everyone else’s work well to get an overall picture.

Successful CaBAL:

– include expert from all functional areas, programming art.

– write doen everything. including during braainstorm. otherwise ideas lost

– not all ideas good including yurs. if everyone thinks it’s stupid dump it

– only plan for technical things that either alterafy work or you’re sure will work during play testing. don’t assume things will work.

– avoid one shot technical elements, anything requiring environeering more must be reused in the game. create tools and fetures that can be universal.

Complete freedom of movement : gndered play – jenkins

boys recognised for daing, challenge, physical challenge, scatalogical humour – swea,t, spit , snot etc blodo gore,

. girls follow mother – secrets and romance, far too little room to explore. Secret path, new games to teach girls emotional resource within themseles. Secret paths. friendship adventure, coping scills and trying alternative social strategies. Hrriet the spy – character is ostracised but has adventure.

1. avoid prioritise character relationsh in friendship adventures

2. but avoid gender specific genres of children’s literatire in gamte. avoid segregations.

3. need to open up more space for imagination and exploration for girls in traaditional make games.

5. action games for girls

6. also boys may need to play in secret gardens.

Check out Nights into Dreams – crossing adventure and nightmarish feature.

7. borderwork – collaboration between genders to achieve goal, cross into one another’s world.

Formal abstract design tools: clear reaction from the game world to the action of the player

William Poundstone: Game theory – Kriegspiel – eudcational game for military schools in 19th C, on board.

Von Neumann invented game theory. Theory of Games and Economic Behavior. perfectly logical players interested only in winning.

Design: patter:

mechanics: move or rolle. Modes – goals, actions, temporl components. closures. facilitator. go back to this for the design – eg space hulk pg 428 -49%. 

Resources – tradeoffs, renewable resources, stimulated planning,

reltions: instantiates: collecting , score, stimulate planning, varied gamplet, strategic knowledge, tradeoffs, easter eggs, rewards, penalties, red queen dilemmas.

modulates: player decided distribution of reward and penalties, player balance, tie breakers, construciton, areaa control, tunr taking, characters, emotional immersion, exploration, game workd, supporting goals.

instantiated by sore unites, clues, the show must go on, time limits, lives, budgetd action points, indirect control

modules by symmetric reource distribution, assymetric resource distribution, converter container, secret resources, non renewable resource, shared, resources

tools for reating dramatic gme dynamics: leblanc

use dramatic arc as per stories. don’t forget the storytelling aspec.t uncertainly: any player could lose/win/ inevitbility: moving forward toward resolution, outcome imminent.

creates tension. increase tension.

cybernetic feedback systems: feedack as sources of uncertainty. positive feedback . fog to cover parts of gme . hiddeen energy.

mechanics (description of system) , dynamics (how a game behaves) , aestehetics – emotional contect,

Design evolution; the gathering: garfield

right card mix, always editing rules and cards. originally hasd rules in cards bu got more complex

unexpected consequence is to take card not for self benefit but to remove benefit from others.

Interaction and narrative:

immersion achieved: structuring participation with  a mask or avatar, structuring participation as a visit, making interaction conventions sealess.


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