30 June 2011

FDG 2011 comments

A few comments from FDG 2011. My points are [inside brackets], the rest comes from their respective authors.

In the last Madden NFL game, people tended to play the same kinds of games and rarely changed to different types/modes.

[The Player Experience workshop had roughly 5/15 papers accepted. 3/5 accepted paper authors were not here. What's the goal of a workshop then?]

Secondary game objectives should support the primary objectives, otherwise they distract, frustrate or make the player lose. Mario side-scrollers coins sometimes make the player go off-path, but the player always has to go from left to right. Player should be told when an objective is secondary.

Minimalist game design (from one of the designers of Osmos): few rules, few mechanics, few choices, deep (combinatorial) complexity (eg NP complete), simple controls, abstract, tightly-coupled systems.

CRPG guidelines: balance should be based on player expertise or avatar skills, not on character level or XP. Avatar background should affect the game. If the avatar is supposed to have lived in the game world for years, then the game should not remind the player of the avatar background, and NPC should not meet the avatar for the first time. [Possible solution: player's avatar could start as a toddler and ages as the player spends more time IG]

Weak ties make social storytelling. [Add to this that being socially active means connecting your weak ties together (you play the go-between). Therefore, in a distant future, there should not be any social storytelling anymore because everybody will be friend (ie strong tie) with everybody. In fact, Dunbar's number says you can't be friend with more than 120 people (the other people are just contacts, not actual friends). Hence, people will keep trying to (re)connect their weak ties together! Cf also Harris and Nardi's paper on collaborative play in WoW]

Mateas: computational media is a research field in which computer science is seen as a tool for expression.

If you want a domain to progress, and the industry does not care about that domain to progress, then you have to go try academia. [Maybe a good approach in many domains, but it does not work in MMOG because building one requires hundreds of man-years]

Frustration arises when player fails to overcome a challenge. Frustration makes players impatient.

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