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What is the Nature of the Psychological Element of War and can it be Represented Through Game Mechanics?

What is the Nature of the Psychological Element of War and can it be Represented Through Game Mechanics?

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Published by Nicholas C. Edwards
This study investigates what constitutes the nature of psychology in warfare, in what way it influences combat, and how it may be represented in wargames, understanding both the challenges this poses in creating game mechanics and the difference that such an element shall make to gameplay overall.
This study investigates what constitutes the nature of psychology in warfare, in what way it influences combat, and how it may be represented in wargames, understanding both the challenges this poses in creating game mechanics and the difference that such an element shall make to gameplay overall.

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Published by: Nicholas C. Edwards on May 21, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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03/31/2013

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Nicholas Edwards – 08003479 – What is the Nature of the Psychological Element of War andcan it be Represented Through Game Mechanics?1
What is the Nature of the PsychologicalElement of War and can it be RepresentedThrough Game Mechanics?
By Nicholas Edwards
M.Eng Computer Games Design
A project submitted in partial fulfilment of the award of the degree of Masterof Engineering in Computer Games Design from Staffordshire University
Supervised by Capt. (Hon) Stephen WebleyMAY 2012
 
45,529 Words194 PagesFaculty of Computing, Engineering and Technology
 
Nicholas Edwards – 08003479 – What is the Nature of the Psychological Element of War andcan it be Represented Through Game Mechanics?2
Acknowledgements
To Steve Webley, his support on this project, through his extensive recommendations of literature, additional research areas, as well as general advice on the structure of this reportand constant critique of its quality, has been crucial to the depth and scope that this projecthas been able to take.To Nan, it’s hard to believe it’s been six months already since you left us. Me, Mum,Stephen, Granddad, and Ant still miss you more with each day that has passed. Thank youfor everything that you did for me over the years and I shall never forget it, I’m just sorrythat you never got to see me graduate.
 
Nicholas Edwards – 08003479 – What is the Nature of the Psychological Element of War andcan it be Represented Through Game Mechanics?3
Abstract
This study investigates what constitutes the nature of psychology in warfare, in what way itinfluences combat, and how it may be represented in wargames, understanding both thechallenges this poses in creating game mechanics and the difference that such an elementshall make to gameplay overall.Firstly, the classical view of the psychological element of war is understood, linkingClausewitz’s concept of chance and uncertainty in warfare to the moral factors. The conceptof chance is then tied to wargames, specifically the role it plays in balancing gameplayalongside the factors of skill and reality. The section concludes that if recognisingpsychology’s influence is essential to understanding the role of chance in warfare, and thatchance is essential to well-rounded wargames, then the inclusion of the psychologicalfactors in gameplay shall be critical. Furthermore, the way in which the psychologicalelement of war is referred to through vague natural language, not by certain numericalmeans, is noted as an important underlying issue when it comes to the unpredictability of the element.The factors that actually makeup the psychological element of war are then researched,with the aim of to seeing just why theorists like Clausewitz came to his opinion on thenature of psychology, by looking at the area’s role at all three levels of conflict. It isconcluded that there is clear evidence of the need to see psychology as both unpredictablein outcome and verbal in how it is analysed, in its occurrence and in its exploitation.The research developed on the psychology of war, both in its nature and the factors that theelement consists of, is then compared with the game mechanics utilised in variouswargames. Each game’s mechanical systems and the influence that psychology has hadupon gameplay are analysed, discovering what difference to gameplay that applying thenature of psychology has or could make, and how well the balance between chance and

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