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Dynamic Elements of Games

Dynamic Elements of Games
 Many

here

different things to talk about

1) Defining Emergence 2) Four Properties of Emergence in Games 3) Play Engines

BIG IDEA 1: Defining Emergence
 "Emergence" is behavior that appears when

system components interact (i.e. are in motion
– this behavior sometimes can’t be envisioned from knowledge of what each component does in isolation
 Simple rules beget complex behavior

BIG IDEA 2: Four Properties of Emergence in Games

 

Discovery - The emergent properties of a system form an explorable space. More complexity generally means more space. Challenge - A game’s emergent properties form its “strategic vocabulary.” New scenarios and obstacles can emerge. Narrative - story emerges from game events Fantasy – emergent properties don’t necessarily support the fantasy. Contradictions are common creating absurd fantasies.

source: Marc Leblanc

Emergence in Games

 

Discovery - The emergent properties of a system form an explorable space. More complexity generally means more space. Challenge - A game’s emergent properties form its “strategic vocabulary.” New scenarios and obstacles can emerge. Narrative - story emerges from game events Fantasy – emergent properties don’t necessarily support the fantasy. Contradictions are common creating absurd fantasies.

source: Marc Leblanc

Conway’s Game of Life
created by Cambridge mathematician, John Conway in the 1960's  fascination with the idea that the rudimentary elements could produce fantastic results  wanted to create something super simple observable on a 2 dimensional checkerboard

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

John Conway

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Iterative Design of the Formal System
 Conway experimented with formal rules  System makes squares on the board

“on” or “off” based on their adjacency to the other squares around them  He “playtested” different rule sets with associates at Cambridge for years

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Game of Life Rules

If cell is alive, it survives in next generation if there are 2 or 3 neighbors also alive Cell dies of overcrowding if there are >3 live neighbors, and it dies of exposure if there are <2 If cell is dead, it remains dead in next generation unless exactly 3 neighbors are alive. (In that case, the cell will be "born" in the next generation)

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Demo

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Demo

 R Pentomino

Example: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Demo

 R Pentomino

– Stable patterns emerge – Oscillating patterns emerge – Another surprising pattern emerges!?!

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Stable Patterns

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Oscillating Patterns

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Glider!

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Alive?
 Conway thought if a self-reproducing

configuration could be found then his rules would create a mathematical life form  Conway publishes a challenge in the Oct 1970 Scientific American  MIT engineers meet the challenge quickly by hacking a DEC-PDP 6 computer

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Demo
 Glider gun  Puff train  Other fun stuff

– (Game of Life groundbreaking work in the field of artificial intelligence)
 Link: http://www.bitstorm.org/gameoflife/

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Recap: Discovery is a property of Emergence in games
 Simple rules beget complex behavior  The

emergent properties of a system form an explorable space.  More complexity generally means more space.  Can anyone think of other Discovery examples that emerge in games?

xample: Properties of Emergence - Discovery

Halo: “smart” NPCs

xample: Properties of Emergence – Challenge + Narrative

Recap: Challenge is a property of Emergence in games
A

game’s emergent properties form its “strategic vocabulary.” New scenarios and obstacles can emerge.  Can anyone think of other challenge examples that emerge in games?

xample: Properties of Emergence - Challenge

© Steve Jackson Games

www.sjgames.com

xample: Properties of Emergence - Fantasy

Recap: Fantasy is a property of Emergence in games
 Emergent

properties don’t necessarily support the fantasy. Contradictions are common creating absurd fantasies.  Can anyone think of other absurd fantasies created in games?

xample: Properties of Emergence - Challenge

ample: Properties of Emergence – Discovery + Challenge + Narrative + Fantasy

ample: Properties of Emergence – Discovery + Challenge + Narrative + Fantasy

ample: Properties of Emergence – Discovery + Challenge + Narrative + Fantasy

ample: Properties of Emergence – Discovery + Challenge + Narrative + Fantasy

The Sims: personal development?

ample: Properties of Emergence – Discovery + Challenge + Narrative + Fantasy

RECAP BIG IDEA 2: Four Properties of Emergence in Games
 

 

Discovery - The emergent properties of a system form an explorable space. More complexity generally means more space. Challenge - A game’s emergent properties form its “strategic vocabulary.” New scenarios and obstacles can emerge. Narrative - story emerges from game events Fantasy – emergent properties don’t necessarily support the fantasy. Contradictions are common creating absurd fantasies.

BIG IDEA 3: Play Engines
 Play engines occur when players combine

system components in unexpected ways.

Example: Play Engines

About Gearheads
 

Designers wanted a competitive game that illustrated emergent complexity Had idea that if characters with varying qualities were let loose on a game board, each trying to achieve its own objective, interesting things might result Created a software prototype using blobs for each character. Designers could tweak the values in each blob by adjusting a table of variables

Example: Play Engines

Example: Play Engines

Character attributes
1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

6.

Weight Speed Energy use Movement type (erratic, straight, diagonal) Special qualities (ex: explosion radius, egg-laying time, punch strength, transformation time, % wind-down, % wind-up, time between teleports, Immunities (ex: Disasteriod immune to Time Bomb, Big Al immune to Disasteriod, Zap-bot immune to Deadhead.)

Example: Play Engines

Game rules
 1 player or 2 player game  5x9 grid  Up to 12 toys in your toybox  Object: be the first to get 21 toys past your

opponent’s start row

Example: Play Engines

Play Engine Examples
 Gearheads

Punching Roaches: quickly many fast moving Ziggys onto the board where they run out of energy. Then send a few punching Kangas out to punch them across the finish line Bomb Shield: Disasteroid + Walking Time Bomb. Disteroid destroys any toy in front of it. Time Bomb blows up all toys near it except Disasteroid. Send Disasteroid out followed by Time Bomb. Time Bomb makes Disasteroid walk faster. Together they form a quick moving path of destruction across the board.

Example: Play Engines

Mini-Exercise!
 Write

down two board games, one card game, and two video games.  Make them all different types of games.

play video

Example: Play Engines

Play Engine Examples

Magic The Gathering is a hothouse of emergence and play engines. Sometimes cards must be banned because engines are discovered that are too powerful.

Example: Play Engines

Play Engine Example
 Deus Ex: LAM’s

Example: Play Engines

Play Engine Example
 Warcraft III: expert players to find play

engines that allow them to dominate online. Sometimes the designers “patch” the problem by tuning variables. Sometimes the designers wait for the online community to figure out a counter strategy to the play engine.

Example: Play Engines

Example: Play Engines

Play Engine Example

NFL football: 3-4 Defense dominated for years before offensive coordinators figured out counter strategies.

Example: Play Engines

RECAP: Play Engines
 Another type of emergence occurs when

both system components and players interact. These are called “play engines”.  Play engines occur when players combine system components in unexpected ways.  Can anyone think of other examples of Play Engines?

Design Exercise
 Why?

– Hands on exercises best way to communicate game design concepts
 How?

– Break into groups of 2 – Go along with the following Connect Four slides

Set up:  Draw a 7 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units. (Note: any two symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, chooses a column in which to place a unit. She draws units at the bottom of the chosen column as if gravity dropped them from the top. Units stack on top of one another when they "land" in the grid.  Players take turns dropping units until one player gets four units in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Connect Four (normal)

Connect Four (alter grid size)
Set up:  Draw a 8 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units. (Note: any two symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, chooses a column in which to place a unit. She draws units at the bottom of the chosen column as if gravity dropped them from the top. Units stack on top of one another when they "land" in the grid.  Players take turns dropping units until one player gets four units in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Set up:  Draw a 7 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units. (Note: any two symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, places a unit in any open cell on the grid.  Players take turns placing units until one player gets four units in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Connect 4 (alter movement properties)

Set up:  Draw a 7 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units. (Note: any two symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, chooses a column in which to place a unit. She draws units at the bottom of the chosen column as if gravity dropped them from the top. Units stack on top of one another when they "land" in the grid.  After she places the first unit she then chooses a different column and places a second unit. After the second unit has been placed her turn is complete.  Players take turns until one player gets four units in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Connect Four (alter turn procedure)

Connect Four (alter turn procedure two)
Set up:  Draw a 7 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units. (Note: any two symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, chooses a column in which to place a unit. She draws units at the bottom of the chosen column as if gravity dropped them from the top. Units stack on top of one another when they "land" in the grid.  After she places the first unit the player then places a second unit in any column she wishes. She has the option to place the second unit in the same column as the first. After the second unit has been placed her turn is complete..  Players take turns until one player gets four units in a row horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Set up:  Draw a 7 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units, a third player uses a triangle to represent units. (Note: any three symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, chooses a column in which to place a unit. She draws units at the bottom of the chosen column as if gravity dropped them from the top. Units stack on top of one another when they "land" in the grid.  Players take turns dropping units until one player gets four units in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Connect 4 (alter number of players)

Set up:  Draw a 7 wide x 6 tall grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units, a third player uses a triangle to represent units. (Note: any three symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  Decide who goes first. Each player, on her turn, chooses a column in which to place a unit. She draws units at the bottom of the chosen column as if gravity dropped them from the top. Units stack on top of one another when they "land" in the grid.  Players take turns dropping units until one player gets four units in a row - horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.  The first player to get four in a row wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Dirty Work

???? (make your own variant)
Set up:  Draw a ?????? grid on a sheet of paper.  One player uses a circle to represent units on the grid and a second player uses an X to represent units, ?????. (Note: any ???? symbols or colors can be used as long as they are different). Rules:  ?????  Players take turns until one player gets ????  The first player to get ???? wins the game. Note:  For all exercises write down the start time and end time of the game next to the game grid.

Discussion

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