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Something here and on other threads made me wonder how much of my personal experience I have thrown into GMing and I suddenly realized that for years I've been using my knowledge of advertising to make illusionism work! /.../ Of course, players start to wonder about this and asked questions about it. Once this becomes the topic, it feels more like they are leading the way, instead of me plainly railroading.
We all know how to communicate. It's something we learn as we're growing up. A story told by a ten year old is sometimes hard to follow, because the lack of consistency. A fifteen year old telling the same story would be more consistent and therefore easier to follow. We learn how to listen, and when to cut in. We also learn when enough is enough, and that you should after a while let someone else take the lead. We learn to build from each other. One thing I find interesting is that one or two people are always leading the conversation. It's not always the same persons, as the topic mutates into something else. We take on the lead when we got something to say, or something to add to what someone else just said.
Do you know this? It is called "start with why". The book is also very good. It is a 20 minutes video. I think you will like it.
It is oft said that "stories are about conflict", but this is a gross simplification. /.../ What is common to all well-regarded stories is uncertainty, the desire to discover what happens next, and conflict (i.e. competition) is just one of many ways that uncertainty can be generated.
[see Randomness below]
having someone other than you in charge of saying what happens......a strong GM role with great control over the world / plotline...one participant's interpretation, perhaps having a rule system with open-deterministic results or using cards that are open for interpretation.enforcing of people's opinions, like voting for outcomes or making pacts.using different techniques or rules during a scene, which may steer the story in a certain direction. "What? Is someone going to fall in love?"
one participant's effort in succeeding. (performance uncertainty)two or more participants against each other.
The good person was the bad person all along.The game Train, where you discover the theme of the game while playing.
...players pick elements of the story that other players must include in other characters' storylines....picking a different oracle and elements for each session inspires the players to create an interesting history full of twists...hidden or undefined knowledge about something the players /.../ care about....exploration and mapping...I would see Exploration and Mystery as two genres / elements that use curiosity at their core....Hexploration genre, where you can travel to each place in a sandboxy way...one participant adding something that isn't obvious what it's for.
conflict resolution /.../ task resolution...a random table or a deck of event cards or a stack of map tiles.the use of real world happenings, like having the weather or certain events in the newspaper affect the session.
parallel stories with one ending. How will the stories change each other?telling a story with a fixed ending. Now you know how it's going to end, but not how the story will travel to the end.
I think that the games people really like have good conflict escalation mechanisms (either formal mechanisms like in AW or Polaris or in terms of initial set-up like in Poison'd.)...strong characterownership where you can keep and reveal a secret about a character under your control.
Sometimes you want to put out hints, create an expectation by having set up scenes and finally a big reveal that might lead to new questions.
Cards on hand.Turned down tokens and other fog-of-war mechanics.Secrets. Information, powers and more.
From one combat to another in D&D4. Who will be standing the next time?
Discovering the algorithm behind the game, like figuring out how the AI works.Resolving a murder mystery.Doing things in the right order.
Knowing the end doesn't mean you know the way to reach that end.Learning more about the characters over time.Twists in story.Creating tension within the setting.You wont understand the story unless you puzzle the bits together. (ex. Kishotenketsu)
Release of expansion sets.Updates, changes or corrections of the rules.Change of playstyle or genre.
Energy in social games.It takes a long time to build a certain element, where the player can't do anything but wait.Resources to build things are generated over time but runs out quickly.A cap on the internet restricting the time for the player.
A clogged up interface, like in Nethack.Scanning the playing field, like the pieces in Tetris.Finding the rhythm in, for example, dancing.Jigsaw puzzles.Trying to search a room to find more about what's in it.
Musical/rhythmic & harmonic: sounds, rhythms, tones, and music.Visual: either noticing or visualize the environment, forms and movement.Verbal/linguistic: reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with date.Logical/mathematical: logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking.Bodily/kinesthetic: bodily motions, the capacity to handle objects skillfully, a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses.Interpersonal: interaction with other people.Intrapersonal: having a deep understanding of the self; what your strengths/ weaknesses are, what makes you unique, being able to predict your own reactions/emotions. Naturalistic: nurturing and relating information in nature.Existential: understand spiritual or religious traditions.
Eleanor Chase York says in Children's Theatre and Creative Dramatics that children [exposed to creative drama] becomes morecreative, by suppressing the school's one-sided reinforcement of the intellectual capacity, which makes the creativity suffer.sensible, by teaching the children to react in a more aware and natural way on the things they perceive. /.../flexible, by training the ability to adopt to changed situations (to suppress a rigid state of mind).original, by believing in their ideas and have the courage to tell them.emotional stable, by an constructive outlet of feelings and tensions.co-operable and group orientated./.../I'm not saying that we should play roleplaying games to become these points, as Eleanor Chase above, but roleplaying games are about these points. We must learn to break free from our self-censoring and become original. Play Unsafe (which took it from Improv) tells us that our ideas may seem unoriginal to us, but that doesn't mean that they are for the others. Your ideas will feel unique for me. And those ideas should be celebrated as much as you should be recognized as an original human being.We need, during a session, to work as a group - to form a communication in how to play. To think as a group. To feel as a group. To co-operate in creating a story - or a sense of feeling - together.
Competition: to try to beat the game or the other participants in different aspects of the game.Exploration: to explore different WHATs in the game and their interactions.Expression: to express yourself in different ways through the game.Sensation: to get an experience, to get an insight, to feel, to escape from reality, to be nostalgic. Destruction: the thrill of destroy things created or of render something useless, like powergaming in a system. More information appeared later in this thread.
Uncertainty: uncertainty creates curiosity.Decision: what you basically do in games. REMOVED. Decision is to participateEffort: to participate in a task.(Investment: something to care about. REMOVED. This one is instead a result of a constant loop.)
Meaning: philosophical, ethical, spiritual and social questions.Structures: pools and procedures. A way of communicating within the game.Group: the participants and their relations within the group.Fiction: the story being told.Setting: the place where the story is being told and the people occupying it.
For me, at least in boardgames, unraveling the WHY is an additional nice exploration experience ...
Idea/Purpose: the creator's drive of why to do art.Form: book, chalk drawing, song, sculpture etc.Idiom: what kind of style to use, what kind of genre it's about.Structure: story arcs, game mechanics - in how to compose the work.Craft: how well the art is created.Surface: what the things that stand out, and are first to be noticed.
Creative drama is a creative activity. Play is the essence. Not to play alone, but together. It's not being aware of or compare performing that's most important. We need to do things for their own sake - without thought of reward from audience. Children playing, aren't interrupting from time to time to receive applause, right?
The most important thing with creative drama is to create comfort, so no one is feeling targeted of the leader's or the group's dislike /.../ To reach this comfort within the group, each individual should feel comfort and nerveless. It's of course an exchange between the individual comfort zone and the group's. /.../ The comfort depends on the group dynamic. It's not up to one, but everybody, on how the activity is proceed. If the individual is just one part of the whole, the pressure of perform will succumb and, with that, the risk of feeling personal failure.
One of the questions that occur with improvisation is to use speech or not. Nothing is more right than another, but many feels it's easier to do improvisation without speech. /.../ That feeling can possibly come from the fact that we're using speech regularly in communication.
You just reminded me, I've always wanted do design a game around the concept used for the language learning method "Where Are Your Keys"
Learning how all the components in the system interacts, and what kind of input results in what kind of output. Note, the participants are also components and learning them is learning to predict the outcome in the whole gaming experience. We also got Nicole Lazzaro's hard fun, easy fun, serious fun, people fun - that mostly are feelings we get from the emergence that appear.To design a game is to design for emergence, and by doing that you have to create a system where the participants are one part of the components in that system. Add to this what I've written earlier: "We need, during a session, to work as a group - to form a communication in how to play. To think as a group. To feel as a group. To co-operate in creating a story - or a sense of feeling - together."
Group thinking and group feeling is a slippery slope. Who gets to say the group is performing well?
CREATOR: the object of the game is to make people discuss strategy.PARTICIPANT: the object of the game is to survive.CHARACTER: the object of the game is to find treasures.CREATOR: the object of the game is to make people behave like douchebags.PARTICIPANT: the object of the game is to make the character fail it's goal.CHARACTER: the object of the game is to follow my religion.
One of the questions that occur with improvisation is to use speech or not. Nothing is more right than another, but many feels it's easier to do improvisation without speech. /.../ That feeling can possibly come from the fact that we're using speech regularly in communication.- page 27The author Rickard Wikholm gives some non-verbal collaborative exercises as example to release tension or to build a group dynamic. I've been thinking about this, and I'm almost always use verbal exercises (at conventions) to make the players understand how to play the games. Perhaps we should instead draw a map together first, or do non-verbal communication exercises to learn gestures for how to hand over a topic to another. I have a verbal exercise to introduce "Yes, and" and "Yes, but" and I thought up to this point that I did that as a pedagogy tool (I included it in This Is Pulp). That's only a part of why it's successful. It also builds a group dynamic, so we know how to communicate. It creates a comfort, and by telling the players that we are all in this together (I almost never put the GM above the players) and that the players can use these two phrases to build on each other's ideas, I reduce the pressure of performing.Of performing.When I wrote about effort as a HOW, I talked about participating. These things that I talk about here is nothing more than structures for making people participating. To release tension, to make them comfortable in improvising, and to make everybody feel that they add to the whole. That's what will create an intrinsic award ("feeling good"), rather than us giving out dog candy such as XP, artha and whatnot. Wikholm writes "We need to do things for their own sake", and I can't do any else than fully agree.
Fun is the emotional response of learning.- page 7
Fun in games arises from mastery. It arises out of comprehension. It is the act of solving puzzles that makes games fun. With games, learning is the drug.- page 13
The basic idea came out of cognitive psychology and evolutionary psychology.There's a lot of evidence now that "thinking" is actually "memory"We learn patterns and apply them to reality, often unconsciously.The idea was, games are systems built to help us learn patterns.And fun is a neurochemical reward to encourage us to keep trying.- pages 15-19
It's a happy fact of human existence that we simply can't spend our every waking hour eating and having sex! No matter how frantically we pursue our goals, there will inevitably be times when we just don't have a thing to do.What may look like a tribe of bored, inactive cave-dwellers below us is, in fact, a thriving art colony!See that old woman with the stick? Notice the lines she's making the the dirt?/.../Nearby, a boy kicks up pebbles and dirt./.../Because of its independence from our evolution-bred instincts, art is the way we assert our identities as individuals and break out of the narrow roles nature cast us in./.../First, they provide exercise for minds and bodies not receiving outside stimulus! (MCloud's remark: sport and games) [my remark: what I include in "competition"]Second, they provide an outlet for emotional imbalances, aiding in the race's mental survival! (he: self expression) [me again: expression]Third and perhaps most importantly to our survival as a race, such random activities often lead to useful discoveries! (exploration) [exploration AND sensation]- pages 165-167
• I think Y is generally referred to as "a procedure" -- roll these dice, ask the player to your left this question, pick from this list, begin tracking combat rounds, etc. • X may be referred to as a "trigger" or "what the game's mechanics cover" or even "what the game's about". This makes sense to me -- a game where all the procedures are triggered by entering combat is, fundamentally, a game about combat.
Raph Koster says in Theory of Fun that fun is an emotion that comes from learning.
Here's an idea from another discipline: computer science brings us the Operating System.I would add this to the discussion of pools, processes, and procedures. RPGs include a lot of rules that look like "when X happens, do Y". • I think Y is generally referred to as "a procedure" -- roll these dice, ask the player to your left this question, pick from this list, begin tracking combat rounds, etc. • X may be referred to as a "trigger" or "what the game's mechanics cover" or even "what the game's about". This makes sense to me -- a game where all the procedures are triggered by entering combat is, fundamentally, a game about combat.
What's interesting to me from a CS standpoint is the combo of the two, how "if X then Y" is always "running in the background" for every moment of play.I dunno if that analogy is useful in any particular way, but this seemed like the right place to post it.
Raph Koster says in Theory of Fun that fun is an emotion that comes from learning.Wait -- did he say fun only comes from learning?
No. If you want distinctions in different kinds of fun, check out what Nicole Lazarro's and Marc LeBlanc's lists (4 and 8 different kinds of fun).
You had me worried when you said "I now always aim to design for learning" and tried connecting it to Competition, Sensation, and Expression in ways that I found unconvincing (Exploration is a more natural fit).
My take: any game that I don't yet know requires me to learn it in order to play it, and may require still further learning to pursue Mastery and goals like Victory or Maximum Impact of Expression. I suppose going from "never seen this before" to "mastery" is pretty universally fun, but it's not a big part of the experience for many games (e.g. games that area easy or impossible to master). As for learning enough to triumph, I'd say the fun comes more from the triumphing than the learning, but I could be wrong.
What was it that made you think it was unconvincing?
Let say we have a procedure. We got "before procedure", "during procedure" and "after procedure". If you give the Bible to me and says "Read it", I'm not going to respond "Oh, this is going to be so fun learn things from the Bible". I'm might not even think that while reading the book. It's not until after the procedure that I can feel the joy of learning something: perhaps I got answer to existential questions or perhaps getting hope in my life? (These are examples of sensation.) "Fun" occurs after the procedure. When I read Start With Why (a suggestion from this thread), I got revelations while reading the book and the book made me start thinking. That's, for me, a good grade of an activity.
or learning that diminishes over time ("Oh, THAT card again" in Cards Against Humanity)
Learning is a good example; no argument there! I just don't know whether it's unique as a "source / type of fun in games". Do you think it is? If so, what makes it unique?
Competition: to try to beat the game or the other participants in different aspects of the game. Exploration: to explore different WHATs in the game and their interactions. Expression: to express yourself in different ways through the game. Sensation: to get an experience, to get an insight, to feel, to escape from reality, to be nostalgic.
Ilinx. The last kind of game includes those which are based on the pursuit of vertigo and which consist of an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception and inflict a kind of voluptuous panic upon an otherwise lucid mind. In all cases, it is a question of surrendering to a kind of spasm, seizure, or shock which destroys reality with sovereign brusqueness.
In parallel fashion, there is a vertigo of moral order, a transport that suddenly seizes the individual. This vertigo is readily linked to the desire for disorder and destruction,
× A player reads the character and discovers facts about her.× If the player already postulated a world view, she tests whether the facts fit the world view. Otherwise the players tries to find a world view that is most stuitable for the character.× A player postulates a world view, resulting in the character.× After a player had postulated a world view she should be able to explain why the character is described as she is. [return to the first point] If she cannot explain that, she has to choose another world view. [redoing all the steps]
× Players form a representation in their minds of the space or world with which the game is presenting them. × Players begin to favor the media-based space (I.e., the game world) as their point of reference for where they “are” (or to put it in psychological gobblety-gook, their “primary ego reference frame”)
According to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi's well-documented research and wide-scale gathering of personal observations, the phenomenology of Flow has eight major components.1. A challenge activity that requires skills2. The merging of action and awareness3. Clear goals4. Direct feedback5. Concentration on the task at hand6. The sense of control7. The loss of self-consciousness8. The transformation of time
Once we have digested the above components and revisited them with a game design perspective, here are the three core elements a video game must have in order to evoke Flow experience.1. As a premise, the game is intrinsically rewarding, and the player is up to play thegame.2. The game offers right amount of challenges to match with the player’s ability, whichallows him/her to delve deeply into the game.3. The player needs to feel a sense of personal control over the game activity.
A skill atom feedback loop is composed of four main elements:-Action:The player performs an action. For a skill atom encounter by a new player, the action might involve pressing a button. More advanced atoms might instead require the player execute a batched set of actions such as navigating a complex maze.- Simulation: Based off the action, an ongoing simulation is updated. A door might open.- Feedback:The game provides some form of feedback to the player to let them know how the simulation has changed state. This feedback can be auditory, visual, or tactile. It can be visceral in the form of an exploding corpse or it can be symbolic in the form of a block of text.- Modeling: As the final step, the player absorbs the feedback and updates their mental models on the success of their action. If they feel that they have made progress, they feel pleasure. If they master a new skill or other tool, they experience an even greater burst of joy. If they feel that their action has been in vain, they feel boredom or frustration.