Game and simulation Q & A


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Game and simulation Q & A by Salen and Zimmerman

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Game and simulation Q & A

  1. 1. Q & A of Game and Simulation by Salen and ZimmermanQ1: Definition of Game PlayA1: Game play is the meaning of conceiving and designing rules andstructures that result in an experience for players.Q2: What is schema?A2: A schema is a way of framing and organizing knowledge. A game designschema is a way of understanding games, a conceptual lens that we canapply to the analysis or creation of a game.Q3: what are three primary schemas?A3:1. RULES contains formal game design schemas that focus on the essential logical and mathematical structures of a game.2. PLAY contains experiential, social, and representational game design schemas that foreground the players participation with the game and with other players.3. CULTURE contains contextual game design schemas that investigate the larger cultural contexts within which games are designed and played.Q4: What is the point of establishing a critical discourse?A4:1. Training: A common language facilitates the education of game designers, letting them explore their medium in more variety and depth.2. Generational Transfer: Within the field, a disciplinary vocabulary lets game designers and developers pass on skills and knowledge, rather than solving the same problems over and over in isolation.3. Audience-building: In finding a way to speak about them, games can be reviewed, critiqued, and advertised to the public in more sophisticated ways.4. Buffer Against Criticism: There are many factions that would seek to censor and regu late the content and contexts for gaming, particularly computer and video games. A critical discourse gives us the vocabulary and understanding to defend against these attacks.Q5: What are these game design fundamentals?A5:1. Understanding design, systems, and interactivity, as well as player choice, action, and outcome.2. A study of rule-making and rule-breaking, complexity and emergence, game experience, game representation, and social game interaction.3. The powerful connection between the rules of a game and the play that the rules engender, the pleasures games invoke, the meanings they construct, the ideologies they embody, and the stories they tell.Q6: Definition of iterative designA6: Iterative design is a cyclic process that alternates between prototyping,playtesting, evaluation, and refinement. Because it is impossible to fully
  2. 2. anticipate play in advance.Q7: Rules of thumb regarding when a prototype should first beplaytested.A7: A game prototype should be created and playtested, at the absolutelatest, 20 percent of the way into a project schedule.If a game is a two-week student assignment, the students should be playing aversion of the game two days after it is assigned.If it is a commercial computer game with a 15-month concept-to-goldschedule, a prototype should be up and running 3 months into development-atthe absolute latest.Q8: What is the meaning of balancing the game in the Lord of theRings?A8: An important focus of the continual playing and replaying is to balance thegame. Each game should play out differently, but all games should presentroughly the same degree of difficulty. Luck should not make a game too easy,nor too difficult.Q9: How the author thinks solving specific design issues should affectthe overall game play, shown in the Lord of the Rings?A9: Solving a specific design issue should not just address the issue inisolation but should ideally contribute to the overall game play.This differentiates a game fix from a game feature, and of course, gamesshould never use fixes.Q10: Concept of meaningful play from Huizingas book Homo LudensA10: Playing games transcends (surpasses) the immediate needs of like andimparts (confers) meaning to the action.Whatever users play games, they have a meaning to play games.Q11: Difficulty in identifying meaningful plan in various forms of gamesA11: Identifying meaningful play in games are impossible, because eachgame has all different rules, context, systems, and interactions.So many kinds of games, all meaningful games are impossible.In other words, the board, the pieces, and even the rules of Chess cantconstitute meaningful play alone.Meaningful play emerges from the interaction between players and thesystem of the game, as well as from the context in which the game is played.Q12: How the authors define the meaning of an action in a game?A12: Meaningful play in a game emerges from the relationship between playeraction and system outcome; it is the process by which a player takes actionwithin the designed system of a game and the system responds to the action.The meaning of an action in a game resides in the relationship betweenaction and outcome. The meaning of the action, as a move in a game, ismore than the narrative content of the story. It is also more than the theatricsused to tell the story.Q13: Th general definition of design
  3. 3. A13: Game Design is the process by which a designer creates a context to beencountered by a participant, from which meaning emerges.Q14: The meaning of semioticsA14: Semiotics is the study of meaning and the process by which meaningis made. Semiotics is the study of how meanings are made. The question ofwhat signs represent, or denote, is of central concern to the field.Q15: The four key ideas that constitute the concept of signs by PierceA15:1. A sign represents something other than itself. (e.g., Red square isbeautiful square for Russian, Green means greedy for USA, but holy forArabic)This concept of a sign representing something other than itself is critical to anunderstanding of games for several reasons.On one hand, games use signs to denote action and outcome, twocomponents of meaningful play. On the other hand, games use signsto denote the elements of the game world.2. Signs are interpreted. (e.g., A pig may have a different meaning forsome people)They stand for something to somebody. It was one of Saussures fundamentalinsights that the meanings of signs are arrived at arbitrarily via culturalconvention. The idea that the meaning of signs rests not in the signsthemselves but in the surrounding system is critical to our study of games.3. Meaning results when a sign is interpreted. (e.g., A pair of chopsticksnext to a bowl, spoon? or chopsticks?)A sign stands for something, to somebody, in some respect or capacity.Although this may seem like an obvious point it is important to note, for it callsattention to the outcome of the process by which signs gain value within asystem.4. Context shapes interpretation. (e.g., The sentence I am lost hasvarious meanings)Context is a key component to our general definition of design. It also is akey component in the creation of meaning. Design is "the process by whicha designer creates a context to be encountered by a participant, from whichmeaning emerges." This definition makes an explicit connection betweencontext and meaning. When we speak of context in language we are referringto the parts of something written or spoken that immediately precede or followa word or passage that serve to clarify its meaning.Q16: Von Bertalanffys contributions to general systems theoryA16: He formalized his approach in the book General Systems Theory:Foundations, Development, Applications. Von Bertalanffy proposed asystems-based approach to looking at radically different kinds of phenomena,from the movement of particles to the cellular structures of organisms to theorganization of a society.● Different parts of systems are interactive.● Look at the whole systems rather than parts.● Instructional systems works the same as general systems theory.● Games can be considered as systems.
  4. 4. The four elements of a systemObjects: the parts, elements, or variables within the system.Attributes: the qualities or properties of the system and its objects.Internal relationships: the relations among the objects.Environment: the context that surrounds the system.Q17: The difference between open and closed systemsA17: Open system has interactions with outside systems. Closed system hasno interactions with outside systems.Formal systems are closed systems.Experiential systems can be open or closed systems.Cultural systems are open systems.Q18: The four modes of interactionA18: Interactivity is closely linked to the concepts of design, systems, andmeaningful play. When a player interacts with the designed system of a game,meaningful play emerges.There are many valid definitions of interactivity. Cutting across all of them arethe four modes of interactivity:Mode 1: Cognitive interactivity; or interpretive participation (Thinking aboutsomething -> looking at the board in Chess)Mode 2: Functional interactivity; or utilitarian participation (Doing something ->pick up pieces and move them in Chess, not effecting the game result)Mode 3: Explicit interactivity; or participation with designed choices andprocedures (move pieces then others go out of the board in Chess, effectingthe game result. -> the real part of the game)Mode 4: Beyond-the-object-interactivity or cultural participation (reading aChess rule book or talking about Chess, not playing in Chess)Q19: The definitions of micro and macro level choice in gamesA19:1. The micro level represents the small, moment-to-moment choices aplayer is confronted with during a game (Moving a piece in Chess).2. The macro level of choice represents the way these micro-choicesjoin together like a chain to form a larger trajectory of experience (Movingstrategy to win a game in Chess).Q20: The difference between games and puzzlesA20: puzzles are different from games because puzzles have a correctanswer or outcome. The puzzle designer creates the correct answer, and theplayers activity consists of trying to reconstruct that answer. But ins a gameof Poker, there is no fixed "right answer" posed by the creator of the game.Q21: The difference between game and game designA21: A game is a system in which players engage in an artificial conflict,defined by rules, that results in a quantifiable outcome. But game design isthe process by which a game designer creates a game, to be encountered bya player, from which meaningful play emerges.
  5. 5. Q22: Why the authors consider role-playing games differently from othergamesA22: There is no winner and no final objective. And the campaign grows andchanges as it matures.Role-playing games clearly embody every component of the definition ofgame, except one: a quantifiable outcome.As a RPG player, you move through game-stories, following the rules,overcoming obstacles, accomplishing tasks, and generally increasing theabilities of your character. What is usually lacking, however, is a singleendpoint to the game.RPGs can be framed either way—as having or not having a quantifiableoutcome. If you look at the game as whole, there may not be a single,overriding quantifiable goal (Macro Level).But if you consider the session-to-session missions that players complete,RPGs do have quantifiable outcomes. (Micro Level). For example,Sim City does not have explicit goals, and in that way is more like a toythan a game. (Macro Level). However, players can turn it into a game byconstructing their own goals (Micro Level).Q23: The four traits of digital gamesA23:1. Immediate but narrow interactivity (get users to do something)Although the immediate interactivity of digital games is a powerful elementfor designers to consider, the medium is rife with limitations. Communicationinput and output are limited by the narrow input and output of digital mediaTake effects right away. Choices are limited.2. Manipulation of information (have lots of options that are not possiblein offline game)Information manipulation in digital games includes not only text, images,video, audio, animations, and 3D content but also every aspect of its program- the internal logic, mechanisms for handling player interactivity, memorymanagement.3. Automated complex systemsPlayers only can see what they do in digital games, not watch what happensin other scenes.Computer games did not reveal their internal workings. Dunnigan calls thisthe "Black Box Syndrome" of computer games. Some non-digital games haveautomated complex systems like digital games (e.g., Pachinko, Pinball-likejapanese game).4. Networked communicationA final trait that many (but not all) digital games possess is that they canfacilitate communication between players.Digital games offer the ability to communicate over long distances and toshare a range of social spaces with many other participants.Q24: The definition and meaning of the magic circle
  6. 6. A24: The magic circle of a game is the space within which a game takes place.Whereas more informal forms of play do not have a distinct boundary, theformalized nature of games makes the magic circle explicit. Within the magiccircle, the games rules create a special set of meanings for the players of agame. These meanings guide the play of the game.Q25: The three schemas, Rules, Play, and CultureA25: Schemas are the building blocks of our RULES, PLAY, CULTUREframework.1. Rules: formal schemas (Form, Formalization) - structure, procedure, How you play the game.2. Play: experiential schemas (Experiences of the game players), actual play, interact the game.3. Culture: contextual schemas (Cultural dimensions of games, game design, and play) - outside talking about the game, how culture fits in people, their impression of the game, the way people talk about it, and the way people use in their life.Q26: The four qualities of schemasA26: A schema is a way of organizing and framing knowledge. Schemas havethe following characteristics:1. Schemas have variables: they provide a framework that can integrate new information. (how to get information)2. Schemas can embed: they can contain other schemas inside of themselves.3. Schemas represent knowledge at many levels of abstraction: they allow many points of view of the same object. ·4. Schemas represent knowledge rather than definitions: they are essentially "encyclopedic" rather than "definitional.Q27: The six characteristics of rulesA27: Following are the general characteristics that all game rules share.1. Rules limit player action (Rules tells you what you can do and cant do)2. Rulesare explicit and unambiguous (should be very clear)3. Rulesare shared by all players4. Rulesare fixed5. Rulesare binding (Players agree with rules)6. Rulesare repeatableQ28:The three kinds of rulesA28: The rules of any game exist on three related levels: constitutive rules,operational rules, and implicit rules.1. Constitutive rules are the abstract, core mathematical rules of a game. Although they contain the essential game logic, they do not explicitly indicate how players should enact these rules. The constitutive rules of a game are the underlying formal structures that exist "below the surface" of the rules presented to players.
  7. 7. 2. Operational rules are the "rules of play" that players follow when they are playing a game. Operational rules direct the players behavior and are usually the kinds of rules printed out in instructions and rulebooks for games. Operational rules are the "rules of play" of a game.They are what we normally think of as rules: the guidelines players require in order to play.3. Implicit rules are the "unwritten rules" of etiquette and behavior that usually go unstated when a game is played. Similar implicit rules apply to many different games. Implicit rules are the "unwritten rules" of a game. These rules concern etiquette, good sportsmanship, and other implied rules of proper game behavior.Q29: The two types of rules that determine a games uniquenessA29: The operational rules for any particular game build directly on thatgames constitutive rules. However, any given set of constitutive rules can beexpressed in many different operational forms. Operational and Constitutiverules make a game unique.There is a fuzzy boundary between operational and implicit rules. Forexample, sometimes a game designer may make certain implicit rules explicitby including them in the printed rules of a game.The formal identity of a game allows us to distinguish a game as formallyunique and distinct from other games.This identity emerges from the relationship between the games constitutiverules and operational rules.Key in establishing the formal identity of a game is the specificity of the rules.The exact and unambiguous nature of the constitutive and operational rulesallow a game to be this game and not that game.