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Game Design 1: Lecture 2 - Play
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Game Design 1: Lecture 2 - Play

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This lecture, by Dr Jon Sykes and David Farrell discusses the foundations of play research through the lenses of: …

This lecture, by Dr Jon Sykes and David Farrell discusses the foundations of play research through the lenses of:
What play is
Why we play
When we play and how play preferences change through time.


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  • Things to mention: Website online now. Readings - you want to get your hands on at least Game Design Reader, but they’re all good books.
  • This lecture is going to cover the act of play. As game designers we craft play experiences for other people. The kinds of play experiences that people like may differ from those we like. This is especially true of people at different ages than us. We might think that your dad likes different games than you because he’s an old geezer - but if you are LUCKY, you’ll be an old geezer too one day and you might like those kinds of games too. So we need to understand what play is, what role it has in our lives and how that changes over time. We also want to start separating games and play a little - they are different things.
  • Competition Chance Simulation Vertigo
  • Competition
  • Chance
  • Simulation
  • Vertigo
  • LeBlanc’s MDA framework is the game industry’s closest thing to an agreed way to make games. And even than it’s hardly standard. It has been taught at GDC for over a decade and continues to be taught annually in a day long GD workshop. In the paper describing the framework, LeBlanc tries to drill down into what we often call “fun” and identify *types* of fun experience. Sensation == game as sense pleasure
  • Game as make believe
  • Game as drama
  • Game as obstacle course
  • Game as social framework
  • game as uncharted terretory
  • game as self expression
  • game as pastime
  • Mibbe shout out a few examples? TF2 Vs CODBLOPS? Mario Cart Vs Gran Turismo GTA Vs Saints Row 4
  • If that was an overview of “what” play is, we now think about “why” play is - why do we do engage in play?
  • Play is a fundamental part of the human psyche and experience. It has a role in our development, and our culture and it also helps us to try things out in a safe way that would otherwise be dangerous.
  • Transcript

    • 1. GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes) Lecture #2 PLAY
    • 2. What is PLAY? Why do we PLAY? When do we PLAY? GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 3. What is... PLAY Is this play? What criteria did you use? GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 4. What is... PLAY Huizinga - a free activity - without material profit - bounded by space and time - promotes the formation of social groups GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 5. What is... PLAY Caillois - play is uncertain GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 6. What is... PLAY Play is voluntary - you cannot be coerced or - players must be free to leave obliged to play when they please GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 7. What is... PLAY Play is voluntary           GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 8. What is... PLAY Play is without material profit - you cannot earn money when - gambling is play (Caillois) playing - that would be work - no interest in poker without wager - property may exchange, but no goods produced GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 9. What is... PLAY           Play is without material profit GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 10. What is... PLAY Bound by space - space as a boundary for play - ignoring boundary results in penalty (board, pitch, ring, chalked boxes) - the magic circle (Huizinga) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 11. What is... PLAY Bound by time- always a start time, and an end time - abandonment before end is considered ‘bad play’ - pervasive games blur boundaries of space and time - not clear what is ‘real’ or ‘play’ GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 12. What is... PLAY Promotes social groupingThe play community continues beyond play - families that play together, stay together - beer after football - WoW clans meet ‘off-line’ - rugby club GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 13. What is... PLAY Promotes social grouping - in group, out group effect - play enhanced by secrecy - reinforces ‘us’ and ‘them’ - secret handshakes, passwords, language- disguise (masked ball, halloween, mardi gras) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 14. What is... PLAY Play is uncertain When outcome known, play stops - ‘going through the motions’ - casino dealer not at play - balanced skill-level (handicaps)- chance to win increases tension (Sega Rally) Little fun in true random outcome GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 15. What is... PLAY Taxonomy of Play Huizinga’s Taxonomy Agon Alea Ilinx Mimicry GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 16. What is... PLAY Taxonomy of Play Huizinga’s Taxonomy - a test of some attribute(speed, endurance, strength, memory) - equality of play (totally balanced) - supports training, and discipline Agon - incontestable result GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 17. What is... PLAY Taxonomy of Play Huizinga’s Taxonomy - latin name for ‘dice’ - no control over outcome - usually involves money - negates discipline, experience and Alea training - agon/alea attempt pure equality GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 18. What is... PLAY Taxonomy of Play Huizinga’s Taxonomy - simulation / make-believe /fantasy Mimicry GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 19. What is... PLAY Taxonomy of Play Huizinga’s Taxonomy Ilinx “... an attempt to momentarily destroy the stability of perception and inflict a kind of voluptuous panic on the otherwise lucid mind.” Caillois GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 20. What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Sensation Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 21. Fantasy What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 22. Narrative What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 23. Challenge What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 24. Fellowship What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 25. Discovery What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 26. Expression What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 27. Submission What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 28. Expression / Exploration / Narrative What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 29. Challenge / Fantasy / Sensation Gran Turismo What is... PLAY LeBlanc’s MDA Taxonomy of play Taxonomy of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 30. What is... PLAY Paidia Formality of Play Ludus “spontaneous manifestation of the play instinct” - cat with ball of wool, baby laughing at rattle gratuitously difficult, fun through accomplishment formal, often rule-based play - crosswords, olympics, mountain climbing Huizinga GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 31. What is... PLAY Formality of Play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 32. Why do we... PLAY GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 33. Why do we... PLAY Photographer: Norbert Rosing Biological Play Impulse - an evolutionary benefit to play? - enhancing infant development - development of social identity What would be the evolutionary function of play? - as a civilised power indicator Bears that play the most, survive the best (Fagen, 1981) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 34. Why do we... PLAY Infant Development - an evolutionary benefit to play? - +ve correlation ‘brain size’ and ‘playfulness’ (Lewis & Barton, 2004) Cognitive Development - ‘creativity’ common to species with larger brains - prior play with object -> + problem solving (Bruner, Jolly, and Sylva, 1976) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 35. Why do we... PLAY Infant Development - an evolutionary benefit to play? - physical play > improved fitness, stamina, skills - even though infant play attracts predators Skill Training - however, cats deprived of play equally successful hunters - but, less socially prepared GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 36. Why do we... PLAY Infant Development - an evolutionary benefit to play? - cats deprived of play have difficulty: Emotional Intelligence - identifying friend from foe - miscue social signalling - overly aggressive or fail to engage socially - 90% of convicted murderers were deprived of +ve play experiences (Brown, 1994) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 37. Why do we... PLAY Social Identity and Skills - an evolutionary benefit to play? Make-believe facilitates the understanding of cultural roles - turn-taking / win-lose behaviour Develop social competencies / adhere to social rules Community rituals and celebrations confirm, maintain and advance social identity GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 38. Why do we... PLAY Civilised Power Indicator - an evolutionary benefit to play? - play result of surplus energy (Schiller,1965) - sport a ritual celebration of successful combat play’s function is to mediate social conflict - superiority praised and honoured - displacement of real conflict to less harmful arena of play GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 39. When do we... PLAY GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 40. When do we... PLAY Play Choice and Development Infant and Toddlers Pre-school Children School-age Children GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 41. When do we... PLAY Infant and Toddler play and motor development 1-4 months Play involves watching body movement. Child enjoys bright colours and interesting sounds (McCall, 1979) By Month #4 infants learn to grasp and play with objec - child brings object to mouth during exploration an bangs object (McCune, 1986) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 42. When do we... PLAY Infant and Toddler play and motor development 4-16 months With increased motor control comes... (Garner, 1998) - greater visual exploration of objects - expansion of play-world - pushing/pulling knobs, buttons and levers - fill and dump play - enjoyment through materials that leave marks (Rogers & Sawyers, 1988) (Garner, 1998) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 43. When do we... PLAY Infant and Toddler play and cognitive development 8 months - 24 months With increased cognition comes... - practice / functional play - pleasurable repetitive action, such as babblin - symbolic play / pretend play (Rogers & Sawyers, 1988) - emerges at 1yr, child pretends to eat GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 44. When do we... PLAY Infant and Toddler play and social development 1- 8 months Adult initiates simple exchange of vocalisation - ‘patty-cake’ and ‘peeka-boo’ - give-and-take, point-and-name, play-mate preferen 8 - 12 months Tickle games 12 - 24 months GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 45. When do we... PLAY Pre-school play and motor development Directed physical play - organised sports, gym lessons Free play - playground apparatus GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 46. When do we... PLAY Pre-school play and cognitive development Functional play - repetition in physical action, language, and toy pla Constructive play - imitation of reality Symbolic play Rule-based play - creativity and motor control combine to elicit ‘build - basic rule (lotto, spinners, dice games) GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 47. When do we... PLAY Pre-school play and social development inclusion of others in pretend and dramatic play sociodramatic play (roleplay real-life experiences) Characterised by.... play used to express and explore feelings and emo (Bretherton, 1986) Rough-and-tumble play, superhero play, chase game GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 48. When do we... PLAY School-age play and motor development Fine motor skills - greater detail, such as depth, in drawing - building model aeroplanes GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 49. When do we... PLAY School-age play and cognitive development Games with more complex rules - such as tag, marbles, hopscotch - players submit to rules, and exercise self-control - players invent their own games Reduction in pretend play - use of miniature figures GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 50. When do we... PLAY School-age play and social development Increased aggression in play - boys physically aggressive - girls verbally aggressive - peak of rough-and-tumble play Chase games become more rule-based - rule breaking has social consequences (Shantz, 1986) - kiss-chase games GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 51. PLAY Conclusions The nature of play Play elements, and the play palette Why we play How play choices differ as we mature GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)
    • 52. PLAY Readings Play & Ambiguity by Brian Sutton-Smith GDR, 294-313 Nature & Significance of Play as a Cultural Phenomenon by Johan, HuizingaGDR, p94-120 GameDesign1david.farrell@gcu.ac.uk David Farrell (with thanks to Jon Sykes)