Fun and the MDA framework


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I presentation on the overuse of the word fun and an introduction to Le Blancs MDA framework

Fun and the MDA framework

  1. 1. FUN It is often said that games are fun, it is stated that for a game to be a game it has to be fun, So… the games essence is the fact that it is fun. A good game is said to be fun, and you can tell a bad game because it is not fun. How do we… as a group and as individuals feel about these statements?
  2. 2. FUN Quantifiable? Qualifiable?
  3. 3. The Quantifiability of FUN Can fun be measured? If so what is the measurement of fun and how do we measure it?
  4. 4. The Qualifiability of FUN What qualifies as fun? Do we all have the same sort of fun and when do we know when we are having it?
  5. 5. Are we having the same sort of fun when we play…
  6. 6. Are we having the same sort of fun when we play…
  7. 7. FUN “FUN”
  8. 8. So… Are there different forms of “fun”
  9. 9. MDA
  10. 10. MDA A formalist framework for game design and criticism “MDA is a formal approach to understanding games . One which attempts to bridge the gap between game design and development, game criticism, and technical game research. We believe this methodology will clarify and strengthen the iterative processes of developers, scholars and researchers alike, making it easier for all parties to decompose, study and design a broad class of game designs and game artifacts.”
  11. 11. MDA MDA was developed and taught as part of the Game Design and Tuning Workshop at he Game Developers Conference, San Jose 2001- 2004 by Robin Hunicke, Marc LeBlanc, Robert Zubek (we looked at part of the MDA framework for H&A 3 relating to the reading Costikyan, G. quot;I Have No Words & I Must Design: Toward a Critical Vocabulary for Gamesquot; Computer Games and Digital Cultures Conference Proceedings, Tampere: Tampere University Press, June, 2002)
  12. 12. MDA “[A formalist approach] is especially important when working with computer and video games, where the interaction between coded subsystems creates complex, dynamic (and often unpredictable) behaviour. Designers and researchers must consider interdependencies carefully before implementing changes, and scholars must recognize them before drawing conclusions about the nature of the experience generated.”
  13. 13. MDA “Fundamental to this framework is the idea that games are more like artifacts than media. By this we mean that the content of a game is its behavior . not the media that streams out of it towards the player. Thinking about games as designed artifacts helps frame them as systems that build behavior via interaction. It supports clearer design choices and analysis at all levels of study and development.”
  14. 14. Games are State Machines Input Output Rules (Player) State (Graphics/ Sound) • All games are computer games. • Game design transcends media. games serve an emotional purpose, not a pragmatic one
  15. 15. Consumes Creates GAME Designer Player
  16. 16. CODE PROCESS REQUIREMENTS GAME RULES FUN SESSION games serve an emotional purpose, not a pragmatic one
  18. 18. “…describes the particular components of the game, at the MECHANICS level of data representation and algorithms.” “…describes the run-time behaviour DYNAMICS of the mechanics acting on player inputs and each others outputs over time.” “… describes the desirable emotional responses evoked in the player, when AESTHETICS she interacts with the game system.”
  19. 19. AESTHETICS In describing the aesthetics of a game, we want to move away from words like “fun” and “gameplay”. towards a more directed vocabulary. This includes but is not limited to the taxonomy listed here: 1. Sensation 2. Fantasy 3. Narrative 4. Challenge 5. Fellowship 6. Discovery 7. Expression 8. Submission
  20. 20. AESTHETICS 1. Sensation 5. Fellowship Game as sense-pleasure Game as social framework 2. Fantasy 6. Discovery Game as make-believe Game as uncharted territory 3. Narrative 7. Expression Game as drama Game as self-discovery 4. Challenge 8. Submission Game as obstacle course Game as pastime
  21. 21. AESTHETICS (Examples of games) Charades: Fellowship, Expression, Challenge. Quake: Challenge, Sensation, Competition, Fantasy. The Sims: Discovery, Fantasy, Expression, Narrative. Final Fantasy: Fantasy, Narrative, Expression, Discovery, Challenge, Submission.
  22. 22. DYNAMICS “Dynamics work to create aesthetic experiences. For example, challenge is created by things like time pressure and opponent play. Fellowship can be encouraged by sharing information across certain members of a session (a team) or supplying winning conditions that are more difficult to achieve alone (such as capturing an enemy base).”
  23. 23. MECHANICS “Mechanics are the various actions, behaviours and control mechanisms afforded to the player within a game context. Together with the game’s content (levels, assets and so on) the mechanics support overall gameplay dynamics.”