Game Rules Ben SALEM School of Design University of Northumbria
Content1.Defining Rules2.Content3.Writing a design document4.Using the design document
Defining RulesRules constitute the inner, formal structure of games.All games have rules that are one of their definingqualitiesRules are different from the experience of the gameRules are abstract tools for thinking about the formalstructure of a game
What are Game RulesLimit players actionsAre explicit and unambiguousAre shared by all playersAre fixedAre bindingAre repeatable
Rule Levels 1Constitutive Rules The abstract, core mathematical rules of a gameOperational Rules The rules of play that players follow when they are playing the gameImplicit Rules The unwritten rules of etiquette and behaviour that generally go un- stated.
Rule Levels 2The operational rules of the game build directly from thegame constitutive rulesThere is a fuzzy boundary between operational andimplicit rulesThe formal identity of a game emerges from therelationship between the constitutive rules and theoperational rulesThe formal meaning of a game emerges from thebridging of the three level of rules
Good RulesGood and elegant rules allow player to focus on theexperience of play rather than on the logic of the rules
Board & Computer Game Rules 1In general the rules of a computer game are the samethan the rules of a board game They are directly concerned with the actions players take and the outcome of those actionsThe internal functioning of formal game logic is also partof the rules
Board & Computer Game Rules 2The constitutive rules of B&C Games are quite similar The constitutive rules of a computer game handle the game internal eventsThe operational rules of computer games are not onlyconcerned with the internal events but also with theplayer inputs and the game outputsB&C games share implicit rules
Rule Levels in Computer GamesIn computer games is it sometimes not possible toclearly determine what aspect of the game belongs towhat type of rule
Games as Complex Systems 1Fixed Systems remain the same for everPeriodic Systems repeat the same pattern endlesslyComplex Systems exhibit patterns of behaviour morecomplex than periodic systemsChaotic systems behave in a complete random fashion(within the scope of gaming).
Games as Complex Systems 2When a game lacks complexity it also lack meaningfulplay Complexity ensures that the space of possibilities of a game is large enough to support meaningful playEmergent systems generate unpredictable patterns ofcomplexity e.g. In language the rules of grammar and all possible statements
Games as Emergent SystemsEmergence in games results from the formal system ofthe game put to use by the players e.g. bluffing in poker is not explicitly stated in the rulesEmergent games have a space of possibility largeenough to reward players for exploring the game
Games & UncertaintyUncertainty is a key component of every gameRelationship between game decision and outcomehave three degree of uncertainty: Certain outcomes are completely predetermined Risk outcome has a known probability of happening Uncertain outcome is completely unknown to the player.