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LAFS Game Mechanics - Information and Game Mechanics

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Level 6 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Mechanics class.

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LAFS Game Mechanics - Information and Game Mechanics

  1. 1. Level 6 David Mullich Game Mechanics The Los Angeles Film School
  2. 2. Social Interaction  Reasons for Communicating  Communication Channels  Turn-Based vs. Real-Time
  3. 3. Types of Social Interaction  Conflict  Competition  Direct vs. Indirect  Player Killing  Betrayal  Cooperation  Player-Decided Results  Alliances  Team Play
  4. 4. Social Interaction Mechanics  Negotiations  Social Dilemmas  Trading  Bidding  Bluffing
  5. 5. Sid Meier “Games are a series of interesting decisions”
  6. 6. What do you need to make decisions?
  7. 7. Information!
  8. 8. Game State A snapshot of the game. The "game state" changes if any of the objects or values in the game changes: life values, info is revealed, cards moving zones, counters on objects.
  9. 9. What Information Is In These Game States?
  10. 10. Closure Point Events in gameplay where the game state is, or can be, reduced in size.
  11. 11. Closure Point Examples  Elimination  Levels  Missions  Quests  Tournaments
  12. 12. What Happens When A Closure Point Is Reached?
  13. 13. Perfect Information The player has full and reliable access to current or past information about a game component, or that the total current or past game state is known to the player.
  14. 14. Why Designers Use Perfect Information  Reveals Achilles Heels  Goal Prevention (if Interferable)  Strategic Planning Warning:  Analysis Paralysis
  15. 15. Hidden Information 3 Minute Game Design: Episode 7
  16. 16. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  17. 17. Alternatives  Moderately placed information horizon  Deep core mechanic
  18. 18. What Else Can You Do To Make A Game With Perfect Information A Challenging Game?
  19. 19. Introducing Unpredictability  Randomness  Negotiations  Dynamic Alliances
  20. 20. Perfect Information Design Considerations  Game State Size  Number of Closure Points  Information Visibility Time  Unpredictable Elements
  21. 21. What About These Games? Poker Pandemic
  22. 22. Imperfect Information When one aspect of the total game situation is not fully known to a player, the information known to the player is totally wrong, or the accuracy of the information is limited.
  23. 23. Where Is The Imperfect Information?
  24. 24. Faulty Information  Bluffing  Faking Near Miss Indicators  Red Herrings
  25. 25. What’s A Red Herring? That Sounds Fishy!
  26. 26. Red Herring Something, especially a clue, that is or is intended to be misleading or distracting.
  27. 27. Why Designers Use Imperfect Information Encourages:  Surprises  Leaps of Faith  Memorization  Experimenting  Risk/Reward Decisions  Replayability Limits:  Strategic Planning Warning  Imperfect Information about Rules can lead to arguments  Can encourage or discourage Analysis Paralysis
  28. 28. Imperfect Information Design Considerations  What parts of the game state are not revealed?  Is information limited or faulty?  How can missing information be revealed?  What are the incentives gain the missing information?
  29. 29. Uncertainty of Information The information available to players may have different levels of reliability.
  30. 30. What Is The Difference Between Imperfect Information And Uncertain Information?
  31. 31. Direct vs. Indirect Information Uncertainty Indirect Information  Information is interpreted incorrectly Direct Information  Information might be tampered with!
  32. 32. Sources of Uncertain Information  Imperfect Information  Indirect Information  Negotiation with Asymmetric Information  Gain Information or Exploration Goals
  33. 33. Why Designers Use Uncertain Information  Secret Alliances  Secret Resources  Unknown Goals
  34. 34. Uncertainty of Information Design Considerations  Can players choose actions and goals without consuming game elements?  Do actions have a delayed effect?  Is there unmediated social interaction?  Do communication channels pass along imperfect information?  Are game elements that collect information unreliable?  Are there any red herrings?
  35. 35. Symmetric Information All players have the same information about the game state, or part of the game state, available to them.
  36. 36. Why Designers Use Symmetric Information Encourages:  Strategic Planning Discourages:  Bluffing  Secret Tactics Warning!  Analysis Paralysis
  37. 37. Symmetric Information Design Considerations  Do players have the same information about the entire game state or just part of the game state?  Is the symmetric information enforced or potential?
  38. 38. Asymmetric Information Players have different information available to them – some know more than others.
  39. 39. Why Designers Use Asymmetric Information Supports:  Unknown Goals  Gain Information  Conceal  Secret Resources  Secret Alliances  Bluffing  Betrayal Balances:  Asymmetric Abilities  Negotiation
  40. 40. Asymmetric Information Design Considerations  What kind of information is asymmetric?  Who has imperfect information about the game state?
  41. 41. Public Information All or part of the information about the game state is available during the game to people other than the players.
  42. 42. Why Designers Use Public Information Encourages  Trans-Game Information  Social Status of Players  Spectators  Extra-Game Consequences
  43. 43. Public Information Design Considerations  What information is public?  Can spectators influence players’ actions?
  44. 44. Alarms Abstract game elements that provide information about particular game state changes.
  45. 45. Why Designers Use Alarms  Provide Game State Change Information  Disrupt Focused Attention Signify Failure Of:  Stealth  Rescue  Reconnaissance
  46. 46. Alarms Design Considerations  How are alarms tripped?  What happens when they are tripped?  Can tools or controllers can manipulate alarms?
  47. 47. Clues Game elements that give the players information about how the goals of the game can be reached.
  48. 48. Types of Clues Direct Information Helper Indirect Information about Goal Warning Indirect Information about Danger
  49. 49. Why Designers Use Clues  Balance Difficulty  Provide Smooth Learning Curves  Assist Game World Navigation  Encourage Exploration  Inform Completion of Low-Level Goals  Support Narrative Structure  Increase Tension  Provide Red Herrings Warning! May Break With  Emotional Immersion  In-Game Reality
  50. 50. Clues Design Considerations  Direct or Indirect?  Advice, Encouragement or Warning?  Game Object?
  51. 51. Extra-Game Information Information provided within the game that concerns subjects outside the game world.
  52. 52. Types of Extra-Game Information Hint Outstanding Features
  53. 53. Why Designers Use Extra-Game Information  Provide Information on Controls or Strategic Information  Ensure Smooth Learning Curves  Balance Difficulty and Complexity  Promote Memorization  Provide Illusionary Rewards Warning! May impact:  Immersion
  54. 54. Extra-Game Information Design Considerations  What information about the controls or interface does it provide?  How does it provide that information?  Does it provide any strategic knowledge?
  55. 55. Gain Information Performing actions in a game to receive information or make deductions.
  56. 56. Why Designers Use Find Information Goals Encourages:  Exploration  Experimentation  Memorization  Strategic Planning  Puzzle Solving Supports:  Discovering Achilles Heals  Finding Strategic Locations and Hidden Resources
  57. 57. Gain Information Design Considerations  What information does the player need to gain?  How is the information gain verified?  Is the information gained direct or indirect?
  58. 58. Conceal Information The goal of trying to hinder another player’s ability to gain information.
  59. 59. Why Designers Use Conceal Information Goals  Prevent other player’s Gain Information Goals  Support Limited Set of Actions Promotes:  Tension  Trade-Offs
  60. 60. Conceal Design Considerations  Is the hidden information provided to a player, or does a player choose or create it?  Where is the information hidden?  When can the action of hiding be performed?  Are there “red herrings”?
  61. 61. Choose one of the following games to play:  *Clans (2-4p, 30m)  *Igloo Pop (2-6p, 15-20m)  *Mr. Jack (2p, 30m)  Mykerinos (2-4p, 30-60m)  |Mystery of the Abbey (3-6p, 60-90m)  +Stratego (2p, 30-60+m)
  62. 62. Group Quest Design an analog game prototype using mechanics supporting one of the following goals:  Gain Information  Conceal
  63. 63. Communication Channels The medium and the methods players can use to send information to other players.
  64. 64. Why Designers Use Communication Channels Source of:  Direct Information  Indirect Information  Uncertain Information Encourages:  Social Interaction  Social Organizations Balances  Public Information
  65. 65. Communication Channels Design Considerations  Face-to-face or mediated?  Synchronous or asynchronous?  Verbal or non-verbal?
  66. 66. Game State Overview Players are provided with information that extends beyond the observational abilities provided by the game elements.
  67. 67. Forms Of Game State Overviews  God Views  Maps  Score Indicators  Progress Indicators  Near Miss Indicators  Goal Indicators  Book-Keeping Tokens  Cut Scenes
  68. 68. Why Designers Use Game State Overviews Provides:  Strategic Information Supports:  Game World Navigation  Attention Swapping  Puzzle Solving  Strategic Planning  Player-Defined Goals  Cognitive Immersion Discourages:  Attention Swapping  Surprise  Leaps of Faith Warning! Can Cause:  Analysis Paralysis
  69. 69. Game State Overview Design Considerations  What game state information is provided?  How is the game state overview provided?
  70. 70. Use the LMS to analyze information quality and distribution in several games of your choosing.

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