REASONS FOR COMMUNICATING: 1) Get something, 2) Coordinate Actions, 3) Cooperation COMMUNICATION CHANNELS: 1) Natural, 2) Stimulated TURN-BASED: Slow; REAL-TIME: Fast
SOCIAL INTERACTIONS: When two or more players have two-way communication between each other. CONFLICT: One or more parties, often players or players against the game system, have goals that cannot be satisfied together. COMPETITION: The struggle between players or against the game system to achieve a goal where the performance of the players can be measured at least relatively. DIRECT: Players can engage with each other. PLAYER KILLING: When players can intentionally or unintentionally remove players from the game for at least a period of time. BETRAYAL: One or several players that have an agreement with other players intentionally fail to do as agreed or otherwise hinder the fulfillment of the agreement. COOPERATION: Player cooperate; i.e., coordinate their actions and share resources, in order to reach goals or subgoals of the game. PLAYER-DECIDED RESULTS: Players are responsible for deciding at least some of the results of player actions, and their decisions are not necessarily based on the rules of the game. ALLIANCES: A group of players who have agreed to obey particular and specific rules of conduct toward each other and who, usually, have a shared agenda. TEAM PLAY: Players in a group or team coordinate their actions, abilities and roles in order to reach a common goal.
NEGOTIATIONS: A situation where the players confer with each other in order to reach an agreement or settlement. SOCIAL DILEMMAS: Players tend to compete against each other even though cooperation would be best for all involved. TRADING: Players exchange a resource, whether it is information, actions, or game elements, between each other or the game system. BIDDING: Players invest resources, usually some kind of currency, for an uncertain outcome in order to get a reward of some kind. BLUFFING: Players have a possibility to convey FALSE INFORMATION to other players in order to benefit from their situation.
What information is made available to a single player, as well as the quality and reliability of that information.
This lecture focuses on how information about the Game State – including other Players’ actions and goals – are made available to players or kept hidden from them.
LESS GAME STATE INFORMATION = FEWER DECISIONS = LESS COMPLEXITY
What information is made available to a single player, as well as the quality and reliability of that information.
EXAMPLE: CHESS: Game State is stored as physical game components that are visible to all Players. EXAMPLE: YAHTZEE: All dice rolls are public and recorded on a common score track. Perfect information can be applied to a subset of the Game State or the Game State as a whole.
Goal Prevention: Helps deduce or guess other player’s Goals and Tactics Strategic Planning: Encouraged by Strategic Knowledge.
In a deterministic, perfect information game, no cap on the the look ahead possible.
Game space is limited Calculations are more interesting, such as with long producer-consumer chains
Make it less deterministic: UNPREDICTABILITY
GAME STATE: Chess has large, Poker has smaller. The LARGER the size, the more Decisions CLOSURE POINTS: The more closure points, the less PREDICTABILITY. TEMPORARY: Such as using DISCARD PILES in Trick-based games Requires MEMORIZATION for Players if information becomes hidden.
POKER: Perfect Information about everything EXCEPT the other Player’s Hands, which ultimately are revealed. PANDEMIC: Games of COOPERATION and NEGOTIATION can have Perfect Information DISTRIBUTED among all the Players.
EXAMPLE: DOOM, Gives Players statistics on the number of secrets in a level but does not reveal their location. EXAMPLE: ZENDO: Rules for stacking colored pyramids are deicide by an umpire, and winning the game is about guessing the rules. EXAMPLE: CARD HANDS, OVERVIEW MAPS, FOG OF WAR REQUIRES: Players must KNOW that their Information is Imperfect. REQUIRES: Information must CHANGE between instances for REPLAYABLITY, although in Single-Player games it can lead to SOCIAL INTERACTION as players compare notes. .
MAPS, FOG OF WAR give LIMITED INFORMATION. Can set up GAIN INFORMATION Goals for EXPLORATION.
The term was probably invented in 1807 by English polemicist William Cobbett, referring to one occasion on which he had supposedly used a kipper (a strong-smelling fish) to divert hounds from chasing a hare
Hides Narrative Structure Secret Resources Concealment Red Herrings
Discourages Predictable Consequences Perceived Chance to Succeed
WHAT INFORMATION: Is knowledge of the Game State ASYMMETRIC INFORMATION. LACK INFORMATION: Typically combined with ACCESS TO INFORMATION so Players know something but not everything about a Unit, Card Hand, etc. FAULTY INFORMATION: Due to Player’s intentional actions or misinterpreting Indirect Information. HOW REVEALED: In some games not all information is revealed, allowing for REPLAYABILITY. INCENTIVES
.The player cannot trust the information completely due to the manner in which he or she received the information. EXAMPLE: DIPLOMACY: Current game state is known to all players, but players don’t know what orders other players have written down. EXAMPLE: MASTERMIND: Pegs show level of correctness without showing the correct answer. REQUIREMENT: Decouple the spreading of information from the element that carries the information.
Imperfect IInformation can be caused by Incomplete Information or Uncertain Information
ACTION-/GOALS: Allows for UNKNOWN GOALS and SECRET TACTICS DELAYED EFFECT: Source of UNCERTAINTY OF INFORMATION SOCIAL INTERACTION: Source of UNCERTAINTY OF INFORMATION. (POKER/DIPLOMACY) IMPERFECT INFORMATION: Pegs in MASTERMIND UNRELIABLE COLLECTION INFORMATION: Made unreliable through use of RANDOMNESS RED HERRINGS: Tricking player into not relying on correct information.
The relationships between how different players access information.
Gives all players the same amount of information to decide their actions and strategies. Mastery of the game does not rely on Players having specific information. EXAMPLE: CHESS has all the Information Public. In most cases, the information is simply where all the pieces are and what are their strengths. EXAMPLE: In CARCASSONNE, all Players have the SAME AMOUNT OF INFORMATION – the configuration of placed tiles and where players have placed their tiles. PROMOTED BY: PERFECT INFORMATION
PROMOTES: STIMULATED PLANNING, especially when PREDEFINED GOALS are known to all players. WARNING: Can lead to ANALYSIS PARALYSIS, as Players try to guess what other players are planning.
ENFORCED: Actions and events are designed so that all players have access to the same information. Information is symmetric at the start-up phase, but all actions and events need to be made public. (Example: taking cards through a drafting – choosing through a limited set of cards.). POTENTIAL: Players can deduce information from other players. (Example: let all players know what individual elements of a game object exist, but don’t reveal the distribution among players). (Example: MASTERMIND, where achieving Symmetric Information is the winning condition for one player, while maintaining Asymmetric Information is the goal for the other player).).
Widespread in all types of multiplayer games, especially CARD GAMES. Usually, one player has private information that is hidden from other players. EXAMPLE: PICTIONARY: One player knows the word or phrase and everyone else has to guess. ONE PLAYER, the Drawer, has PERFECT INFORMATION about the Game State, but can reveal it only through INDIRECT INFORMATION. EXAMPLE: POKER: Each player has PRIVATE INFORMATION about the cards in their hand.
WHAT INFORMATION: Can apply to other player’s GOALS, ABILITIES, and END CONDITIONS. IMPERFECT INFORMATION: Needs to be AT LEAST ONE PLAYER. Can be combined with SYMMETRIC INFORMATION in TEAM-BASED GAMES, where one whole team has the same information but the other Team does not. Or a TEAM LEADER has all the information while TEAM MEMBERS have only specific information.
Many games allow people who are not playing that game to have access to the Game State. Sports and board games allow spectators to observe the positions of the players and game elements, others require technological support to provide information to non-players. EXAMPLE: Spectators at a SOCCER game have information about changes in the Game State during the match. EXAMPLE: Players killed in COUNTERSTRIKE can watch the other players play. AFFECTED BY: GAME STATE OVERIVEWS, GOD VIEWS, INDICATORS, THIRD-PERSON VIEWS, FIRST-PERSON VIEWS AFFECTS: MODULATES: EXTRA-GAME ACTIONS, TRANS-GAME AINFORMATION, SOCIAL STATUS of PLAYERS
Extra Game Consequences: BETTING
WHAT INFORMATION: It is harmless to make SYMMETRIC AND PERFECT INFORMATION Public. SPECTATORS: Some games forbid it, but other games incorporate it: WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE? BALANCED BY: GAME MASTERS (UMPIRES) to minimize SPECTATOR influence.
Alarms are ways to pass information about activities and states within a game, but can also alert other players or enemies to your activities. EXAMPLE: WORLD OF WARCRAFT notifies players when they’ve entered a new region. EXAMPLE: CALL OF DUTY notification that a new weapon is available.
HOW TRIPPED: Entering area, completing mission, initiating activity. WHAT HAPPEN: Introduce or call ENEMIES, set off a TIME LIMIT MANIPULATION TOOLS might DEACTIVATE ALARMS. BLUFFING might be able to cause FALSE ALARMS. Increases FREEDOM OF CHOICE but may increase COMPLEXITY and interfere with NARRATIVE STRUCTURE.
EXAMPLE: In LEGEND OF ZELDA games, an ARROW might point you in the right direction. EXAMPLE: RACING GAMES have WARNING SIGNS.
DIRECT INFORMATION: Such as arrows showing where to go. HELPER: Provide INDIRECT INFORMATION on how to reach a GOAL. (OWL in LEGEND OF ZELDA that occasionally steers player in right direction). WARNING: Provides INDIRECT INFORMATION on how to avoid DEADLY TRAPS and ENEMIES.
Direct Information Helper: Indirect Information about Goal Warning: Indirect Information about Danger
NARRATIVE STRUCTURE (if the clues fits within the ALTERNATIVE REALITY). RED HERRINGS (to TRICK PLAYERS into actions against low-level goals).
DIRECT: Describe exactly how to reach goal. INDICTT Describing facts and events that need to be interpreted. ADVICE: Tells players what to do BEFORE they take action. ENCOURAGEMENT: Provides feedback that action is CORRECT although goal has NOT BEEN COMPLETED. WARNING: Advice on what NOT to do. OBJECT: Can be a GOAL OBJECT of GAIN INFORMATION or GAIN OWNERSHIP goals.
Provides instructions on the game or how the user interface works, especially mapping between game controller and player actions, but it can also provide STATEGIC KNOWLEDGE. EXAMPLE: LEGEND OF ZELDA: THE WIND WALKER provides information about how to perform actions in the game world.
OUTSTANDING FEATURES: Shape, color, or texture may give information to the player.
Breaks of Immersion may be alleviated by STORY-TELLING.
EXAMPLE: HIDE & SEEK, one of the players has to find the location of other players. EXAMPLE: CLUE, players gather information and make deductions about a murder. It can be about where an object is in the game space, what attributes objects have, what abilities player’s have, what goals exist. REQUIRES: IMPERFECT INFORMATION or UNCERTAINTY OF INFORMATION.
MEMORIZATION of Information SIMULATED PLANNING if Information is about Information. Used to present NARRATIVE STRUCTURE in intended way. SUPPORTS NARRATIVE STRUCTURE
WHAT VERIFED Game state change that does not require player to actually understand the information. (e.g., gaining an object that presents info to the player). Requiring Player to perform some activity indicating the information has been interpreted correctly (e.g., entering the right combination for a safe). DIRECT INFORMATION: Refers explicitly to the Game State. INDIRECT INFORMATION: Can spawn NEW GAIN INFORMATION goals to check correctness of Information.
Trying to prevent other players from finding out information about the game state. EXAMPLE: HIDE & SEEK, where all children but one hide their location. EXAMPLE: STRATEGO, player’s know the other player’s unit locations, but not its rank. Moving a piece provides IMPERFECT INFORMATION about it.
LIMITED SETS OF ACTIONS, as Players may not have enough information to perform some actions. TRADEOFFS (Reveal position to kill enemy, promoting SURPRISES
PROVIDED: CHOOSE/CREATE: Supports FREEDOM OF CHOICE and CREATIVE CONTROL and promotes REPLAYABILITY WHERE: WHEN: RED HERRINGS: Generates ASYMMETRIC INFORMATION, and provides CREATIVE CONTROL.
How information is presented to the players.
The game itself is a Communication Channel. More interesting situations happen when players there is a possibility to communicate about more than just the Game State. EXAMPLE: In PICTIONARY, Players use drawing and non-verbal signals. (ASSYMETRIC INFORMATION) EXAMPLE: In WORLD OF WARCRAFT, players can CHAT. CAUSED BY: DEDICATED GAME FACILITATORS (Game Systems or Game Masters)
FACE-TO-FACE: When players are in the same physical location. (POKER) MEDIATED: Communication is made through technology or other means. (ONLINE GAMES) SYNCHRONOUS: No delay in communication, and usually requires attention of all participants. ASYNCHRONOUS: Time delays of hours, days or more. (Always Mediated). (CHESS BY MAIL). VERBAL: Talking or writing to other players. NON-VERBAL: Gestures and facial expressions.
Many games provide overview of information necessary to support the intended gameplay. EXAMPLE: MARIO KART has an overview of the track. REQUIRES: THIRD-PERSON VIEW, GOD VIEW or CUT SCENE. Always IMPERFECT INFORMATION of the whole Game State but may be PERFECT INFORMATION about parts of it. Usually DIRECT INFORMATION (or INDIRECT with little information loss). Usually PUBLIC INFORMATION that is safe to show SPECTATORS.
WHAT PROVIDED: SCORE, GAME WORLD STATE, UNIT STATUS and POSITION HOW PROVIDED: BOOK-KEEPING TOKENS, INDICATORS, MAPS
LAFS Game Mechanics - Information and Game Mechanics
The Los Angeles Film School
Reasons for Communicating
Turn-Based vs. Real-Time
Types of Social Interaction
Direct vs. Indirect
Social Interaction Mechanics
“Games are a series
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.
Something, especially a clue, that is or is
intended to be misleading or distracting.
Why Designers Use Imperfect
Leaps of Faith
Imperfect Information about Rules can lead to arguments
Can encourage or discourage Analysis Paralysis
Imperfect Information Design
What parts of the game state are not
Is information limited or faulty?
How can missing information be revealed?
What are the incentives gain the missing
Uncertainty of Information
The information available to players may
have different levels of reliability.
What Is The Difference Between Imperfect
Information And Uncertain Information?
Direct vs. Indirect Information
be tampered with!
Sources of Uncertain Information
Negotiation with Asymmetric Information
Gain Information or Exploration Goals
Why Designers Use Uncertain
Uncertainty of Information Design
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
Are game elements that collect information
Are there any red herrings?
All players have the same information about the
game state, or part of the game state, available
Why Designers Use Symmetric
Symmetric Information Design
Do players have the same information
about the entire game state or just part of
the game state?
Is the symmetric information enforced or
Players have different information available to
them – some know more than others.
Why Designers Use Asymmetric
Asymmetric Information Design
What kind of information is asymmetric?
Who has imperfect information about the
All or part of the information about the game
state is available during the game to people other
than the players.
Why Designers Use Public
Social Status of Players
Public Information Design
What information is public?
Can spectators influence players’ actions?
Abstract game elements that provide information
about particular game state changes.
Why Designers Use Alarms
Provide Game State Change Information
Disrupt Focused Attention
Signify Failure Of:
Alarms Design Considerations
How are alarms tripped?
What happens when they are tripped?
Can tools or controllers can manipulate
Game elements that give the players information
about how the goals of the game can be
Types of Clues
Direct Information Helper
Why Designers Use Clues
Provide Smooth Learning Curves
Assist Game World Navigation
Inform Completion of Low-Level Goals
Support Narrative Structure
Provide Red Herrings
Warning! May Break With
Clues Design Considerations
Direct or Indirect?
Advice, Encouragement or Warning?
Information provided within the game that
concerns subjects outside the game world.
Types of Extra-Game Information
Hint Outstanding Features
Why Designers Use Extra-Game
Provide Information on Controls or Strategic
Ensure Smooth Learning Curves
Balance Difficulty and Complexity
Provide Illusionary Rewards
Warning! May impact:
Extra-Game Information Design
What information about the controls or
interface does it provide?
How does it provide that information?
Does it provide any strategic knowledge?
Performing actions in a game to receive
information or make deductions.
Gain Information Design
What information does the player need to
How is the information gain verified?
Is the information gained direct or indirect?
The goal of trying to hinder another player’s
ability to gain information.
Why Designers Use Conceal Information
Prevent other player’s Gain Information
Support Limited Set of Actions
Conceal Design Considerations
Is the hidden information provided to a
player, or does a player choose or create
Where is the information hidden?
When can the action of hiding be
Are there “red herrings”?
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)
Design an analog game prototype using
mechanics supporting one of the following goals:
The medium and the methods players can
use to send information to other players.
Why Designers Use Communication
Communication Channels Design
Face-to-face or mediated?
Synchronous or asynchronous?
Verbal or non-verbal?
Game State Overview
Players are provided with information that
extends beyond the observational abilities
provided by the game elements.
Forms Of Game State Overviews
Near Miss Indicators
Why Designers Use Game State
Game World Navigation
Leaps of Faith
Warning! Can Cause:
Game State Overview Design
What game state information is provided?
How is the game state overview provided?
Use the LMS to analyze information quality
and distribution in several games of your