Stealth Ethics Nf


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Noah Falstein's submission for the 2008 DevLearn ILS Challenge

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Stealth Ethics Nf

  1. 1. Stealth Ethics Noah Falstein
  2. 2. The Challenge <ul><li>Reveal the ethical truth of a person </li></ul><ul><li>The game already exists, all that is needed is a metagame </li></ul><ul><li>First, a brief story: </li></ul>
  3. 3. Don’t let them know what you’re testing <ul><li>Many years ago at LucasArts, Doug Glen, our head of marketing, wanted to test which of several box art/game titles of an upcoming game would sell best. But he warned us that if we asked a focus group directly, their answers would be suspect. So he had us set up a focus group on a different set of questions. Afterwards, each person was told they could pick a prize as a thank you gift. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Misdirection <ul><li>They were shown pictures of four games that were “soon to be released” and told they could select whichever they wanted, but that if we didn’t make the game we might send them a substitute later. The four were our test box art – because they thought the real focus test was over, they made an honest choice as consumers, and ended up giving us the real data we were after. </li></ul>
  5. 5. So here is our ethics game: <ul><li>Bring in the people you want to test. </li></ul><ul><li>Tell them you are testing their analytical and leadership skills, and they will be monitored and recorded </li></ul><ul><li>Have them play a game of Diplomacy, a classic board game that pits 7 players against each other. There is no chance, it is all skill – and guile. The temptation to doublecross your opponent is very high. Players negotiate and move: </li></ul>
  6. 6. Diplomacy <ul><li>While players </li></ul><ul><li>plot and plan, they </li></ul><ul><li>are recorded, even </li></ul><ul><li>in separate rooms </li></ul><ul><li>set aside for </li></ul><ul><li>confidential diplomacy. It is possible to win the game without doublecrossing and lying – but VERY difficult. And if players think the point is just to win… </li></ul>
  7. 7. Outcome <ul><li>After the game is done, the player’s ethical behavior is analyzed </li></ul><ul><li>Do they remain truthful despite temptation? Do they honor deals they make for mutual defense? Do they try to coerce or bribe or browbeat their fellow players? When people play a game, often their true character comes out in ways they try to hide in “real life”. </li></ul><ul><li>Cheap, fast, and simple solution! </li></ul>
  8. 8. Noah Falstein <ul><li>Game industry veteran, one of the first ten at LucasArts, 3DO, Dreamworks Interactive </li></ul><ul><li>Currently freelance designer/producer </li></ul><ul><li>Working primarily on serious games including medical, corporate, government, academic, and more </li></ul><ul><li>Contact and info at </li></ul>