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Author Topic: Posts in Critical Hit  (Read 3658 times)

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets

« on: May 24, 2001, 08:34:00 AM »

Scarlet Jester has posted two threads on Gamist and Explorative play in the Critical Hit forum on Gaming Outpost.  Personally I found them helpful and thought-provoking, and I was curious to see what others thought.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Jared A. Sorensen

Posts: 1463


« Reply #1 on: May 24, 2001, 08:43:00 AM »

I think Jester is wicked smaht, funny and an all-around nice guy.  But I think his approach is very much centered in the way games are played rather than how the game is designed (which is what GNS is all about, right?).

He's definitely got something there...

jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com

Posts: 5574

« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2001, 09:13:00 AM »

I don't see how you can seperate the two Jared.  The way a game is meant to be played should be the core of how the game is designed.  The way the game is designed should send a clear message about how the game is meant to be played.  A game might be used to play in a way different from the way it was designed, but players then shouldn't expect the game mechanics to support that style of play.

Jester's approach (to which I've contributed in some small way)is one of analysing the way games are played in order to determine how then designers who wish to support that style of play should design them.

Central to this concept is defining which styles benefit from emphasis on different Stances, and which styles benefit from encouraging Directoral power and to what degree.  Perhaps most important is the two parts of the reward system, or the "currency" of the game design.  1) What activities in play are rewarded by game mechanism (experience, hero points, etc) and 2) What can those rewards then be used/spent for.

He makes a very compelling case for why Vampire has a debilitating central flaw.  The game designers wanted to stress the Exploration of Character, the angst and struggle with humanity aspect of playing the undead.  They have gone so far as to come out and complain that players aren't playing right because they've turned the game into a Power Gamers wet dream...super powered slaughter fest.  The problem is that the reward system doesn't match the design goal.  Only part of the reward is given for roleplaying the character concept.  Most of it is given for traditional Gamist goals of overcoming obstacles and besting enemies.  Compounding this is that the primary use of the reward is to buy up more powers and better skills.

In other words the game mechanics reward players for exactly those things the designers are now upset about.

An understanding of the interrelated nature of these things allows for the game design to really support the desired style of play.

To summarize:  First you start with analysing how the game is played.  Then you incorporate that knowledge into how the game should be designed.

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