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Author Topic: How DO Game Designers (or computers) influence play?  (Read 11302 times)
contracycle
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« Reply #30 on: April 29, 2005, 02:50:18 AM »

Quote from: Eva Deinum

But could a computer play, say Planescape Torment? (in a way that makes sense)


Yes in principle.  For example, many games have Bots, which are in effect autonomous NPC's.  I can easily set up some games that consiste entirely of bots, and watch them play.

At a further remove, with unnecessarily complex wiring you could give a bot on one machine an interface to a game on another machine, such that the bot is playing the game.

I agree this is a sort of logical extreme, but I am only challenging the view that it is "up to the user" to decide if the computer is a participant.  I don't think thats a meaningful statement if the user can be another computer.

Either the AI must be granted participant status on the basis of its activity, decisions, actions, modifications, changes to the game space - or participant must be strictly defined as necessarily human.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #31 on: April 30, 2005, 02:47:04 AM »

Quote
Either the AI must be granted participant status on the basis of its activity, decisions, actions, modifications, changes to the game space - or participant must be strictly defined as necessarily human.

This suggestion requires you to be able to identify who is participating with who, as a third party observer. But as third party observers, nobody can do this.

The two unit's in question (human/comp or comp/comp), decide this. If your not in the game, you don't get to decide who's a participant and who isn't. Deciding who is a participant (for this thread), involves your deciding whether they meet your own personal requirements as a participant.

As said, the reason each unit has to decide this is because I or anyone else can't say "Hey, X amount of participation means they're a participant!". Because anyone can can turn around and say "No, that's not enough for me." or "That more than I need, I can accept far less".

So, does the comp consider the comp a participant? Dunno. They can't speak as well as we can on such matters. And if you leave the third party observation level and get into the game, then it's you deciding who's participating with you...you still don't get to decide if other units are participating with any other unit there.

Personally I consider myself to have certain capacities and consider someone participating with me if they engage those capacities. NPC bots have far lower capacities than me IMO, but certainly each bot is engaging what capacities the other has. But of course, like I said, I can't speak for them.
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contracycle
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« Reply #32 on: May 03, 2005, 12:19:51 AM »

Quote from: Noon

The two unit's in question (human/comp or comp/comp), decide this. If your not in the game, you don't get to decide who's a participant and who isn't. Deciding who is a participant (for this thread), involves your deciding whether they meet your own personal requirements as a participant.


You have not established that this subjective decision is a legitimate or useful approach.  It still allows the decision to be left to the gorilla.

Quote

So, does the comp consider the comp a participant? Dunno. They can't speak as well as we can on such matters. And if you leave the third party observation level and get into the game, then it's you deciding who's participating with you...you still don't get to decide if other units are participating with any other unit there.


I don't think this addresses the point.  The computer (or programme, really) will treat you as a participant, which is to say, it will respond to you.  It certainly grants you the credibility to state, within bounds, "I will have my character do THIS".

If the computer acts into the shared space, surely it must be a participant in every meanginful sense.  I don;t see how the opinions of any given participant can themselves define participation.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #33 on: May 03, 2005, 06:23:20 PM »

Quote from: contracycle
You have not established that this subjective decision is a legitimate or useful approach.  It still allows the decision to be left to the gorilla.

I agree and yes. What I have established is that a third party observer can not decide who is participating with who. It'd be the same as my deciding what is beutiful in your opinion...obviously a pointless exercise for me to decide that for you. Participation is also in the eye of the beholder.

Now I can observe what you like in terms of beuty and form a hypothesis, which is a legitimate, useful and fairly practical approach. As long as we keep in mind it's no more than hypothesis. Were not going to define beuty or participation here, were just going to make up some rough tools based on observation, to help us in design.
Quote

I don't think this addresses the point.  The computer (or programme, really) will treat you as a participant, which is to say, it will respond to you.  It certainly grants you the credibility to state, within bounds, "I will have my character do THIS".

If the computer acts into the shared space, surely it must be a participant in every meanginful sense.  I don;t see how the opinions of any given participant can themselves define participation.

In observing what some (not all, some) people want in a participant, some of them want to judge cultural contributions by the other, then start using these themselves...thus a participant is someone (to them) who is worthy of modifying their own behaviour for.

Observing the computers needs, as you say, their participant needs are much simpler.

This is where as a designer you stop considering yourself to be a third party observer. Because all of this is participation by both sides. Your reference to 'must be a participant in every meaningful sense' is still relying on some master check list of meaningful requirements to be met.

Now at this point you either:
A: Realise your using a subjective check list of your own and that your not a third party observer anymore, your a designer who's formed a subjective opinion of what you consider a participant to be (in order to aid you to design). Then go out and design the game you want.

or
B: Work from the idea that a participant can be determined from one set of concrete facts, despite how many people will tell you they don't need to have all those facts in place to consider someone/thing a participant; or despite how many people will tell you they actually need more concrete facts in place than that to consider someone a participant.

Personally, because of these threads I've adopted A, as I'm screwed if I adopt B. B will just require me trying to convince people along similar lines to this "Look, beauty comes from A, B and C. I don't care if you think just A and B are beutiful or you think it takes A, B, C and D to form beauty...your all wrong, because there can only be one concrete definition for beauty, for all people"

That's all I got on the matter.
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contracycle
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« Reply #34 on: May 03, 2005, 11:11:19 PM »

I don't think there is ant reasonable basis for the claim that participation is as subjective as beauty, not by a long shot.  I mean, if it is the case that for a given activity, a certain KIND of participation is required, thats an entirely reasonable and materialistic crirterion.  There may certainly be situations in which a human participant is required, but I don't see how that implies participation is subjective.

And any way, while individual perceptions of beauty do of course exist, there are also rules-based perceptions, such as the general approval of (especially facial) symmetry.  I don't think the appeal to a subjectivist argument is valid, and quite clearly, IMO computers do indeed participate in the shared space.
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Gordon C. Landis
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« Reply #35 on: May 03, 2005, 11:32:46 PM »

Just because the discussion seems to have resulted in using "participation" in a broad, obvious-meaning sense - I never intended to challenge that a computer (or etc.) is involved[i/] (contributes, in my original words) in the shared space.  It seemed useful to me to carve out something (which I called, apparently unwisely, participation) that only applies to humans-in-actual-communication, mostly so that we could then let that be and talk about this involved/contributes thing without crossing over to that which only-actually-communicating-humans do.

I still think that's valuable, but  - how to get there?

Gordon
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Callan S.
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« Reply #36 on: May 04, 2005, 02:11:55 AM »

Heya Gordon,

Quote
It seemed useful to me to carve out something that only applies to humans-in-actual-communication, mostly so that we could then let that be and talk about this involved/contributes thing without crossing over to that which only-actually-communicating-humans do.

Are you comfortable with carving that out in terms of where you see the line between them yourself, rather than stipulating where that line is for everybody? The latter seems a discussion topic by itself. The former just means we'll be working explicitely from your perspective on this, which is a fine anchoring point to work from and will also ensure the line wont be a point of discussion itself.
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Wysardry
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« Reply #37 on: May 05, 2005, 07:13:45 AM »

Even if you restrict the definition of participation to humans only, it would still be a matter of personal preference/opinion/viewpoint.

For example, one player in a tabletop game may also be reading a book, watching television or chatting with someone else during the game and only joining in during his/her turn.

That player may believe (s)he is participating, but others may not.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #38 on: May 05, 2005, 09:09:28 PM »

Exactly! But what might be interesting is not what anyone thinks is just a contribution and what is participation, but once people have decided that, how do people treat a contribution vs how they'd treat what a participant gives?

For that, it doesn't matter where you draw the line between contribution and participation. Were instead looking at how you treat that source (once you've decided which is just a contributor and which is a participationist).

For those purposes, Gordon or any other poster here could stipulate what is or isn't a participant for them, then talk about how they treat the input of contributors and participants.

Edit: In terms of that, I've always found that house rules often have more resistance than publisher rule changes. I wonder if this is because it's easier to just accept the input of a contributor, than it is to accept a participants input in such a matter. The latter sets up quite a precident of acceptance.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #39 on: May 06, 2005, 09:10:52 PM »

Another example of treating a contributor and a participant might be this one: Say I'm playing a space invaders game and thought it was just the computer and me. And after awhile more and more space invaders come on, until it's just overwhelming.

I might just grit my teeth and try to play through.

But what if the set up involved another person deciding how many space invaders are to come on. And he keeps pilling them on.

I'm pretty sure I'd start directing some comments at him, rather than accept what happens like I'd have accepted the contribution of the comp in the previous example.

It'd be interesting if the example was skewed futher. Either;
A: I think I'm playing against the comp, but really another person is deciding how many aliens come.
B: I think another person is deciding how many come (and I have some microphone to yell at them through, rather than face to face interact), but really its just a comp deciding.
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