*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 24, 2014, 11:48:35 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 62 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: Positive Game Design Challenge  (Read 5312 times)
Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 486

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #15 on: October 07, 2007, 08:32:49 AM »

Another concern:

Quote
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #16 on: October 07, 2007, 01:36:31 PM »

Callan,

Quote
Wha?

Exactly what you see Smiley

I'm targetting what I (and not only I) consider to be Guy's main weaknesses as a designer. Mainly, his tendency to write a grim and negative game and then obsess about it for months, bitching how nobody wants to touch it even with a stick. So, it's a pure design exercise that he needs to approach with this particular mindset or not at all.

The game must be a pure design exercise that later joins the ever growing pool of games that are never played. You know, hundreds of them are written every year everywhere across the world, and nobody really gives a damn Smiley Guy needs to invest his time and effort into the creative process only to design a game that he doesn't personally care about. He needs to do it as well as he can. Then forget about it.

It needs to be craft and not art. It's like learning to draw a circle before you rush to paint a portrait.
Really, totally disagree with the approach (I feel sorry for Guy). If he were writing a book, learning how to write a book that he doesn't care about wont teach him how to write a book he does care about. I agree with learning to draw a circle, but your contest is about drawing an entire portrait/a whole book/a whole game. Personally it sounds like he has some issue he wants to work out through roleplay, but this is about training him to give that issue up. Mechanically that's where it's leading - learning to write games about things he has no care for.

Unasked for responce I know, so I wont compound my error by posting any further.
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #17 on: October 07, 2007, 07:04:20 PM »

Guy,

The game looks fun. In fact, I think it's the first game of yours that I could actually enjoy playing myself. It is, indeed, different than the games you normally write and seems mostly devoid of your personal stuff. Some patterns usually present in your games are still there, but I think the drill was generally rather successful - as in, you did manage to create a game that could be played as an entertainment rather than another invitation to explore your personal issues.

As for the game:

As Adam already noticed, your game could use an engine for creating situation. It is something your games usually don't have - and it's one of the things that makes them difficult in reception. You create the mechanics for dealing with something, but they are in a vacuum. You expect the players to arrive at that something, but you don't provide sufficient guidelines and they need to find their way blindly.

I think it might be tied to your response to the "blank page syndrom" issue. You've been unwilling to look for a way of facilitating players' character prep. As I see it, it seems like you expected the players to instantly understand how the gears of your game move and to intuitively know how to create the characters appropriately. That will rarely be the case without you sitting at the table, though.

Now, despite your initial reaction you created the guiding questions, and that's cool. I think there some place for improvement here. For instance, you could dig for reasons in most of these queries, to help flesh things out. What makes the character innocent? Why does the character love other characters? How does he make others laugh? This would create more context, rather than a yes/no quiz.

In my short simulation I had trouble keeping in mind how specific questions were answered during character creation - obviously, it's partly because of the fact it was just a dry simulation and I created three characters myself, but I think players can have some problems with this under normal circumstances as well. A character sheet might be needed here after all, as means of referencing those initial answers, as the tokens themselves don't communicate much about the character. Or, maybe getting to know the character better (i.e. what I'm writing about in the above paragraph) would be enough.

Also, what are the reasons the player could not take the token?

You seem to disconnect characters and players strongly here, and it's another pattern that's visible in your games, I'd say (I'm thinking about CR and Troll Lands specifically). As you explained to me before, secrets are open and choices should be made according to character's rather than player's agenda, so it seems to me you don't invite the player to try to invest in fictional content but rather oversee it from safe distance, so to say. I think it could be beneficial for you to reflect on this, especially on the roots of this trend.

It's hard to say much about the economy without actually playing the game a bit - I'd expect it to require some readjustments, but that's a rather obvious thing.

The session ends after two scenes per player - but is it supposed to be the end of the game, or can it be continued another time?

The text isn't too clearly organized at this point. However, I think the clarity suffers mostly from the lack of advice and guidance different than pure mechanics. I know you don't like to instruct the players how the rules should be used and hate to write examples, but as with your other games, without dropping some hints and explaining how pieces of the rules tie to the big picture you're likely to lose the reader. Too much may be too much, but none at all is just too little.

Now, as for the rules of the challenge, I'd say that at this point the game is not fully successful:

With the chosen constraints, you probably did your best, although their realisation is not perfect (see above).

The ingredients are there, but I think there might be a problem with the positivity thing. The text is very sterile, and reading the game I don't really feel it "emanates positivity". You might have a problem with capturing qualities that don't resonate with your usual state. The point is to try to craft the game about something specific, just like you'd design a game about elfs, orcs and dragons or about space travel - at the same time trying not to express yourself through it like it was a piece of poetry.

I think the choices present in the game won't be meaningful unless they are not obvious. The rules reward certain decisions, and unless there's a strong reason to consider more than one option it's just a no-brainer. Now, I think that for the game to work best, the players would have to actively create adversity for themselves, in the form of content as unpleasant to the characters as possible. This involves spending a major part of the session on exploring the negative, so I think the game probably fails the restriction about negative focus. Possibly, frontloading the negative in the game in some way rather than requiring the players to come up with it on their own, or maybe having a central GM who'd provide the adversity, could be a solution for this (the GM being half-solution, but at least lifting it from the rest of the group).

The mindset requirement was important, and I can't tell how well you did in this respect, yet. At one point you had this rush to post feedback requests on another forum (reaching for attention and appreciation, as I see it), and you objected to my initial suggestion just after completing the draft. However, it's hard not to be enthusiastic about one's work just after finishing it, and only time will tell whether you detach from this game eventually (or, why exactly you won't detach). That's for you to observe, reflect on and draw conclusions from.

Consider, do you care about this game after all, and in what way do you care about it exactly? How did you feel about the feedback, or about me doing the simulation? Did you expect an actual playtest, or do you hope for one in the future? What does the attention you receive mean to you? Actually, you could also consider your reasons for suggesting that the challenge is made in public in the first place (cause, you know, I'm slowly starting to regret it didn't remain on IM). I think trying to answer this questions might tell you a lot about you as a designer (and although I'm asking these questions, I don't need to hear the answers, mind you).

One of the things I perceive as a problem in most of your games is that they're just too much of an outgrowth of your private issues to serve as a tool for entertainment for others. It's something I've been writing about in my Game Chef review of Juiced Rider, I think. You need to ask yourself what are you designing your games for. Do you want them to be played, or do you want them to be experienced as a work of art?

You are regularly personally hurt by the fact that your games don't receive as much immediate attention and appreciation as you'd wish them to. However, I think you might wish for a different kind of attention and appreciation than one would normally give a game. This means that you're reaching for something you won't necessarily receive in the desired quantities. There are people who appreciate your games for being grim and personal, but I think they might not appreciate them as games per se, but rather for your artistic expression.

Still, you approach me as a game designer, presenting your games, asking for opinions, feedback, playtesting and the like. Personally, when it comes to games I'm just not interested in their artistic qualities - I'm interested in their value as an entertainment. This is what I'm looking for in a game, and this is what I can give the game (and by extension, its author) my attention and appreciation for. Whatever else there is to a specific game, it's of a largely secondary importance (unless it actually comes in the way of enjoying it as a game, in which case it's simply undesirable). I'd risk a statement that the majority of people you approach with your games are of a rather similar stance. Give me/us a well designed and entertaining game, and you'll receive all the due appreciation for it - but present your personal artistic expression packaged as a game and you're reaching to the wrong audience.

So, consider your reasons for pursuing creative activity, decide what kind of attention and appreciation you need, create an appropriate artifact and present it to the right audience. Otherwise, the mismatch will continue to hurt you as it did until now.

As with many types of creative activity, you don't need to pour yourself into game design. Many people approach creative activity as a craft. For instance it's not unusual for a writer to create a book, for an illustrator to draw a picture or for a programmer to write a game only to pay the bills. They don't have to care about the end result - they need to invest in the creative process only to the extent needed to craft the product of their trade. Nevertheless, people will later enjoy the product. Obviously, in case of role-playing games earning decent money is a rather abstract prospect, but that's not the point. I believe that the majority of people pursuing this particular type of creative activity successfuly does it for reasons primarily different than artistic expression - often just as a passtime, often as a form of entertainment.

Now, I believe that if you are capable to craft a game for reasons different than self-expression and distance yourself from it, you should be able to better measure your expectations and this should be helpful in picking the right form of creative activity and the right audience for its product. I can see no better way to do it than to design something totally meaningless to you, doing as good a job as possible, and then reflect on the experience, what you enjoyed about the creative process and what was problematic.

So, it seems I've just answered your yesterday's question about my opinion of you as a designer in detail, in a way Smiley I can support your designs, but I can't support your artistic pursuits or purely private issues.

Now, there are still two weeks till my stated deadline, so if you are positive about continuing to participate in this and writing another game (what should help you forget about the first one, heh), confirm it and I'll post the alternative ingredients and constraints tomorrow. Just remember that I'm not forcing you to do this, so if you think that's enough, simply stop.
Logged

Vulpinoid
Member

Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster


WWW
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2007, 07:39:21 PM »

No specific feedback on the game, or the designer...I just wanted to mention that I've been watching this thread with interest.

I like this idea of calling someone out and hitting them with a design brief that they might not normally have considered. Even if the designer doesn't go through with it, a mature desinger will accept that the challenge calls to weaknesses in their existing style.

I wouldn't mind seeing a few more of these pointed toward prominant and outspoken members of this community. Let them put their designing talent where their mouth is, rather than just bitching about the world around them and how no one seems to take them seriously.

(Note the disclaimer at the beginning, this is not a stab at Guy Shalev. This is my appreciation of the single challenge contest and and a general opinion about seeing it expanded...)

V
Logged

A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 486

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #19 on: October 07, 2007, 10:52:21 PM »

Callan, and others, your input is welcomed and appreciated.
While the challenge was originally aimed at me that only means that I had to choose whether to participate in it or not.
I agree with Callan, my games are in a way my offspring, and while Filip holds that I need to detach myself better from my games (and he may be right), I am unwilling to create a game and then simply become uncaring towards the design and what happens to or with it.
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 486

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #20 on: October 07, 2007, 10:59:04 PM »

Filip, it's a single session, not the entire game. I think of it as an episode in TV terms.

Go ahead with the next round.

And a lot of what you say makes sense to me, thank you for saying it.
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Filip Luszczyk
Member

Posts: 746

roll-player


WWW
« Reply #21 on: October 08, 2007, 07:43:34 AM »

Ok, let's try this:

New set of ingredients (pick at least two): FLOWER, LACE, MAILBOX, RAINBOW, TRUMPET

I hope concrete things rather than abstract concepts will be more inspiring.

The restriction about reinforcing positivity and no focus on the negative stays. I think the ingredients lack obviously negative connotations.

Pick at least two constraints. New constraints:

d). At least half of the text needs to be setting content. It doesn't matter whether you paint with broad strokes or go with encyclopedic detail, but try not to dwell on a single element more than needed.

e). The system must not involve handling any numbers. Not during the prep, not during actual play, not afterwards.

Previous constraints are still available, and I'll explain their purpose this time. The first requires you to be derivative, consequently limiting your personal creative input and making it more difficult to inject your private stuff into the game (and I picked anime just because). The second is there to break your habits of creating a barrier between the player and the character, and having characters that effectively function like test subjects. The third was suggested by a friend, and is there to limit complexity (besides, it creates an interesting design problem). The fourth shifts the game's focus from inward to outward. Both the fourth and the fifth limit complexity. Choose restrictions consciously.

Page limit stays, poetry restriction stays, but disregard the randomizers limit this time, if you want.

Mindset requirement stays and is even more important than the first time. Design it for the sake of it. Do your best to write a well-designed and playable game, and take your time. But try to treat it as a task to solve rather than an opportunity for self-expression. Remember that what you gain is a new experience and the game is just a by-product of the learnig process. Try to maintain distance from the end product. Make no plans for returning to it once it's done.
Logged

Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!