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Tracy Fullerton, "The Art of Play"

Tracy Fullerton, THE ART OF PLAY

Most games,60 mph, and game ?The Night Journey? with Bill Viola is 5 mph . . .
The rewards are looking deeply, slowly, carefully, and inward. In development now.

?Cloud? also a game of contemplation and slow accomplishment.. A game to slow down, relax.

What is a game?
For TF, game is formal elements.
Plus dramatic elements---that make us care about the game, affective relations. All the pieces of the car you go ?ooooh? about.
Plus dynamic system---doesn?t work unless you play it.

Since of emergency is key. In play, predictable and unpredictable events happen.

Where is a game?
Quote Huizinga: game is an ?act apart.?

Magic circle: space where you can perform acts apart. Like the frame of a painting, proscenium of a stage, or moment in motion picture screen waiting for the lights to come up. These moments are wonderfully ritualized.

In most games, that moment is brusk and exclusive. Not a process.

She wants to take back the invitation to play.

Inviting someone to play should be a profound moment.

Once within the magic circle of the game, rules take on a certain power. Within the rules, we perform actions that we would never otherwise consider?shooting, killing, betraying, lying. But also heroic actions in the face of untenable odds?courage, sacrifice, difficult decision-making.

What are the rules----they are awfully fascistic.

Yet rules also create possibilities . . . we accept invitation to constrain actions within certain bounds, and amazing potential is created.

Paradox of play: release ourselves to play.

What is a game designer?
?I am going to tell you what you cannot do and you?re going to find something within that that is fun.?

Second order problem (game creation): you can?t create the thing, you can only create the circumstance for the thing (the rules within which people play).

Designer drafts the documentation to communicate their vision. Designer is the advocate for the player?s experience.

Design issues:
How is interaction between players organized?
Single player v game.
Multiple individual players v. game (like slots, bingo, slingo)
Player v. player,
Unilateral competition.(underused example?Sherlock Holmes is one)
Multilateral competition.
Cooperative play.(another underused example)
Team competition (amazing community-building mechanic)

One exercise she does is has her students take one form of a game and change it to another. It forces them to rethink all the problems of the game.
Objectives: What goals structure the play?
Most games hae goal of destruction. What if game had goal of construction?
In The Sims, you can succeed by being very social as well as by amassing money. Monetary way is not only way to scceed.

Guide and limit players? actions

As designer, how do you write your rules and do they express your world view?
Do you really believe all people within 30 feet of you are hostile (as is the case in most shooter games). The philosophical rules that underwrite the game system can be changed to express a new philosophical system.

Procedures are usually embedded in the control system.
One of big fights to come in game design is how to open up control system to have more evocative experiences. Now, most games are about physical movements, jump, kick, xyxyxy (special kick) and low level response (irrrrrrrrrrrrrr). ?Interactive grunting? in digital games today.

?Guitar Hero?----a great game. It comes with a guitar, a little smaller than real guitar, plus strummer, Classic definition of a liminal object, takes right into fantasy of being a rock and roll star.

Digital games are landlocked structures today---but HUGE potential for creating new world experiences. This will come from opening up new procedres.

Anything in the game that is scarce and has utility.

Maybe we can make the game so interesting and challenging that kids have to go out and get the information and bring it to the game. Learning games.

Resources are one of the most difficult tuning problems in the engine of a game . . . if you don?t have the right balance of resources and challenges, the game is over or frustrating. Balancing resources is tough and crucial.

What are the boundaries of experience?
Mobile devices. But also prior relationships.
?Diplomacy??game where you make deals, negotiation phase. But you don?t really have to do what you say. No adjudication phase. Like ?Survivor.?

How will it end?
MMOOGs . . . people don?t want to leave. Bride party that goes her whole life . . . no one ever said ?they are addicted to bridge.?
But not pleasurable if you know the ending.

Games are systems: 7 formal elements

Dramatic elements:
Premise (one of most powerful tools: chess = medieval war)

Choose a new premise. Not war. Political. Or fantastical.
Murder mystery (Clue)

How to design for innovation?
Set highlevel design foals for the player experience
Prototype early, using physical materials or rough digital design
Integrate player input from the first days of development
Playtest with target audiences
Iterate the design based on feedback.

CF with ?Dungeons and Dragons?: there is much more depth in paper games than digital games because there has to be an AI element. In pen and paper version, you are there, with your friends, and you get a lot out of it because of those social interactions.

How do you thik of pleasures of transgression and breaking rules when playing games?
Some people are rule followers. But she likes wonderful emergent possibilities of rule breaking.

Hatrd, though, because you don?t want to destroy the play for the rule followers.

She thinks many people who would cheat and transgress on line would neer do it face-to-face. No sense of presence that stops you from acting out socially.

If you are designing for other cultures, you have to take into account very different experiences of play. Play for adults, in Japanese culture for example, is accepted and fetishized for adults than we do here. She has worked in China where you have to give people permission to play. She has to give people permission to design.

What is the connection between gaming and the futures of thinking. Instrumental thinking, strategic thinking, deception, tactical thinking. What is relation between an y given game and where it mjight take thinking??

And connect to theme of cultural memory. How cultural memory is always recombinant, recombines other memories, and improvisational nature of what happens in circle of game play. Bill Viola wants to do a game because it is an important, emergent art form.

?Fluxx??card game where rules change. Games are so much about fantasy. Changing objectives. To think about for our Mind Games project!!

Jackie Steward is doing one with different objectives, different social and state systems. Pedagogical game to get students in undergraduate students in political science class to see what the costs are.

She wants people to physical prototype with cheap materials---literally pens, paperclips, markers, thumb tacks, scotc tape, glue, paper,.

She does this so students can work on actual elements and mechanics of game play and allows non-technical members to contribute to the design process early on.

She has the group work on a simple children?s game called ?Up the River? to get a sense of the ways the resources, design, and so forth operate in gaming and it isn?t simple at all.

Sid Meyers, ?All games are a series of interesting choices.?

Set the goal first and then move from there in modding ?Up the River?---maybe remove all chance and make it all strategy; or make it cooperative. And so forth.

Now, everyone, go play with scissors and paper and markers and imagine newer games and better!


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