A Theory of Fun for Game Design

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:02 am
yhlee: icosahedron (d20) (d20 (credit: bag_fu on LJ))
[personal profile] yhlee
Raph Koster's A Theory of Fun for Game Design (2nd ed.) has been on my wishlist for something like the past five years. I picked it up recently by ordering it through my local game store (which is technically also a bookstore and is in the process of signing on with distributors or however that goes). It is an absolute delight.

I'm glad I sprung for the hardcopy of this for two reasons: one, I like to mark up my nonfiction, and two, its formatting! The left-hand page in every two-page spread is text; the right-hand page has an illustration related to the material on the left-hand page. While the illustrations are not technically the most accomplished, they are generally extremely effective communicative cartoons or diagrams.

This book comes with a ton of blurbs, and Cory Doctorow's--"Does for games what Understanding Comics [by Scott McCloud] did for sequential art"--pretty much sums up how I feel. I've read other game design books that were insightful, or thorough, but the Koster is accessible and very interesting in its approach to what makes games games, and how to make them fun (in the instances where that's a thing--cf. Brenda Romero's Train).

One of Koster's arguments is that "with games, learning is the drug" (40)--a game that interests us is one that strikes the necessary balance of not too easy (Tic-Tac-Toe, for most adults) and not too hard (multiple failure modes possible, depending on the individual--witness me and chess or go [1]). He suggests that games (and play, which is common in a lot of young animals!) are an artifact of how we try to learn survival skills, and moves forward into making suggestions as to how to move the form forward into values/skills more suitable for the modern era than "kill things" or "jump over things" or "search for all the things."

[1] Joe gave up on teaching me go when I told him I have severe difficulty with visual patterns. In fact, I am starting to wonder if aphantasia just screws me over for this kind of game in general. :p

There's also a particularly interesting chapter on ethics and entertainment where he discusses the difference between the game system and the flavor/dressing:

The bare mechanics of a game may indeed carry semantic freighting, but odds are that it will be fairly abstract. A game about aiming is a game about aiming, and there's no getting around that. It's hard to conceive of a game about aiming that isn't about shooting, but it has been done--there are several gmaes where instead of shooting bullets with a gun, you are instead shooting pictures with a camera. (170)

The bare mechanics of the game do not determine its meaning. Let's try a thought experiment. Let's picture a mass murder game wherein there is a gas chamber shaped like a well. You the player are dropping innocent victims down into the gas chamber, and they come in all shapes and sizes. There are old ones and young ones, fat ones and tall ones. As they fall to the bottom, they grab onto each other and try to form human pyramids to get to the top of the well. Should they manage to get out, the game is over and you die. But if you pack them in tightly enough, the ones on the bottom succumb to the gas and die.

I do not want to play this game. Do you? Yet it is Tetris. (172)


In general, Koster has a background in game design AND writing AND music, and he draws on all three in his analysis of games, as well as other disciplines (e.g. psychology). It makes the book a scintillating read. I can't believe I waited so long to read this--but it was exactly what I wanted to read last week, so hey. Highly recommended.

Interesting Links for 22-08-2017

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:00 pm

Happy Birthday!

Aug. 22nd, 2017 08:58 pm
jerusha: (birthday)
[personal profile] jerusha
Happy birthday to [personal profile] elsaf! I hope you have a wonderful day and wish you an even better (and fire-free) year to come!

Prompt #056 - Song Titles II

Aug. 22nd, 2017 06:19 am
misbegotten: Orange Typewriter (Writing Orange Typewriter)
[personal profile] misbegotten posting in [community profile] 100words
This week's prompt is Beatles song titles. "Across the Universe", "Here Comes the Sun", "When I'm Sixty-Four" -- choose any title from the Beatles' body of work as your inspiration!

Your response should be exactly 100 words long. You do not have to include the prompt in your response -- it is meant as a starting place only. Please use the tag "prompt: #056 - song titles ii" with your prompt response.

Please include all necessary content warnings for potential triggers, mature or explicit content, or spoilers.

Here is a template for posting your work, if you so desire:

Subject: Original - Title (or) Fandom - Title

Post:
Title:
Original
(or) Fandom:
Rating:
Notes:




If you are a member of AO3 there is a 100 Words Collection!

QotD

Aug. 22nd, 2017 05:24 am
dglenn: Me in kilt and poofy shirt, facing away, playing acoustic guitar behind head (Default)
[personal profile] dglenn

"Even if we do not believe that a Higher Power has made detailed arrangements for the gifts and opportunities we have, we get to decide what meaning we want to make of the current situation. We can decide to craft the story of our lives along the path of justice, kindness, mercy, and shared liberation." -- Rev. Lyn Cox, 2017-03-05

(no subject)

Aug. 22nd, 2017 09:13 am
oursin: Brush the Wandering Hedgehog by the fire (Default)
[personal profile] oursin
Happy birthday, [personal profile] elisem!

Daily Happiness

Aug. 22nd, 2017 12:51 am
torachan: a cartoon kitten with a surprised/happy expression (chii)
[personal profile] torachan
1. Went to Home Depot today and got a new toilet seat, which is something I should have done a long time ago but just put off because, idk, I'd never bought a toilet seat before and it seemed overwhelming, I guess? But actually it was quite easy, as apparently they only come in two sizes, and it was cheap (got a good one for only $20), and now we have a toilet seat that actually stays put and doesn't slide around all over the place when you sit on it, which is pretty great.

2. I got the paid translation job done early in the day, so didn't have to worry about running up against the deadline or anything (and I'd done most of it by last night anyway), and now I just wait to get paid, which is always a happy surprise when it happens because this company pays at the end of the month following the month you do the work in. By then I'll have forgotten I even had extra money coming!

3. I got a chapter of manga translated, too, and vacuumed the house, and read a book, and just generally got a lot done today.

4. Jasper's getting to be such a big boy.

Tis not the season, but I don't care

Aug. 22nd, 2017 07:59 am
shallowness: Kensi and Deeks at a door, he's holding a badge (Kensi and Deeks partners NCIS LA)
[personal profile] shallowness
NCIS: LA 4.10 Free Ride

Hark, a Christmas episode! As a British viewer, I wouldn’t know what to do with an American Christmas episode around the Christmas holiday.

Read more... )
sovay: (PJ Harvey: crow)
[personal profile] sovay
I looked at the calendar, Ray.

The HFA's all-night half-marathon this year is vampires. Of that lineup, I have seen only the Hammer Dracula (1958), but some of the rest—Near Dark (1987), The Hunger (1983), Dracula's Daughter (1936)—I've had designs on for years. This should be great. People are going to be so nervous, stepping out into the ash-making sunlight at the end of that long, bloody night.

I see also from the October and November calendars that the archive appears to be embarking on a William Wellman retrospective. The trick here will not be living in the theater for most of the fall. I've seen a number of the titles announced so far, but hardly any of them on a big screen—they're pre-Code, they turn up on TCM. I know I want to see Night Nurse (1931), Heroes for Sale (1933), and Wild Boys of the Road (1933) because they are three of my favorite pre-Code movies, period. Maybe Other Men's Women (1931) just because I like Grant Withers and all five minutes of James Cagney in it so much. Safe in Hell (1931) is one of those titles you can't turn down. I've been seeing stills of cross-dressed Louise Brooks in Beggars of Life (1928) for years. For some reason I always forget he directed Nothing Sacred (1937) and think of it as an unusually cynical Frank Capra.

I'd ask why I have a real job except I worry it would trigger irony, so I'll just wish I had a real job with more time to write about movies.

Budget also couldn't hurt.
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
The general fund currently contains $60.  Everyone is eligible to vote in this poll.  I will keep it open until at least Tuesday night. If there's a clear answer then, I'll close it.  Otherwise I may keep it open a little longer.

We currently have three open epics.  "The Inner Transition" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Berettaflies and needs $308 to be complete.  "The Higher a Monkey Climbs" belongs to Polychrome Heroics and needs $161 to be complete.  "Two Foxes" belongs to Polychrome Heroics: Iron Horses and needs $169.50 to be complete.


Poll #18724 General Fund for August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl
Open to: Registered Users, detailed results viewable to: All, participants: 3


How would you like to distribute the $60?

View Answers

ALL $60 into "The Inner Transition"
1 (33.3%)

ALL $60 into "The Higher a Monkey Climbs"
0 (0.0%)

ALL $60 into "Two Foxes"
1 (33.3%)

Divide it equally across the THREE poems
1 (33.3%)

sasha_feather: Retro-style poster of skier on pluto.   (Default)
[personal profile] sasha_feather posting in [community profile] access_fandom
This is from last year, and is a quite comprehensive post aimed at authors.

Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley, writing at Disability in Kidlit:

http://disabilityinkidlit.com/2016/07/08/introduction-to-disability-terminology/

Poem: "What Makes a Hoard"

Aug. 21st, 2017 11:19 pm
ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is from the August 15, 2017 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] janetmiles, [personal profile] mdlbear, and [personal profile] callibr8. It has been sponsored by [personal profile] janetmiles.

Read more... )
starandrea: (Default)
[personal profile] starandrea
"who says you can't defy gravity?
who says you gotta stay in this galaxy?
let's start a revolution, let's start a revolution

under the cover of darkness falling, we make the rules 'til day is dawning
and anything can happen underneath the moonlight, tonight, tonight, tonight

yeah we've still got a few more miles out where love can still be wild
and we might live forever for a little while tonight, tonight, tonight

the night is on our side, let's start a revolution
start a revolution"

--little big town
"night on our side"
grand ole opry, 20 august 2017

Passing under Shadow

Aug. 21st, 2017 09:13 pm
aris_tgd: Daenerys "Come not between the dragon and her wrath" (Daenerys dragon)
[personal profile] aris_tgd
Okay, so ECLIPSE. Wow. Let me just say: what everyone said is true, totality is not the same as 90% or even 99%. My friends and I were hanging out in the backyard watching the light dim and taking peeks at the disappearing crescent of the sun through filters, and watching the sliver vanish, and when that black disc totally covered the sun all of us kind of lost our shit.

It was super cool and in seven years when another eclipse hits this continent I encourage everyone on this continent to go check it out. It's worth it.

Of course, it's easy for me to say it's worth it, I only had to drive an hour north and then two hours back home again to see it. Ha! (I kid, it was only about an hour and a half on the way back, but damn was traffic awful on the way out of Salem for most of the day. The only reason my drive back was so reasonable is that I waited eight hours after the eclipse ended to start moving.)

I did not take any photos. I was busy staring at where the sun used to be and would be again and mildly freaking out.
umadoshi: (W13 - Claudia crying (vampire_sessah))
[personal profile] umadoshi
When I posted about A Girl and Her Fed last week, I mentioned that [dreamwidth.org profile] davidgillon had warned me that the very beginning of Act 2 of the comic had a major spoiler for the as-yet-unwritten/unpublished Rachel Peng novels.

I did indeed press on, bracing myself for a spoiler. (And now I'm completely up to date on the comic; yesterday was the first new installment I read as a Caught-Up Reader. I think the only material I have left to read now is the handful of mixed comics/prose shorts on Spangler's store site, and I've made it as far as buying them all.) And many things happened, because there'd been a five-year timeskip since the first act of the comic, and I thought, "Okay, I don't know which of these things is the spoiler [dreamwidth.org profile] davidgillon mentioned, but many things happen very early in Act 2 that leave things in a very different place than they are as of the published Rachel books, so presumably it was one of those..."

Except then I read all the way back through the posts at [tumblr.com profile] agirlandherfed, and due to a couple of Asks there, the nature of the early-Act 2 spoiler was spelled out.

It was an offhand reference--a panel's worth of mention, at most--and so far the comic hasn't mentioned it again, and I completely failed to process it for what it was. But now, belatedly, I know.

And my heart broke a little.

Poem: "Only in the Gift"

Aug. 21st, 2017 10:41 pm
ysabetwordsmith: (muse)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
In return for a beautiful day and a truly stellar performance from the Sun God and Moon Goddess, I am posting one of my eclipse poems for free.  You can see some of my eclipse photos here.


"Only in the Gift"


I have seen the moon-shielded sun
and the Father God winking
as he turns his one wide eye
back toward the waiting world 

a reminder that we live,
moment by moment, 
only in the gift of
his infinite light.

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elz

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