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Rules. “rules, play, culture”. Rules of Tic-Tac-Toe. Play occurs on a 3 by 3 grid of 9 squares. Two players take turns marking empty squares, the first marking X’s, the second O’s. A row is any three squares on the grid, adjacent diagonally, vertically or horizontally.

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Rules l.jpg

Rules

“rules, play, culture”


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Rules of Tic-Tac-Toe

  • Play occurs on a 3 by 3 grid of 9 squares.

  • Two players take turns marking empty squares, the first marking X’s, the second O’s.

  • A row is any three squares on the grid, adjacent diagonally, vertically or horizontally.

  • If one player places three of the same marks in a row, the player wins.

  • If the spaces are all filled and there is no winner, the game ends in a draw.

COSC 4126 rules


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Which game structure is part of the rules?

  • e.g. rules are distinct from aesthetics

    • rules specify the constitution of the deck used in a card game (jokers included?)

    • the formal relationship of the cards is part of the rules (e.g. 4 parallel sets of 13 ordered values) but the suits (diamonds, hearts, spades, clubs) and ordered sequences (A,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,J,Q,K) are not

COSC 4126 rules


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Which game structure is part of the rules?

  • strategies are not rules

    • Two players take turns marking empty squares, the first marking X’s, the second O’s.

      is a rule of Tic-Tac-Toe but

    • If an opponent has two marks in a row, place a mark to fill the third in the row.

      is a strategy

COSC 4126 rules


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Game rules compared to rules in other activities

Rules: guidelines that direct, restrict or guide behaviour

  • etiquette: rules of polite behaviour

  • laws: rules of legal behaviour

  • policies: rules of acceptable activity

COSC 4126 rules


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Qualities of rules

  • limit/restrict player action – what can be done with the artifacts of the game

  • are unambiguous and explicit

  • are shared by all players (does not imply symmetry)

  • are fixed

  • are binding

  • are repeatable / portable

COSC 4126 rules


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Rules in context

  • game rules create artificial, clear conditions inside the magic circle

    • a temporary escape from the ambiguous, shifting, unfair conditions of real life.

COSC 4126 rules


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Game space and rules

  • the formal structure of games can be regarded as a parameter space where the current state of the game is a point in the parameter space

  • rules define the possible edges in the space connecting states

  • a particular game is a path through the state space

COSC 4126 rules


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Game space example

  • Tic-Tac-Toe is a set of 9 parameters, each of which can take on three values: {X, O,e}

  • The start state of the game space is

    [e,e,e,e,e,e,e,e,e]

  • [e,e,e,X,e,e,e,e,e] is connected to the start state by an edge but there is no path to [e,e,O,e,O,e,e,e,e]

COSC 4126 rules


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Categories of rules in games

  • operational

  • constituative (sic)

  • implicit

COSC 4126 rules


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3 to 15: another game

  • Two players alternate turns.

  • On your turn, pick a number from 1 to 9; you may not pick a number already chosen.

  • If any three of your numbers add to 15 you win.

    Let’s play….

COSC 4126 rules


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Pick a number…

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

COSC 4126 rules


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3 to 15 == Tic-Tac-Toe

2

9

4

7

5

3

6

1

8

The space of Tic-Tac-Toe is isomorphic with the space of 3 to 15

they share a mathematical structure below the level of the rules

COSC 4126 rules


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Implicit rules of games

  • What if O player refuses to move?

X

O

O

X

X

implicit rules can be formalized (e.g. clock in chess matches) and often must be considered explicitly in digital games

COSC 4126 rules


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Categories of rules in games

  • operational

  • constituative

  • implicit

COSC 4126 rules


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operational rules

  • rules of play

  • guidelines for players

  • usually the explicitly written “rules of the game”

COSC 4126 rules


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constituative rules

  • underlying formal structures – the formal game space

  • logical / mathematical rules –the parameters and algorithms of the coded game

COSC 4126 rules


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constituative rules - example

  • all players begin with value total of zero

  • players alternate turns adding a random value of 1 to 6 to their total

  • first player with to achieve value total of 100 wins

  • if the random value would take the total beyond 100, it is not added

  • if a player achieves a value in this table, the other value in the pair is substituted

value

8

16

28

44

67

71

83

96

substitute

19

23

7

30

79

47

55

72

COSC 4126 rules


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Making constituative rules operational

  • how to measure progress

    • write score, amass chips, follow number line

  • how to make random move

    • throw die, use spinner, draw card

  • how to substitute values

    • look-up table, links on line

COSC 4126 rules


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Making constituative rules operational

in code

  • constituative rules are coded in the underlying game algorithms

  • operational rules are coded in the interface

    question for educational game:

    where is the knowledge to be learned?

COSC 4126 rules


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implicit rules

  • etiquette, sportsmanship, other rules of behaviour

  • infinite in number

  • “house rules” - may not have some of the ‘qualities’

  • are unambiguous and explicit

  • are shared by all players (does not imply symmetry)

  • are fixed

  • are binding

  • are repeatable / portable

COSC 4126 rules


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Designing a game

  • constituative rules and operational rules both determine a game’s identity

  •  both are part of creation of meaning for the players

    • action and response involves both

COSC 4126 rules


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Designing a game

  • formal (mathematical / algorithmic) model

  • operational, concrete model

dictionary

defines relation between abstract symbols and operations

and

concrete objects and player actions

COSC 4126 rules


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Designing a digital game

  • game core as constituative model

  • interface – inputs plus display plus sound as operational model

COSC 4126 rules


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Elegant design

  • The core of good design is in the operationalization of the constituative rules.

    • Salen and Zimmerman, p.136-7, 149

  • Designs can be evaluated for meaning by the criteria of

    discernability and integration

COSC 4126 rules


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Examples

  • variations on Tic-Tac-Toe

  • variations on Chutes and Ladders

    compare with interface alternatives:

    e.g. – inputting an integer:

  • type in text field; select from menu; position a slider; click on a button

COSC 4126 rules


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Designing a game

  • original idea can be at either level – constituative or operational

  • where is your content?

    • is it an interaction model that needs a constituative algorithm behind it?

    • is it a conceptual model that needs an operational interface to make it accessible?

COSC 4126 rules


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