May 21. Games as Systems. Game Systems . Games are systems Formal elements create a dynamic experience in which the players engage
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Game systems – set of values that affect one another within an environment to form a larger pattern that is different from any of the individual parts. Experts often pick up on these patterns and exploit them in order to excel.
Zimmerman and Salen describe four elements that constitute a system:
Objects – parts, elements, variables Formal elements like game pieces.
Attributes/properties – qualities or properties of the system and its objects. Rules. Formal elements. Your book also includes here behaviors.
Internal relationships – The objects have relationships. Crucial characteristics of systems.
Environments – Systems do not exist in a vaccum but are affected by their surroundings.
Disconnect between the rules and the way the system plays out
“A modest number of rules applied again and again to a limited collection of objects lead to variety, novelty and surprise. One can describe all the rules, but not necessarily all the products of the rules – not the set of all whole numbers, not every sentence in a language, not all the organisms which may arise from evolution.”
Stage 1: What happened before the player was given the choice (internal event) Addresses the state at which point a choice must be made. Addresses the context in which a choice is made.
Stage 2: How is the possibility of choice conveyed to the player? (external event) Are there buttons? Empty spaces? How does the user know he or she can make a choice, and what that choice could be?
Stage 3: How did the player make the choice? (internal event) Mechanism. Button? Enters text?
Stage 4: What is the result of the choice? How will it affect future choices? (internal event) How does the action influence outcome immediately and later in the game?
Stage 5: How is the result of the choice conveyed to the player? (external event) Does something blow up? Is a space now filled and can’t be used later? Provides context for the next choice that needs to be made.