The perfect game has to be the perfect pleasure. That’s the point. Difficulty here- create a «theory of pleasure» that would take common decisions on game design.
It is easier to start a conversation with, that is not a pleasure. Realism is not fun. Realism — it ends when the toothpaste when you have to go wash the shirt, and airplane trips are longer than the continuation of the film
Mortal Kombat. Realism is useful to create a «content» as a direction for the graphic design to simplify the life of the designer, but this is not the easiest way to a perfect game, which we need.
Freedom is not too fun. As we learn from Sid Meier, a good game is a collection of interesting choices. Freedom means that you can say «all my enemies die, and I get all the toys.» It may like the first time, but it was a shame when people appear in Diablo and gave me the Emperor’s Sword of the Heavens (or whatever it is) when I was a character in the first level, even in the city. Yes, it increases my «freedom», but it is deprived of every game fun. To have a choice — it’s good, but the increase of «freedom» means a reduction in the importance of choice.
So what is fun? I’ll use a deliberately simplified the terminology, because I do not want to derive pleasure from the theory of words that are used, but simply trying to create a pragmatic tool for design. Maybe sooner or later it will be a grand unified theory of pleasure, but as long as we use very specific conceptual tools to create entertainment. There are only three: plans to encourage the satisfaction of narcissism and the plot.
Under the plan, as I understand the term encouragement of behavioral psychology. For example, Diablo and Pokemon — excellent examples of the promotion plans with variable frequency. Diablo perfectly stimulate and encourage my very specific behavior: Clicking the mouse. Click-click-click, and I get the elixir. Click-click-click-click-click-click-click, and I get the armor. For face-click, and here it is, another elixir. Click-click-click-click, and I get a wrist syndrome. My wife, when I came into the room where the computer always said: «You again play this damn klikatelnuyu game, huh?». She is a psychologist, and always happy to indicate that Blizzard has successfully turned me into a dove (an example of humor psychologists *).
After reading several interviews with Mark cerium (Mark Cerny) of Marble Madness / UIS, I feel that it is more than all of us thought how to apply lessons from behavioral psychology to the game-design.
Under the satisfaction of narcissism I understand the world, responding to the actions of the player. It is something that is happening at the level of thinking. I want the world to respond to the player, all that he does. If a player shoots at the wall, it should show damage. If a player throws a grenade at your opponent, the opponent must escape. The player must be the center of the universe. Everything in the game should be a function of his player’s actions. Anything that distracts from the process, from the direct control of events (such as video sequences), reduces Nartsissova fun (although, of course, it can help with a plot component pleasure). In order to more precisely show a design problem: the narcissism in the games increased in proportion to the number of measurements of the behavior of the player, which responds to the world.
Satisfaction narcissism enables us to understand why the accident, at least in the sense of a coincidence, «I have no idea why this happened,» it is not pleased. If I go through the game, and all of a sudden, «accidentally» blow up, it’s not fun. Random — it is not the same thing as varied, and the occasional — is not the same thing as procedurally generated. Randomness is almost as confusing as realism, if the word is used in discussions about the design. The randomness is more useful if it is used in the context of «accidentally toward XXX».
Under the storyline I understand a set of skills, which is Mark Laidlaw (Marc Laidlaw), that is the definition of the character and his development, plot, inference, etc. It’s a good thing, and there are a lot of people, far more professionally owning it than I am, so my views on this matter is unlikely to be particularly interesting.
In thinking about creating a perfect game, freed from technical constraints, the use of these three categories — the first step for me. One of the biggest steps forward will be the moment when we learn to synthesize plot compelling feeling of the player’s actions, but before that we still have a long way, even to the trivial examples (a trivial I mean «story» fighting with paratroopers in Half-Life).
Of course, great to add other mechanisms to create a fun, including aesthetic perception («oo-oo, look how beautiful this thing exploded!») And social interaction (I hope this will turn out in Team Fortress 2). And, of course, it should be noted that the various sources of pleasure may well contradict each other a bunch of ways (for example, the plot and the satisfaction of narcissism contradict each other, and as long as we do not come up with some new, much more clever ways to create a story) .
I think over time we get closer to the creation of the general theory of interest, which will detect the mechanisms that underlie so that plans for the promotion and satisfaction of narcissism will talk about the different ways the same. It’s definitely move us to an understanding of how to create the best entertainment products.
P.S. And as a postscript, this decomposition method «game» allows you to think about a bunch of different software products like the games. For example, MS-DOS becomes very tough quest, where you find yourself in a maze of twisty passages, looking exactly the same, and it’s Linux-RPG, etc …
* The story of the dove is very popular among psychologists. The poor man was put in a cage placed on a wall button, which when pressed in lotochek fell out tasty grain of wheat. Joyful bird peck and eat, but gradually the frequency of falling out of grains began to decrease (here it is, the plan of reinforcement). Corn fell out at every second, fifth, tenth blow beak … and the blue all Dolby, Dolby, he believed that now the grain falls. Hundredth, thousandth, ten thousandth … The experiment was stopped at the time when each grain of pigeon was required as woodpeckers peck button for days, poor emaciated, refused food and water, poorly realized what was happening, but Dolby, Dolby, hollowed … However, like a player in Diablo? For the sake of appearance superpupershlema lame boy could spend a couple of weeks, not really thinking about it.