You can go all the way back to 1998 to see me saying, “I want to talk about point-builds and dice, so let’s get past some easy points about goals of play and get to the good practical stuff.” Twenty-one years later and people are still blubbering about “but but simulation." I’ve repeated this plea many times, ever more plaintively ... Can we fucking just talk about dice already?!
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Our topic this time is the length of play as it relates to game rules. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s not as simple as seeing what the rules say and obeying them; people play long or short in defiance of those rules (when present) all the time. The question is when or how the rules facilitate the decision to continue to play.
Justin gave me a list of questions or topics for this session, and I realized they made most sense in nested form. So I grouped IIEE and relationship mechanics into the larger category of Bounce and system diagrams (specifically their feedback or activity loops), then put the whole into the biggest category of design processes as an experience.
I've shifted our focus more fully into the concrete experience of designing a game. I'm also finding it useful to consider the practitioner's general outlook of "this is how I did it," vs. the observer's or analyst's outlook of "but how does a person do it," without falling into the trap of tossing it back into the observer's lap by saying, "well, you just do it and then you'll see."
At this point, we needed to do three things at once. First, to make sure we filled in any missing points or caught up with anything Justin wanted to revisit; second, to lay down some important points about design as a process, as I thought we'd maybe strayed into play-theory at the expense of the real topic of "make a game;" and third, to take the time to address any topics as they occurred to either of us as we went along.
I’m not making any claims about the logic or organization by this point in our talks, rather, I’m hoping Justin isn’t thinking that I’m totally making it up as I go. It's certainly been helpful to me to recognize what pieces I need to pull into their own how we play discussion so they can be treated as understood for a how we design presentation.
Justin Nichol and I continue our discussion, or training, regarding game design. This session (in 5 videos) delves into the way we talk / the way we roll. The topic shifts quite logically from whether & when describing things colorfully works, to gaudy and painful consequences of moment-by-moment decision-making.
Here's the second session with Justin Nichols as I test my current notions of a Design Curriculum upon him. Last time, we talked about the desireable "reward" cycle of excitement, engagement with the procedures, and inspiration. This time it's about a particular structural rubric you can find attached to this post.
I've been working up a Design curriculum for role-playing for a long while, so when Justin Nichols approached me for a game design discussion that leaned toward mentoring, I accepted without reservation.