[NetBehaviour] Evolving an Understanding of Fun

Corrado Morgana corradomorgana at blueyonder.co.uk
Sun Apr 12 15:58:00 CEST 2009


Have a look at Raph Kosters 'Theory of fun'
A nice simple read-basically says that 'fun' is all about learning. Noughts
and crosses stops being fun when all mechanics are understood/learnt whilst
chess etc have huge leaning possibilities that extend the 'funness'..
conversely something tooo hard isn't fun (chess!) I guess this can be
expanded to novelty in large scale mmo's and any other levelled or sandbox
gameworld
Learning is about new experience, although I think there is a tendency to
discuss this in terms of mechanics and mastery.

I enjoy pootling about in Burnout paradise and GTA4 not really doing
anything, ignoring the game itself just enjoying a virtual world without any
real opening up of more experiential factors ie pootling about not bothering
with vehicle upgrades just enjoying the feel of the game (this could
conversely be read as 'learning/grokking' a game mechanic/physic)

This can seem a bit too mechanistic when virtual worlds aren't necessarily
about engaging with learning a play mechanic but can be purely about
enjoying a mise en scene or a narrative or a visual language that may not be
about novelty and exploration

<Rant over>

Corrado

-----Original Message-----
From: netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org
[mailto:netbehaviour-bounces at netbehaviour.org] On Behalf Of james morris
Sent: 12 April 2009 1:36 PM
To: netbehaviour
Subject: [NetBehaviour] Evolving an Understanding of Fun

from: http://codebad.com/

An article by Julian Togelius was recently brought to my attention in
which he discusses his experiments with a game generation evolutionary
algorithm that evaluates game fitness as a function of automated player
training.

I think it's a great idea, if not a terribly obvious one. Julian's
purpose in his quest is a noble one:

    Our solution is to use learnability as a predictor of fun. A good
game is one that is not winnable by a novice player, but which the
player can learn to play better and better over time, and eventually
win; it has a smooth learning curve.

I think if you ignore silly animalistic compulsions like collecting
items, finding all the secrets, or acting out fantasies, as well as more
legitimate human animal patterns like appreciating beauty in game audio
or visuals, or social interaction through gaming (hopefully more like
Super Smash Bros than World of Warcraft,) I believe this is an
absolutely solid function for measuring game funness.

It's worth noting here that Togelius does not explicitly state that his
technique is immediately applicable to video games, only heavily
implied. (It should also be noted that by video games I am going to
bravely exclude all turn-based games, relegating further discussion to
games which challenge one to think fast and exercise their reflexes.)

more: http://codebad.com/

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