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Saturday, March 13, 2010

New thoughts on 'rules'



A lot of talk in games creation goes on deciding the gameplay rules - what are the rules of the game? Seems obvious, but even I am surprised at how this is gone over again and again. What exactly is needed to earn the big gun etc etc.

But the reason for all this hard work is - it is really hard to change later. You can't say things work one way and then later on say they work another way when you update the game. Players would go crazy!

This 'going crazy' vision made me think about stories and scripts. I think perhaps we don't consider 'the rules' of our worlds enough. They tend to be made up as we go. Get it wrong and your audience will be as pissed off as those angry games players. Some of things you may hear / have heard / have shouted yourself would be...
  • Hang on, I thought superherodude couldn't do that, and now he can!
  • Where the hell did that come from?
  • She would never have said that.
  • I thought an alien was hard to kill and now there are 100s of them and they are being killed easily.

You get the idea. This kind of overlaps with the 'contract with the audience'. But the 'contract' is more about the emotional experience / money for a cinema ticket trade. Complaints around that are more of the...

  • I've watched 26 episodes of this stupid show and it hasn't even tied up the loose ends properly
...nature.

So 'world rules' are definitely worth thinking about at a conscience level.

I would say that it is worth getting right at the start, but we all know development doesn't work like that. But it is certainly worth doing a script pass on though and considering fully.

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