The article unfortunately focuses mostly on the visual design and doesn't touch much on the game design, partly because that's most of what the email thread the developers shared focuses on. That said, there's a big design difference between Threes and 2048. The main difference is a very finely tuned difficulty.
2048 is easier, so it has broader appeal starting out. Threes has a higher skill requirement, so it's a bit easier to get frustrated, but it is also easy to see your skill increasing because the games don't last super long.
Anecdotally it seems like 2048 is possibly more generous in spawning high value tiles, which lowers the difficulty. Also the joining of 1+1 instead of 1+2 has a very significant impact on the gameplay. Threes is more likely to suffocate you with low value tiles because they are harder to mix than in 2048.
Since Threes only moves the tiles one square at a time it takes three swipes to mix tiles on opposite sides of the board instead of one in 2048, meaning that there's no penalty to poor planning resulting in tiles on opposite sides of the board.
I don't know to what degree this counts as game design, but 2048 pops up a timed notification whining when you don't play it for a few days, which was my incentive to immediately delete it.
Great article - I really feel that this unfortunate tendency for people (including myself, all too often) to be hesitant to step outside of their comfort zone and expand their horizons with something new leads to gameplay stagnation in the industry as a whole. The thrill of accustoming yourself to a game's "world," with its own terminology, modes of interactivity and presentation, is almost like learning a new language. When the game demands something of you beyond just to experience the events of the story as a passive observer, you feel stretched. It can be tiring, but you're involved, respected and invested in the world. Games that actually make demands on the player that extend beyond reflexes and keeping the story going get a reputation for being "difficult," which makes me think that some critics and players are missing the point entirely.
Thankfully, while mainstream gaming has largely stagnated on the terms you mention - involvement, originality and interactivity have given way to cinematography, same-is-safe design and taking control from the player - the industry as a whole has expanded to the point where conscientious gamers don't need the big studios anymore. Indie games are now free to be as impenetrable and complex as they'd like (witness: The Codex of Alchemical Engineering), and the fact that some console conglomerate isn't holding indie studios' feet to the fire with hundreds of pages of requirements detailing what a developer must do in order for their game to be a game means that they're free to take risks and make mistakes.
I am free.
I can abide by your rules and moderate within the structure you decree.
I organized this spreadsheet of technology reddits
and know my way around reddit pretty well. Any further intereview questions just ask!
I also think it would be great for ludology to get its name in the /r/Games sidebar.
I totally see where you're coming from & while I agree that the concept of "gamification" as it's generally understood these days is reprehensible, I think the point of making a presentation like this, is to point out the potential positive aspects of making "game-like" activities more accessible to everyone, so that we can discuss them separately from how much VC money Foursquare raised or etc.
To me, the most essential part of the whole deal is about 60 slides in when he starts talking about Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and his concept of "flow" which suggests that there's a specific mental state that falls somewhere between mindless fun and nerve-wracking difficulty, in which people are most likely to feel a sense of intrinsic value & contentment about what they're doing, and as it turns out, well-designed games can be a really great way for many people to get into this mindset. This message has been perverted by the "Skinner box" reward system of many social games, but properly applied it can be a powerful tool for self-realization & development.
All that being said, I completely agree that most of these ideas are probably already encompassed by such things as serious games and etc. However, where many of these have failed to gain serious traction outside academia or game-dev circles, it seems like "gamification" has somehow managed to gain a foothold in the mainstream & so I think the author's idealistic (or possibly naive) response to this is to make lemonade out of the situation by demanding more than just badges and check-ins from those who stand to profit from this opportunity.
Well yes, that's kind of my point. It doesn't take a mathematician to figure out that Don't Move reveals things progressively further and further apart - at some point during play the real question becomes whether I'm playing Progress Quest (which never ends) or the aforementioned baby game (which is finite).
This game is fantastic. There's an Android App clone, but playing against a computer AI pales in comparison to the real thing.
If you want to hear from the pro-gamification side, you should read/watch/listen to/stand near Jane McGonigal. Here's her TED talk.
Bogost has always been a bit of a provocateur, but I think I'm closer to him than McGonigal on this one. I don't really care for achievements in video games either, though.
I was thinking some more about your request here, and actually maybe you don't need to go all the way back into the history of narrative. If you haven't, read Crawford's Art of Interactive Storytelling. It's mostly theory, and he does gloss over or skip some important ideas in the history of storytelling, but looking at that may give you an idea of whether you need to go deeper or not.
For something more contemporary, maybe check out Bogost's Unit Operations. Again, it's theoretical, but it might be enough for you to understand your problem in a deeper way.
And again, Mateas and Stern's work should be good for an attempt at practical implementation of some of the narratological concepts. They build off Aristotle, if I remember correctly.
> I would like it to feel both like a legitimate sport from the real world, and also be unique and interesting
I just had a thought on one way to make it unique and interesting - make it resemble EVE Online ethics. Scamming, lying, manipulating, and all other forms of skullduggery outside of actual cheating are allowed. Even better, is that EVE runs its own e-sports tournaments, within that game world, so you have a working model to observe.
Here's a great paper on it all: eSports in EVE Online: Skullduggery, fair play and acceptability in an unbounded competition
> Officially organized, spectator driven eSport tournaments occur within the notoriously transgressive and ruthless game EVE Online. In these tournaments spying, bribing and throwing matches is commonplace. Based on results from interviews with players, spectators and commentators, this paper discusses the way in which the ‘unbounded’ attitude of the developers of EVE Online towards acceptable forms of play has been transposed into its eSport iteration
It's basically what you're aiming to do, already done, in a fairly sizeable and noticeable game, in a truly unique "transposition" of game design elements. I struggle to think of a real-world sport that functions like this. Design one, and you'd have something pretty unique.
While on the subject of small indie games becoming art before AAA titles do I give you Small worlds.
Also AAA games cant be art pretty much because they are AAA games. Art is risky, it's narrow. You sell few pieces to a relatively small audience for a high price. AAA games have to have mass market appeal. Mass market appeal and art seldom cross paths.
Hey. I'd just like to add this article to the discussion. It's a rough overview of my design for a player-driven dynamic narrative system. Basically, I'm treating the story as dynamic content for the game, rather than making the story something which the player has no control over. If it works, this system will still allow for a degree of authorial control, though I estimate that I'm roughly a year away from proving that.
I'm also running a Kickstarter for the game at the moment, so I can hopefully continue to work on it full-time. Apologies if that breaks any rules of etiquette on here.
Or just use the "quick view" link from Google.
Not a videogame, but ...and then we held hands. is a co-op card game about a couple in a failing relationship. The gameplay involves making choices that both give and take away options from the other player, requiring the players to approach each other from compatible paths. The goal of the game is to not break-up, but failure arises from creating perspectives incompatible with each other's.
It's available as a print and play if you're interested in trying it out.
I think procedurally-generated questing is common in most modern open-end RPGs, like Skyrim. Not sure if there are that many papers out there on it; certainly a good number of internet articles.
edit: maybe poke around r/gamedev?
For a survival horror game, it's really the atmosphere and realism that need to be focused on. The best game I can think of is Resident Evil for the gamecube. The game tries to be as realistic as it can be and does things that make the experience more difficult, but I believe add to the theme: tank controls, automatic aiming, fixed camera angles, etc.
Resident Evil 5 throws that out the window with crazy villagers chasing you, open areas, tons of weapons, etc. It's more of a game than anything.
So strangely enough, you almost want it not to be a game, but an experience. You want a game that requires thinking, not focus on aiming you weapon and blasting things. The old school Resident Evil games and Silent Hill games do this well. A good story is a plus, but keep it realistic and not cliche.
So I don't want women in scantily clad outfits running around with machine guns in high heels. None of the matrix backflips, none of the exploding mansions or people who can't seem to talk normally, but must use some sort of vague riddle when talking.
Keep it real, keep it simple. This is one of my favorite games that really make me feel uncomfortable. Note that it doesn't need an in depth item system, shooting gameplay, exploding mansions, etc. It just feels... REAL. The pictures are all real, but have been edited.
> Story, play, and steam: Thermoludic narratology in video game studied
You might try https://www.academia.edu/1210299/Story_Play_and_Steam_Thermoludic_Narratology_in_Video_Game_Studies. That's where I was able to find it.
It's a tool for writing "interactive fiction," as the products produced contain mostly text and no gameplay, but usually with some amount of choice. A lot of creators who don't really know how to program or have ideas that they immediately want to throw out there tend to use it.
Inside Game Design. To be fair, its more about the histories and experiences of studios in producing their games, but there's a big variety of interviews.
Maybe you should start to question if
> non-linear, multi-modal digital narratives
are a thing. Don't assume, instead argue that they exist. Start with an series of small essays about this topic and see if you can 'build upon'.
If you want to read a 'counter view': http://www.amazon.com/Wrong-With-Video-Games-multi-billion-dollar-ebook/dp/B015IFZN76
(similar topic as Jesper Juuls master thesis)