In recent years, as dramatic increases in graphic sophistication began yielding diminishing returns, the technical focus in game design has been turning towards Artificial Intelligence (AI). While game AI might be considered a “purely technical” phenomenon not of interest to game designers and theorists, this paper argues that AI-based art and entertainment constitutes a new interdisciplinary agenda linking games studies, design practice, and technical research. I call this new interdisciplinary agenda expressive AI.
Most modern graphics-based computer games entertain the player in part by presenting him or her with a simulated space, an imaginary two- or threedimensional region whose visual appearance is mapped onto the twodimensional surface of the video screen. The player observes this space and sometimes virtually explores or moves through it in the course of playing the game. As an imaginary space, it is necessarily constructed by human beings, and therefore may be thought of as the product of architectural design processes. In this paper I discuss the psychosensory limitations of perceiving ludic space compared with real-world architectural space, and the primary and secondary functions of ludic space. The primary function is to support the gameplay by providing a context for challenges, and I discuss how this occurs; secondarily, the space informs and entertains in its own right by a variety of means: Familiarity, Allusion, Novelty, Atmosphere, and others, which I illustrate by example.
We present a structural framework to describe games in terms of components. The components are divided into four major areas: meta-structure, bounding, narrative and objective. The framework is developed to be used in conjunction with game design patterns, descriptions of patterns of interaction relevant to game play. We describe the development of the framework and how it relates to patterns.
This article discusses first steps towards a specific rhetoric of digital games where general rhetoric makes up the scientific discipline of strategic communication and symbolic action by means of identification and psychagogy. Therefore, this work contributes to the fundamental and general question why and how players become consubstantialised and persuaded with game designs, and stick to gameplay these games. Accordingly, a first conceptual model is introduced and discussed. It features three interrelating dimensions which engage a symbolic, a structural, and a systemic coupling between player and game design during gameplay within an experiential eigenworld of reciprocal control, mastery, and empowerment.
We present a model to support the design, analysis, and comparison of games through the use of game design patterns, descriptions of reoccurring interaction relevant to game play. The model consists of a structural framework to describe the components of games, and patterns of interaction that describes how components are used by players (or a computer) to affect various aspects of the game play. Focusing on the patterns and identified methods for using them, we describe the development of the model and how we are currently working to enlarge and validate the collection of patterns.
Games have a particular set of relationships to the contexts in which they are played. Although games have clearly delineated boundaries in time and space that set them apart from the “real world”, some games are designed to blur that boundary. This essay, comprised of several selections from the authors’ book Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, investigates the complex ways in which games interact with their cultural environment. Focusing on these questions from a game design viewpoint, the essay begins by identifying key concepts related to these questions and ends with detailed design analyses of three games that play with the cultural environments in which the games take place.