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Game design is like dream design!

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larienna
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Joined: 07/28/2008

Maybe some of you have seen the movie "Inception" lately.

A few days after seeing a movie, I made some sort of parallell between game design and dream design.

The idea is that in a dream, things will not work exactly like in reality, but you try to make believe the subconscious that it is actually true. If you diverge too much from reality, the subcouncious will disbelieve the dream and it will stop. If you change just a few things, the dream will go on.

In board game design, it is some what the same thing. You teach the player some rules that explains to him how your reality works. But if you diverge too much from the real reality, the player will disbelieve your game.

Still, various player could have a lower or higher level of tolerence before disbelieving a game.

Lofwyr
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Joined: 02/16/2010
how insightful

Though i havent seen the movie i inted to. Then again it just gives credit to your complete control of the concept. I agree.

and again

How wonderfully insightful. It would seem you work from a similar perspective as I when drawning on your creative side.

larienna
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An Example: Puerto Rico VS Agricola

I have an example in my head that could illustrate the concept. Let's compare Puerto Rico VS Agricola which I consider both games to be of the same category.

In Puerto Rico, most of the things you do actually makes senses. It make sense to have plantation, buildings, workers, etc. The biggest non-sense in this game are the roles and a few details like ships which can only hold 1 type of good. Still, if the roles did not exist, the game would be boring. But since that is the only non-sense in the game, it is easier for the player to accept the reality of the game.

Now, for Agricola (I only played once so I might forget a few things) there are things that make sense like growing a house, placing crop and fences, etc. But there are many much more things that makes no senses. First Agricola has a similar action mechanic called worker placement. Still, it might be a little more logical than the roles in Puerto Rico. Second, you have the years that get shorter as time advance, totally illogical. Third, there is a concept called: "There are multiple path to victory and you do not have enough time to do everything but you get penalized for not doing everything" that just makes the game annoying to me. So, for me, there is just too much disbelief in Agricola and this is why I do not like the game.

fecundity
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larienna wrote: In Puerto

larienna wrote:

In Puerto Rico, most of the things you do actually makes senses. It make sense to have plantation, buildings, workers, etc. The biggest non-sense in this game are the roles and a few details like ships which can only hold 1 type of good. Still, if the roles did not exist, the game would be boring. But since that is the only non-sense in the game, it is easier for the player to accept the reality of the game.

The way that shipping and trading work are central parts of the game that make no sense, from a real world point of view. This bugged me the first time I played Puerto Rico. Now I am OK with it. Regardless, these parts of the game are where all of the strategy is - not taking roles that will help other people, getting other people to take roles that will help you, working the shipping and trading so that you benefit and other players don't. Since they are peculiar to Puerto Rico, it takes several plays of Puerto Rico before you can be any good at the strategy.

In general, most games contain mechanisms that are entirely artificial. The way that pieces move, turns alternate, and so on are entirely unlike life in the real world. Yet we have played games our whole lives and so are familiar with lots of different game playing conventions. So it seems to me as if game design is NOT like dream design. Games are convention governed, and as a designer I need to create a set of rules that make the game natural to play as a game. Dreams are experiences, and creating a dream that seems like a real experience would be... well, I've never done that.

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