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Sorrell
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Continued from twitter - I think my problem with this isn't the definition of player and game synch being different things, it's that you're taking the normal, accepted definition of synchronous - happening at the same time - and redefining it to mean having dependency - which is already covered by the word synchronicity. Temporany - it hurts me just to write it - seems to be the difference between multiplayer and social multiplayer. One is the conventional imagining of multiplayer, one is the toddler definition. All in the sandpit, all playing different games. The thing that bugs the ever-living shit out of me isn't pointing out these differences, it's naming them arbitrary and uninformative things. Temporany will mean nothing to anyone who hasn't read this. It contains no useful information aside something about time. And in doing so, it also defines the important thing about this difference to be about time, when it may well not be. A single game can easily contain both kinds of play, the literal and social multiplayer aspects. WoW quite definitely does. It could easily be that the purpose of such designs is to manipulate the social interactions in the game and nothing to do with time whatsoever. In fact, I'd imagine it's probably more likely. The fact that you define a single-player experience in these terms you just made up, where they have no meaning at all, feels like someone inserting a screwdriver into some of the better parts of my neck. How is this useful? The search for clear and interesting thinking about games has to be accompanied by clear and useable words to describe them. And the describe bit is key. "multi-play, parallel-play, turn-based-play and single-play" are useful and accurate terms. They're well understood. "contemporal synchrony, contemporal asynchrony, atemporal synchrony and atemporal asynchrony" are not just painfully pretentious, they also contain no useful information whatsoever. Clouding an interesting set of definitions with horrible made up words bullshit makes what you have to say less accessible, less useful and does sterling work to make me ignore the meat underneath. Please stop it. Ahh, it's like the good old days, innit?
Typos? No edit function? DAMN THESE HANDS!
I disagree that any work on definitions helps one actually design a game. It helps discussion, but not design. These distinction exist whether they are defined or not. To point to them and talk of them and discuss and aknowledge them is useful, but to define them is useful only to those who know the definitions and only when they discuss them. It does not make us better game designers. Or - ironically - as you define it, worldmakers. The search for definitions does not increase possibility, By compartmentalising and categorising, an analogue space becomes a binary one. What was a scale is now a series of discrete steps. These definitions are useful after the fact perhaps, to academically dissect what has been done, or what may come. But for the game designer, they are limitations, not keys.
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Aug 6, 2011