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Jose Zagal
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I'm a bit rusty with my fantasy novels of yore - but perhaps there might be something in Howard's Conan? I also never read Vance...which inspired the D&D's magic system. I guess I'm saying that I'm still somewhat skeptical...but from a "surely someone else did this?" point-of-view with no real evidence or examples... More broadly, I wonder if we can trace the adventurer shop back to configuration options in earlier games? So, the idea that you either have to "configure something" (e.g. choose a configuration of cannons and shot in an "Age of sail" wargame) leading to an abstraction of value/worth of individual options? So, what we would now call a points-purchasing system in a tabletop rpg? (during character creation, you have X points to buy skills at different levels of proficiency). Bigger question - when did "points for skills/options" become a thing? I know it exists in more modern miniature wargames (e.g. 40K), was it the case for the older (pre-D&D) wargames? Did old wargamers (for balance) "buy" their armies/configuration and did THIS idea lead to the adventurer buying items/equipment?
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Ah, I misunderstood your use of structure. I thought you mean t design elements for compelling play over multiple play sessions (e.g. structures to encourage playing different games of Monopoly over time). I think what you're calling structural elements are what I've previously called segmentation of gameplay - how gameplay is organized and structured over time. (pdf here: https://www.eng.utah.edu/~zagal/Papers/Zagal_et_al_Gameplaysegmentation.pdf)
Toggle Commented Jul 21, 2017 on Metagame vs Structure at ihobo
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I'm not really sure I understand your use of "structure" here. Just so I'm clear that I understand your use of the term... a game like monopoly has NO structure, because it has no game design elements for compelling players to play over time? Monopoly obviously has design elements that are compelling such that players want to play again, but there are no "temporal design elements" for multiple-play sessions? (e.g. no "campaign mode", no record of past plays that can influence present and future plays)
Toggle Commented Jul 19, 2017 on Metagame vs Structure at ihobo
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Didn't Ultima IV have a crafting system? I remember you had to mix reagents in order to cast spells. You'd prepare them (and then they were part of your inventory) and you could cast them later.
Toggle Commented Jan 25, 2017 on Game Inventories (3): Diablo and Daggerfall at ihobo
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I'm always surprised by little open recognition there is of D&D's influence on game design. To be fair, I think that it's starting to change/dwindle as new generations of designers appear... also, there's been little academic work on the subject.
Toggle Commented May 5, 2015 on The Essence of RPGs (2): Rule-play at ihobo
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Happy 9th!
Toggle Commented Jul 1, 2014 on Nine at Only a Game
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Congratulations!
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I'm somewhat confused by your assertion that definitions of games are value judgements. It's not that I disagree (we could also call them biases, perspectives, etc.), but aren't you in a sense ignoring the reasons and purposes people have for crafting definitions in the first place? For example, I might want to study a certain thing or make a certain point and craft a definition in order to circumscribe the point I want to make. In other words, there's often a point in creating definitions that's different/beyond "simple" value judgements.
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"Something is seriously wrong with any creative medium that manages to so radically block its own potential." For some reason I had a double take when I got to this part. It looks like you're equating creative medium with the industry, and in particular with a certain portion of the industry. While I'm grateful that Sony has supported ThatGameCompany, I think it's a bit unfair to argue that "the medium" is the one that's blocking any potential. I think at this point in time, we have more to blame ourselves (the consumers) than anything else (e.g. the recent "we don't like the ending of Mass Effect 3" campaign). The platform holders have lost a lot of that power, the market has grown and changed (allowing for much more diversity), we now have more reasoned/critical/informed discourse about games than ever before.
Toggle Commented Apr 9, 2012 on Journey at ihobo
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It's probably worth mentioning that for many traditional retail purchases, the value proposition is a little different when you consider the resale value of a particular game. So, I might spend $60 today on Game X, play it for 2 weeks, really enjoy it, and then sell my used copy for $40. Social games and digital downloads offer no such possibilities...
Toggle Commented Nov 1, 2011 on Are Videogames Good Value? at ihobo
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Software is also increasingly a constraint at the tools/middleware level. What you use to develop your game shapes the end result. Consider for example, the role and impact that, for example, the Unreal Engine has had. Regarding taxonomies of game generes (or categorizations), they are ALL arbitrary and should never be an end, but rather a means to an end. Ultimately, what we should care about most is how (and in what ways) a particular schema can help based on whatever need we have. So, a taxonomy to help identify game design elements would look very different from one created to help understand the ways that narratives are used in games. Both might have the same games, but they'd be organized very differently!
Toggle Commented Oct 19, 2011 on The Constraint Histories of Digital Games at ihobo
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Oh, another thing... Greyhawk was also an agglomeration of different people's campaign worlds/creations/areas... For example, "Blackmoor" (Dave Arneson's world) was later integrated into Blackmoor. The Lendore Isles (aka Spindrift Isles) came from Len Lakofka's campaign. I would presume that books such as Monster Manual were put together from formal/informal contributions from early players and DM's... I recall that being (officially) the case with the Fiend Folio? (man, I wish I had the books with me to check...) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackmoor_(Greyhawk)#Blackmoor http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lendore_Isles
Toggle Commented May 9, 2011 on Monster Manuals at ihobo
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Oh, another thing... is Cogburn's book out yet? It sounds really interesting...
Toggle Commented May 9, 2011 on Monster Manuals at ihobo
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"Yet there has always been somewhere an "omnibus world" where everything coexists - I think this used to be Forgotten Realms, but I have no idea what the situation is these days! :)" The closest to a full-blown "omnibus" might have been Greyhawk, but only because it was well-known that it was Gygax's campaign world. (Forgotten Realm's was Ed Greenwood's) I guess Forgotten Realms is the current "core" world, but mostly because it's been in print for so long? Now that I think about it, perhaps the D&D world (not AD&D) was the closest? I don't remember what the world was called...but they had all those Gazetteer books for it in the mid to late 80s.. Mysteria? The world (or at least parts of the world) were explicitly referenced in many of the D&D rulebooks and I think all the D&D modules were set in that world as well (as opposed to many "generic" AD&D modules that weren't, unless they had the appropriate logo...)
Toggle Commented May 9, 2011 on Monster Manuals at ihobo
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"for the Monster Manual is also a bestiary of the fictional worlds of Dungeons & Dragons itself." I think that the main reason why D&D was afforded such latitude, in your terms is because it wasn't sold, perceived, and marketed as a "world". D&D was essentially a bunch of rules. It wasn't until later (due to other companies creating "unauthorized" accessories) that TSR realized that it made a lot of financial sense to produce pre-packaged "campaign worlds" (e.g. Greyhawk, Forgotten Realms, Dragon Lance, etc.). In the early days, there was no common world at all, it was assumed that each dungeon master would create their own...perhaps loosely based on whatever fantasy worlds they liked or enjoyed. Interestingly, as the pre-packaged campaign worlds became more popular (and economically successful) they began to differentiate themselves from each other more strongly in terms of their monsters (and other things, of course!). I recall having the sense of there being some controversy/excitement when Dragonlance came out due to the new monsters that only existed in Dragonlance as well as some of the important changes made to others... (what, no orcs?!)
Toggle Commented Apr 29, 2011 on Monster Manuals at ihobo
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Hi, A colleague of mine and I have been doing some work using natural language processing techniques to analyze large bodies of game-related text. A lot of this seems related to what you're asking about. So far we have one published article on this: http://facsrv.cs.depaul.edu/~jzagal/Papers/Zagal_and_Tomuro-Aesthetics_of_Gameplay.pdf There's another (that looks at sentiment analysis) but it's currently under review. I can send you a draft copy if you're interested. Jose Zagal
Toggle Commented Mar 15, 2011 on What You Like and Dislike in Games at ihobo
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Mar 14, 2011