Saturday, 28 July 2012

Thought and theories on game development (IV) - musical games

Since when rhythmic games has been part of my life?

IIDX - since 1999; Taiko no tatjusin (TnT) - since 2001; some are invented more recently, like osu! (2008) (ok all of us know osu! is not the original inventor...), jubeat, project DIVA... What makes them attractive and what's the principle behind their development?

A primary factor of the games is about instrument simulation. Psychologically this is a compensation to players who does not use to play instruments well (I'm not offending those players). IIDX simulates drum kit while TnT simulates taiko which is a traditional instrument. When we play in the acrade machines we have to hit the real drums (TnT) or rub the disc (IIDX) which enhances the feeling that "I'm playing music". Inversely this is also how developer promotes their game using "authenticity" -- playing the game is like playing the instrumental itself.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Thought and theories on game development (III) - walkthroughs

In most cases games are for relaxing and the achievement to complete the whole game. However sometimes players failed to completed a certain part of the game, or they are impatient to deal with the game, walkthrough appears upon demand. In this section we'll discuss how walkthrough is developed, and the reason behind these development.

With electronic game being more popular and more online interactions are promoted, walkthrough in fact develop in terms of how it spreads and also its content.

Back to 1990s internet / online games aren't mature enough, most games are solo PC games, or even not working on PC, instead an individual machine (e.g. tamagochi), and a more traditional ways of spreading message is adopted. Printed simple walkthroughs are circulated among players and this is the initial form of walkthroughs, and it hasn't been commercialized.

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Thoughts and theories on game development (II) - about chess and board games

Games are not necessarily electronic. There are many famous board games and chesses and they are popular and globally recognized. Now we are going to discuss a way to classify the games and relate them to popularity and other reality measurements.

Assume the player is at his/her best form. How can we access his/her performance and how do we measure his/her ability to play? There would be two part of measurement: techniques and luck.

Techniques is the major measurement on the ability of players, and it's a constant value in short term while luck is a random variable, and could be different in every game.

I must admit that the definition is far too simple and failed to deal with many cases, for example the ability to play varies case-by-case but let's make it as a general measurement. Luck should be totally random (all known factor should be excluded). Let's have some example here: when we play bridge, you're the declarer and you know nothing useful from opponent's bidding and leading, a simple finesse has 50% of successful rate and this is totally random and this is luck. However, "100%" approach like squeezing is not "luck" but techniques because the process that determines whether the game successful is not random, and the player is able to maximize the probability to win.Psychological operation on opponents would be somehow between techniques and luck because it has a chance to put a bigger pressure on the opponents but there's only a certain chance that the opponent is affected. For example, a large raise in texas poker which may mislead your opponents that you may have a very good hand.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Thoughts and theories on game development (I) - balance and variation

It seems that this is my first time posting nothing in the past 30 days...anyway here's another project or longer studies on game development. The topics listed below are a bit irrelevent each other, but they actually surround the consideration on the attractive force between players, game and developer.

Sometimes I'm simply too lazy to type stuffs in Chinese (in fact there's a passage about RPG systems in this blog in Chinese, typed several years ago), but using English won't affect how the systems be described.

1) Balance and variation on different games
2) Classifying card and chess games
3) Theories developed based on games: walkthroughs and techniques
4) Theories developed based on musical games


Definition. A balanced game implies that in long term, when a player is repeatedly making decision based on similar choices given, his/her choices won't be skewed seriously, but making decision averagely on different choices available. Sometimes it may refer to the average of entire player population.

On another hand, variation is rather a "clear" concept, where more different elements, characters, items or story lines are given.

Notice that both criterion are closely related because the how the game decisions are balanced act as a "multiplier" on how the game can vary because what the game available isn't exactly what the player plays. In a very unbalanced situation, e.g. choosing a particular character makes the game easy to play while it's nearly impossible to play with the rest of the character, a large proportion (the rest of the players are usually refers to the challenger group mentioned later) of players will take the easy route and it greatly restricts how the game can perform.