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Games as Emergent Systems first schema on “rules”

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COSC 4126 emergence Elements of a System objects attributes internal relationships environment

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COSC 4126 emergence Games as systems formal system (constituative rules – closed system) experiential system (operational rules – open or closed system) cultural system (context – open system)

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COSC 4126 emergence Designing games useful to focus some time on individual systems consider how systems interact schemas help focus on an aspect of design goal is always meaningful play

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COSC 4126 emergence Phenomenon of emergence based in complexity of interaction of objects in a system unplanned patterns appearing at the system level, i.e. patterns in the relationship among objects

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COSC 4126 emergence Complexity: Warren Weaver 1949 Classes of systems and problems organized simplicity – few objects, distinct, interacting disorganized complexity – many objects, indistinguishable, interacting emergent system properties organized complexity – many objects, distinguishable, interacting emergent patterns

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COSC 4126 emergence Complexity: Campbell, 1982: In living organisms and even in machines, there exists a “complexity barrier.” Beyond this barrier, where systems are of a very high complexity, entirely new principles come into play. Complexity is not just a matter of a system having a lot of parts which are related to one another in nonsimple ways. Instead, it turns out to be a special property in its own right, and it makes complex systems differnet in kind from simple ones, enabling them to do things and be things we might not have expected.

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COSC 4126 emergence Emergence Gödel: in any sufficiently complex mathematical system, there are theorems which are true but which cannot be proven. Software, including games, is complex – patterns of interaction ‘emerge.’ Holland: “emergence is... a product of coupled, context-dependent interactions.”

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COSC 4126 emergence Example – cellular automata Conway’s Game of Life 2 dimensional array of cells binary values initial ‘generation’ of cell values live/dead rules for value in generation n based on values of cell and its eight adjacent cells in generation n-1 patterns of live cells emerge depending on initial configurations and on rules of succession

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COSC 4126 emergence Example – linear automaton One dimension – show generations adjacent cells live or die based on self and two neighbours Wolfram code as integer: 244 generation n-1 generation n

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COSC 4126 emergence Linear automata rule 100 rule 101rule 102rule 103

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COSC 4126 emergence Four kinds of systems Fixed boring Periodic Complexmeaningful Chaoticmeaningless rule 100 rule 101 rule 102 rule 103

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COSC 4126 emergence Four kinds of systems Fixed Periodicboring Complexmeaningful Chaoticmeaningless

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COSC 4126 emergence Emergence in games poker example – bluffing not explicitly in rules emerges as a way to take advantage of betting rules chess example – patterns of play still being discovered current masters know more that masters of 100 years ago, would beat them easily

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COSC 4126 emergence Games – aim for complex behaviour Fixed Periodic Complex Chaotic continuing play can still be novel, surprising, interesting, meaningful

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COSC 4126 emergence Heads or Tails (Salen and Zimmerman) 1.player one flips a coin out of sight of player two 2.player two guesses the head or tail result 3.if guess is correct, player two wins a point; otherwise player one wins too simple, even if repeated result discernable but not integrated

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COSC 4126 emergence Heads or Tails – variant 1 1.player one places a coin head or tail side up out of sight of player two 2.player two guesses the head or tail result 3.if guess is correct, player two wins a point; otherwise player one wins one play too simple if repeated, result discernable and (somewhat) integrated because players try to psych each other out (like rock/paper/scissors)

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COSC 4126 emergence Heads or Tails – variant 2 1.players alternate roles of flipping the coin out of sight and guessing 2.if correct, guesser chooses to flip or to keep guessing for double points; if wrong, guesser loses all points for turn 3.first player to 25 points wins players choose own risk levels choice integrated with total score of game (coupled) and with current totals of each player (context- dependent)

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COSC 4126 emergence The Grid (S and Z, revised) 1.play occurs on 100x100 grid of squares 2.each player has 10 tokens placed randomly on grid; multiple tokens can occupy a square 3.players each move their 10 tokens to any other square; tokens do not affect each other’s moves 4.after moves, 1000 squares are selected at random; tokens on those squares earn a point chaotic – no meaning to moves result discernable but not integrated

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COSC 4126 emergence Meaning and complexity meaning comes from discernibility and integration complexity comes from coupled, context- dependent interactions complexity is a basis for meaning because integration requires on coupling and dependence on context integration is the explored path through the space of complexity meaning emerges with more paths explored

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COSC 4126 emergence Second order Design: emergent features based on interaction of objects in game system get to the ‘complexity’ subspace ‘tune’ to enhance any emergent ‘engines’ engine: an emergent phenomenon based on a subset of game features examples: Brackeen’s side scroller 1. jumping on fly to get to higher layer on level 2

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COSC 4126 emergence Educational games emergent phenomena make learning games more interesting if possible, match to emergent expertise of content eg flight simulator skills vs GTA ??? eg typing tutor – real diphthongs, words?

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