Posting this here for future reference because it’s just such a great example of using playfulness to facilitate understanding.
And, as had happened so many times before during the design of Zendo, once I’d finally opened myself up to an idea I’d resisted for so long, I realized that my previous fears about it were totally unfounded.
A short quote from a long (and excellent) read on the design of Zendo which is full of these moments. It’s a great case study showing the importance of being willing to try almost any adjustment to a game. To postpone judgement until you’ve actually seen a rule in action. Because humans tend to be very bad at simulating such things in their heads.
This is all related to one of my core aesthetic goals of the game, namely forcing consequential decisions with partial information, which I’ve always thought of as primarily occurring on the Sniper side, but it really does happen on both sides. As the Spy, you have to decide to do something (accomplish missions), and then what to do (which mission), even though you don’t really know if you’re a suspect or not. How you go about this “doing” is obviously very important, but just the act of overcoming your confirmation bias and starting at all is something you can feel when playing.2 This is one of the parts of the game that I’m most happy with, because I think this concept of embracing uncertainty and making decisions even when you’re not sure is very au courant, in that most big decisions in modern life are made with only partial information, but you still have to make them to the best of your ability.
Some would say this— that the shared use-word is deceptive— that playing music and playing games mean totally different things. & I do think there’s something interesting to tunnel into here, namely the difference between aesthetic play with its unspoken Many goals which may converge into an unspoken One— and game play with its explicitly spoken One goal, which may be partitioned & micromanaged in terms of a manageable Many… […] This is part of why SHIFTING possibility spaces are used in contrast to straight up “possibility spaces” — as long as the space is forever shifting, the particular instance of it that we are experiencing right now cannot be counted as a mere repetition, and is always a unique natural occurence. We must tune into the play experience, to experience even the same computational “game state” as two totally different things when we encounter it at two different times in our life… Allow our body to be the medium… […] Shifting possibility spaces draw on the already very popular “possibility space” concept— but whereas possibility spaces appear too often from the ‘global’ (designer) point of view, which deals with the Universal Set of the situation, or the “space of all possible _____ “, SPS can deal with the immediate sense of possibility at play in the environment. A possibility space is fully spatialized. A shifting possibility space allows for the immanent flow of time to enter its description. […] All these practices involving free movement — PLAYSPACES — the question is to find the practices that we LOVE and VALUE the most, and to NOT limit these to videogames— and to immerse ourselves in these practices, to learn from them what we can, and the possibly, if we feel the desire to do so, to bring back our love of these things to games. To count aspects of the processes in such a way that they can be computed with— but to not disrespect that thing we came to love in the first place.. Not to gamify it, but rather to learn from it what a game actually is, to learn its pattens of movement, the parts of the body and social milieu that it engages, et etc.
Quoting the hell out of this because it is just so, so good. I love the idea of shifting possibility spaces, because the original concept was always too static for my tastes. I really like the idea of the body as the medium, which emphasises the first-person experience of things. To embrace creative play, to expand the concept of game to potentially encompass anything… Just lovely.
“Notable differences between the Russian 1900 original and the American 1911 derivative version include […] the workers are no longer bent and no revolutionary stanza is present.”
Really a lot of the reason I’ve stuck with iOS for a while is the multiplayer games. This is what got me into this in the first place, it’s something I got really excited about for a while, it’s so perfect for them but there are very few and they don’t do well. I think a lot of people just don’t realise that they’re carrying around multiplayer consoles everywhere they go? Culture.