Monday, September 11, 2006

What's the Point? (WTP 1)

So, I've created a fairly interesting model of a game (the Situation Model), one that can be applied to games on virtually any scale. It can be applied to virtually any kind of game, and probably some things you don't think of as games.

(Let's assume you buy all of that, as I haven't actually proven or even demonstrated it yet)

Yay for me. So I can apply them to games. Big deal, right?

Scientific models aren't useful in and of themselves. Their usefulness is when they can actually predict something of value (or of potential value. Or even just something).

As such, the key to how truly valuable this model is will be in what it can actually tell us about a game. Can it explain why one game works and another one doesn't? Can it actually tell us what effective games and non-effective games are?

To me, the most important thing to get out of any Theory of Design is a way to objectively assess a game's design. To be able to say where a game is functional or not just by an examination of its structure. And, because functionality is person-specific, such a theory needs to be able to at least potentially address what kind of people will find a design functional and what kind won't.

That's part of the reason I'm not going to (yet) attempt to justify the theory by showing how it applies to actual games. Instead, I'm going to examine the theory itself, explain certain pathologies and functionalities that it indicates are possible, and then show that there are games that exhibit these pathologies and/or functionalities. I will, in essence, examine the theory in a vacuum and then show that it does predict certain things about games.

Maybe after that, I'll see about showing how well it applies to games in general.

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