I know I'm the weird outlier on this, but when someone writes a post that essentially boils down to "I already know how to play this game correctly, why are these rules getting in my way?" it bewilders me that more people aren't curious about the basis of the belief that the person is already doing the right thing. I've been rebuilding carburetors for 50 years, why is this Tesla's maintenance manual telling me to do stupid wrong things!?
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- I’m of the opinion that designer intent doesn’t matter. Odds are that they have more information about how a game works than others so their views are worth listening to, but the idea of a designer having a vision that they then translate into mechanics is as misguided as the Waterfall model of software development. Game designers are only riding herd on a game. (Like all good art.) What matters is how the game works. The text is usually the best place to start with that.
If the text isn’t good at getting people to understand how to play then I think people should say so. Maybe that’s because there’s really no underlying good game there, maybe it’s because the designer did a bad job of explaining it.2w
- Perhaps I’m being cynical, but I think some of that is a consequence of so many games having embraced the “you already know how to play” model over the years. It’s a path of least resistance strategy that appeals to vanity, but has downsides.2w
- What’s the source of authority? Text or culture? Is the recipe in a particular French cookbook more important or your knowledge and experience with French cuisine?2w
- Hard to say who is at fault between a designer and a player, when someone reads the rules, thinks they have understood them, and yet finds them vexing in play. Has the person failed to understand them? Are they failing to implement them properly? Are they "playing it wrong"? Or has the designer failed to communicate the rules? Are they too difficult to use in practice? Is the game too counterintuitive?
I guess this is why we have playtesting: so we know that the game works for lots of different people.2w
- "What’s the source of authority? Text or culture? Is the recipe in a particular French cookbook more important or your knowledge and experience with French cuisine?"
Ideally, what we'd do is lend credibility to things to the degree to which they conform to reality. In the case of food, that would be the degree to which the combination of ingredients and techniques "work" with the human digestive and perceptual systems. To the extent that a recipe accurately captures a way to prepare something that can be highly credible, but we also know that actually testing recipes to see if they work is (amazingly) a relatively recent phenomenon. On authenticity, if we're open to Jordan Peterson style thinking, we can think of "authenticity" as a sort of pre-empiricism truth-convergent process -- we can assume that the meme evolution process within a culture is unlikely to converge on something that doesn't work, so things that are "authentic" will at least exist in some local optimum. Of course this is all complicated by the fact that our human systems aren't independent of the other things -- for example we have "acquired tastes" and familiarity as guides to how to appreciate the flavors of various cuisines.
Knowledge and experience can be great at guiding you within the domain where they're valid, but they're sometimes not good at signaling to you when they're not valid. The anecdote that illustrates this to me is when I tried to teach my sister-in-law how to make apple pie. Everybody seems to enjoy the apple pies I make, so I assume that the recipe I use is a good one. But when I tried to get my sister-in-law (who is a good cook) to follow the recipe her instincts were so powerful that she more or less couldn't -- for example she was confident she knew the dough was too dry and needed more water (even though she had never seen the dough in my "working" pies), and she knew that she wanted a really juicy pie so she put more apples and juice from them into the pie shell than I had been doing. Naturally the end result was a bit different than the results I had been getting.2w
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