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The Watery Pachinko Machine of Doom: Project Horseshoe's Thoughts On Story

January 17, 2008 Article Start Previous Page 2 of 7 Next
 

The Watery Pachinko Machine of Doom

Throughout our discussion, the one key visual that resonated with all the experienced designers in the room was the "Watery Pachinko Machine of Doom." In a pachinko machine, dozens of ball fall on pegs and bounce about in a chaotic motion until they finally reach the hole at the bottom of the machine. When you add thousands of balls, to the point where balls are like individual water molecules, the patterns of where the balls flow throughout the system becomes more apparent. You see currents and waves of motion.

Each of those balls is a player, moving on their unique path. As designers, we build the machine and analyze broad patterns of motion through the system. Instead of the pachinko physics of collision, we calculate the physics of human psychology.

The meaty center

There are a broad range of tools and systems that can be used to create the successful mediated experiences. Many are well known and we've included a list of currently used support techniques/tools in the appendix of this report.

However, with such a diverse and experienced group of people present, we soon turned towards exploring new methods of creating mediated experiences. Games range from 40-cutscene choose-your-own-adventure games to sandbox game where all you get is a sternly worded command from your mother, "Go out and play!" We are interested in the meaty mediated center of the spectrum.

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The three pillars

With the vague and divisive word "story" focused into a more palatable discussion of "the meaty center of mediated experiences", we spent the rest of our time on three topics:

  1. Examples that play outside the current rules of the game industry: What are examples from that wild that we can study to give us practical insight into how mediate experience can be built?
  2. Models for supporting player emotions & experiences: What are some conceptual models that we can adopt that helps us understand mediated system at a more fundamental level?
  3. Vexing problems: What are the big problems that still need to be discussed further?

Article Start Previous Page 2 of 7 Next

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