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
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.
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:
- 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?
- 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?
- Vexing problems:
What are the big problems that still need to be discussed further?