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Subject: The Sims + Magic the gathering: Creativity in game to improve immersion rss

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Eric Pietrocupo
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I am meditating on an idea and I just want some insight.

When I first played magic the gathering, I was amazed by the game like any other game when you first play it. When I played with my friends, I was basically building decks randomly on the spot to play with the cards I found cool mostly for their look and sometimes their abilities. Making combos and strategy was not part of the design. I never put duplicates in my deck (besides land)

I later played Master of Magic which has basically the same theme and I am a huge fan of the game. So I am a very good fan of the Almighty sorcerer theme.

Then I played the video game and fight some opponents with strategy deck, I realized that Hey, I could make combinations and strategy deck. This is where I became more experienced with the game and start to look at a game from a mechanic point of view, which destroyed the original amazement. Normally all game expert lose this initial amazement.

Then I played Duel Masters, which was mechanically better than magic, but thematically worse. In fact, I had so little attachment to the cards, that the only amazement I got was for the mechanics, and I never took a look at the theme. Even MTG has sometimes similar effect, for example there was a spell called "Feast of the Unicorn" that featured a banquet table with a unicorn head. The card boosted a creature, but there was no connection between the theme and the effect. Why does eating a unicorn boost a creature, what kind of spell is that?

----------------------------------------------------------------

Now you'll say, why am I bringing the sims into this. Well the sims has some sort of mechanics in the game, but the core of the game is creativity, and I think (I'll have to confirm with my girlfriend) that even if you are an expert at the game, and could design in optimization with the mechanics of the game, you will always need creativity which should give a certain level of amazement.

So what if I want to keep the original amazement of Magic all the time, maybe the solution could be to add more creativity. The deck building is a form of creativity in magic, but it has it's limits. Now one thing I did once is card design, with a card making software, it was really fun and ended up making cards too powerful. But I am wondering if that could not be the solution to amazement.

First, allow people to make their own cards. Sure, they can design from a mechanic point of view, but they still have to give it a name and a picture. But I would push further, design a card during game play. Yes, that is weird, and would require a computer game, but what if you could unlock abilities and level of strength to design cards. I might require do design a monster in game to face an upcoming threat like it would be the case in a "Real" fantasy life game.

Would it not increase the immersion and amazement of the game? There is still the risk, that when you are very experienced with the process of creating cards, that you are going to see again everything from a mechanical point of view. So the end the amazement will reach a limit.

---------------------------------------------------------------

In order to try simulating this, I am thinking to first find or design a solitaire rule of MTG, try to pre-design cards and see how the game goes. See if the experience is better and for how long. I am not sure if there is a card balancing guide for homemade cards to simplify the design process.

Else I could use blank cards, and write directly on the cards on demand to simulate in game design.
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Benj Davis
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You haven't heard about the puissant efficacy of the Unicorn Diet?
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Russ Williams
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Jlerpy wrote:
You haven't heard about the puissant efficacy of the Unicorn Diet?

Every time I ate a unicorn, I gained superhuman strength!
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Benj Davis
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russ wrote:
Jlerpy wrote:
You haven't heard about the puissant efficacy of the Unicorn Diet?

Every time I ate a unicorn, I gained superhuman strength!


See! Customer testimonial!
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
You haven't heard about the puissant efficacy of the Unicorn Diet?


People pull out good jokes today. First there is the:

Star Wars: Tumbling into tattoine (tumbling dice retheme)

and then there is the unicorn diet.


------------------------


Else another use suggested "mystic vale" as a form of card design mechanism. But mystic vale feels more mechanical than thematical.
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Kai Scheuer
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Ever heard of 1000 Blank White Cards?

That's card design on the fly ...

Aside from that, there is no simple "design your card" guide: You would have to give the limitations, such as:
You get X Points per card. This effect is Y points, that effect is Z points.

Another game you might want to look into is Saga of Ryzom (I wonder, why this isn't listed at VGG ..)

There you learn how to build skills and to combine effects from scratch..


Kind regards,
Kai
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Russ Williams
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schattentanz wrote:
Ever heard of 1000 Blank White Cards?

That's card design on the fly ...

Another game of possible interest with card creation on the fly = Deep Future (I've not played it, I've only read some of the author's blog entries about it.)
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Jeremy Lennert
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larienna wrote:
like it would be the case in a "Real" fantasy life game.

I don't understand why people trying to improve the immersion of a game always say that whatever specific detail they have in mind will make the game "like it was real". People trying to improve the strategy of a game don't seem to think that every change they recommend will be The One that finally makes the game Deep.

Magic: the Gathering is a hugely simplified simulation of a totally fictional scenario.

If you add in the ability to create your own cards on the fly...it will still be a hugely simplified simulation of a totally fictional scenario.

You can chase higher detail and broader scope forever, but I don't think that's usually effective at increasing player immersion. In fact, I think it often has the opposite effect, because it necessitates increases in complexity, which forces the player to spend more real time learning and interacting with the rules in order to get through the same amount of game-world-time.

I think that immersion has very little to do with having a perfect simulation of the scenario you're imagining, and much more to do with a willingness to adjust your imagined scenario to fit whatever the simulation actually throws at you.

But then, I'm a rules-are-primary kind of guy, so maybe I just don't "get it".
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Your game suggestion are interesting. I partly head of them.

As for Antistone's message, very interesting indeed. But everything you have just said could be sumarised as:

Board games cannot be immersive, only video games can.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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I don't think that's what I was saying. It's certainly not what I think is true.
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I'm trying to think of the most immersive games I've played. I'm not sure I can come up with any really good ones besides RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons.

There is definitely something magical about immersion.

Maybe it has some similarities to art -- specifically I am thinking of animation. I can get really immersed in an animated movie (like, The Incredibles) even though the characters are cartoonish and exaggerated. They aren't realistic, but there's something in there that I can connect to and be drawn into. There's an authenticity that has little to do with the technical accuracy of the drawings themselves.

For games, maybe a game can still provide that connection to something authentic, even though the mechanics are not realistic themselves.

It's as tricky as art, I suppose. And probably, like art, has more to do with what you take out than what you leave in.

Thinking as I go here, but often times great art gives you a mental framework for something, while leaving your own mind to fill in the details. I think this action -- filling in the details yourself -- is what connects you to the art. It becomes, in your mind, something you've contributed to. The artist made the framework, but you completed the work in your mind. It's yours, in that sense.

So what about games? Could a game leave certain things open, for the player to fill in, that would make the game attached to the player somehow?

In one of my designs, a sort of miniature-combat type game, I'm trying really hard to get the players to be attached to their soldiers on the field. I want them to feel things -- sad, angry -- when one of their soldiers gets killed.

I think if a game can cultivate that connection, it could go from good to classic.




I have a feeling I've written a lot of words without saying anything useful....

 
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Metäl Warrior
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I initially found Stone Age quite immersive and thematic. It's in large part due to the beautiful graphics, and thematic gameplay mechanics.

But the immersion was quickly destroyed by the ability to feed gold to the tribes, and how you can just forgo feeding them forever for negative points. Perhaps they are thematically written away in the rules, but they make zero sense to me. Still a great game, but there's no immersion anymore.

larienna wrote:

First, allow people to make their own cards. Sure, they can design from a mechanic point of view, but they still have to give it a name and a picture. But I would push further, design a card during game play. Yes, that is weird, and would require a computer game, but what if you could unlock abilities and level of strength to design cards. I might require do design a monster in game to face an upcoming threat like it would be the case in a "Real" fantasy life game.


You could have cards which are just components of a complete card. So you might have a deck with Strength, Intelligence and Speed cards, each with different values. You draw, say, five cards from the deck, and build your "card" from one of STR, INT and SPD.

Mechanically it could be argued this is no different than deck building a nice hand, though.
 
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John Breckenridge
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You could do something like Mystic Vale, where the cards consist of different elements put together in a sleeve. Maybe also do something like Heroes Wanted where the separate pieces come together to make the full picture and full name.
 
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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Jlerpy wrote:
You haven't heard about the puissant efficacy of the Unicorn Diet?


Worked for Voldemort he who shall not be named.
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Well my deduction was:

For immersion you need details, board games abstract details because they can hardly handle them so board games cannot be immersive. Else very complex BG like battletech could have a higher level of immersion.

Artwork can also help for immersion. I think MTG did a good job for this.This would explains the original amazement.

Attachment is also important, reminds me of Xcom where players customise color and Haircut of their caharacters

Quote:
Still a great game, but there's no immersion anymore.


This is what I called the inception theory. The level of disbelief exceed your personal threshold.
 
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Jeremy Lennert
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larienna wrote:
For immersion you need details

That's your theory, not mine. I said that chasing higher levels of detail is usually ineffective.
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DZ Woloshyn
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schattentanz wrote:
Ever heard of 1000 Blank White Cards?

That's card design on the fly ...


...and just as in 1000 Blank White Cards, any time that you allow players to get creative with what they put on a card, you have to be prepared for some of the most deranged crap that humanity has to offer, if general internet forum usernames are anything to go by.

You'd need either very clear rules to allow the game to evolve in predefined directions, such as those in Deep Future, or the ability to tear up cards that are stupid or broken or distasteful (without having to worry about a rule on the card such as "this card may never be torn up").
 
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Quote:
That's your theory, not mine. I said that chasing higher levels of detail is usually ineffective.


I am sorry, I miss read your post.
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Antistone wrote:
larienna wrote:
For immersion you need details

That's your theory, not mine. I said that chasing higher levels of detail is usually ineffective.


I'd say, "For immersion you need exactly the right details, no more or less".
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Eric Pietrocupo
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Hmm! interesting path to explore.
 
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Sean Tipping
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I know completely derailing the thread but I have found music to add immersion to almost ANY game I've played and have nostalgic memory of, Zelda, Sims, Runescape etc now creativity and intriguing worlds and plots tie it all together so I suppose the whole package really but I've seen board games with music and I feel that adds a great dynamic.
 
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Grant Rodiek
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So, as a decade long veteran of working on The Sims (still today), I was tickled to see The Sims mentioned on the Geek. Fun stuff

Update: I suppose I should actually contribute to the thread!

One of the most powerful elements of the Sims is the ability to name and customize things. This is why legacy games are so immediately compelling. If you name it, it's yours. But, I don't think it leads to immersion, more attachment.

I wouldn't necessarily say that The Sims is an immersive game, more engrossing, as it isn't an avatar game, but a god game. You can be obsessed and emotionally attached with your Sims, but unlike, say, Uncharted, I don't see it as immersive. Then again, the build mode is very immersive...

Hmm.

Now I'm getting stuck in semantics.
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Sean Tipping
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Oh my Mr Rodiek what an awesome pleasure haha! Didn't know you were into board games! Used to seeing you on live broadcasts and the like!

*Yes I'm aware I've now completely derailed a good thread, apologies, I like your concept anyhow Eric!*
 
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Grant Rodiek
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Nytician wrote:
Oh my Mr Rodiek what an awesome pleasure haha! Didn't know you were into board games! Used to seeing you on live broadcasts and the like!

*Yes I'm aware I've now completely derailed a good thread, apologies, I like your concept anyhow Eric!*


You could say I dabble (Understatement)
 
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Sean Tipping
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HerrohGrant wrote:


You could say I dabble (Understatement)


Hah I noticed! Just checked out your website, if you ship to the UK that farm one looks intriguing! Really cool!
 
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