On Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 3:12 PM, Sami Perttu <sami.per...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Apr 19, 4:10 am, Ron Hale-Evans <r...@ludism.org> wrote:
>> I hope you do give MultiVerses a try. I know that you've probably
>> never played one of my games before, and of course it doesn't come in
>> a colorful box with the name of a famous game designer on it. By way
>> of credentials, I'll just state that I'm dedicated to "open culture"
>> gaming (hence the lack of fancy box) and I've won a couple of small
>> game design contests. Also, my games tend to be novel and experimental
>> because I'm not trying to sell to a mass market audience. The day
>> Reiner Knizia or Wolfgang Kramer designs a game about multiversal
>> cosmology is the day I'll have to look for a new artform. :)
>
> Thanks for the reply. I've played a lot of board games and such and
> I'm very interested in game design. I was even employed in the game
> industry some time ago, but industry is really the right word for what
> these multimillion dollar product pipelines have become. Seems like
> there hasn't been much progress in computer games since the 80's.
>
> Especially German games often have some novel and interesting
> mechanics. They're still inevitably destined for the mass market,
> while Multiverses is perhaps too mathematical and in-depth for that.
> But who cares, avant garde is the only way to fly :).

Agreed. :) I guess I was a bit defensive there. Eurogames and German
games in particular have taught me a lot as a designer, and have
influenced my designs quite a bit.

> You've clearly thought about the design deeply.

Thanks. One thing that probably didn't come across in my last post is
that if players only create universes that are single strings of
words, the game loses its ability to model functionalism -- players
can't see that all the copies of their universe are essentially the
same because they implement the same program. That's why it's
important to have multiple lines in a universe, and that leads fairly
directly to the mechanic of multiplication, rather than addition, as
previously explained.

>  Have you ever had
> problems with the "ad hoc / arbitrary laws" rule? It seems a bit ad
> hoc :).

Yes, the problems I've had with it stemmed from its absence! :)
Without it, players try to get "clever" and run roughshod over the
spirit of the game. It gets ugly fast. :) But with the rule, players
can usually come to some kind of consensus or vote among themselves
over whether another player is abusing the game.

> Where does one draw the line? For example, is there a list in
> the rule "alphabetical order must alternate increasing and
> decreasing"?

No, but there is a set of possible lists drawn from any given set of
words in the Dust, and that's OK.

> What if... only semantic rules were accepted? Would that be too hard?
> That is, the rules couldn't refer to the letters or syntax of words.

The ability to use semantic rules ("must be a nautical term", etc.)
were a late addition. The heart and soul of the game is based on the
"fine structure" of words, such as their spelling.

MultiVerses used to be a card game called Platonia, as I mentioned in
the notes. Moments were represented by cards instead of words. The
"fine structure" of the cards included features such as their suits,
their colors, their numbers, and so on. Thus if you had a universe
with the rules "Must be red" and "Must be a 3", you could combine a 3
of Hearts from a standard deck of cards, a red 3 from an Uno deck, and
three shaded red squiggles from the card game Set. They all shared the
properties of redness and threeness. This is what combining words
based on spelling is derived from in MultiVerses.

Platonia had semantic rules too. For example, you could have a rule,
"Must be a wild card". Universes with that rule could incorporate
Jokers from the standard deck, for example. It all depended on how a
card was usually treated within the context of its own deck.

By the way, I'm really enjoying discussing game design with someone
who is both a gamer and interested in cosmology. As I suspected, it's
much easier to find gamers among cosmologists than the other way
around!

Ron

-- 
Ron Hale-Evans ... r...@ludism.org ... http://ludism.org/tinfoil ...
(206) 201-1768
    Mind Performance Hacks book: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596101534/
 The proteiform graph itself is a polyhedron of scripture. (Finnegans
Wake 107:08)

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