Infrastructure is an essential set of operational conditions for play to occur:
- Rules – either rules upheld by the machine or social-rules mediated by players (e.g. re behaviour, language, expectations, fairplay)
- Standards and protocols – technological and cultural e.g. right-trigger commonly used for ‘fire’
- End game conditions – How will the game end? How will the players know the game has ended? What constitutes success or failure? What tolerance has the game design for repeating or re-trying?
- Symmetry and assymmetry – for former – options are same for each side/equal odds – usually short games or rely more heavily on tactics than long-term strategy; individual skill levels or decsions will determine success
- assymmetry – players do not stand on equal ground. Different options provide different advantages/disadvantages to each player
- Sensory feedback – intentionally designed to balance challenge and ability, to create sense of ‘flow’. Sensory feedback loops help guide player toward clear goals. Games use tactile features as ‘shock’, ‘rumble pack’ controllers, animation, sound and music to provide feedback.
Reflect: What other technologies allow students to use sensory feedback to learn?
Not too sure about this reflection, perhaps videos?
Multiplayer characteristics (more than 4 players)
- Player elimination: Do all your players survive? Do they all participate for the same length of time? How are they eliminated? What elements or luck or chance affect success vs skill, knowledge and effort?
- Interactivity: Will all your students interact with each other? what will the frequency of student to student interaction be? How much of the virtual work or real world will they interact with? Where will the teacher be for these interactions? How does the game manage, deter or emphasis existing politics between students or the institution?
- Politics: What are the unwritten power-plays, cultural routines, patterns and assumptions held by players as they enter the game? How does the game manage, deter or emphasize existing politics between students or the institution?
- Kingmaking (or spoiler): (3 or more players) – endgame situation where a player unable to win has capacity to make game decisions to determine which player among others is the winner – undesirable.
- Teamwork: What teamwork is required? How will players collaborate and cooperate? What is explicit and tact when cooperative play is required?
Reflection: With so many elements impacting the game, it is essential that the teacher becomes a ‘player’ before introducing the game to the students. I can understand how teachers feel quite intimidated to introduce digital games into the classroom, when such depth of prior knowledge is required. It is not only the knowledge of the game itself but the connections to the learning outcomes.