Uplift: Not Minecraft

I love procedural content generation. I enjoy Minecraft, and contributed to its development. It’s a fun… Game? Toy? Software?

Minecraft is a fun software.

And it does a lot of things right. It has a consistent abstracted graphical style. It encourages the players imagination. But it also blindly incorporates luck, refuse to give players abilities afforded to the AI, and tends to seem to suffer quite a bit from designer hubris. Overall, it like it, but I also want to improve on it. Continue reading

Definitions: Game

Learning == Gaming

I appreciate Keith Burgun’s work on defining the word “game” (See this post for a good outline. To summarize, KB defines games in terms of the layered context “Toy, Puzzle, Contest, Game” where each successive element is a sub-set of the last) but I have arrived at a slightly different objective space and corresponding terminology. I’ve addressed this topic informally already, (and the topic of the definition of game even more informally) but it bears a more thorough look.

In short: Games are active models designed to allow the user to cheaply learn important information about costly systems.

Or, put another way:

Games are simulations of serious things too expensive to play with. Continue reading