Sunday, November 05, 2006

Yay! I didn't define rule!

Outdated, go here.

Rule: a principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc.

Rule: the customary or normal circumstance, occurrence, manner, practice, quality, etc.

Rule: a prescribed mathematical method for performing a calculation or solving a problem.

Rule: the constellation Norma.

When most people say "rules", they seem to immediately think "laws". The two are different words for a reason: the word "rules" includes things that aren't laws, such as most of those listed above.

The first one is the important one. "A principle or regulation governing conduct, action, procedure, arrangement, etc."

That's what a rule is.

A rule set is a set of principles or regulations governing any and all of those things. Which is dramatically more than simply "gameplay".

Sorry if I was unclear. I wasn't trying to waffle: I didn't think everyone thought "rule = gameplay". I mean rule as it is actually defined. Obviously, we're talking about the constellation Norma.

A game might have a "time-travel driven plot". People don't think of this as a "rule" because it's implicit rather than explicit. But it is: implicit rules still exist. A time-travel schtick is a principle that regulates the procedure and arrangement of the game's plot (along with other facets of the game).

It is a rule. So is the standard "scrappy youths save the world" schtick. They provide you with various guidelines - principles - which shape your design.

Things that aren't a rule are things like the dialogue you actually write, the characters you design, the specific cities you create, the specific subplots... these are things which result FROM the rules. They are also the things that most people think make a game good.


Mory said...

Oh, I get it- these are rules that the developer follows, not rules that the developer sets for the player. Okay. I'll reread your earlier posts later to see if it makes any sort of sense to me now.

Craig Perko said...

I should probably use a different word, now that I think about it.

Mory said...

What term would be more appropriate? "design approach"?

Craig Perko said...

Rule is the perfect word, except it's benn pre-empted. "Approach" implies a singular, universal structure.

"Axiom" is probably a better word.

Mory said...

Ah. So what you are proposing is appreciating games by breaking them down into axioms, and judging those axioms rather than the structure built on top of them. A very interesting approach.

(If I am misunderstanding again, as I have been known to do, please correct me.)

Craig Perko said...

Well, yes, but I'm saying that the stuff on top arises from the axioms. Sure, you can create a bad game on good axioms, but you cannot create a good game on bad axioms. Moreover, many bad games on good axioms can be turned good by the players building on those axioms.

Guh. Axiom isn't really the right definition. I'll figure out some way of saying it.