[MUD-Dev] Psychology and game design (Was Geometric content generation)

Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no> Ola Fosheim Grøstad <olag@ifi.uio.no>
Thu Oct 4 20:31:11 New Zealand Daylight Time 2001

John Hopson wrote:
> At 11:11 AM 10/2/2001, Ola Fosheim Grøstad wrote:
>>John Hopson wrote:
>> If you make a game for rats (or pigeons!) then maybe what was
>> stated about rats was particularly useful.  Unfortunately the
>> higher-level goals/needs of rats and humans are
>> different. Motivation in humans can not be analysed by a simple
>> stimuli-response experiment. If you read the paper, you would've
>> seen that the author made a lot of statements about the adaptive
>> behaviour of RATS.  What kind of relevance does that have for
>> designing a game?
> If you're talking about the Gamasutra paper, I did more than read
> it, I'm the author.

I guessed, but wasn't quite sure. :)

>  I included in the article a quick explanation > of why the animal
>  data is useful, but since it seems to have been >
>  insufficient/unconvincing in your case I'll expand upon it.

No, that's not my main gripe.  The main point is that now we'll have
upcoming self-taught game designers (with no knowledge of the
various directions in the field of psychology) who actually think
that designing a MUD basically can be reduced to RAT stuff.  I
absolutely do not want game designers to think about their players
as rodents, not for a second (ok I'll make an exception for
furries). My complaint is as much about the context and form as it
is content.  Giving designers the idea that they can think about
their players as rats should be illegal! ;-)

> Every single one of the principles described in the article has
> been demonstrated in humans.

I am not saying they necessarily do not show up in humans, though I
am not a big fan of laboratory experiments and any assumption that
goes with that.  I am saying that external rewards is not a good
prime focus if you want to make people happy, on their own terms.

> The article was an attempt to offer some of those tools to game
> designers in the hopes that it would help them understand some
> portion of how players react to games.

I don't mind that.

>> Who says games in general deserves respect?  I don't!

> I do.  Games in general deserve our respect because all games tell
> us something about human nature.  Each game offers a tiny window
> into what makes us tick, as a species and as individuals.

That is respect as in research, not as in design and ethics.

If you don't mind, I'd like to discuss this stuff with you more in
depth in the future (just not right now as I don't have time to do
the necessary reading :)

Ola  -  http://folk.uio.no/olag/

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