[MUD-Dev] DGN: Reasons for play [was: Emergent Behaviorsspawnedfrom...]

Sean Kelly sean at f4.ca
Fri Nov 4 11:09:35 New Zealand Daylight Time 2005

Sean Howard wrote:
> "Amanda Walker" <amanda at alfar.com> wrote:

>> Ah, but now we're getting into different territory.  We're no
>> longer talking about philosopher-kings who define objective
>> criteria for "goodness", we're talking about constructing utility
>> functions for particular populations.  That's an entirely
>> different thing.

> We still need the philosopher-kings to come up with the philosophy
> by which we decide what are important questions, and the validity
> of their answers. You could answer a design question by appealing
> to the majority or marketing or whatever - it's utilitarian enough
> - but that doesn't create "good" games. The definition is still
> very much in the hands of the philosophers.

Then let's hope there are a lot of philosophers as they may be the
only ones buying these games :-)

That said, I don't believe these hypothetical philosophers would be
able to agree on a unviersal criteria for game quality.  The
discussion of whether "good" has any objective merit has been
disputed for millenia. And so far as I'm aware, arguments that
support such universal qualifiers typically rely on God as their
basis--the existence of whom has long since been accepted as
unprovable in philosophic circles.  A utilitarian argument may
suggest criteria which are sufficient in most cases, but this is a
far cry from what you're suggesting.

> Questions, especially questions like these, can have multiple
> conditional answers, but that doesn't mean that all answers are
> possible. What we have to do is decide on the acceptable values,
> then find the corresponding similarities between them, as well as
> the differences. I mean, red does mean Danger to a Japanese person
> (last I checked, they still used red lights, red vs green for
> wrong/right answers, and so on), even if it may have additional
> meanings, and if those meanings are innate to the colors, then the
> understanding will cross cultural boundaries.

But are those meanings innate to the colors, or are they
experiential? I would suggest that a great deal of color-meaning may
derive from their occurence in nature.  For example, it is common
for poisonous animals to be marked with bright colors so they are
readily visible to would-be predators.  This allows the poisonous
critter to avoid injury (and the need to use its defenses) because
predators are less likely to attack such a creature by mistake.
>>From there, it seems reasonable to suggest that these warning signs
are so ingrained that they produce a near automatic reaction, but
this is a far cry from suggesting these meanings as qualities innate
to the color.  Consider an environment where the flora color
pallette were more vibrant, for example.  There, I think it's likely
these poisonous creatures would be colored differently, and the
associated meanings of each color would be different.  Red water and
blue snakes, for example, might make red a calming color and blue an
anxiety-producing one.

> Um... if you gave me a black card with white lettering, I'd
> probably think of funerals as well.

I wouldn't.

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