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September 22, 2014, 06:12:46 AM
TIGSource ForumsPlayerGeneralWhat Minecraft and Farmville have in common
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Hangedman
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« Reply #40 on: December 03, 2010, 09:14:42 PM »

better yet: clickquest

http://www.clickquest.net/
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« Reply #41 on: December 03, 2010, 09:23:24 PM »

I was wondering how long before that came up!

I think the big thing with the game Glaiel posted (cute, by the way) is that it makes absolutely no pretensions at any story to keep the player involved. I mean, that's sort of by necessity, to achieve actual parody status, but I guarantee if it featured some sort of "story" about why objects were there and why you wanted more of them, it would have a much higher completion rate and leave a much more positive general impression.

Because, well, at that point it would basically be Farmville.


Has anyone brought up the Extra Credits from last week on this topic? Or the somewhat recent Jon Blow lecture on Farmville and the ethics of game design? Both are worth watching.

Eeeedit:

Every game, from Poker to Chess to Halo to Minecraft, operates on the principles of a "game." And all games, since the dawn of time, have similarities to Skinner's experiment. OUR WHOLE LIVES ARE SIMILAR TO SKINNER'S EXPERIMENT.

I just get so frustrated with this pseudo-intellectualist garbage. I like that you portray Farmville in a starkly different light, I just wish it wasn't with a term that every moron that has had a Psych 101 class likes to use.

Operant conditioning has certainly always been an element of games, but it hasn't necessarily been exploited intentionally in a cynical manner to maximize profits within the field of computer games specifically in the way that is being done nowadays with games like Farmville (the circumstances surrounding this are covered in some detail in the two things I mentioned). There's a reason it's at the forefront of the discussion, and it isn't because everyone around you has just completed an intro psych course.

Please don't do that thing where you get angry at a term because you've heard of it. I don't want to bother having to constantly find indier and indier language to use to describe a very basic thing.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 09:34:55 PM by Chris Whitman » Logged

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« Reply #42 on: December 03, 2010, 10:09:36 PM »

Let's be frank "Skinnerian techniques" is the fancy term to say REWARD!
I think it tends to refer to something more specific -- random or timed rewards for simple, repetitive nearly-mindless actions.

What I see usually with "grindy" games is that they have some simple skinnerian thing layered under something more complex; so you can strategize on a high level on how exactly you'll choose to grind, but then you still have to put in a lot of "mindless" time to do the grinding.  It would be interesting to strip the grind layer out of one of these games and see how enjoyable the strategy layer is without that ...
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« Reply #43 on: December 03, 2010, 10:10:42 PM »

Please don't do that thing where you get angry at a term because you've heard of it. I don't want to bother having to constantly find indier and indier language to use to describe a very basic thing.

I'm angry for a completely different reason. It's not the term, it's the fact that this whole SKINNERIAN TECHNIQUES thing seems to be an fad. An idiotic one to boot. There's also the nostalgia-ridden, I-hate-new-things assumption in that the microtransaction monetization of Farmville is a new development. It's not. It's been around for a long time.

With that, I bow out of this thread. Every time I see the word Skinnerian or a phrase involving Skinner's Box, it instantly makes me super fucking angry.
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« Reply #44 on: December 03, 2010, 10:22:17 PM »

Is it a fad? I mean, it's an element in game design which happens to be really useful for monetization, and I figured it just reached a breaking point where everyone is sick to death of its blatant exploitation.

I think people hate the Farmville microtransaction model because it's cynical and sneaky, not because it's new, but maybe that's just me.
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« Reply #45 on: December 04, 2010, 04:17:09 AM »

I won't even touch Farmville - not because I don't think I'll enjoy it a bit - it looks like a decent time waster. The problem is that the developers intentionally employed every trick in the book to make the game addictive first, then viral, then profitable. Fun came nowhere in the equation; the addictiveness stems from despicable design techniques.

There was an article that ran in GI a few months back that tore the game apart for these things. To do the article, one of the writers starting playing it and appeared to feel almost violated by the sheer amount of force the game was using to try and keep them playing.
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« Reply #46 on: December 04, 2010, 06:04:12 AM »

HiScore + shameless difficulty + limited life + credit + drop that penny = old arcade game

Who say intentional?

The whole gaming culture about challenge and tropes like life and hardcore difficulty is based on that scam, the accessibility mantra is just the dust that settle.

EDIT:
I think it tends to refer to something more specific -- random or timed rewards for simple, repetitive nearly-mindless actions.

So you are talking about the very definition of game? Well, hello there!

« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 06:13:45 AM by GILBERT Timmy » Logged


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« Reply #47 on: December 04, 2010, 06:26:05 AM »

HiScore + shameless difficulty + limited life + credit + drop that penny = old arcade game

Who say intentional?

The whole gaming culture about challenge and tropes like life and hardcore difficulty is based on that scam, the accessibility mantra is just the dust that settle.

EDIT:
I think it tends to refer to something more specific -- random or timed rewards for simple, repetitive nearly-mindless actions.

So you are talking about the very definition of game? Well, hello there!


For the most part yeah, but the parts you are essentially missing, that were missing from arcade culture are, non-antagonistic social social interactions, long term goals and longterm obligations.
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« Reply #48 on: December 04, 2010, 07:10:31 AM »

What's the point?

non-antagonistic social interactions
long term goals
longterm obligations

You say this is part of our culture now and not part of the arcade, right?
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« Reply #49 on: December 04, 2010, 07:44:07 AM »

I was thinking about what changed from Arcades and modern social games.

Also, I wouldn't say videogame culture exclusively evolved out of arcade culture. Though it did have a major influence in the 80's and early ninties, I think Computer game culture continued on realtively unmolested until arcades died and the cultures essentially merged.
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« Reply #50 on: December 04, 2010, 08:22:24 AM »

Okay, fair Smiley
I thought you were making a value judgement.
Yeah those thing were bring with home console and online too. It's not specific to social game. Pet game (or animal crossing) for longterm obligation. Long term goal was brought with computer games and non antagonistic social interaction was hot in arcade gaming too (two player games).

But I was responding to the post prior to mine. This one:

The problem is that the developers intentionally employed every trick in the book to make the game addictive first, then viral, then profitable. Fun came nowhere in the equation; the addictiveness stems from despicable design techniques.

There was an article that ran in GI a few months back that tore the game apart for these things. To do the article, one of the writers starting playing it and appeared to feel almost violated by the sheer amount of force the game was using to try and keep them playing.

My point is that making addictive game to make profit is hardly new, FUN is the other word for addictive back then and the technics wa no less despicable from a certain point of view.

Score was just meaningless point to mask the lack of variety and encourage repetition.
HiScore leaderboard where primitive social mechanics (arcade were social place).
Life had the same function than stamina in social game, to limit prolonged play unless you had the money.
Peak of difficulty like Boss were made to be sure you lose them artificially.
Since credit respawn you exactly where you was, who have the most money win by default and get into the leaderboard. Without money you would have to start the game from the beginning.
Skills let you play without money but hey you can play social game equally without paying a single credit and let you grab everything through skill and patience (there is an article of someone who played mafia wars competitively to unlock everything in the shortest span of time).
Level was used as way to mark progress (Hey i make it to level five with one credit!) and was a big incentive to make you replay (insert penny) and you were thinking about it all the time when not playing the game (I bet I can go to level 6 if I do this that way).

You can contrast with tropes born from computer gaming with slower brainy and seamless world game (ultima for exemple) that does not have any of those convention. The value was less on immediate feedback but on the slow discovery of the game world, concept like life, hiscore, credit, level or even boss where a bit meaningless, since you bought the game, the value was in huge amount of feature and big time sink (think about BIG empty space, thousand of useless treasure, countless pallet swap items and enemy, hundred generic quest, and any filler trick to create artificial value). The consumption and economic model shape the design of the game.

NOW consider we are outside a community that we don't share value with, now consider people who don't play game and were outside the arcade mentality. Isn't that the exact same kind of argument we use? I mean, we strive for better recognition for game but a the first occasion we latch onto something exactly with the same misinformed manner that we struggle against...

EDIT:
I forget that all these game had an artificial time limit that extend through check point to create a false sense of urgency. There is even a time limit at the credit screen so you have to put money fast to not start again, there is also a button press to accelerate the timer since you won't waste the time of the next penny tosser player.

This is some pretty devious psychological trick or i don't know shit
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 08:37:30 AM by GILBERT Timmy » Logged


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« Reply #51 on: December 04, 2010, 01:13:40 PM »

The problem with Famvill is that it artificially time-limits the game in order to force you to repeatedly buy time acceleration. Whereas Minecraft does nothing like this (and minecraft is a one time buy).

And Timmy don't diss on arcade games, arcade gaming is the most perfect system that came out of gaming evolution and monetization. It was refined over tow decades when you were still in the crib.
It's the perfect predator.
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« Reply #52 on: December 04, 2010, 01:28:49 PM »

My point is that making addictive game to make profit is hardly new, FUN is the other word for addictive back then and the technics wa no less despicable from a certain point of view.

A very pessimistic sort of view...

Quote
Score was just meaningless point to mask the lack of variety and encourage repetition.

Score is there to separate people who can play the game from people who can play the game well.  Hardly meaningless, score was made to compensate for a lack of variety and less so with the intention to cover it up.  If this is true, then why do games that could achieve a high level of variety still have a scoring system?  Of course this then only matters to people who are proficient enough in the game that their desire to continue to play the game comes from their enjoyment in their personal ability and willingness to improve it, rather than just being suckered into playing again.

Quote
HiScore leaderboard where primitive social mechanics (arcade were social place).

A-S-S

Quote
Peak of difficulty like Boss were made to be sure you lose them artificially.

If this is true, why don't arcade games ever use the sort of dirty tricks you'd see in a game like Limbo or Super Meat Boy?  Why has the frustration platformer genre not been the sole money making tool of arcade game makers?  The answer is that no player is going to play again if they feel cheated by the game.  Nobody wants to play again if it's obvious the game is just going to kill you for the sake of killing you in an unexpected and unfair way.

Quote
Since credit respawn you exactly where you was, who have the most money win by default and get into the leaderboard. Without money you would have to start the game from the beginning.

Have you ever even played an arcade game?  Arcade games usually employ a sort of score multiplier that greatly increases your scoring potential parabolically as you continue to play without dying.  It may be something as simple as multiplying the points you receive as you move continue to play without dying, giving a score penalty upon inserting another credit, or it may be something more elaborate.  Let's use Metal Slug as an example, because I love Metal Slug.  Rescuing a POW will give the player 100,000 points if he can reach the end of a level after collecting that POW without dying.  This boosts your score tremendously, and assures that there's no way a credit feeder will even come close to the score of someone who is proficient at the game.

Quote
You can contrast with tropes born from computer gaming with slower brainy and seamless world game (ultima for exemple) that does not have any of those convention.

More elaborate games with more complicated, harder to grasp rules came about because with no need to service multiple people waiting to play, the game could slowly introduce new mechanics and concepts for the player to deal with that an arcade game couldn't.  Keep in mind, arcade games had little more than demos, instructional screens, and the cabinet itself to educate the player swiftly before they played the game.

Quote
I forget that all these game had an artificial time limit that extend through check point to create a false sense of urgency. There is even a time limit at the credit screen so you have to put money fast to not start again, there is also a button press to accelerate the timer since you won't waste the time of the next penny tosser player.

You have to keep in mind that there are more than one person who may want to play that given game.  The time limit isn't artificial at all, it's there to make sure that people can't take longer than the allotted time to fail at the game.  They needed to set a maximum amount of time that a player who isn't good at the game would be able to progress for the sake of the people waiting.  Imagine if someone had as much time as they wanted to select their character, to select the stage, and could dick around in the game as much as they wanted to in areas where the penalty of death was not very threatening.  Time limit is there to keep lines moving and assuring that bad players don't waste everyone's time.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 09:10:30 PM by AshfordPride » Logged
C.A. Silbereisen
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« Reply #53 on: December 04, 2010, 01:39:33 PM »

The biggest difference between arcade games and Farmville is this: A lot of good arcade games are still good games if you sever them from their model of monetization and the "social" aspect. Home versions of arcade games have always been and continue to be popular. Would anyone buy Farmville if it wasn't on Facebook and was sold as a stand-alone singleplayer game without any additional fees or online functionality?

Well, I suppose Animal Crossing is a bit like that...  Wink
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« Reply #54 on: December 04, 2010, 02:23:47 PM »

One thing that's absolutely certain is that we're a lot more advanced in the ways we can manipulate people than we used to be. I don't know if the designers of major social games are necessarily less ethical than the designers of addictive arcade games, but they're certainly a lot more dangerous. Arcade game designers sure knew how to get your five bucks in quarters, but designers of MMOs or games like Farmville know how to steal your life and exploit your friends.

And there's an ethical spectrum there, certainly, because if you watch interviews with people at Blizzard, it's clear that they are legitimately trying to make a game people enjoy, despite having to also serve their shareholders (and I don't think the same is remotely true of Zynga). At the same time, when your game is known for inducing pathological behavior on a statistically abberant scale, some of the blame for that really has to rest with the developer. I mean, they know what they do to people.
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« Reply #55 on: December 04, 2010, 02:48:20 PM »

MMO is more evil (even free to play) that social game so far which is less evil than arcade game IMO... But since I love arcade game I give them a pass, they cease to be evil with MAME emulator Well, hello there!

But I wasn't dissing Arcade game, I was contrasting the point of view, no Free pass just because I find them awesome.

Yep C.A. Sinclair there is pretty much a lot of exemple of offline farmville like (or other social game). Pokemon as social element close to social game and was trying to push them, nintedogs and bark mode come to mind too. Animal crossing sold 11 millions on DS alone, and harvest moon is a huge series with plenty of followers and one of the most played game on wii (actually the original social game was a strip down rip off of harvest moon before zynga copy it and made it evil as we truly know it).

Casual gaming is also full of that kind of game, so yeah, it's pretty successful and the genre of stories the mainstream industry just gloss over (remember runescape? the most successful MMO with WOW, but people never talk about it because it's a bowser game with "crappy" graphism and a very small team). The only way for you to know about these game is when a scandal explode (Pincus words for social games) and everybody jump into the bandwagon.
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« Reply #56 on: December 04, 2010, 02:55:07 PM »

I think it tends to refer to something more specific -- random or timed rewards for simple, repetitive nearly-mindless actions.

So you are talking about the very definition of game? Well, hello there!
No, absolutely not.  Games need not consist of repetitive, nearly-mindless actions, and the rewards can be consistent and immediate.
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« Reply #57 on: December 04, 2010, 08:07:54 PM »

What I see usually with "grindy" games is that they have some simple skinnerian thing layered under something more complex; so you can strategize on a high level on how exactly you'll choose to grind, but then you still have to put in a lot of "mindless" time to do the grinding.  It would be interesting to strip the grind layer out of one of these games and see how enjoyable the strategy layer is without that ...

Removing any of the repetitive, time-consuming elements of a game can take you back to the "Click button to win game" scenario. So, you're playing Minecraft and you need diamond. You have a strategic choice between whether to find a cave entrance and go spelunking for it (profitable in resources, but time-consuming and dangerous), whether to tunnel down to the bedrock and dig a series of a parallel tunnels, and in which configuration (some configurations are agreed to be a quicker way to find diamonds than spelunking, and you're less likely to contend with monsters, although lava is more of an issue), or I guess build a huge monster trap, collect a pile of gunpowder, turn it into TNT and blast a huge shaft to the bedrock*. If you remove the bit where you actually have to go and mine, you end up with a menu saying "do you want to spelunk, tunnel mine or blast a huge hole in the ground?" and whichever option you click, you instantly get a pile of diamond. The time investment into the differing techniques (and the experience you have whilst investing that time) is what makes the choice between the different strategies meaningful in the first place.


* If I'm being pedantic, there are other options too: you could just sack off the diamond altogether and resign yourself to getting through a whole load of iron or stone picks. Or stop digging and live happily above ground as a farmer in a modest shack. Or quit playing in Survival mode and play Creative. Or quit altogether. Or use a cheat program. Or ask Notch to implement microtransactions.
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« Reply #58 on: December 04, 2010, 08:21:35 PM »

The problem with Famvill is that it artificially time-limits the game in order to force you to repeatedly buy time acceleration.

I think we may have hit the point in the thread where people just continuously state and re-state their preconceptions without actually listening to each other's points. So, I'll state my response as a question: What evidence do you have to support your assertion that the artificial time limits in Farmville FORCE players to pay more money (rather than remind them that they should probably go back to whatever it is they were doing and come back tomorrow))?

Quote
Arcade game designers sure knew how to get your five bucks in quarters, but designers of MMOs or games like Farmville know how to steal your life and exploit your friends.

WoW I'll give you - I've had some horriffic anecdotal experiences of WoW turning some of my best friends into isolated hermits for a couple of years before they eventually emerged, blinking into the sunlight, wondering what the hell happened to their social circles and all that time they spent. My question is, how many people do you know (or can find verifiable reports of) whose lives have been "stolen" by Farmville? Any concrete examples of friendships which have been "exploited"?

I think that it's absolutely and totally a good idea for game designers to constantly be thinking about and discussing the ethical implications of their actions. I think certain games have a huge amount to answer for. But I've seen no evidence to list Farmville amongst those games, just opinions based on not having played the game, outright falsehoods and hysteria. As far as I can see, Farmville isn't killing people, or bankrupting them, or removing them from their social circles, or affecting their health.
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« Reply #59 on: December 04, 2010, 08:28:03 PM »

Removing any of the repetitive, time-consuming elements of a game can take you back to the "Click button to win game" scenario. So, you're playing Minecraft and you need diamond. You have a strategic choice between whether to find a cave entrance and go spelunking for it (profitable in resources, but time-consuming and dangerous), whether to tunnel down to the bedrock and dig a series of a parallel tunnels, and in which configuration (some configurations are agreed to be a quicker way to find diamonds than spelunking, and you're less likely to contend with monsters, although lava is more of an issue), or I guess build a huge monster trap, collect a pile of gunpowder, turn it into TNT and blast a huge shaft to the bedrock*. If you remove the bit where you actually have to go and mine, you end up with a menu saying "do you want to spelunk, tunnel mine or blast a huge hole in the ground?" and whichever option you click, you instantly get a pile of diamond. The time investment into the differing techniques (and the experience you have whilst investing that time) is what makes the choice between the different strategies meaningful in the first place.
There's an obvious solution to that though.  Of course you'd still need to keep time as a resource, you just make it a virtual resource the game tracks explicitly.  So an RPG could say, "ok, you have time for 100 battles, choose the high-level details of how and where you'll fight them."

Obviously it's a completely different game and you do lose something compared to having to actually grind (it no longer feels like an epic quest!), but I think it could still result in something interesting.
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