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Valter
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« Reply #40 on: January 08, 2009, 08:30:41 AM »

I agree mostly with what konjak said. Games need to be fun, because no one would play them otherwise. Edmund makes his games not only with a deeper meaning intended, but also with entertainment in mind. Aether, for example, prominently featured symbolism and metaphor, but  he presented them in an entertaining form, using compelling puzzles that the players are satisfied with completing. Fun and Meaning have to be used in synthesis, with the Meaning providing the focus and point of playing, and Fun providing the motivation to continue.

Now, Zaratustra. Fun isn't vague. What it is a genre. "Entertainment" is a word used to describe video games, board games, videos, TV shows, and many other things. In the same way, "Fun" is a word used to describe all the parts of a game that make it enjoyable, such as innovation, control, story, art, music, and replayability. "Fun" is the sum of all the parts of a game that make it enjoyable to play. It would be just as ludicrous to say that we should stop using the term "Continent", because we should just refer to the Countries instead. Or stop saying the word "Earth", because we could just talk about the continents and oceans instead.

Fun, far from being vague, is actually one of the most important terms of video game design.


Also, Konjak was saying that it's the design that matters, not necessarily the person doing the designing. Most of the bad games you described were results of developers making rather poor design choices. Sonic Team's games started sucking when they switched to 3D, which was a poor design choice. Trying to have Sonic go at very high speeds in a 3D environment causes serious camera issues and control issues. The Castlevania franchise has done very well, except for Portrait of Ruin being criticized as one of the weakest entries. This is because the developers made a poor design choice in introducing anime elements into a game that should have been gothic.

Like Konjak said, good game design is essential to making good games, and when developers make poor design choices, they generally end up making poor games.
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Alex May
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« Reply #41 on: January 08, 2009, 08:34:24 AM »


Now, Zaratustra. Fun isn't vague. What it is a genre. "Entertainment" is a word used to describe video games, board games, videos, TV shows, and many other things. In the same way, "Fun" is a word used to describe all the parts of a game that make it enjoyable, such as innovation, control, story, art, music, and replayability. "Fun" is the sum of all the parts of a game that make it enjoyable to play. It would be just as ludicrous to say that we should stop using the term "Continent", because we should just refer to the Countries instead. Or stop saying the word "Earth", because we could just talk about the continents and oceans instead.

Fun, far from being vague, is actually one of the most important terms of video game design.

You've just specifically outlined how vague the term is.

"Fun" is a word used to describe all the parts of a game that make it enjoyable, such as innovation, control, story, art, music, and replayability. "Fun" is the sum of all the parts of a game that make it enjoyable to play.

Game X is fun. Now, knowing nothing about Game X, you must explain to me what it is about Game X that appeals to me.
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Valter
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« Reply #42 on: January 08, 2009, 08:52:33 AM »

Haowan, point is that you're not making sense. You might require perfect detail to know if you'll like a game, but other people don't. Most people enjoy all the aesthetics of "fun", like art, gameplay, replayability, innovation, and so forth. When you tell them a game is "fun", they generally know that at least one or all of those categories is good enough to make the game worth playing.

You might need precise details, but not everybody.
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Alex May
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« Reply #43 on: January 08, 2009, 09:03:14 AM »

Haowan, point is that you're not making sense. You might require perfect detail to know if you'll like a game, but other people don't. Most people enjoy all the aesthetics of "fun", like art, gameplay, replayability, innovation, and so forth. When you tell them a game is "fun", they generally know that at least one or all of those categories is good enough to make the game worth playing.

You might need precise details, but not everybody.

I am making sense; you're missing the point. In order to discuss game design, it's necessary to get into the details of why something is enjoyable. Saying, for example, "we should have pickups in this game because they're fun" is not good enough. "Pickups would give the player a reward for their platforming, break up dormant sections of levels, and we can let them know how many of the pickups they got out of the total which will give them a goal to achieve" is a little more involved and goes deeper into why this mechanic might be appropriate.

Again the thread is not about "most people", it is about game designers.
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Corpus
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« Reply #44 on: January 08, 2009, 09:15:00 AM »

I find reading Byron's poetry an immensely fun activity, Valter.

Do i want to play 'art'?.. if that means making depressed then no.  no i dont.
That's fair enough, Annabelle, but it should of course be pointed out that you are rather more emotionally delicate than the average bear. That you don't enjoy such games does not invalidate them, because a lot of other people do enjoy them, whether because they're miserablists, or because they are made to feel clever or "cultured" by such games, or simply because they derive genuine pleasure from playing them.

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Valter
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« Reply #45 on: January 08, 2009, 09:24:01 AM »

I am making sense; you're missing the point. In order to discuss game design, it's necessary to get into the details of why something is enjoyable. Saying, for example, "we should have pickups in this game because they're fun" is not good enough. "Pickups would give the player a reward for their platforming, break up dormant sections of levels, and we can let them know how many of the pickups they got out of the total which will give them a goal to achieve" is a little more involved and goes deeper into why this mechanic might be appropriate.

Again the thread is not about "most people", it is about game designers.
Well, let's look at your example from my perspective, then. When you add a specific definition for everything a Pickup should be, you destroy its potential. By saying that pickups could be "fun", you allow for an entire spectrum of possibilities. When you say "Pickups would give the player a reward for their platforming, break up dormant sections of levels, and we can let them know how many of the pickups they got out of the total which will give them a goal to achieve", you restrict power-ups to only ever allowing game acceleration and collection mini-games.

In other words, you're restricting what you can do when you decide to define something so strictly. "Fun" invokes the imagination, and leads to new ideas. "Fun" pickups don't have to be described in euphanisms like yours. How about, instead of what you described, "Fun" pickups could cause changes not to the gameplay, but to the musical or graphical elements of the game? Placing pickups in the most hectic parts of the game would work to increase the mayhem, and get closer to reaching the adrenaline rush that gamers want to achieve while playing active games. Do you have to turn pickups into a minigame? That would distract players from the true purpose of the game and would end up taking away from the experience. Why would you want to reward platforming with pickups? Once you've picked it up, there's never any reason to return and ever platform again, essentially annihilating the replayability. Pickups should be temporary, and be placed nearby story sections of the game, which would give players incentive not only to reach the story elements so that they can also reach the pickup, and also give them reason to play through the game again.

Now, another issue. When you apply a strict definition to something, instead of just allowing it to be "fun", you will slowly lose the fun as you make other game design choices. Sonic the Hedgehog games make a good example. On the Sega Genesis, Sonic worked beautifully. The fast speeds combined with layered stages and 2D platforming just worked well. At some point, Sonic Team decided that Sonic the Hedgehog should go really really fast. And that worked on the 2D consoles.

But then the Dreamcast and Gamecube happened, and 3D graphics became the wave of the future. Sonic Team never questioned the fact that Sonic should be fast. It was fun before, why should it be any less fun now? But then they switched the 2D gameplay to 3D gameplay. And that changed everything. Whereas 2D speedy platforming had been hectic and thrilling, 3D speedy platforming became dull, confusing, and frustrating.

If you want to make a fun game, you have to make sure that your game design decisions will be fun. If you drop the word fun and decide to only ever focus on specific game design, you'll forget to make sure that the decisions you make are fun.

You have to reference your decisions against how "fun" those decisions will be to make a good game. That's why fun is a necessary term.
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« Reply #46 on: January 08, 2009, 10:29:56 AM »

When you add a specific definition for everything a Pickup should be, you destroy its potential. By saying that pickups could be "fun", you allow for an entire spectrum of possibilities. When you say "Pickups would give the player a reward for their platforming, break up dormant sections of levels, and we can let them know how many of the pickups they got out of the total which will give them a goal to achieve", you restrict power-ups to only ever allowing game acceleration and collection mini-games.

This is backwards. The words don't make the definition, the definition conduces to the words. He was not defining pickups, he was exemplifying a possible train of thought. First you think why you want pickups, then you consolidate that into an idea of why it matters for your game to have pickups.

If you want to make a fun game, you have to make sure that your game design decisions will be fun.

Sure, but what does 'fun' entail? Is it fun for whom, why is it fun? As I have said several times already, fun is subjective: it is a gut feeling that may or may not be the same now and later, and may or may not be the same for you or me. Fun is achieved by elements of the game that, in certain people and under certain circumstances, make them feel entertained. It is much more relevant to talk about what causes the fun, and why, and to whom, rather than just claiming 'it's fun!'
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« Reply #47 on: January 08, 2009, 10:35:39 AM »

Quote from: GeneralValter
In other words, you're restricting what you can do when you decide to define something so strictly. "Fun" invokes the imagination, and leads to new ideas. "Fun" pickups don't have to be described in euphanisms like yours. How about, instead of what you described, "Fun" pickups could cause changes not to the gameplay, but to the musical or graphical elements of the game? Placing pickups in the most hectic parts of the game would work to increase the mayhem, and get closer to reaching the adrenaline rush that gamers want to achieve while playing active games. Do you have to turn pickups into a minigame? That would distract players from the true purpose of the game and would end up taking away from the experience. Why would you want to reward platforming with pickups? Once you've picked it up, there's never any reason to return and ever platform again, essentially annihilating the replayability. Pickups should be temporary, and be placed nearby story sections of the game, which would give players incentive not only to reach the story elements so that they can also reach the pickup, and also give them reason to play through the game again.

See, now you've got it!

Instead of describing pickups as fun, you could brainstorm EXACTLY like you just did. That's the whole point. Decompose "fun" into your objective view of other's subjective enjoyment, and work with what you get.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2009, 10:39:28 AM by Anvilfolk » Logged

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« Reply #48 on: January 08, 2009, 11:59:12 AM »

Ah, yes, but my deeper meaning is that everything you think about when you design video games is linked back to the original purpose of fun. You can't remove since remove fun from the game design lexicon, because all parts of the game are linked back to fun in the end. While being specific in your definition of things is alright, you have to make sure those definitions will lead to a fun game.

This is backwards. The words don't make the definition, the definition conduces to the words. He was not defining pickups, he was exemplifying a possible train of thought. First you think why you want pickups, then you consolidate that into an idea of why it matters for your game to have pickups.

You're giving me my argument for me! Every train of thought about gaming design relies on determining whether or not various game design choices will be interesting. Your argument relies on some bizarre idea that every single possible choice has some amount of "fun" to it, which is totally false. You could make a game where you're a snail, or a slug, or a three-toed sloth, but those just wouldn't be as fun as games where you play cheetahs, or gorillas, or narwhals. Some ideas are more fun than others, and that's exactly what game designers have to think about when they make a game.

Sure, but what does 'fun' entail? Is it fun for whom, why is it fun? As I have said several times already, fun is subjective: it is a gut feeling that may or may not be the same now and later, and may or may not be the same for you or me. Fun is achieved by elements of the game that, in certain people and under certain circumstances, make them feel entertained. It is much more relevant to talk about what causes the fun, and why, and to whom, rather than just claiming 'it's fun!'
This is exactly what I'm talking about. Some things are more fun than others, and you have to be able to recognize which game design decisions make a game the most fun. Haowan had an idea for a platformer that went "Pickups would give the player a reward for their platforming, break up dormant sections of levels, and we can let them know how many of the pickups they got out of the total which will give them a goal to achieve". But where in there does he analyze how fun it would be? He said an idea, but he didn't actually check to see if it were a good idea at all. No one will play games with game design decisions that aren't fun to play.

I could make an ultra-realistic FPS game where you have to press a button periodically to breathe, or else you'll suffocate to death. But nobody would like that, because that's a terrible idea that wouldn't fun at all. Fun is not to be used as a descriptor, but it's absolutely necessary for each game designer to know what decisions he has to make in order to make a fun game. And whether or not the game has a fun story or fun gameplay or fun audio or fun graphics, his game is going to suck if he doesn't think about fun at all.
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J.G. Martins
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« Reply #49 on: January 08, 2009, 12:16:21 PM »

I think we're all in agreement then. Nobody is saying that fun is going to be thrown out of game design. Everyone knows that a game has to be fun. The matter is, as game designers, fun cannot be described as fun.

Quote from: GeneralValter
This is exactly what I'm talking about. Some things are more fun than others, and you have to be able to recognize which game design decisions make a game the most fun. Haowan had an idea for a platformer that went "Pickups would give the player a reward for their platforming, break up dormant sections of levels, and we can let them know how many of the pickups they got out of the total which will give them a goal to achieve". But where in there does he analyze how fun it would be? He said an idea, but he didn't actually check to see if it were a good idea at all. No one will play games with game design decisions that aren't fun to play.

He did introduce the mechanics that make games addicting to a lot of people. A game that has pickups that are hard to pick up make up a challenge that a lot of people will try to rise up to, and feel accomplishment when they finally achieve it (even if it's not that important). Hey, take Spelunky - I sometimes go out of my way to break a little stupid pot just to see if there's anything in it, just because I want that extra bit of money, or because it'd be fun trying to reach it. It's kind of implicit that those ideas provide enjoyment to some players. Maybe that can be analyzed in more detail, though, sure: who the target gamers are.

And also, I take this comment as highly offensive:
Quote
You could make a game where you're a snail, or a slug, or a three-toed sloth, but those just wouldn't be as fun as games where you play cheetahs, or gorillas, or narwhals.

Three-toed sloths are AWESOME animals. And there is

to support that!

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« Reply #50 on: January 08, 2009, 12:19:09 PM »

You could make a game where you're a snail
I'm stealing this game concept.
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« Reply #51 on: January 08, 2009, 01:16:04 PM »

That's fair enough, Annabelle, but it should of course be pointed out that you are rather more emotionally delicate than the average bear. That you don't enjoy such games does not invalidate them, because a lot of other people do enjoy them, whether because they're miserablists, or because they are made to feel clever or "cultured" by such games, or simply because they derive genuine pleasure from playing them.

i was speaking entirely for myself alone.. i'm sorry i don't want to argue!  Such games are really only invalidated.. for me i guess.  I was out of line im sorry!
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Corpus
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« Reply #52 on: January 08, 2009, 01:22:28 PM »

It wasn't out of line, I was just pointing out that not everyone feels the same way.

Also, I agree with Valter. You have to watch out for those euphanisms.
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« Reply #53 on: January 08, 2009, 02:49:25 PM »

Is the whole idea of this thread about explaining WHY you (The Player In Particular Though) finds and thinks that this or that game is "Fun"? Because. The word "Fun" itself is not actually descriptive enough of its own meaning though?
Slap me, don't forgive me, if that if I have missed this or that point in my rather fast and lazy readthrough while tired and in a sord of big over the top OCD mood though.

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Corpus
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« Reply #54 on: January 08, 2009, 03:07:10 PM »

Yeah, that's it in a nutshell (if I've read your post correctly).

Trying to make a fun game is a perfectly admirable thing to do, but saying that you're making a fun game is insufficient, because everybody has a different idea of what "fun" means. When communicating with other people, you need to explain what it is that you think makes it fun, because it's a relative term.

Just telling people that you're endeavouring to develop a game which is fun is superfluous, like saying you want to make something good. It largely goes without saying, because "good" there refers to pretty much whatever your goals are, and means something different to everyone.
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El Moppo
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« Reply #55 on: January 08, 2009, 03:13:00 PM »

Right. Allright then. Smiley
For instance. I say that FootBall is boring. Whereas. I also say that Dinosaurs are fucking amazing too though.

Someone. Can. And will. Completely dissaggree with me there though. Smiley
I expect it too though. lol. Smiley
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« Reply #56 on: January 08, 2009, 06:46:19 PM »

I propose we stop talking about talking about videogames and start talking about making videogames.

(Sorry, this isn't personal!  Just a peeve of mine.  I think the priorities are out of whack here.)

I think it's important to do both. I like talking about games quite a bit and I've made about a dozen games. But I agree that making games should take precedence, and that too many people are too theoretical about game design without having any practical experience in creating finished, playable games. Until you have that experience, all that time spent talking about it is kind of useless.

As for the topic -- to be specific about what fun is, I think it usually is used to name the following characteristics. It's the opposite of boredom: it's hard to be bored and to have fun simultaneously. It's something that hold's the player's attention: if you're having fun with something, your attention is on that thing and not on other things, sometimes you can lose your sense of time due to focusing exclusively on the fun activity, at the expense of your surroundings.

And yes, I know "fun is subjective" and all that, but I think the description above describes what fun usually refers to. Of course sources of fun vary, but when someone calls something fun they usually mean that it doesn't bore them, and that they can lose themselves in it, losing their sense of time while doing it.

My personal standpoint on fun is that fun is that it's both the easiest part of game development and the most essential skill of a game developer. Making something fun is easy, provided you have the skill and perseverance. But it's easy to put things in the game that get in the way of fun and frustrate the player, so it's both easy to do and easy to mess up.
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« Reply #57 on: January 08, 2009, 08:46:01 PM »

When I was in elementary school, the teacher assigned us an essay about what we did over the weekend every Monday, which had to be at least 20 words.

It was always 17 for me, because I'd insert the sentence "It was fun," into every one I ever wrote.

Take this any way you like.
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« Reply #58 on: January 08, 2009, 09:25:04 PM »

Trying to make a fun game is a perfectly admirable thing to do, but saying that you're making a fun game is insufficient, because everybody has a different idea of what "fun" means.

I just HOPE people will find it fun when I make games.   Concerned Hand Thumbs Up Right
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« Reply #59 on: January 09, 2009, 01:06:25 AM »

Quote from: GeneralValter
Some things are more fun than others, and you have to be able to recognize which game design decisions make a game the most fun.
Let's assume, for a second, that I found going outside and staring into the sun fun, it was engaging, I'd lose track of time and just stare into the sun for hours. To me, that would be the most entertaining thing available. Now, if you found that staring into the moon was the most enjoyable thing ever. Which of these is more fun? What you enjoy or what I enjoy? The point trying to be made is that fun is subjective, that what one person likes someone else may not, so it's not really good to say that there is some universal measure of "fun" an object has.

But that's not really useful, instead perhaps, use rinku's definition of the word? I agree with it and it is helpful with meaning added to the three-letter-word. Just find out what things engage the people you are targetting your game at.

As for the topic -- to be specific about what fun is, I think it usually is used to name the following characteristics. It's the opposite of boredom: it's hard to be bored and to have fun simultaneously. It's something that hold's the player's attention: if you're having fun with something, your attention is on that thing and not on other things, sometimes you can lose your sense of time due to focusing exclusively on the fun activity, at the expense of your surroundings.

And yes, I know "fun is subjective" and all that, but I think the description above describes what fun usually refers to. Of course sources of fun vary, but when someone calls something fun they usually mean that it doesn't bore them, and that they can lose themselves in it, losing their sense of time while doing it.
This is a great way to sum up what we think of when we think of fun rinku, I didn't even think of it before.
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