Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Some thoughts from "A Theory of Fun"

I just finished reading the book A Theory of Fun by Raph Koster. It is funny how everything comes together once you start focusing and noticing certain patterns. It is a good book and worth reading even if you're not into game design.

I already learned from personal experience and from other books, that our conscious mind is terrible at multitasking. It is however very good at internalizing things, learning things so that the brain can perform them unconsciously, without conscious supervision. Raph calls this chunking.

The act of learning is about turning many steps into chunks that we don't need to think about as separate entities.

When we don't see something, we don't perceive it, but once we become aware of a certain pattern, we see it everywhere. Koster calls this noise.

Noise is any pattern that I don't understand.

A good game keeps us on the edge of our abilities constantly and once we learn something the game will become harder. This is a variant of flow. But since a game cannot continue for ever it is doomed to become boring once we have mastered it.

The destiny of games is to become boring, fun is the process and routine is its destination.

Koster also mentions some of his grandfathers carpentry practices.

  • Work Hard on Craft
  • Measure twice, cut once.
  • Feel the grain, work with it not aginst it.
  • Create something unexpected, but faithful to the source from which it sprang.

That is not bad advice for anything.

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