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Kavik Kang

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  1. The games called "masterpieces"

    By the traditional definition "masterpiece" also implies that it is the "signature game" of an "artist of a designer". Dungeons & Dragons (Gary Gygax), Star Fleet Battles (Steve Cole), Civilization (Sid Meier), Sim City (Will Wright). Those are the classic definitions of a "masterpiece" in my view, by the most strict definition of the term. Avalon Hill's Advanced Squad Leader is the first too come to my mind that breaks that mold. It is the "masterpiece" of Avalon Hill as a company, and not any one designer. By the strictest definition, no one designer or company could ever have more than one "masterpiece". If, as in this thread, you just define it as "any really great game", than it loses some of it's meaning and quickly grows into a much larger list.
  2. Bad Design vs. Niche Design

    There is game design as science, and there is game design as art. They coexist in any game. The science is what makes the game function how it functions, and the art is what you do with it that makes your version of it unique from everyone else's. Like a previous poster essentially said, there is no one correct answer. What I might think sounds like a really bad idea on the surface might wind up being a great game when someone else makes it, because of their unique "art" in how they did it that I could not see until they showed it too me. If there is a single common thread to find, it is making games that function in interesting ways at their core. In how the fundamental basis of whatever game that you are making works. Chess and Acquire are the ultimate examples of this, they both function in interesting ways at the core of how they work. At their most basic level, which is why there is so little too them and yet they are timeless classics with endless replayability. This comes from their science, not their art. They are both intricate and interesting even though there is almost nothing too them. This is the height of game and simulation design, achieving a level of depth of similar to Chess with as few rules and game elements as Chess. It is easy to keep piling on "band aids and strings" to patch together "a good game". But, really, you are just fooling the audience into thinking it is a "good game". It is might not be a "well-designed game" even though a majority call it a "good game". Is it still a "good game" if you remove all of those band aids and string and just play the fundamental core of it without all of that "masking"? If not, it was not a "well designed game", even if a majority call it a "good game". A good game that is not a well-designed game is an example of a game that is more "art" than "science".
  3. Bad Design vs. Niche Design

    Mathematically "solving" a game too a draw is possible with many more simple games. But few, if any, people can actually execute that and make it happen. That is a different thing that something as simple as the Table Top Horse Race example where it is immediately obvious too anyone that it will always end the same. The player immediately perceives that it will always work out the same. That is a very different thing than the potential existing for someone to play a game perfectly every time, when almost nobody can actually do it. It really depends on how the question is defined. The original post was saying there is no such thing as "bad game design" in a definitive sense. I think there is, but that it is a very narrow thing because people actually loved Front Page Sports: Hunting;-) If you define it in a broader way, I would immediately point to Backgammon as being a candidate for "not actually being a game" even though it doesn't work out the same every time. Backgammon is not that difficult to completely master. There is rarely a situation where there is more than one correct thing to do based on the position on the board and the current die roll. Between two "perfect players" Backgammon is more accurately described as an Abacus than a game. The farther you move the bar, the more debatable the subject becomes.
  4. Bad Design vs. Niche Design

    I just have to also mention this due to both the irony and relevance. Back when my brother and I were making the IKNFL mod for Front Page Sports: Football we had this joke between us that the "worst possible game" either of use could think of was "Front Page Sports: Hunting". "Up arrow... Up Arrow... Right Arrow... Right Arrow... ENTER! Yeah!!! {Hands clapping...}" It couldn't have been more than a year after this that Deer Hunter was released, and if I am remembering this right became the biggest selling game of all time. This was the moment that I truly learned that games are like music and, just like the Rush/Led Zeppelin crowd loves their music and mocks New Kids on The Block, there actually are also NKOTB fans who love them equally and dislike Rush, Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd every bit as much as we dislike stuff like NKOTB. So, my personal opinion answer to the original question is that you can only truly call it "bad game design" in a definitive way if it is not a game at all. The end result is always the same and the players cannot change that no matter what they do. Anything else, even ET or Front Pages Sports: Hunting... there is going to be someone, somewhere, who loves it.
  5. Bad Design vs. Niche Design

    That is, of course, the classic purpose of Tic-Tac-Toe and why it endures even though, between adults, it will always end in a tie. But it is also an example of a game that isn't really a game. Like the horse racing example that I also used. I do not know the games of other cultures very well, just the most famous ones like Go and Mankala. I am sure there are many games that are similar too this in other cultures. But, in western civilization, to answer my own question of "what level of complexity does it become a matter of subjective opinion", Checkers is probably the best example that I can think of from the games of western culture. Checkers is the simplest game I can think of that is actually a game. It is also the next step up from Tic-Tac-Toe for you to teach and play games with a child. The difference is that Checkers is actually a game. It doesn't always end in a tie, or whoever goes first winning. Checkers is also a game that a child can fairly quickly learn well enough to beat an adult. You can only become so good at Checkers.
  6. Bad Design vs. Niche Design

    Tic-Tac-Toe is the classic example of "bad game design". Neither side can win, it's always a tie. And there is no dynamic too it. I go, you go, until we tie. Another example might be "Table Top Horse Race" with no rules beyond spaces to move once space per turn, and an equal number of spaces per horse. With alternating turns whoever moves first will always win in the end, with simultaneous turns it will always be a tie between all horses in the race. It's easy to design a game that is not actually a game, and that will always qualify as "bad game design". Many might also point to Atari's classic disaster "E.T.". Bad game design definitely exists, these are just some very easy to see examples of that. I think a better question would be "at what level of complexity does a game design reach the point of becoming a matter of subjective opinion". Because, at a simple enough level like Tic-Tac-Toe or Table Top Horse Race it can be seen pretty clearly by anyone that "bad game design" does exist as a basic concept.
  7. Pirate Dawn Universe/Lost Art Studios

    I see that JoeJ already linked it here for you. Thank you for considering it, Scouting Ninja.
  8. Pirate Dawn Universe/Lost Art Studios

    An up-vote for the end result of 300 years of knowledge being lost to history... I think that really says it all. I couldn't think of a more perfect response from this group of people.
  9. Pirate Dawn Universe/Lost Art Studios

    Thank you, BG109. I've always realized all of that. I had tried everything else already, there was nothing else left to try. I was actually coming to this thread to make one last post here. I have ended my blog and given up spending a lot of time working on this. 40 years is enough of a life to waste on slamming my head against a brick wall. While I will continue to work on both the story and games of the PDU as a hobby until I die, mostly because I want to someday complete the entire story just for myself, I am not going to waste any more time trying to explain just how far ahead of you we actually are. It's never going to sink in, and it won't be long before the end result (The Matrix and a holodeck) of the entire history of simulation design dies with me and becomes lost knowledge that probably isn't ever coming back. So, just as I will always hope to hear from anyone with any type of interest in the PDU, I will also always be interested in making Space Hockey. Or any of my games. Or any game. So I am still here, and always will be as long as I am alive, but don't plan on wasting any more of my life on this. 40 years is enough wasted time for one lifetime.
  10. Game design career interview questions

    I think it is wrong to give young people the impression that there is this career out there that they can aspire too, that is like being a movie director. That's how younger people are envisioning it, and it is wrong to encourage them in that belief at this moment in their lives and lead them down a path that, almost certainly, leads to nowhere. The job that these young people are envisioning is akin to the director of a movie, and to have that job they will almost certainly need to create their own position by creating their own company. Telling them to pursue a career as a pure game designer is like telling them to gamble their life on a lottery ticket. If they want to become what you are thinking of when you say "game designer", then they should become a programmer. They will have a FAR better chance of succeeding that way and, if they fail, they will still be a programmer and have no trouble finding employment in a different area of that field. If they are trying to become what I mean when I say "game designer", then they should study business management and finance so that they can create that position for themselves. If they fail in becoming a game designer, they still have degrees in business management and finance and should do well in life even if it is not as a game designer. This is not about me at all, this is about them. I believe it is morally wrong to lead 20 somethings, and especially high school students as this person is, into the false belief that there are "game designer as movie director" jobs out there waiting to be filled. There aren't.
  11. Game design career interview questions

    You should go to college for programming or business if you want to design games. You will need to either be a programmer, or found your own company to be a pure designer. It if very likely, a near certainty, that you will waste your entire life attempting to become a pure game designer. I don't want to see that happen too you. It is very important that you become a programmer or have the business knowledge it will take to fund and manage your own company. If you want to be the kind of game designer that appear to be envisioning, study business management and finance at college so that you can fund and create your own company to create the position for yourself. There is no level of experience, knowledge or achievement that will guarantee you a career in game design. You will be playing the lottery with your life if you pursue the path of "pure game designer".
  12. A Final Word...

    “We can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone.” - Ronald Reagan
  13. A Final Word...

    I have been at this for almost two years now, and I have run out of things too say. I think I said it as well as I ever will and would really like this blog to end on the “leave them laughing” note of the glimpse of the robot story arc of the last post in the comments in the previous blog entry. After 35 years of trying to do what I was born to do, that experience tells me that none of this will have mattered and I still won't wind up getting to do the one thing that I was born to do. Maybe someone will wind up contacting me about my games, or Rube, or just an opportunity to work as a game designer. But don't expect that too happen even though, in 2018, I am one of the most experienced and knowledgeable game designers in the world. While I still have everybody's attention I thought I would add this last blog post so that these last two years have not been a complete waste of time. A lot of people reading this have a lot of money. It is also common for corporations to support charitable causes. Some people donate to a charity annually, often around Christmas. If you, or your company, makes regular charitable donations I'd like you to consider a cause that few people have heard of. Epidermalysis Bullosa is one of the worst medical conditions known to medical science. It is very rare, and is known as “the worst disease you've never heard of”. The people who are born with it never know a single instant without pain. Not a single millisecond of their lifetimes. In fact, their pain begins about 6-8 weeks before they are even born. It is among the most painful and horrifying medical conditions that a person can have, and the people who have it suffer more than almost anyone who is ever born. And that suffering never ends, never lets up for a single instant. One of these reasons that most have never heard of it before is that it is so rare, and so many who are born with it die before their 20th birthday. Adults with EB are fairly rare. There is no cure, there is no treatment. There is almost nothing at all that doctors can currently do about EB. Because it is so unknown among the public, they have a great deal of trouble raising money to help find a cure and help lower income by the very expensive bandages that people with EB need. So, please, this year, make your donation to DEBRA, because they need the money more than most and nobody knows who they are. www.debra.org
  14. Lost Art Studios

    I was really hoping to let this stand here. In those last few posts I think that I have finally managed to say it as well as I ever will. Especially if it is going to turn nasty again, I think ending this blog on the comedy of the last post is a good note for this to end on. I would just add, Nypyren, that if you ignore that previous history as your industry has, and begin reinventing the wheel, then you are starting over and not building on that previous knowledge. It becomes lost knowledge, which is a very very common thing throughout history for a wide variety of reasons. I would also point out that the Impulse Chart with its embedded Sequence of Play is all you should need to look at to see that what I do is, based on the previous work of the entire history of simulation design but specifically SVC who arrived at the most sophisticated artificial representation of time ever conceived by man, far beyond how you and almost everyone else in the world perceives games and simulations. Family games were the first generation. Avalon Hill's phased turns were the second. Steve Cole's impulse chart was the third generation. Rube is the fourth. I am not going to reply in this thread anymore because I don't not want a flame war to detract from what I was hoping would be the ending of this blog with a glimpse of the comedy robot story arc.
  15. Lost Art Studios

    Nypyren, I am aware of much of what you have said. Like I said, until I am actually working with other people and adapting to what they want there is no reason to do what can be done so quickly from the base documents that I use. I don't bother with diagrams because I am always working on different games and the timeline between them as kind of a lifelong hobby. I've learned over the years that finalizing anything is a waste of time unless it is about to be made, because it will just change enough to make those types of things obsolete very quickly. For example, 9 years later now, my current Pirate Dawn only vaguely resembles the version of it that is posted on this blog. The games are all intimately connected to each other, working on one always "bounces" me to two or three others along the way. So, like I said before, if you were the one telling me how you wanted it done I'd be doing it that way. It doesn't take long from where I already am and more involves breaking apart what already exists than it does needing to create anything new, and every group of people does it a little differently. JoeJ, If you don't know what “SFB” means then you have not been reading anything that I have written and are just posting without reading what I am saying. It is mentioned CONSTANTLY, you can't not know what that abbreviation means if you have been reading my posts. I also addressed pretty much everything you say in this post in the one before your post, that you apparently didn't read or didn't register when you did. Our form of game design most certainly is 50-100 years ahead of you. The third generation of simulation design while you are still working within the first generation. This is provably true, which you should have got at least some idea of from my explanation of the impulse chart and its 32 “impulses” of 8x11 15-page, double-column, 10-point font embedded Sequence of Play. You are the one who is “not getting it”. And there is that indescribable arrogance again. The little 35-year-old kids, red faced and stomping their feet, practically screaming at the 300-year old men demanding that we sit down, shut up, and learn from them. What is so difficult about this situation for you to understand? WE KNOW MORE THAN YOU!!! The Space Hockey document is just fine. I think you are being confused by the fact that it is also the game manual for the player. It would be a very simple matter to extract only the “hard game design” aspects of it to provide you with the “20 pages of vague notes” that you are accustomed too seeing. I've seen your design documents. In fact, at one point I was asked to review half-a-dozen or so design documents and offer my opinion on them. One of them was whatever version of Descent was being pitched at that time (1999), another was a sequel to Homeworld. Somebody at THQ was clearly impressed by the game design documents coming out of GameFX. So, I've seen your game design documents before. It would take less than a day to extract the 20 pages of vague notes that you want to see from this. It “conveys my vision” far better than the “just the numbers” version that you are asking for. People who read it have a general understanding of how the game actually plays due to all that “extra, unnecessary stuff” that you think is in it. You couldn't be any more wrong. I hope you really are “done with me”. You seem to have a severe reading comprehension problem, since you can't understand such a simple game manual as Space Hockey and insist that you have no idea what “SFB” means. You also don't seem to understand what game and simulation design even is. You appear to think that it is programming and writing code. That is implementation of simulation design, not simulation design. SFB is not “just a game”. It is science. It is the most sophisticated artificial representation of time ever conceived by man. The end result of the entire history of the human development of simulation design. It is the foundation that leads to the “Holy Grail” of simulation design, the core of what you know as “The Matrix” and a holodeck. Welcome back to reality... I have to keep repeating these truths because they are, very clearly, not sinking in. I know how to make both The Matrix and a holodeck, the “Holy Grail” of simulation design, that has clearly not sunk in yet. It is “indistinguishable from magic” too you specifically because you are three generations behind us in how you perceive games and simulations. Because we most definitely ARE 50-100 years, three generations, ahead of you. Everybody... Since this blog was intended to focus on the story of the PDU, and the relevance of the music lyrics has come up, I thought I'd post this here. The Star Queens chess set was created to be a self-contained short story that shows how I derive the story directly from the song lyrics. It's only 15 pages. Reading all of Armageddon Chess from the beginning of the timeline, having that background knowledge, will make all of the chess sets examples of this. But the Star Queens chess set stands on its own and is only 15 pages long, so there are really two good examples of this on this blog. One 15 pages, and the other about 200 pages. And, of course, you are seeing how this works just with lyrics on screen and it does work this way, even without the images that would be associating it even more too the story that the player is experiencing. The images would make it work at least twice as good as what you are experiencing in Armageddon Chess. The PDU is my Star Wars or Star Trek, but far more all encompassing than any of those types of stories that have ever existed before. The other “universes” cover a period of a few hundred years at most. The PDU covers a period of 4.5 billion years or, if you only want to count the period within which the games actually exist it covers a period of about 8,000 years. The entire history of the human species within this universe. There are a lot of story arcs that run through the entire history of humanity, some of which begin in the earliest eras of the timeline. Armageddon Chess and Territories, the beginning of the story, which are on this blog to download and read (together they are about 300 pages). A story arc that doesn't begin until Manifest Destiny, and is therefore not on this blog at all, is the robot story arc. The robot story arc is, so far, the primary comedy story arc of the entire timeline. Humans eventually wind up building just about the most advanced fleet of starships in the remembered history of the galaxy, but they are comically bad at building robots. Even during the era when their “Advanced Ghost Fleet” is the most powerful force in the galaxy, the humans still can't build robots. Any robot they build will always, inevitably, either run away, explode, or attempt to conquer and enslave humanity. Meanwhile, species far less advanced then them have little trouble building robots. The PDU is loaded with tribute references to all kinds of things from popular culture. One of these is that, in tribute to Will Smith, about the only thing the humans hate as much as robots is when you “shoot that green stuff at them”. Putting these two things together... In every single ground battle of the PDU the enemy is using at least some robots. It's as if everyone except the humans has no problem building robots, even after the humans have become among the most advanced people in the galaxy. And, to make matters even worse, the robots always have at least one very noticeable weapon that is “green stuff”... the two things that humans hate the most combined. Damn robots who shoot that green stuff at you! The EDF Space Marines are often a source of comedy because of this, they are ALWAYS having to fight “damn robots” who “shoot that green stuff at you”. Without the context of the story surrounding these song lyrics they have no meaning too you. I realize this. You can see how it works in context in Armageddon Chess. But, with the above having been explained, and the fact that this song is pretty comical just standing on it's own... here's another song/movie from Astral Invasion (there are only a few AI songs left that haven't been posted in these comments already). This is the final end of a specific robot story arc about just one robot that had begun in The Trade Wars, 4 whole games and about 2,000 years before Astral Invasion. I can't resist mentioning that, had this been in context and you knew the story that this was the big end moment of, the “domo arigato chorus” in the middle of the song that runs from 03:05-04:20, and the images you would be seeing there in relation to the story... would be absolutely hilarious!!! This story arc had been slowly building over the course of 4 games to reach this point. It had begun in The Trade Wars with the story of the humans first and only attempt (“We've got laws against those kinds of things these days”) to build a “Data-like” robot named “Kilroy”. The Trade Wars is the 5th game of the PDU, so by that time it had been well-established that the PDU is inspired by the music of the era of “progressive rock” as much as it is inspired by the sci-fi universes that came before it such as Star Trek, Star Wars, Babylon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Stargate, Flash Gordon, and Buck Rogers. So the audience that is familiar with that music had been expecting, due to the name “Kilroy”, Mr. Roboto to be the end movie of the Kilroy story in The Trade Wars, but then it wasn't. Rush's “The Body Electric” had been the end of that story, when Kilroy malfunctioned and ran away. So now, 4 games and about 2,000 years later, you finally get the Mr. Roboto movie that you had been expecting to see all game long on your first play through way back in The Trade Wars. The short version of how this story gets from The Body Electric to Mr. Roboto over the course of 4 games... along the way a damaged Kilroy had encountered a damaged alien robot and they had combined themselves into the robot that is the star of the Astral Invasion robot side-story arc. This was obviously inspired by V'Ger from Star Trek: The Motion Picture (and not obviously from what is mentioned here, Gort from The Day The Earth Stood Still). Domo arigato for listening;-)
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