A tiny journey in design

I was contemplating the cute little D&D facebook adventures


I was considering how to make my own little game like that, because I found it fun.

Essentially I know the key element of it’s fun – it’s got a good “low effort over high reward given” ratio. Meaning the amount of effort you have to put in to get a reward is low, compared to the reward. It’s fun in other ways, but I’d say this is the primary narcotic/attraction the game has – that it creates simple little stories is a secondary or tertiary narcotic.

I’m writing this because I went on a little journey and it might be of interest to others. I lay down with my notepad and wrote “Reality – while the light effort/large reward ratio works with others, as designer I do not get to enjoy its effect. I have put too much effort in already and will need more to complete the project”

But I still felt there was some way I can win at this, some way I can do it – the D&D facebook game seems so simple!

I can’t – the raw effort/reward ratio eludes me, unless I pretend that all the work to get it going wasn’t work. I’m not about to delude myself, so that’s a no go. I am cut off – I cannot achieve this goal, at all.

Next thought, almost blurred dangerously into that one, is that I can just write out bits of design I find amusing, with the express goal that I just write one amusing bit of design, and if I feel like writing more that’s nice and great, but the goal is just to write one amusing thing. Then if the thing or things I write actually make up a game that can actually be played, that’s a nice side effect!

The dangerous thing was I was close to not admitting to myself I could not achieve the first goal. It seems so close – the fun of the facebook app so simple to achieve. But it’s primary draw is that it doesn’t take effort to get it’s rewards. I would have to put in alot of effort to get my own going. That would mean a very high effort Vs reward ratio – unless I go into denial about how much effort I put in.

I still don’t think I can fully, emotionally grasp that I cannot achieve this – I think I have achieved intellectual understanding only. I think because the goal is based on almost pure emotion (the feeling of getting alot for doing little is a particular emotion). I think emotions are used to responding to outside, physical stimulous – emotions aren’t used to responding to the very fact they emotions exist.

Thus my emotions will probably bring me back to this behaviour – that’s partly why I intellectually write this out, as a reminder message to myself. The sickness in sickness post is like that too – there are things in it I haven’t emotionally internalised, and when my intellectual memory blanks (ie, I sleep, or think about alot of other stuff), it’s gone from mind and spirit.

I’ve run into this before, where I achieve more if I sit down and write out my thoughts on paper. It annoys me that apparently greater conciousness requires such a primitive outside thing as paper and pen involved with my inner thoughts.

Anyway, having written it out I can atleast intellectually say, I cannot achieve the first goal! The second goal is to see if anything design like is amusing to me to write down – just one thing – if I write a bunch, that’s nice but optional. If they form a game, that’s nice – but the primary goal of this activity is just to amuse myself with something designey. God that’s a vague word – designey!

And heh, I have concerns past this – I think if these designs do make a game/activity I find fun, if I keep building on them and do not keep the original versions, I may be throwing away versions I like (throwing them away by modifying them into something which is not the same, and not keeping a copy). So I can kind of see my ‘design any old thing’ modus in conflict with my game playing modus. But atleast I can see that conflict and that means I can learn to ride it, if need be.

Other peoples roleplay designs – seem to do this to me every time!

Well, writing it out helps me internalise it to some degree more than I was doing before. Still bugs me that to be more like the proper self awareness I think I really am at heart, I need tools outside of my mind.

See, just a little game did that to me? No, I don’t cope with the world at large – I move through it, but I wouldn’t say I cope! 😉

One thought on “A tiny journey in design

  1. Actually, now I’m wondering if my primary draw was like in the open plan gaming – I just want to see what story fragments the other guy is into.

    Again, it means I can’t make it for myself, because I’d be being narcisistically interested in what story fragments I am interested in.

    Ummm, though one can not be so much interested in directly, but instead interested in expressing ones culture simply to express it and keep it sung. That’s still not meeting the goal from before, but it does help me create something – which although it isn’t the reason I was interested in this facebook game (or any rpg), I want to have a few creations under my belt, if I can.

    I bet as controversial as my other posts sound, this one wont get attention, even though its far more ground breaking as far as I’m concerned. Rather than picking at the past, I’m talking and taking some bold steps forward, in deed and philosophy.

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