Game Development Reference
process requires the human brain to take snapshots of the environment and
scan it quickly for items matching their internal symbolization.
In computer games, this ability is leveraged to make the player look for a
specific piece of information, item, location, or character in an environment.
The objective of the player's search may be to find an item needed to proceed
in the game, for example, a key to open a door, or to navigate a maze to get
from one place to another.
Searching for the mineral resource titanium in an asteroid field in EVE Online
is one primary mechanics employed in the game play. In order to begin
making money to buy anything and progress in the game, mining minerals
is the first action rookie players must learn. Part of the mining process is
searching for minerals in mine fields and finding asteroids that have enough
of the type you are looking for.
Looking for ammunition clips and medical packs has a long tradition in FPS
games such as in Quake . This action will either see a player who is low on fire
power or health searching the game level madly for any of these items or
trying to remember where he saw the last one and returning to that location.
Often with this action, if the player does not need ammunition or health, the
item cannot be picked up or used and therefore remains in the same location
until it is needed.
Matching is an activity that is part of the searching process. For the human
brain, identifying one object as being similar to another is a simple thing. To
be searching for something is to be able to identify when the mental image
you have of the thing you are looking for is the same thing you are looking
at; that is, they match. Many day-to-day activities involve matching, such as
finding a pair of socks to putting the right PIN into an ATM.
In a game, matching is used to get players to put one or more things together
because they are smaller pieces of a whole or are the same color or shape
or have other similar characteristics. This common action may find players
putting together parts of a machine to make it work as a whole or placing
the same colored items next to each other on a grid.
Guitar Hero uses matching superbly. The entire game is focused around the
player's ability to match the guitar string on the screen with the button on the
peripheral device. Not only must the player match the right note at the right
time, but his rhythm of button pressing is also evaluated.
Attempting to make order out of chaos is a common human behavior. People
with very extreme cases of requiring everything to be in its place may suffer
from compulsive obsessive disorder. However, in many cases when things are