Game Development Reference
domains, some technical, others philosophical,
political and sociological. I have tried to provide
references that are accessible to the general and
technical reader, and hope this is satisfactory.
Online simulation games have been around
for many decades, perhaps as long as the Internet.
Some use their own game application; others use
a browser plug-in technology such as Flash or
Java, however relatively few rely on the browser
alone. Why is this? Do we need a web standard for
games? What are the potential benefits? Are the
academics and representatives of corporations that
develop web specifications and standards working
for the public good? Had children designed web
specifications and standards, or even had they
been designed for children's needs, how might
the web be different?
Game applications provide a simulation dif-
ferent in kind to words that can help elucidate
complex issues, by developing and building on
our verbal and graphical vocabularies and improv-
ing communication. This action of naming and
describing is the way we learn, enjoy and share
experience, our measure of fun or ludic capacity.
How can we capture and incorporate this metric
into the development of future web standards?
a meaningful way, to respond in real time, and
quite probably with a range of sensory outputs.
Noughts and Crosses, Draughts and Chess are
board games that computers can solve relatively
well. The game of Go, also known as Baduk
or Weiqui has been played in the far east for a
few thousand years, and yet the very strongest
computer programs can only play at novice level.
Yasutoshi Yasuda 9 Dan is a top-level profes-
sional Go player from Japan. He has extensive
experience teaching children, their carers, and
schoolteachers how to play Go. Yasuda says:
Classroom teachers can grasp children's feelings
and understand them well. To enjoy playing Go
well with children, to be on the same level where
we can share the joy itself is good enough; com-
plicated explanations are unnecessary. Despite a
good knowledge of Go, the game will not succeed
without an understanding of how children feel.
What is important is neither technical knowledge
nor Go skills, but a capacity to understand chil-
dren. (Yasuda, 2002, p. 5)
And later he adds, “Creating a fun atmosphere
is paramount” (p. 35).
It isn't sufficient for a computer program to
'win' a game. We need computer programs that
help us to learn to play well. We need to move
on from Nietzschean ideals of the superman, or
chess genius Emanuel Lasker's supreme ma-
cheïde, a being that always plays the best move.
To develop Turing's concept of the intelligent
machine with an internal model of another, so
that when a child asks why the sky is blue, the
appropriate response is “because they ran out of
green paint” rather than a detailed technical and
scientific explanation. We need web applications
that provide transparent and readily understood
solutions, appropriate to our abilities.
All games have rules, such as to play alternately,
and in many games these axiomatic or given rules
can share aspects of meaning, for instance “check”,
“atari”, “uno” and “raichi” are warnings that must
What is a Game?
Albarn & Smith (1997) suggest that a game is “a
structure within which various skills are tested,
relationships explored and initiative rewarded &
it is a training ground for the encounters of real
life.” (p. 14)
Our web games might simply help someone
learn to use a mouse or scroll-bar, rehearse go-
ing out to a party, or supermarket, manage a city
or state, fly a plane, terraform then learn about
a natural calamity, play a musical instrument,
develop numeracy or literacy, or play a board
game whilst chatting and commenting. In most
cases, the application may be expected to visualise
large data sets from possibly disparate sources in