Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
Decisions
The brains sat around the dinner table, their moist neocortical folds
glistening in the candlelight.
“What about you, Albert?” asked the narrow, gray brain. “What are
your tastes these days?”
Albert, a wide, pink brain, quivered. “I like them big, and not too often.
I want something that takes time to digest.”
“Pah,” said Isaac, a long, cylindrical brain. “Who wants to chew that
long? I prefer a rapid series of tiny pieces. Bite-sized morsels.”
The table exploded in debate—many, few, varied, consistent, big,
small—as the waiters served the brains their individually preferred meals.
SEEN AS A WHOLE, an interactive experience is an inscrutable tangle of
interactions, thoughts, and emotions. To understand interactivity well
enough to craft it, we need to examine the individual units of interactivity.
Those units are decisions.
In some games, the decisions are easy to see. In a poker hand, a player
must decide whether to fold or call. In Civilization V , the player must decide
whether to invade the Babylonians now, or wait another turn. Games like
this hand decisions to us, one by one, each a unique and perfectly formed
puzzle.
Other games don't make it so easy. In real-time, multilayered games,
decisions flow together like bubbles in a straw. They overlap, merge, and
divide in a continuous dance of perception and thought. In StarCraft II , a
professional player manages one attack while defending against another,
guiding a scout, and growing his economy. In boxing, a fighter keeps track
of his energy, stance, attack, and defense, deciding at each moment what
to do with every part of his body. These competitors' various thought pro-
cesses overlap so much that it's hard to identify the individual decisions.
But even if we can't easily draw lines around the decisions, they're still
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