Game Development Reference

In-Depth Information

when he hasn't, or using a move he doesn't realize you have. These are

intense and intimate forms of mental conflict.

Yomi works because the real world is fuzzier than the math. In dry

mathematical analyses, every payoff is countable and every strategy di-

vides cleanly from the others. But real games aren't like this. Outcomes

aren't precisely quantifiable, strategies can't be cleanly placed in boxes,

and players don't have complete information or access to random number

generators.

For example, in a shooter, both players have to choose whether to

charge around the corner, chuck a grenade, or wait with their gun pointed

at the door, but can choose to change their decision at any time or even

do two things at once. Or, in a strategy game, players decide on economic

strategies that smoothly mix different production goals in nuanced ways.

In each case, there are fuzzy, unquantifiable edges around the core game

theory interaction. The shooter player can look and move smoothly in

every direction, and the strategy game player can order his production

in thousands of different ways. These fuzzy edges are where yomi grows

from. They are what allow players to get around the edges of the math,

slightly change the payoff matrix of every decision, and learn a little more

or a little less about their opponent to get ahead of them in the game.

So yomi play depends not just on creating strategy interactions with-

out pure Nash equilibria, but also on crafting a system with interesting

fuzzy edges around those core interactions. Let's look at some of the ways

we can design games to generate strategy interaction that have these yomi-

feeding fuzzy edges.

Yomi grows when players can smoothly blend between strategies.

Yomi play requires that a game have nuanced strategies that can be

blended and combined in complex ways. For example, in
StarCraft II
, a

Terran player can send a mixed force of half Siege Tanks and half Marines.

Neither a pure Mutalisk nor pure Baneling force can stop this. Countering

it requires a similarly mixed army of Mutalisks and Banelings. And the

Terran can vary his mixture by tiny incrementsâ€”one Marine more or less,

one Siege Tank more or less. These two players aren't playing a lab game in

which each one checks a box and then compares with the other to find an

outcome. They're not just kicking left or right. They're playing in a smooth

strategic space which lets them choose from a near-infinite variety of inter-

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