Game Development Reference
challenge. The decision is smaller-scoped than in StarCraft II , but this is
acceptable because it is compressed into a tiny fraction of a second. The
complexity of the decision is proportional to the time available to make it,
so flow is maintained.
At every interaction, the players must each evaluate variables and esti-
mated probabilities to come up with a set of estimated payoffs. In StarCraft
II , they have to account for unit counts, positioning, skill differences,
economy status, economic impact, and hundreds of other quantifiable and
unquantifiable variables. The problem is mind-bogglingly complex. But
this is the power of human thought. Machines can't do this sort of calcula-
tion. Only a human mind running at full blast using all of its geometric,
spatial, emotional, and interpersonal intuition can solve this. It's a whole-
body workout for the brain.
And this evaluation process isn't just a logic puzzle. It's also an emo-
tional challenge. Mediocre Zerg players will panic and attack prematurely
as the Siege Tanks start shelling a nonessential base. Novice Terrans will
foolishly leave their tanks unguarded while their Marines greedily chase
Mutalisks. In each case, these players' emotions are clouding their evalu-
ation of payoffs. The Zerg is driven by an emotional fear of loss; steelier
players know that sometimes it's better to lose a base than risk an army
trying to save it. The Terran is driven by a greedy desire to kill expensive
Mutalisks; better players know when to let them go. Learning to evaluate
well doesn't mean just knowing and thinking through logic. It means
evaluating your emotions, training them, and keeping them in check.
These profound logical and emotional evaluation challenges are what
keep players coming back, again and again, and stretch the skill ceiling to
unfathomable heights. This depth means that no matter how good you are
at these evaluations, there is always another nuance to discover.
Yomi grows from the psychology of randomness.
Did you know that there are real rock-paper-scissors tournaments?
People sign up, go through qualifiers, and compete in front of spectators.
Prizes can be as high as $50,000. And all this plays out in a game where
the only equilibrium strategy is to be completely random.
It seems like a joke, and on some level, it is. But just past the ridiculous-
ness, there is still a skill to playing rock-paper-scissors against a human
being, because human beings cannot generate random numbers.
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