CGD Podcast Episode 15: “Tharsis” Article and Redefining Elegance

maxresdefault In this episode, I first discuss a new article on Gamasutra that discusses Zach Gage's new highly random (and proud of it!) game, Tharsis. For more on my positions on randomness, I would check out this article or this video. In the second half, I talk about a new, more specific definition for "elegance" as applied to game design. Relevant is this episode of 3 Minute Game Design, where I talk about the "old definition". Let me know what you think of my new thoughts on the topic. As always, you can support the show by visiting Thanks for listening!

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14 Points on Randomness

My last post, Game Placebo, got a lot of good feedback - more positive and constructive than usual, I'd say, which is nice. I also sent the article to DanC, who responded to me directly about it. He then wrote a G+ article about the topic of randomness, which led to a Lost Garden article. I feel happy to - at least partially - have been the inspiration for a Lost Garden article, being that that blog was my primary inspiration to begin writing about games almost a decade ago. My position is that output randomness should not be a part of ideal game design. Right now I'll try to break down my reasoning into discrete blocks that should help conversation about it. Output randomness is randomness that affects a game after the player's decision that decides the outcome. So, I decide to attack, and then there's a dice roll to see if it worked or not. That's output randomness. Input randomness, on the other hand, would be something like map generation or some face-up market cards that are available to all players. Although there can be improper implementations of input randomness that cause it to have similar problems as output randomness, input randomness is not what I'm talking about in this article.   The Points I've put this in a list format.  Please read each point, and let me know which point does not work for you, and why (if any).  

  • Point 1:  The act of coming to understand something is of value to human beings.  It is both enriching and entertaining to us, by our very nature.
  • Point 2: Games are valuable to human beings to the point that they allow us to understand them. If a game leads us smoothly to understand its lessons (accessibility / easy-to-learn), yet also has a very long, seemingly endless set of lessons to teach (depth / difficult-to-master), then that is a game that has great value to humans. (more…)

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