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Lesson 7: Both Tracks Summaries

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Schedule   ::   Lesson 7   ::   Track A Summaries   ::   Track B Summaries   ::   Both Tracks Summaries


Rollings, A., & Adams, E., Chapter 8: The internal economy of games and game balancing

Reading summary/quotes:

Rollins and Adams look at the internal mechanics of a game, and the flow of resources throughout the game. They also define and address the issue of game balance. Balance has common components in every game, but it also depends on the particular game genre. Rollins and Adams give numerous examples of the various aspects of game balance throughout the chapter. Net payoff matrices are a good way to start. Other important methods of balancing are designing for modification and design prototyping.

“A balanced game is one where the main determining factor for the success of the player is the skill level of that player. That does not mean that random events cannot occur, but a better player should ordinarily be more successful than a poor one unless he has an unusually long run of bad luck (p. 2).”

“…the tweak-play-tweak method of game balancing is a valid approach (and is pretty much the only approach so far). The only problem is that this method is time- and resource-intensive and is extremely prone to error (p. 2).”

“Dynamic balance covers the opening, midgame, and endgame of classic game analysis on a much finer scale. Rather than treating the game as three discrete phases, which is fine for postgame analyses, we have to consider the fully continuous spectrum of play, from start to end (p. 21)”.

“A balanced game should:

  • Be internally consistent.
  • Ensure that victory is determined by player skill, not random factors.
  • Ensure that all players have access to the same or functionally equivalent core options.
  • Ensure that attributes for which the player pays with points are orthogonal.
  • Ensure that combination and emergence don't destroy the balance.
  • Provide a consistent challenge.
  • Provide the player with a perceivably fair playing experience.
  • Avoid stagnation.
  • Avoid trivialities.
  • Allow setting of difficulty level (where appropriate).” (p. 34)

Discussion points/questions:

  • What some ways to anticipate and correct game balance problems?
  • The author talks about providing a consistent challenge. This can be a huge challenge in and of itself. Why is this important?


Contributors: Tom Caswell, Marion Jensen, Jennifer Jorgensen, Jon Scoresby, and Tim Stowell
Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2008, May 20). Lesson 7: Both Tracks Summaries. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/instructional-technology-learning-sciences/instructional-games/Lesson_7__Both_Tracks_Summaries.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License
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