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It's All Fun in Games

A discussion on the impact of MMOG elements based on my definition of fun... (Note - take everything with a grain of salt, as we are only human. If you want more clarification, please read my "Defining" series, as everything is based off of that...)

Author: LackeyZero

Defining Context

Posted by LackeyZero Saturday July 21 2007 at 8:56AM
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Context is the player’s perception/understanding of the game world. Context is the driving force for the player’s interests. Without any context the player will not know what to do or even what they can do for that matter. Context is essential for fun as it greatly determines what the player is interested in.
Generally, it is a good idea to expand context over the course of the player’s game experience. Thus, allowing the player more variables to think about. (For example, a player may know about a town and the basic insects around the town at start; then later on learns about a beast nearby that travels underground and makes indirect attacks). However, it is typically not a good idea to overwhelm a player with tons of information at the start, as everything will get muddled in memory, as well as being unnecessary for starters. It is best for players to experience and learn over time, allowing a better spread of content.
It is a bad idea to contract context, which is reducing the amount of variables that players believe exist. As a result, there is less variables to garner interest from players. Since context is the player’s interpretation of what exists, there are several ways to change the player’s perception and understanding. (For example, when a player explores and there are repetitious outcomes of no results, then the player with get an impression that there is nothing to find. Thus, reducing the amount of variables that they thought existed before, which means less things to think about that may hold their interest).