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Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester

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Chapter 9. Interface

Commander Snargode picked up the strange human piece of plastic and focused all four of his eyestalks on it. “I suppose this is how they talk to the machine,” he pulsed.

“Yes,” replied Engineer Xyzvaz. “We’ve observed them manipulating that with their five-way skeletal tentacles.”

“We can adapt that for our use,” pulsed Snargode. “Make a version for our body shape.”

“Correct,” replied Xyzvaz. “The trouble isn’t with that device. It’s what appears on the visual rectangle when we run the algorithm. None of us can understand what’s going on. Look.”

Xyzvaz manipulated a control and the wall sprang to life. On it, a number of humans moved around a poorly rendered Earthly environment. They wore various kinds of dress—cloth, metal, nothing. Some sat still, others ran excitedly. A few appeared to be nonhumans, but still moved and interacted in humanlike ways. Various human technology was scattered across the image. “We’ve tried,” pulsed Xyzvaz. “But none of us can tell what any of this means.”

“Xyzvaz,” pulsed Snargode, “stealing this game was supposed to help us understand the humans, not confuse us.

“Unfortunately, it seems we need to understand the humans before we can understand the game.”

IF A TREE FALLS in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? In game design, the answer is no. Events only have emotional value if players perceive and understand them.

Note

That which is never communicated might as well never have occurred at all.

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