Chapter 5. The Dynamic Layer

Once players start actually playing a game, it moves from the inscribed layer into the dynamic layer of the Layered Tetrad. Play, strategy, and meaningful player choices all emerge in this layer.

This chapter explores the dynamic layer, various qualities of emergence, and how designers can anticipate the dynamic play that emerges from their inscribed design decisions.

The Role of the Player

A fellow designer once told me that a game isn’t a game unless someone is playing it. Although this might sound initially like a rehash of “if a tree falls in the woods, and there’s no one to hear it, does it make a sound?” it’s actually much more important for interactive media than any other medium. A film can still exist and ...

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