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   Author  Topic: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games  (Read 489952 times)
MarkSteere
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #270 on: Oct 21st, 2010, 8:09am »

on Oct 20th, 2010, 8:49pm, SpeedRazor wrote:
BTW:  I've never heard of you before 

Now you have  Smiley
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #271 on: Oct 21st, 2010, 8:17am »

Quote:

Zickzack:
Symple is a double Chicken now.

[shaking head]  Just when I thought the Symple discussion was winding down...
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #272 on: Oct 21st, 2010, 9:15am »

on Oct 21st, 2010, 8:17am, MarkSteere wrote:

[shaking head]  Just when I thought the Symple discussion was winding down...

If members care to look beyond the inventor's questionable character and outrageous claims, I'd be surprised (!) if it would Smiley .
« Last Edit: Oct 21st, 2010, 9:16am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #273 on: Oct 21st, 2010, 11:16am »

on Oct 21st, 2010, 3:17am, christianF wrote:

P.S. This really is my last game. Half my life embedded between Havannah and Symple feels too satisfactory to risk having "little more than half my life" embedded between Havannah and something ornamental Cool .

I've tried to quit design a few times, mainly because it always leads to conflict on the Internet.  Now I seem to have embraced the conflict, but I still think of retiring because I'll probably never top the games I already have and I don't want to add substandard games into my portfolio.
 
In any case, I don't really have the option of retiring.  I can make it at most a couple of months before I'm drawn back into musing about design concepts - eyes closed, feet up, perfuming the breeze with smoldering California green,....   Ahhhhhhhhhhhh
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #274 on: Oct 21st, 2010, 12:39pm »

on Oct 21st, 2010, 11:16am, MarkSteere wrote:
In any case, I don't really have the option of retiring.
Nor do I think you should - wait till you're bordering on 8-square like me Cheesy .
« Last Edit: Oct 22nd, 2010, 12:42pm by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #275 on: Oct 22nd, 2010, 12:37pm »

Here's a game where we're attempting a more or less coherent newbie strategy:
 
Benedikt Rosenau (DE) - christian freeling (nl)
 
White 5 is a growing move, where Benedikt grabs 4 points and prevents black from using his first growth privilige, both good for white.
However, black is now one group up and can afford (to a degree) to postpone growth: if white grows first, he'll still be one group down.
At move 13 white considers further growth undesirable, because black threatens to grow too, and with 13 groups the first growing action usually allows several combinations that give the first player to grow the initiative. White's reasoning is that black may have ample compensation that way for giving up the one group he is up. So he rather takes the initiative, at the cost of black being one group up now.
 
And that where we are at the time of posting this: the start of the growing phase where our feeble attempts at opening strategy are presumed to pay off.
 
Edit 1:
At white 18 black has caught up thanks to his extra group, but it's not just a growing race: white has the better position, securing more 'territory' to grow in.
 
Edit 2:  
The game ended in a white victory in 26 moves, which was slightly more than was needed for clarity on the score, and far more than was needed to conclude on a white victory. Since players may pass, and since no advantageous invasion is possible anymore (the last being black 25 that costs black one point, but would have costed him 3 had white connected), both can just fill in, so the go-concept of 'chinese count' is applicable.
The difference is that in Go 'chinese count' includes stones on the board on top of vacant points (japanese count), whereas here it includes vacant points on top of stones.
 
The applet counts stones minus twice the number of groups. Since the filling in doesn't connect any groups, white gets 16 points on top of the 130 already present, black gets 4 on top of the 113 he managed.
 
146-117 and congrats Zick Smiley
« Last Edit: Oct 24th, 2010, 3:35pm by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #276 on: Oct 25th, 2010, 4:15am »

Symple Numbers
 
I'm not an expert, actually not even a layman, in graph theory, but for those who are, Frans Faase has implemented a program for calculating Symple Numbers (def.) for graphs of the form Pn (path graphs) and PnxPm (square grid graphs).
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #277 on: Oct 25th, 2010, 2:24pm »

Someone suggested that Symple was an "homage" to me.  It does't matter if is or not, but now I feel bad about judging the game too harshly.  The minus has to be there because of the balancing rule, but maybe it should be a D- or a C-.  If it's any consolation, I hate two of my own games almost as much as Symple.  
 
Why am I such a game hater?  I didn't used to be.  When I first started, I was designing in a total vacuum.  I never played games or knew anyone who did.  I even didn't know what "abstract strategy games" were.  I just knew about a handful of classics.  One day I found out about Reversi and I was smitten.  Had no desire to actually play Reversi but I did design Quadrature, my first game.  One day I got into a move cycle, something I didn't even know was possible in Quadrature, and it was an awful, terrible moment in my life.  From that point forward, no more draw susceptible games.
 
In my vacuum, the only things that mattered were robustness and architecture - design interest.  Quality of play was never an issue because people would be thrilled to have something other than Chess, Checkers, and Backgammon.  At age 33, I had still never heard of Go or Hex or any commercial abstract games other than Othello/Reversi.
 
Whenever I hear someone say "I used to be totally naive," my first thought is "Used to be?"  I'm still naive and I'm still designing in a vacuum, but I set a very high standard for myself.  I don't know if there are even ten games, not of my own design, that I like.  There's slim chance of obtaining a reassuring response to the question, "Hey Mark, what do you think of this game?"
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christianF
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #278 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 7:53am »

on Oct 25th, 2010, 2:24pm, MarkSteere wrote:
Someone suggested that Symple was an "homage" to me.  It does't matter if is or not, but now I feel bad about judging the game too harshly.  The minus has to be there because of the balancing rule, but maybe it should be a D- or a C-.  If it's any consolation, I hate two of my own games almost as much as Symple.
 
But not quite as much, I hope. I'd like Symple to be unique in at least that respect. It's not a homage, actually, I hadn't planned it. It drifted upwards while I was drifting downwards, and there was this small overlapping window, but large enough to remember it next day. The window, that is - took a couple of minutes to realize what had been in it.
But you may consider it a homage, no sarcasm implied. Anyone capable of dreaming up HexOust and Atoll can count me among his admirers.
 
on Oct 25th, 2010, 2:24pm, MarkSteere wrote:
Had no desire to actually play Reversi but I did design Quadrature, my first game. One day I got into a move cycle, something I didn't even know was possible in Quadrature, and it was an awful, terrible moment in my life.  From that point forward, no more draw susceptible games.

I consider inventing another game one of the best things one can do with Reversi Grin .
 
on Oct 25th, 2010, 2:24pm, MarkSteere wrote:
In my vacuum, the only things that mattered were robustness and architecture - design interest. Quality of play was never an issue.

What we have in common, apart from a questionable character and annoying claims, is that we're not really players. But then, there's a lot of players out there who aren't really inventors and I think we serve them better than vice versa Wink .
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #279 on: Oct 26th, 2010, 10:18am »

on Oct 26th, 2010, 7:53am, christianF wrote:
 
But not quite as much, I hope. I'd like Symple to be unique in at least that respect.

lol you're a funny guy, Christian.
 
on Oct 26th, 2010, 7:53am, christianF wrote:
 
But you may consider it a homage, no sarcasm implied. Anyone capable of dreaming up HexOust and Atoll can count me among his admirers.

Thanks  Smiley
 
on Oct 26th, 2010, 7:53am, christianF wrote:

I consider inventing another game one of the best things one can do with Reversi Grin .

Cheesy  Yes, now looking back, Reversi seems to have lost some of its luster, though not nearly as lusterless as the fifty year old Twixt.  
 
on Oct 26th, 2010, 7:53am, christianF wrote:

there's a lot of players out there who aren't really inventors and I think we serve them better than vice versa Wink .

An atheistic amen to that.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #280 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 6:45am »

About a parameter
 
The 'Star' theme is about points for stones, but a penalty on groups. On an odd-sized grid the counting is of the general form "number of (such and such) points, minus '2n' points for every group", where 'n' is integer, though usually restricted to natural. Because of the odd number of points, the final score cannot be equal.
 
Symple is about territory control consequently has to deal with invasions, in particular invasions in the endgame. Why the endgame?
 
- In the opening, placing a single stone is not 'invasion', but a claim on territory
- The middle game is a growing stage where neither can afford to take a break by placing a single stone.
 
So invasions start when the advantage of further growth is petering out. In this stage players will have vacant territory surrounded, and good play is aimed at shaping this 'territory' (between quotes, because territory is formally defined as 'stones minus') in such a way that invasions won't pay of.
 
In Symple we currently play with n=1, and the minimum size for a group to pay off is two stones: for the owner it counts neutral, but it snatches 2 point from the opponent.
So invasions don't need much space to be successful. Placing a single stone is in fact without risk: if it can't grow it costs the owner 1 point (getting 1 for the stone, but losing 2 for the group) but it also takes 1 point from the opponent.
 
This means that the board will grow rather full. Of course, formally the game ends when the board is full, but in actual play vacant territory completely surrounded by one player, and safe from invasion, may be counted as if competely filled (that's not a rule, but a consequence).
 
In fact 'n' is a parameter for the risk and reward of an invasion, and for the 'openess' of the final position.
 
- Set n=0 and every stone pays off and the board fills up completely.
- Set n=1 and a single stone won't hurt or harm either player. So between reasonable players the board won't fill up completely, and 'chinese count' can be used.
- Set n=2 and placing a single stone becomes disadvantageous, unless at least one stone can be grown at it, in which case it becomes neutral. Only when at least two stones can be grown at it, does it become advantageous.
 
So setting the parameter at 2 will be an option in the mindsports applet. It isn't an arbitrary choice either: it is the minimum number at which invasions face an intial penalty, and are not without risk.
 
Shaping territory in such a way that invasions become less attactive is easier with n=2 than with n=1, and consequently the vacant territories to which it applies, will be larger and the board in the final position will show significant vacant territories (that need not to be filled up, because chinese counting leads to the same result).  
 
Finally, here's an idea for wannabe inventors: What if the parameter were set to a negative number?
 
In other words: what if the count were of the general form "number of (such and such) points, plus '2n' points for every group", where 'n' is natural? Obviously connecting groups would be disadvantageous.
 
I'm satisfied with Symple, but I'm sure there's a game there, somewhere. Have fun Smiley .
« Last Edit: Oct 27th, 2010, 6:48am by christianF » IP Logged
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #281 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 10:12am »

on Oct 27th, 2010, 6:45am, christianF wrote:

Finally, here's an idea for wannabe inventors...

Please, don't encourage them.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #282 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 10:34am »

I don't understand. Just after Forum Admin has declared that one should not bait people to violate forum rules, we get a disrespectful notion of "wannabe".
 
From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wannabe
A "wannabe" (slang for "want to be") is a person with an ambition to be someone or something that they are not. The term is mildly pejorative, intended to convey the foolish nature of the desire due to the incompetence of the "wannabe" to accomplish the goal.
 
Of course, it could be that the above definition does not capture what you meant. I would just hope that you clarified it. Mark's comment "don't encourage them" supports my understanding that there is hint that others are not as capable to design good games.
 
All this is in good spirits. I am just baffled, that's all.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #283 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 11:24am »

on Oct 27th, 2010, 10:34am, clojure wrote:
Of course, it could be that the above definition does not capture what you meant. I would just hope that you clarified it.

Indeed it doesn't. To me it would seem that requiring any skill starts with the intention to do so. Hence 'wannabe'. Don't you think you're just a bit overly sensitive and making an uncalled for stand for the feeble-minded? For those who's opinions are so difficult because opinions are so easy? For those who think having thoughts qualifies as thinking?
Are you their spokesman?
 
on Oct 27th, 2010, 10:34am, clojure wrote:
Mark's comment "don't encourage them" supports my understanding that there is hint that others are not as capable to design good games.
 
All this is in good spirits. I am just baffled, that's all.

Baffled? I made a suggestion regarding a theme for a game. Am I missing something?
 
P.S. You may actually harbor the opinion that game inventing is not a skill. I won't comment on that.
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Re: Essay by Christian Freeling on inventing games
« Reply #284 on: Oct 27th, 2010, 11:25am »

on Oct 27th, 2010, 10:34am, clojure wrote:

I don't understand. Just after Forum Admin has declared that one should not bait people to violate forum rules,

The offensive post was amateurish.  One must be a master baiter.
 
on Oct 27th, 2010, 10:34am, clojure wrote:

Mark's comment "don't encourage them" supports my understanding that there is hint that others are not as capable to design good games.

It's more than a hint.
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