Glossary

Here are the full explanations of various terms use in blog posts.

Table of Contents

Axis of Play

Black List

Bandwidth

Incremental Change

Game Skills

States of Success

Scaling

White List


Axis of Play

A distinct single way a move can matter within the context of winning a game.

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Black List

There are different ways of filtering. A black list is one such way, where the things on the list are those that are prohibited. Anything else that’s not on the list is allowed. The inverse of this is a white list.

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Game Skills

Abilities or learned habits can be broken down into individual skills. When a game tests or rewards a synergistic combination of these, players will often report greater satisfaction than from the sum of individual skills.

Navigation – The ability to understand large spaces.

Dexterity – The ability to understand the movement of one’s own body or tools.

Timing – The ability to make things happen at the right time.

Programming – The ability to make things happen in the right order.

Appraisal – The ability to accurately judge the usefulness of a mechanic or commodity.

Reasoning – The ability to eliminate possibilities from consideration.

Deception – The ability to cause other players to make incorrect judgments.

Empathy – The ability to glean information from the actions of other players.

Dedication – The ability to continue doing something over a long period of time.

Memory – The ability to accurately record then recall information.

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Bandwidth

Players can only keep so much in mind at a time. This capacity is their bandwidth: games that require too much bandwidth are unwieldy and players may miss out on mechanics.

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Incremental Change

In games, things often change in many discrete steps. A character’s stats increasing as they level up is a prime example of this. When analyzing the change between these steps, it’s often best to look at the difference instead of the full value. The difference is referred to as the incremental change. When positive this is an incremental benefit, while a negative might be incremental cost or detriment.

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Scaling

Describes the limit of a behavior or effect with respect to an attribute.

Additive (Linear) Scaling

Behavior = base + (coefficient * attribute)

Relatively slow scaling. Commonly found by adding more instances of an object that performs a behavior.

Multiplicative Scaling

Behavior = coefficient * base * attribute

Categorically faster than additive scaling, usually found as the win state of build optimization.

Exponential Scaling

Behavior = coefficient1 * attribute^coefficient2

This scaling is so fast it’s rarely seen outside of exp requirement curves.

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States of Success

The degree to which a play can be suboptimal.

Boolean States of Success

A system in which the player either succeeds or fails entirely with no middle ground.

Intermediate States of Success

A system in which the player can succeed without entirely succeeding at every measure of performance.

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White List

There are different ways of filtering. A white list is one such way, where the things on the list are those that are allowed. Anything else that’s not on the list is prohibited. The inverse of this is a black list.

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