06 February 2018

Theory Friendly Games

Since I spend most of my time currently theorycrafting games at some point I figured out that in some games it's easier to find theorycrafting material and in other games, it's harder. Same for theories. But why?

Theory-Friendly Design

Theories fill up the space of the unknown with a logical concept or an idea. Back in the old days, people didn't know how the weather worked so they assumed some gods took care of that. A weird theory. Many years later people figured out how it actually works. The old hypothesis was disproven. Nowadays we don't know how things in quantum physics work exactly. So theories were created, like the string theory or the many-worlds theory. Anyways it's the same in games.

If you tell your game's story and leave out interesting parts that are not important to progress the story people start to think about it. A good example of this is Scott Cawthon's Five Nights At Freddie's series. Throughout the whole series, he kept what's been happening in the background and what's going on a mystery. Even though he gave hints throughout all the games it was still the gamers, community or player's job to figure everything out.

So for theories, in the end, it comes to telling the story but keeping interesting parts that raise curiosity out to leave it to the player base to figure it out.

Theorycrafting-Friendly Design

There's a huge difference between making theories about games and theorycrafting. Theorycrafting has a lot to do with calculation and how we perceive it but it basically comes to the same principle as with theory-friendly design. Again you want to keep details or information secret. Though this time it's more about technical details. A common example is how damage is calculated. Also the more technical content like stats, physics, point system, etc. there is the more theorycrafting is possible.

This is something I noticed in WildStar. WildStar allows a lot of theorycrafting about the item system the gear progression to be exact as well as the prime system. Aside from that, there's a little currency conversion but all in all, that's it already. In Guild Wars 2 there's not much to theorycraft about gear progression but there are many more currency systems, PvP and WvW point systems. How much the infinite items in the shop are worth it or how long it takes until they were worth their buy price and much, much more. Though I guess, it could be just me too.

Anyways the goal again is to keep the calculation behind stuff hidden and add a lot of things you can calculate. Yet this is harder to design than a theory-friendly design.

Why Bother?

First of all, you don't have to. Aside from that theory-friendly games may be picked up by theorists to create theories and solve problems, Youtube channels like Game Theory or Reddit posts about games may lead other or more people to your product resulting in your product getting more interested people. It's the same with my blog. There is a chance, even if it's not too big for people who play Guild Wars 2 to pick up WildStar and people who play WildStar might check out Guild Wars 2 and it doesn't stop there. When I switch games or play other games making theories about those people may pick those up as well. In the end, it's publicity.

Especially since Guild Wars 2 and WildStar are free to play even though there are certain limits this does anything but discouraging people to take a look or check it out.

So, in the end, I do something good for all the games I write posts about while enjoying living my inner researcher analyzing games mathematically.
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I'm a junior game developer and software developer and I created this blog to share my ideas, thoughts and whatever I'm working on or doing.