Workshop Games of Emergence

The flash presentation of the workshop can be found here (but you probably want to set your browser full screen to enjoy it best; press F11 in Firefox or IE).

How to design emergent gameplay was the topic of a workshop my colleague Remco van Swieten and I recently ran for the Dutch chapter of the Digital Games Research Association (Digra). The idea was to visualize feedback structures within the game system and to design the game and its emergent gameplay from there. The workshop was based on my recent presentation and paper on visualizing game mechanics. Although this was no easy task, I got the impression that all the participants enjoyed the workshop.

After a brief presentation about feedback and how to visualize feedback the five teams of about five participants each received a random assignment for their game. Although the theme for all games was set, they had to be about 'escape', each team had to include different type of feedback structures and the 'economic functions' described by Ernest Adams and Andrew Rollings. Most of the material was laid out beforehand, and the teams were instructed to design their games while they played them. After a while we pushed the teams into documenting their structure so that we could compare them. In the end, of the five teams, three managed to put their games on paper. The two remaining teams did not. One team because they spend more time playing and designing, the other team because the recording of their game raised some interesting issues.

From my perspective the workshop was a great success. The visualization method is something I have been working on for a while and being able to use it with Digra members validates the approach. The feedback I got back from the group was useful. Even the issues raised help me to further refine the method, which will be an important element of my PhD research. For this I would like to thank all the participants.

Apart from the pictures taken by Zuraida Buter, Marinka Copier and Remco van Swieten, the only remaining record of the workshop are the schema's drawn by the participants which you can find below soon, and the rules for the games themselves which I will try to gather here as well.