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What is Noise?

Noise is randomness which lead to the quality of lacking any predictable order or plan and also unable to see a pattern or a signal.

Fighting noise is definitely one of game design challenges. To fix a game design problem I usually locate all noises before I start going in too deep (and yes, it is ok to dislike your own game and force yourself liking it by fixing all the problems, not ignoring them!)

Back from the horrible scolding and driving, Slade shoved me a copy of Raph Koster’s A Theory of Fun (Do read the book if you want to know more about noise). I went to a quiet corner and started reading it. I didn’t read much because I spent most of the time arguing with my mother over the phone, darn. Ok, what exactly is wrong with Encephalon’s design? Let’s take a look at the concept of some popular board games.

Chess – Complexity to simplicity
You start with a board with pieces and slowly clearing up the board to make space.
The chess pieces are not random and is all laid out on the board and therefore you can plan and predict.
No noise occurred.

Othello – Simplicity to complexity
You start with an empty board and laying down your pieces to force your opponent to play moves which relinquish good moves.
Pieces are coin-like with a light and a dark face and have a defined starting position and therefore you can plan and predict too.
No noise occurred.

Interesting fact about Othello: Originally, Othello did not have a defined starting position. Later it adopted Othello’s rules, which state that the game begins with four markers placed in a square in the middle of the grid, two facing light-up, two pieces with the dark side up. The dark player makes the first move. (I guess he might have figured out that without a defined starting position, players can then place the pieces wherever they like and therefore creates a lot of randomness that leads to noise)

Encephalon – Simplicity to complexity to simplicity to complexity to simplicity to… wait, I lost count… Encephalon is a two player strategy game using customizable card as chess pieces. The game start off with an empty board and each turn you will get two new cards to lay on the board.
With customizable card “pieces” that creates a lot of randomness and the game concept that is so confusing it unable players to plan ahead and therefore it didn’t allow the player to even think or play strategically.
Noise occurred

And we dare to call it a strategy game… Shame on us!

So, can you imagine how it would play? Try on a few seconds and your brain will go bzzzz…. *wrecked* There were definitely a lot of noise in the game.

*Pushing back sleeves up to elbow level*

*Cracks knuckles*

“Time to kick some noise!”

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January 9, 2007 - Posted by | Encephalon, Game Design

5 Comments »

  1. i have those sliders too!

    Comment by shelly | January 19, 2007 | Reply

  2. I dont understand the comment by shelly. Anyone do?

    Comment by Slade | January 19, 2007 | Reply

  3. […] the previous post, I’ve explained noise in game design but what kinda noise does Encephalon have […]

    Pingback by Noise Vs Iris: Battle Start! « Breaking Through | January 19, 2007 | Reply

  4. […] the previous post, I’ve explained noise in game design but what kinda noise does Encephalon have […]

    Pingback by Fighting Noise? « Hatchlings Games | January 19, 2007 | Reply

  5. Please update your link for this and “fighting noise”.

    Since you changed the time for the post, the URL of the post changes as well.

    Comment by Slade | January 21, 2007 | Reply


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