Day 24 - Lens 14: The Lens of the Problem Statement
To use this lens, think of your game as the solution to the problem. Ask yourself these questions:
What problem, or problems, am I really trying to solve?
The top level mechanical problem I was trying to solve was real time play. The game started out as an attempt to simulate that kind of play as a paper prototype for a digital (AR) game. The rest of the gameplay arose to support the primary mechanic of simultaneous movement and action.
The secondary problem that immediately presented itself was how to make game with deep strategy when everything is so dynamic.
The other initial problem I was trying to address with the AR game was having meaningful interaction with other players. I was frustrated by Ingress and the lack of interaction between the players. That was the impetus behind having direct player interaction be based on the prisoners dilemma.
There may be deeper theme 'problems' and a Lense 113 secret purpose that the game has become aligned with, but those came after the core problem that caused the game to happen.
Have I been making assumptions about this game that have nothing to do with its true purpose?
I think I do that all the time. I'm getting better about it, not the making assumptions, but at regularly looking at the game and stripping away things that are not part of solving the core problems.
Is a game really the best solution? Why?
Well, given that making a game is part of the problem statement it's a circular question, but is making a board game the solution? I think no. Making the board game is good, and something I want to do, but I would like one day to get back to the AR game and apply the solution proved out by the board game to THAT problem.
How will I be able to tell if the problem is solved?
I ask myself these questions with every change and play test:
Does it work?
Is it fun?
Is it deep?
Is it hard?