Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Day 109 FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 109 - Lens 62: The Lens of Transparency
The ideal interface becomes invisible to the player letting the player's imagination be completely immersed in the game world. To ensure invisibility, ask yourself these questions:

Does the interface let the players do what they want?
Well, within the constraints of the rules the physical interface of the game works well to allow the players to pursue gameplay. I think that it's interesting to consider that in a board game the 'virtual interface is the player's perception and the world is their model of the game in their brain. So in a six player game there are six copies of the game that must be kept in sync by the physical interface of the board sitting between them!

Do new players find the interface intuitive?
The introductory section of the game shows the players all the ways that they can manipulate the game and what all of the abstractions are. While I have had players find some of the subtleties of the game complex, the basic interface that they arise from is usually easily grasped.

Can players learn to use it without thinking?
Yes, by the end of the first game most if not all players are taking all of the possible actions quickly and correctly to further their in game goals.

Can players continue to use the interface during stressful situations?
Yes, and. Yes, players can make all of the required moves under pressure, but the most stressful aspect of the game, the challenges, are broken out into a non-timed format both drawing dramatic tension from them and allowing the player more space to deal with the more complex interactions.

Does something confuse players about the interface? On which of the six interface arrows is it happening?
I think the most confusing aspect of the interface is that it exists for all six players and they must find their own interface among the aggregate interface that is the board. Also they must decode both the state of the overall game and what the state of each player is from the overall interface space. This is complication on the physical output to player arrow.

Do players feel a sense of immersion when using the interface?
I think that the thematic nature of the physical interface draws players into the game compensating for the abstract format. Also the simple interface (rules and pieces) of the game and the real-time play put the players into a state of focus that is different than what they are used to for a game.