Monday, September 12, 2005

The Setup

Laying Out the Basics

This isn't my Round Table post, not yet. But it explains in small detail the tack I'll be taking.

I must make a few Postulates (I was tempted to call them concessions) in order to participate, and will do my best wherever possible to clarify terms -- to get at what I mean if I suspect my meaning might not be gotten.

The following are necessary to make a coherent argument, but do not necessarily represent a cemented ideology. If that's too muddy, basically I'm playing a bit of Devil's Advocate and trying to look through genre-stained eyes. I still think the term is pretty much bunk -- though possibly useful bunk -- and find myself more and more dissatisfied with its existence as a term the more I mull it over.

Postulate 1: Game genres actually exist; Insofar as elements are joined beneath a category, and that category is referred to as a genre. Said elements may include content, mechanics, core designs and other bits of a game that might not be enumerated in this list (but must be enumerated when establishing the genre).

The difficulty with defining game genre has been explored thoroughly on many other sites. My aim in this post is not to re-tread that ground.

Postulate 2: Once common elements are established and grouped, then the genre must maintain consistency. Other elements may be added, but the game must retain all of the originally-stated elements of its makeup to fall into its original genre.

For example, Corvus' DRPG rules lay out what a game must have in order to be considered under his created category.

If a game lacks even one element, the genre is deflated -- one could still make a case, but under the auspices of this postulate that case is nullified.

Postulate 3: Cross-genres will only be generated if it can be shown that there is significant overlap and transfer of elements from a core list. Slapping a level system on a military-themed shooter does not render it an FPS-RPG. In this case it would be an FPS with slight RPG-ish mechanics.

This requires clear rules determining when to consider genres "crossed":
1. At least 75% of the elements of one genre.
2. At least 35% of the elements from contributing genres.
3. Only elements which are not common to each genre will count toward the percentage (yes, this means "true" cross-genres might be extremely rare -- that's not my problem).

An Example: Heed me, naysayers. I don't care if you take issue with the following genre or its associated elements. I create the genre heading, I define the elements and thenceforth it becomes an impenetrable bunker resistant to your tut-tuts. I realize that my argument will only be true when arguing from my own definitions -- duh. That is the point.

--Racing Games--
1. The greater majority of gameplay must consist of piloting some kind of vehicle.
2. The player must be in competition with at least one other vehicle.
3. The player must navigate some kind of course.
4. Time and/or position will be the factor in determining the player's final standing.

That's the example definition. So using my own roles, if I wished to seed another genre with this one, I'd have to pick two of its elements. Seems reasonable.

Maybe this is a model I'll develop on the side. An alternative way to look at things. A rickety framework for hanging whatever I find on its crossbeams.

Stay tuned for the Round Table post, assuming it gets finished.

Perhaps the roaches will emerge and tap it out on my keyboard, like vermin-infested shoemaker gnomes; Except internet-savvy and willing to ghost-write.

1 comment:

Corvus said...

Are you saying gnomes aren't internet savvy?!


Nice trailer, I'm looking forward to the feature.