[MUD-Dev] [DGN] The psychology of random numbers

Paolo Piselli ppiselli at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 8 10:36:59 CET 2004

--- "Ted L. Chen" <tedlchen at yahoo.com> wrote:

>   just looking for other possibilities here.

I think one case where players could inherit more realistic
expectations of the "win distribution" would be from real-world
raffles or lotteries.  If I'm thinking of my 255 as a die-roll
versus your 240, then of course I assume that I will win, but if I'm
thinking of of my 255 as number-of-raffle-tickets-held versus your
240, then I could only assume that I have a slightly better chance
of winning the raffle than you.

The trick is to somehow modify the user's understanding of the game
mechanic such that it is more raffle-like than die-like.  Of course
one way would be to simply indicate the chance of an action's
success ahead of time ala Final Fantasy Tactics.  But if my goal
were to bring user expectations more in line with the reality of the
game mechanics, my design choice would be to reveal the mechanics in
an abstract graphical format that would still save some of the
"mystery".  But we would have to be careful in formulating a
representation that gives the player the right idea.

For instance, if we use show two "power-meters" side-by-side that
represent our relative strengths, then there is an implication that
our strengths are two distinct quantities being compared, and the
expectation might be that the longer bar indicates victory.  Now
consider one power-meter separated into two regions whose
proportions match our relative strengths, the visual catenation of
our strengths implies that there is one space within which the
outcome will be determined, and we each own a similarly sized piece
of that space.  If we wanted to represent the mechanics a bit more,
then we could plot the "die-roll" made by the system on this
unified-power-meter to strengthen the player's notion of "the result
just happened to land in his territory this time".


Paolo Piselli
ppiselli at yahoo.com
www.piselli.com , www.bestcoastswing.com
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