These are some of the papers I have written during my studies. They represent my views and opinions on various subjects related to gaming.
Textual Analysis - Warhammer : Dark Omen
A textual analysis of the 1998 computer game Dark Omen, this paper studies the strengths and weaknesses of the real time tactics genre, and how this differed to other similar titles of its era.
I believe what made the real time tactics genre initially successful was the focus on defense, since many strategy players generally enjoy defending and minimizing casualties. What most strategy games offer is the opposite - armies are an expendable commodity, and games are won through economic growth. Thus the real time tactics genre emerged with a completely different focus: limited resources, units subject to morale, and able to accumulate experience. This made the player's army into strategic resources rather than expendable commodities.
Textual Analysis - Planetside
A study of the massively multiplayer online shooter game Planetside, this paper focuses on some of the unique features offered by the game, explaining their advantages in detail, and describing ways in which they can be incorporated into other genres.
Analysing Planetside reveals how much potential MMORPG, FPS and Strategy games fail to use. A progression system that still allows characters of every level to play together, a support and merit system rewarding teamwork, and units with unique roles countering each other through tactical advantages rather than multipliers set in stone with a rock-paper-scissors system.
Social Aspects of Gaming
An academic essay studying how computer gaming has evolved into a solitary act in recent times, and how LAN parties and hotseat games can still provide opportunities for gamers to socialise in person. The essay emphasises LAN gaming, and aims to point out game features that create a more social gaming environment.
Over the short history of gaming, games have evolved from multiplayer single machine games into singleplayer single machine games, which have then evolved into multiplayer multi machine games. During this process, as the internet became the main method of hosting multiplayer matches, the essence of what makes gaming social was lost: meeting with friends to play and laugh together.
Sources of Fun in Games
An academic essay seeking to quantify the ways in which players can have fun while playing games. It first studies the four player models proposed by Richard Bartle, taking a look at what kinds of gameplay these players ask for, and further expands the subject by examining secondary factors that reduce or amplify the amount of pleasure a player can get out of the game.
What makes us play games? Fun. The primary defining feature of games is that they are played to have fun. But what makes a game fun? What makes people enjoy spending countless hours on an activity with no material gain? Unfortunately, there is no single answer to this question. Fortunately, all answers to this question are valid, since fun is subjective. What this essay aims to accomplish is to quantify the many aspects in which games can be fun.
A Study on Repetition and Causes of Addictive Gameplay
A master's dissertation on repetition and addiction in computer games. It is accompanied by a practical component, the game Stopwatch, listed on the Designs page. It describes how Stopwatch mimics other games of various genres, and seeks to underline ways in which repetitive gameplay can become addictive under the correct circumstances. It is significantly longer compared to the other written essays, due to the nature of the assignment.
Stopwatch is based on one simple game mechanic: a progress bar. It increases, it shows the player's progress, and it allows the player to feel rewarded for his work. Players can clearly see that they are advancing, as they play. The constant process of setting a goal, achieving it, and setting a new goal, is the foundation of most modern games. Most games try to conceal this with immersive graphics or a complicated storyline to prevent their players from learning how simple the game is, and see how futile it is to pursue the next goal. In Stopwatch's case, the process is clearly visible, and players are fully aware of the futility of their actions...