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World Games

 

Disciplines > Game Design > Types of Game > World Games

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

World games are based in a distinct 'world', where rules may be similar or different to those in the 'real world'.

Rules that may vary include:

  • Laws of physics, such as gravity, light, etc.
  • Governmental laws on what is allowed and how these are enforced.
  • The existence and rules of magic or other metaphysical 'forces'.
  • Social norms and rules.
  • Historical context, such as games set in the Earth's past.

Within the worlds, players can take on a wide variety of roles, from president to pig farmer. They may even act as different species, including aliens and animals.

Other characters in the world may be a part of the game or act as programmed incidental support characters who respond in predetermined ways. Major other characters may be played by other people, who can act with, against or independently of the player.

Example

Dungeons and Dragons is set in a world of magic, based largely on Tolkein's 'Lord of the Rings'.

Historical wargaming re-enacts famous battles from the past.

Computer role-play games may include those based on magic, science-fiction, history, etc.

Discussion

World games are often based on an escapist principle, where players can escape the drudgery of this world to a place where they can be heroes, villains and conquerors. In this way they can fulfil dreams that are impossible in their daily lives.

In some sense, many games are world games as the rules creates a boundary within which certain laws apply. Chess, for example is played in the world of the board, the pieces and the rules.

Good world games have a limited set of rules that are also complex enough to feel 'real'. The rules should also act consistently with one another to give an environment that, although sometimes mystifying, is ultimately understandable.

Within worlds, the player interacts with things and people. They may be affected by natural forces such as rain and earthquakes, or by the actions of other characters. Keeping a steady stream of interesting and challenging interaction is an important design consideration.

See also

 

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