how to print barcode in vb.net 2008 The Art of Computer Game Design in Software

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The Art of Computer Game Design
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mix offensive and defensive strategies for each player. This way, each player gets to attack and to defend. What is more important, players can trade off defensive needs against offensive opportunities. Triangular relationships automatically spring from such situations. The essence of the value of triangularity lies in its indirection. A binary relationship makes direct conflict unavoidable; the antagonists must approach and attack each other through direct means. These direct approaches are obvious and expected; for this reason such games often degenerate into tedious exercises following a narrow script. A triangular relationship allows each player indirect methods of approach. Such an indirect approach always allows a far richer and subtler interaction.
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Actors and Indirect Relationships
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Indirection is the essence of the value of triangularity to game design. Indirection is itself an important element to consider, for triangularity is only the most rudimentary expression of indirection. We can take the concept of indirection further than triangularity. Most games provide a direct relationship between opponents, as shown in the following diagram: Since the opponent is the only obstacle facing the player, the simplest and most obvious resolution of the conflict is to destroy the opponent. This is why so many of these direct games are so violent. Triangularity, on the other hand, provides some indirection in the relationship: With triangularity, each opponent can get at the other through the third party. The third party can be a passive agent, a weakly active one, or a full-fledged player. However, it s tough enough getting two people together for a game, much less three; therefore the third agent is often played by a computer-generated actor. An actor, as defined here, is not the same as an opponent. An actor follows a simple script; it has no guiding intelligence or purpose of its own. For example, the saucer in BATTLEZONE is an actor. Its script calls for it to drift around the battlefield without actively participating in the battle. Its function is distraction, a very weak role for an actor to play. The actor concept allows us to understand a higher level of indirection, diagrammatically represented as follows: In this arrangement, the players do not battle each other directly; they control actors who engage in direct conflict. A good example of this scheme is shown in the game ROBOTWAR by Muse Software. In this game, each player controls a killer robot. The player writes a detailed script (a short program) for his robot; this script will be used by the robot in a gladiatorial contest. The game thus removes the players from direct conflict and substitutes robot-actors as combatants. Each player is clearly identified with his own robot. This form of indirection is unsuccessful because the conflict itself remains direct; moreover, the player is removed from the conflict and forced to sit on the sidelines. I therefore see this form of indirection as an unsuccessful transitional stage. The next level of indirection is shown in a very clever boardgame design by Jim Dunnigan, BATTLE FOR GERMANY. This game concerns the invasion of Germany in 1945. This was obviously
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The Art of Computer Game Design
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an uneven struggle, for the Germans were simultaneously fighting the Russians in the east and the Anglo-Americans in the west. Uneven struggles make frustrating games. Dunnigan s solution was to split both sides. One player controls the Russians and the west-front Germans; the other controls the Anglo-Americans and the east-front Germans. Thus, each player is both invader and defender: Neither player identifies directly with the invaders or the Germans; the two combatants have lost their identities and are now actors. The highest expression of indirection I have seen is Dunnigan s RUSSIAN CIVIL WAR game. This boardgame covers the civil war between the Reds and the Whites. Dunnigan s brilliant approach was to completely dissolve any identification between player and combatant. Each player receives some Red armies and some White armies. During the course of the game, the player uses his Red armies to attack and destroy other players White armies. He uses his White armies to attack and destroy other players Red armies. The end of the game comes when one side, Red or White, is annihilated. The winner is then the player most identifiable with the victorious army (i.e., with the largest pile of loser s bodies and the smallest pile of winner s bodies). The indirection of this game is truly impressive. The two combatants are in no way identifiable with any individual until very late in the game. They are actors; Red and White battle without human manifestation even though they are played by human players. There is only one limitation to this design: the system requires more than two players to work effectively. Nevertheless, such highly indirect player-to-player architectures provide many fascinating opportunities for game design. Direct player-to-player relationships can only be applied to direct conflicts such as war. Direct conflicts tend to be violent and destructive; for this reason, society discourages direct conflicts. Yet conflict remains in our lives, taking more subtle and indirect forms. We fight our real-world battles with smiles, distant allies, pressure, and co-operation. Games with direct player-to-player relationships cannot hope to address real human interaction. Only indirect games offer any possibility of designing games that successfully explore the human condition.
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