Kelgray and Beyond

int game_engine(void) {

Video Game Influenced Psychology

Well it’s been a while I know, but I am indeed alive, just busy with SAIT, design, spinning, and learning XNA Games Studio Express to use with Crowded Games, but I’ve been hit with inspiration and I needed a place to voice my opinions so I’m back with the bloging. What I’ve been thinking about is the reasons that my behaviour follows certain patterns, and how those behaviours came to be. More specifically, I noticed that I’d been doing a lot of work for school which either wasn’t for marks or which wasn’t due for a long time, even though I did have projects with more pressing deadlines. I first noticed it when I wrote a fairly lengthly response in the Business Relations forums to a post which was optional, but had not yet responded to the one which I was supposed to have done earlier but hadn’t been able to do since I didn’t have access to the forums until just recently.

The two tasks weren’t all that different. They probably took about the same amount of brain power and effort,
and yet I did the less important one before the important one. Once I started thinking about it I began to see all sorts of similar activities. Working on my programming assignment which hasn’t even been assigned yet before the small activity that we were asked to do for next class. In each case I did meet my deadline, but in each case I procrastinated on the more pressing material and focused on the optional things. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do this all the time (I’m not that much of a procrastinator), it only seems to happen in cases where I have plenty of time available before my deadline comes, but in those cases it seems to happen often.

As I explored the question further, I began to see similar behaviour in a lot of my friends and colleagues, though it seemed to be somewhat generational. The baby boomers, for the most part, not only seemed to do things differently, they didn’t even seem to understand why someone would do that. I pondered how this behaviour might have been learned by searching for similar patterns in activities which I partook in during my more formative years, especially ones which people like my parents probably partook in less if at all, and I thought of video games.

Now I’m not talking about all video games. I’m sure my parents visited the arcade more than once in their younger years. What I’m referring to are trends which began to pop up in video games more and more as systems got more advanced and it became easier to make more complex games (and then, unfortunately, less as games become more focused on graphics and less on length and content). More specifically, I’m talking about things such as side quests. Taking RPGs as an example, there are often quests you can complete or items you can find which will improve your character, but which are not essential to the plot. I thought about how these tasks are prioritized by the player. Often in games you cannot go back and complete one or more sidequests after passing a certain point in the main plot (or at least you can’t for a certain length of time, or it becomes a tedious task to travel back to where the quest is, or any other number of barriers which make completing that task inconvenient). So as we go through the games we learn that if we complete the less important tasks first then we will be better equipped to complete the important ones.

And it’s not just limited to RPGs. There are similar traits in many other genres as well. There are secret areas and bonus levels in all sorts of games which apply the same concept: Put off your primary task temporarily in order to make yourself stronger. So we have the same situation for your character in the game as I did with my homework above, but with a slight difference. When you complete a primary task in a game, the task is completed, you do not need to return to it. In academia, for example, if we finish an assignment early then we can still edit it and improve on it until the due date arrives. Regardless of that fact, however, I think that the principles that the games taught our psyches as children are fairly sound. It’s the idea of doing something right the first time, so that less editing needs to be done afterwards, which helps to keep things as clean as possible. By completing smaller and less important tasks before my major ones I’m increasing my knowledge of the subject matter and how to apply what I’ve learned to what I’m doing. Of course editing and polishing still need to be done, but by doing a better job on the first draft it should improve the flow of the structure of the assignment and reduce the amount of assignments which need to be done a second time from scratch.

Just an idea I was playing with today. Let me know if you agree or disagree.

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January 19, 2008 Posted by | Games, Logic, Philosophy, Psychology, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Videogames | 1 Comment

The End of a Theory

I thought I’d finish up my writings on the Charactorial Theory of Roleplaying Games here.  I actually came up with the conclusion a while ago but didn’t really want to admit it.  Truth is, the theory doesn’t work.  No theory works.  Roleplaying games can’t be defined universally, if for no other reason than the definition of ‘game’ itself is still up in the air.  The best theory I can think of as to whether a computer game is a roleplaying game or not, is the subjective theory which would be that a game is a roleplaying game if and only if you(personally)  play a character while you are playing through it.  Which can include many games that would not be thought of as roleplaying games for some people and disclude games that are thought of as roleplaying games for other people.

I hate having to go back to the subjective argument for anything, but unfortunately, in this case, I think that it’s a necessity.  We simply aren’t going to figure it out, and we have to understand that it’s all based on each person’s individual thoughts about a game.

July 11, 2007 Posted by | Epistomology, Games, Logic, Philosophy, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Videogames | Leave a comment

Philosophy of Video Games

Or more accurately, the philosophy of RPG video games.  After spending a small amount of time in Bethesda’s Fallout 3 forums I found a point where two of my passions meet.  Philosophy and videogames. I wanna try to demarcate an RPG and a non-RPG.  Now we could start here with a history of videogames and the RPG genre, but instead let’s start at the present.  Games as they are now.  What makes a game a roleplaying game?

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April 23, 2007 Posted by | Ethics, Fallout, Games, Logic, Philosophy, Roleplaying Games, RPG, Videogames | 5 Comments

And We’re Back

I just realised that the last post I made before taking my little hiatus was about online gaming which must have made me seem like much more of an uber-nerd than I actually am.  I feel the need to state now for the record that my lack in posting new and wonderful news about the universe of Taylor was not due to the fact that I was playing a game with friends while chatting on teamspeak (though that did happen once or twice).  The truth is, I lost my job and therefore lost the time that I normally post.  Fortunately I have a new job now at which I have access to el interneto and so I’m back posting.  So, time for a summary of what I feel is important.

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April 20, 2007 Posted by | Computer Programming, Fallout, Games, Generalities, Kelgray Arena, Logic, programming, Videogames | 1 Comment

A Continuation From Miniskirts

So now I’m stuck in this religious philosophy frame of mind so I figured I’d take my last post a bit further and try to sort some more things out.  In my last post I came down to the idea that in order for the Ontological argument for God’s existence to be true, one must be able to come up with a proof that shows that there is no set of properties that would negate existence and that would be better than existence.

 

So the next question to ask is that if something does not exist, then does it have to fall under the rules of logic?  For instance.  We know that it is not possible for something that exists to be both red and not-red at the same time. (that is to say that it is red and it is not the case that it is red, not simply that it is something other than red for it is possible for something to be red and something other than red at the same time, but it’s not possible for it to be red if it has no red in it).  But is it possible for something that doesn’t exist to be both red and not red?  Since we’re living within the rules of logic we’d have to say that no it can’t as contradictions are not logically possible.  Which means that my original question now becomes somewhat moot for if omniscience and free-will are inconsistent in existence, then surely they would be inconsistent in non-existence as well.

 

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February 17, 2007 Posted by | God, Logic, Metaphysics, Miniskirts, Philosophy | 1 Comment

Miniskirts, Beer, and God

Okay, first of all I got a disclaimer to put out there.  I am not taking a religious view of God in this article.  I’m going to speak of God in a purely philosophical manner.  In no way am I saying that I believe in God or that I do not believe in God.  I’m simply putting the argument out there.

That being said, I’m gonna talk about the miniskirt argument against the Ontological argument for God’s existence.  Now I think a little exposition is in order before I start talking about the argument itself.  The miniskirt argument was first created by myself and Brian Greenslade in the Liberty Lounge at Mount Royal College.  The purpose of coming up with the argument, at the time, was simply so that we’d be able to drink beer in class.  The beer in class argument went something along the lines of, our argument against the Ontological argument for God’s existence deals with miniskirts.   You can’t have in-depth discussions about miniskirts without beer, therefore we necessarily must bring beer to class in order to fully discuss the topics that we are supposed to discuss.  We never actually got around to giving that argument to the prof I don’t think, but it was a damned good idea if I do say so myself.

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February 16, 2007 Posted by | Beer, God, Logic, Metaphysics, Miniskirts, Philosophy, Writings | 13 Comments