Developing the Mechanics of Plusminus: Designing for Emergence and Control in a Physics-Based Game

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dc.contributor Aalto-yliopisto fi
dc.contributor Aalto University en
dc.contributor.advisor Hämäläinen, Perttu
dc.contributor.author Toikka, Juuso
dc.date.accessioned 2019-08-25T15:06:08Z
dc.date.available 2019-08-25T15:06:08Z
dc.date.issued 2019-08-19
dc.identifier.uri https://aaltodoc.aalto.fi/handle/123456789/39850
dc.description.abstract “Plusminus” is a single-player action-puzzle-adventure game about magnetism, with mechanics developed to promote emergent gameplay. Agency, the ability to make choices, is an important factor in players’ enjoyment of games, and emergent gameplay can facilitate such agency. However, as emergence often arises in unexpected ways, it can also result in players feeling a lack of control and reduced agency. Furthermore, players expect physics in games to act consistently, according to the world around us, but their understanding and expectations of some physical phenomena like magentism may vary and be incomplete. This makes designing mechanics that promote emergence in a physics-based game challenging. In “Plusminus”, we augmented a physics system with magnetism, and gave players meaningful control over it, to promote emergent gameplay and agency. The thesis contributes an approximate model of magnetic forces that ensures stable simulation, game design flexibility, and still conforms well enough to player expectations. More specifically, 1) to enable the player to turn objects into monopole magnets of positive or negative polarity, we simulate Coulomb forces between charged particles and shells, instead of actual magnetic fields. 2) To ensure stable simulation and allow the player to better anticipate simulation behaviour, each magnet has a maximum “field radius” visualised as a transparent bubble, and two magnets only attract or repel each other if their field bubbles intersect. This allows players and level designers to initiate and prevent interactions in a precise manner, and also prevents objects in separate game areas from affecting each other uncontrollably. 3) To ensure that forces produce stable and controllable interactions regardless of scale, the forces are computed such that the maximum possible accelerations produced between two magnets depends only on the mass ratio between them, as opposed to a combination of masses and magnetic charges. This reduces the number of variables that need balancing, making it easier to achieve a stable simulation. The findings improved player controllability while maintaining opportunities for emergence, in a way that matches player expectations of physics. en
dc.format.extent 62
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.title Developing the Mechanics of Plusminus: Designing for Emergence and Control in a Physics-Based Game en
dc.type G2 Pro gradu, diplomityö fi
dc.contributor.school Perustieteiden korkeakoulu fi
dc.subject.keyword emergence en
dc.subject.keyword games en
dc.subject.keyword physics-based en
dc.subject.keyword agency en
dc.subject.keyword mechanics en
dc.identifier.urn URN:NBN:fi:aalto-201908254911
dc.programme.major Game Design and Production fi
dc.programme.mcode SCI3046 fi
dc.type.ontasot Master's thesis en
dc.type.ontasot Diplomityö fi
dc.contributor.supervisor Hämäläinen, Perttu
dc.programme Master’s Programme in Computer, Communication and Information Sciences fi
local.aalto.electroniconly yes
local.aalto.openaccess yes


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