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6:24pm on Tuesday, 4th December, 2012:

On the Statute Book


For today's CE317 class, I had the students look at The Laws of Online Gaming collected ages ago by Raph Koster and living on his web site. The idea was for them to work in groups to come up with the five best laws (where they got to define what "best" meant, so long as it was in a design context).

OK, so out of the 41 students that were supposed to show up, only 8 actually did; that was enough for two groups, though, so we did get some opportunity for different results. There were two laws where their opinions intersected, though: Online game economies are hard and Hanarra's Laws. The others they went for were Modes of expression, Is it a game? and Identity for one group, and Never trust the client, A corollary to Elmqvist's Law and John Janke's Law for the other. These were pretty good choices that they were able to defend, although it was noticeable that the first group had a hard time finding 5 laws they liked and the second group had a hard time reducing the laws they liked to 5 (some of the first group's choices were close contenders, too).

My own five favourites are ones that are undeniably true but that I've seen slippage with in recent years. I'll list them in full, as they're actually quite short and pithy:

It's gratifying to know that so many olde worlde observations are still applicable today. However, it's a little sad that so many designers seem not to realise they're still applicable today...

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Copyright © 2012 Richard Bartle (richard@mud.co.uk).