Monday, March 31, 2014
Here is a terrific short piece on optimal design. The writer is John Rawls, one of the great philosophers in the 20th century. The discussion is about baseball and so you might dismiss the observations as more in the vein of parody than serious reflection. This, I believe, would be a mistake. There are serious points here about how rules can be considered wrt to their optimal game design. Note that the optimality refers to how humans are built (compare: minimality in the context of bounded content addressable memory) and how games entertain (compare: how grammars are used). How the rules have not changed over time (stable) (compare: UG not changed since humans first hit the scene) and apply to all kinds of people (universal). There is also discussion of how easy it is to use the rules in game situations (i.e. using these rules in actual play is easy) (compare: conditions that must be specified to be usable at all). At any rate, I leave the analogies with minimalist principles to you dear readers. Many of you will just laugh this off, regarding anything that cannot be mathematically defined as meaningless and a waste of time. This Rawlsian meditation is not for them. For the rest of you, enjoy it. It's fun.