根据Burgun的理论，《Morgan’s Raid》是一个谜题，因为其中并不存在随机性：游戏体验会因为玩家重复一系列决策而不断被复制。谜题的目标便是提高分数，这便是游戏的主题，就像Morgan的名声。玩家对于名声的影响并不能立即清楚地呈现出来：玩家必须在看到综合效应前选择所有的顺序，尽管Basil Duke会提供主题提示。
值得注意的是，最初关于《Morgan’s Raid》的Spring Team设计包含了联邦军队（游戏邦注：不断追逐着Morgan）更有趣的行为，便是这些内容使这个项目变成了一款游戏。最初的计划是让联邦军队的移动与Morgan一样，让他们为了抓获玩家而在每个城镇做出一些启发式的决策。然而因为时间限制，我们简化了联邦军队的行为，确保他们与Morgan保持一个固定的距离。玩家的决定将改变这一距离，但不管怎样都是基于固定且可预测的方式。
与《Morgan’s Raid》一样，《Museum Assistant》也经历了设计改变，即在Burgun层级中从游戏变成了谜题。我在《MeaningfulPlay》论文中描述了这一设计的细节，但因为其中还包含了输入和输出随机性系统，所以即使是同样的游戏行动系列也会创造出不同的结果。但是在重新设计时，我们发现自己需要一个更棒的游戏体验，这能够有效平衡野心勃勃的初始设计（即已经超出了我们预先的范围）。基于Burgun的层级，该团队的目标是创造一个有趣的谜题而不是一款糟糕的游戏。
在过去几年里我将许多努力都投向严肃游戏中。我所说的严肃游戏是指那些会给玩家会带来特殊的现实影响的游戏。例如，《Museum Assistant》便是致力于鼓励玩家思考如何收集和组织。使用Burgun的理论去分析学生们的项目创造了一个有趣的矛盾：严肃游戏无需成为“游戏”。但是尽管《Museum Assistant》被划分为谜题，它却因为没能满足设计的约束条件从而未取得有效的成功。这是因为严肃游戏的现实约束条件非常苛刻。如果这些项目是游戏的话，我们很难明确它们是否满足了自己的目标，因为这将从根本上改变它们。举个例子来说，如果《Morgan’s Raid》的地图是随机的，它便是一款更棒的游戏，但这却违背了使用玩家所熟悉的真正的印第安纳州地形的目标。
《Morgan’s Raid》和《Museum Assistant》的团队都意识到存在创造更出色的游戏的机遇—-或通过仔细阅读Burgun的书籍，努力将系统和谜题带进游戏中。在面对时间限制时，这两个团队都删除了随机性，他们知道比起测试谜题，平衡游戏将更费时间。这在团队中是一种共享知识，尽管他们未拥有Burgun那样简洁的语言去表达情感。同样地，《Auralboros》团队也知道我们并不能真正创造一款游戏。需要注意的是，《Equations Squared》是Burgun层级中的游戏，但却不是我定义中的严肃游戏。对于玩家来说，它只是有趣的。它所具有的严肃元素只在于玩家行为的评估中，但这却是魔法圈外的人所进行的评估，并受到分数，徽章和过失的推动。
Applying Burgun’s Lens of Game Design
by Paul Gestwicki
I recently read Keith Burgun’s Game Design Theory, an intriguing manifesto on game design and philosophy. The author argues that reasoned discourse about games requires a shared vocabulary, and to this end, he offers the following hierarchy of interactive systems.
Burgun’s defines a Game as “a system of rules in which agents compete by making ambiguous decisions.” More specifically, these decisions have to be endogenously meaningful in terms of the game mechanics. Whether or not one agrees with his definition is less important, in my opinion, than the fact that a vocabulary helps us move forward in the science of design.1
The hierarchy of interactive systems permits Burgun to explain what he’s not talking about: because he wants to address game design, he can cut out problems of interactive system design, puzzle design, and contest design. Many of his game design recommendations echo what others have to say. However, it’s Burgun’s zealotry that makes his work so valuable: he makes fewer and stronger recommendations. In the introduction, he discusses how he sees his work with relation to other books on game design:
For those who might defend these books by saying that they’re only giving readers wiggle room or that they’re allowing readers to come to their own conclusions about what games are: readers do not explicitly need to be given permission to do this. Thinking persons will come to their own conclusions, regardless of whether they read something wishy-washy, or something pointed… (Introduction, page xx)
This sets the tone for the rest of his book. He is unapologetic about his philosophy of game design and leaves it to the reader to decide whether they agree or not. In fact, I don’t think anyone who is serious about game design could read the book without being either uplifted or offended.
In an attempt to better understand Burgun’s philosophy, I decided to apply his lens to some of my work and my students’ projects. The following analyses assume familiarity with his philosophy, and while this is best presented in the book, there is an overview in the freely-available Gamasutra article, What Makes a Game?
According to Burgun’s lens, Morgan’s Raid is a Puzzle because there is no randomness: a play experience can always be replicated by repeating a series of decisions. The goal of the puzzle is to maximize score, which is themed in the game as Morgan’s reputation. The impact of a player’s raiding decisions on reputation are not immediately clear: a player must choose all of his orders prior to seeing their combined effect, although Basil Duke does provide thematic hints.
Basil Duke informs the player that he will help explain the puzzle.
There must be a series of decisions that maximizes reputation, but no one on the development team knows what it is. From our observations, groups of players will gladly make it a contest to see who gets the highest score, although their interest in the game wanes well before anyone finds the optimal path.
It is interesting to note that the original Spring Team design for Morgan’s Raid involved more interesting behavior of the Union troops who were chasing Morgan, such that this would have made the project a Game. The original plan was for the Union’s movement to be like Morgan’s, making heuristic decisions in each town in an attempt to capture the player. However, working within our time constraints, we simplified the Union behavior to make them a fixed integer distance from Morgan. This distance is modified by player’s decisions but in a fixed and predictable way.
Museum Assistant: Design an Exhibit
Museum Assistant is also a puzzle, albeit one with multiple solutions. Players get themed feedback based on the solution chosen; for example, creating an exhibit with African scientific artifacts from three different periods yields the generated exhibit title, “African Science through the Ages.” The themes provide reason for players to try alternate paths, but from a mechanics point of view, one solution is as good as any other.
As with Morgan’s Raid, Museum Assistant underwent a design change that resulted in its moving from Game to Puzzle on Burgun’s hierarchy. Details of this design are described in my MeaningfulPlay paper, but to summarize, there were systems of input and output randomness that made it so the same series of game actions could produce different results. However, in the major redesign we agreed that we needed one good play experience, and that balancing the ambitious original design was outside of our scope. In terms of Burgun’s hierarchy, the team decided to make a good Puzzle rather than a bad Game.
While the previous two examples are student work, Equations Squared is my own, and it’s certainly a Game. The player makes strategic decisions about placement of digits and operations, in terms of which to use and where to place them. Not all sequences are legal equations, and the scoring system rewards more complex equations. There is input randomness: the sequence of digits and operations you receive is different each time you play the game, so you very likely will never play the same game twice.
Auralboros is an experimental make-your-own-rhythm-game toy. You can make the experience as simple, as challenging, or as ridiculous as you want. To this end, Auralboros is simply an Interactive System.
Auralboros encourages players to make their own Contests out of matching keystrokes in rhythm. The system rewards such behavior with visual feedback. There’s no ambiguous decisions: you either make and match rhythms or you don’t. In fact, a successful strategy to seeing all the visual bells-and-whistles is to spam a single key—a useful debugging technique discovered by co-developer Ryan Thompson. However, this strategy is not much fun, as you end up just making a bad Contest.
I still occasionally install and play Every Extend (though it seems the original download site is now gone), usually after explaining to students what an amazing experience it is. EEClone is my academic knockoff, designed to explore and teach how design patterns occur in game engine software.
Like its inspiration and namesake, EEClone is a Game. The timing and orientation of incoming obstacles is not known, and the player has to make meaningful and ambiguous decisions about maneuvering and the timing of explosions in order to succeed. Of all these analyses, this one is the simplest, but it also shows how things that are obviously Games fit nicely into the hierarchy.
Most of my effort the past few years has been on serious games. As I use the term, serious games are those that are designed to have a particular real-world impact on the player. For example, Museum Assistant is designed to encourage players to think about collecting and curating. Applying Burgun’s lens to my students’ projects gives rise to an intriguing contradiction: serious games need not be “games” at all. However, Museum Assistant is no less successful in meeting its design constraints for its being classified a Puzzle. This is because the real constraint for serious games is serious, not game. It is difficult to say whether or not these projects would better meet their goals (however one defines “better”) if they were Games, because this would fundamentally change them. For example, we know that Morgan’s Raid could be a better Game if the maps were randomized, but this violates the goal of familiarizing the player with actual Indiana geography.3
The Morgan’s Raid and Museum Assistant teams recognized that there were opportunities to make a better game—or from a strict reading of Burgun, to make Systems and Puzzles into Games. Both teams eliminated randomness in the face of time constraints, knowing that balancing games would be much more time-consuming than testing puzzles. This was shared knowledge among the team, although they didn’t have Burgun’s concise language to communicate the sentiment. In a similar vein, the Auralboros team was aware that we weren’t really making a game at all. It is interesting to note that Equations Squared is a Game by Burgun’s hierarchy, but it is not a serious game by my own definition. For the player, it is simply supposed to be fun. The serious aspect of it is in the assessment of player’s behavior, an assessment conducted by someone outside the magic circle but facilitated by score, badges, and demerits.
Applying Burgun’s lens to these projects has helped me to understand his philosophy. However, since much of his philosophy is prescriptive, there is not much extrinsic value in applying the lens to completed projects. That is, I do not think I gained any new insight into these projects, but then again, as an academic, I’ve already studied them inside and out. I do look forward to having Burgun’s philosophy in my utility belt for future design projects, particularly as a lens for identifying and discussing decisions that could alter a project’s position in the hierarchy. Next semester, I will be leading an experimental six-credit interdisciplinary game design and development studio, and you can be sure I’ll try to keep up my reflective practice here on the blog.（source：blogspot）