Tears In Rain

"On Seeing Patterns in noise, leveraging human expectations and biases, and ultimately creating unique experiences through parameterized randomness and verbosity"

Seeing Patterns

When viewing the language of game design from a high art perspective, we often desire to control and direct the player to drive them in a desirable direction that provides what is canonically the best desired experience. We offer our story into the populous and hope that the story itself forces the user to reflect in on themselves as though they were to have just consumed a classic form of non-interactive media. We are given the ultimate power here, in that we can create worlds and offer these worlds for consumption, and too often that power is squandered with the temptation of interaction-as-hightened-drama being the motivating force for the user.

Human Expectations

Scripted experiences provide derivitave meaning to the user, in that they are forced to experience the creators creative vision. In by-gone and current eras this was the de facto way to experience fiction. Why then, when we have the ability to provide full worlds to individuals is the default to provide the ultimately limited interpreted experience of a linear narrative? Can we not give the user the tools to craft their own? Of course we can.

Parameterized Randomness

Given any world conception we can imagine a series of sources of noise that can provide a unique interaction within the world itself that forces the user to touch what can, by any stretch of univeral randomness, be considered unique, be it landscape variance, any given property of any object (as banal as color, out to esoteric notions of skill and stat bonuses), and in fact the objects themselves.


If we are to give the user a world in which to live this experience, its near mandatory to give that user a toolset in which to handle their portion of interaction as they see fit. In this landscape, its often desirable to burden the user with the openness of possibilities available to them. This forces the user to evaluate every decision they make as the direct result of both what the world has forced upon them, but also along the vector of how they can respond that provides either the desirable narrative or the most desired outcome (e.g. survival of any given situation). In the realm of choice making in a constructed environment, given the idea that many choices can be made in an impactful way at any given time, it is important that the user is always presented with enough information to make the most correct decision to suit their goals at all times. The prospect of this is largely untennable in highly designed systems, displaying large amounts of potentially related information without necessarily the known amount or heirarchy thereof is mostly and ostensibly impossible.

Display layers

So, if we desire for users to not be tied down by our notions of narrative, freely able to make choices in a world of our construction, and provide them with the requisite information, we are left with a very tough decision here. How do you show a user that all of this is true, and then furthermore make it usable for them to act upon? A distilate of visual communication is almost a requisite to convey complex information forms to individuals in the midst of your constructed experience. It just so happens that, we as humanity, can eat our cake and have it too, as we have already invented a very pure form of visual communication in letterforms.


Given the accessibility of the medium, the extensibility of the experience, and the overall utility of offsetting classic game degsign principles to chance, we can now hand over the world onto our users and allow them to craft a story in their own image. These unique events are inherintly personal and fleeting. Like tears in rain.