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How Perlin's Law Makes Gaming Credible 59

simoniker writes "Veteran game designer Ernest Adams has posted a new column on 'Perlin's Law' which suggests that all books, movies, and games have a 'credibility budget'. For games, both the designer and the player decide what happens: '...the story itself can only tolerate a certain amount of improbability before the credibility budget is exhausted, and the story is ruined.' According to this new law, named after Ken Perlin, who gave birth to the concept, games should not be infinitely wide-ranging or allow the player to do anything he wants."
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How Perlin's Law Makes Gaming Credible

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  • by rodentia ( 102779 ) on Friday June 02, 2006 @02:55PM (#15456560)
    . . .how do we balance the player's desire for freedom with the designer's desire to tell a consistent, coherent story. . . .

    This tension is an essential element of classical (Freudian) phychology. Substitute the terms Id and Ego for player and designer, respectively. Indeed, in a post-structuralist view (informed by Lacan), any discourse structured as a narrative (that is, nearly all, internal or external), Perlin's Law offers interpretive value. For example, a measure of the bounds of normativity for an internal discourse (whether you consider yourself crazy) is a function of Perlin's Law over the constituent terms of that internal narrative.

    Further study: Can we apply the concept to shared narratives like normative social behavior or political formation? Is the concept redundant with the contributions of the Frankfurt School?

    Extra credit: Does this idea offer a description of the development of political reaction in response to sharply divergent, even orthogonal, shared narratives (q.v.--the Bush team vs. *the reality-based community*)? Is it persuasive?

    Indeed, credibility has been a consistent focus of Rhetoric since the inception of the Western cultural tradition. Perhaps Mr. Perlin's own modesty should prevail over the enthusiasms of the geek community in general and Mr. Adams in particular?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 02, 2006 @03:11PM (#15456753)
    Err...well...most evidence suggests that the universe IS a quantum state machine, if a rather complex one, so I don't know what you're up on about.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling