The whole works basically, and we will go through each one piecemeal.
I will begin by describing the culmination of my theory, given what I can recall mainly, concerning my own studies of interest, towards the study of "interest". And apart from that bad pun or tongue-twister, I will outline my basic philosophy in regards to good design, and this truth like all others, operates on the same fundamental principle that governs all actions and phenomena in Reality. Knowing this allows you to have an increased understanding of the utility of your resources for creative output and story-telling.
What makes something interesting?
A basic breakdown from there might have some put forth the obvious, that not everyone will agree on liking the same thing. For various reasons, even in the most well-designed and reckoned of ideas, with a very apparent high fun factor, there will be detractors, and I tell you what we do with those: WE IGNORE THEM. You must understand, it is usually the case when this is so, is due to certain unique and personal reasons on the part of these individuals, for instance a certain unreasonable preference for computer games over board games, maybe because the player wants his fun fast and yet satisfying to play, and dislikes the requirement of time most board games demand, given a tight work schedule, that doesn't allow for such extensive use of his preoccupations. I believe this to be usually the case, and once again declare the fundamental grounds of objective taste and preference, that it is indeed universal, for which if not, there will be no understanding the specific trends leaning towards products of what is unqualifiably good design. There is a reason for the tendency of the masses, in the arenas of fashion and fun, but it should be noted by a philosopher such as myself, and I do more than just theorise on game design issues, that such a claim or belief in the idea that the mass is always right, is only true in those aforementioned issues. In many others besides, carried into notion by the invention of democracy, what that is popular has been proven by its own device to be questionable, usually, within the test of time. Of which I have digressed.
That is the foundational basis for good design, to rely on your own sense of good taste, and to not operate on the principle of tailoring to the wishes or preferences of the fanbase, but do listen on those areas where their weight applies. This requires a level of astuteness in observation, that might be held as the wisdom gained from experience. The reason for this is very important, because when you approach the design process this way, you are working towards your own self-qualified standards and have full quality control, and you should have a clearer idea on the art of it, since you have taken it upon yourself as your desired profession, so do not cater to the expectations of others, even if there is a clever and sly reliance on feedback, in using the best of the raw data to further enhance and inspire further progress of any of your works. In those cases, the eyes of more, in the admittedly rarer cases where a player has some of that same astuteness you ascribe to your own judgement, apply in the case from the increased probability gained of large numbers in statistics.
The best designers always rely on themselves, because that's why they qualify as designers in the first place, eh? There is no harm though in integrating the usual good idea that appears on forums once in awhile.
Now, the idea of what is fun and interesting goes together rather intimately, but its genesis in people is usually sporadic at best. There are those like from the West, with their education system based around creativity and free-exploration, developing an exponential relationship with those from a place like my country, where there is barely any ability shown in that regard, together with the lack of articulation I mentioned in a past article. In this way, and have been proven to me many times, Westerners are far more creative than the people here, and as I have implied, it is to do with the trend encouraged by their education system. This brings to mind, an anomaly, being me. How then, in this wasteland of null-innovation, that a pedigree of my degree of creativity, exists? I assure you, like most other questions pertaining to life, I do have the answers for that.
It is primarily to do with what I have revealed previously, I believe, on how I came to understand what they mean by to "meet your Maker". And when I realised that, I realised two things, that first there is a deeper meaning of how "I am my own Maker", which applies to me uniquely, in how a large part of what constitutes my personality and understanding of life, as well as my myriad gifts, are born from the constant development of them through introspection, and the heavy thinking on weighty matters, just like any qualified philosopher, starting almost naturally so from as young as I can recall, almost as breathing is to living. For the second meaning, it has come to me as a spiritual revelation on the seeming true interpretation of what those words really mean, and their relation to the journey of life, the crux of which details the progress of one's personal character, as being "made" either externally or internally in my case, as a response towards larger circumstances surrounding your present situation. That could very well be what it means to be a Truth-Seeker, to "meet your Maker", to become self and God-realised, to know Truth, to become Enlightened, to know God, to be moulded and fashioned by the Father Creator, and to be one with the Dao. Do note, the proper wording should be Dao, not Tao, and the religion is Daoism, not Taoism. I would know, I am half Chinese.
This might just be different approaches to viewing the same thing, the same act, the same phenomena, which is essentially the growth and maturation of a child into an adult, gaining a greater and higher understanding of yourself in the process.
So we come to a point of discussing the factor of fun, of what makes something interesting and fun to play. And I should state a strong point in the contribution to this discussion being that when a game's mechanics, and what I will refer to here as the creative gestalt constructed by the game's interacting synergies, it attains by its many aspects, functions and components, such a high realisation of what it can optimally be, that a certain "genius" is achieved, in how the elements come together to devise such a mind-blowing and intellectually-stimulating experience, that a universal appreciation of the game's fun factor occurs. That is the reason for the mass appeal of good design, that some feel contentious, compared to others. To me at least, which is what I am basing this theory off, it is the intellectual and mental stimulus provided by the elements of a game working together, that first interests me, and then strikes across as truly great design.
Balance and synergy is what creates this cataclysmic reaction close to an orgasm. And since I have implied this to be a "discussion", I am explicitly opening the floor to all those who are interested in the science of what's "interest", to counter back with your fiery claims. I presume largely that there will be none. And we get to another point of interest, in regarding why I call this science to be both conjoined with art and philosophy. For the former, it is simply that the devisings that go on behind the curtain of game design is like a creation of art in its highest expression, almost a skill even, a knack in bringing together the harmony of disparate elements, through the grounding laid by the framework of the rules, with true artistry evident in knowing and detecting issues of balance, and the foresight of determining and guessing the progression of the work, steering and guiding with an intuitive grasp, even before it is completely conceptualised. This requires a level skill that can be considered art, and to come up with a game that is fun and interesting is no easy feat for anybody, not even for those who make it seem easy. For me, it has to be remarked on the pace and form of good ideas in my mind. I have been constantly thinking since I was young, that I have even described and labelled myself by the term of being a "natural thinker", if there ever will be such an application of a term. Thinking about it, is there really ever attributed a skillset to game design, as we do with drawing art or composing music? This by itself defines the art of game design as something far above the natural ease as it comes with other type of creative works, given they are more associated to gifts and talents that one are born with, while game design is a wide-field that has no obvious genetic roots.
And of course, the issue of what fun and interesting really is, has the usual weighings and ambivalence of a multitude of numerous standpoints, that characterise issues of philosophy.
Even then, it is my belief, of the black-and-white of reality, and the extreme and absolute views I hold, within a scale of graduation between both colours, or one the lack of, that even if I do acknowledge the "shades of grey", reaching a definition of one of the absolutes instantly puts it on a separate distinction from the grades before, that cannot be approached without attaining a distinguished quality and attribute, something that we call the "gestalt". And so what I attempt to instruct is that I have strong, stubborn views that there is a definitively, optimally, objective idea towards qualities of good taste, of what is fun and interesting, and even of beauty, that one elusive question that has avoided successful conclusions all the way back to the ancient Greeks. It is this one philosophy that will prove the deciding determinant in my future endeavours, and it is hoped I will offer an influence to the world in regards to those matters of interest, concerned by those who always bothered about those slight shades of nuances, that colour and define the creative realm.
So this is the governing background in regards to my philosophy and theories of the creative art. And I have shown and proven that the nature of game design itself, is both science, art and philosophy. I have to admit there is only so many I can formulate now, given certain impairments that are of course no concern to those seeking to comment, but on that note, the discussion is let loose and opened now. Would love to hear the thoughts to add onto my own repertoire, and I can't help but feel some interaction with my future clientbase would be good promotion of business and rapport.
And so it ends here the basic background of where my creative tendencies come from, and the start, the beginning of my first major project into the international market, Chaos Stone the Board Game. Can we begin now already?
Also, here's something of interest for you, since we are on the topic: