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Math, Programming, and Language Learning

Keill I think you'll find... (241 comments)

(That) Such is the nature of the problems we currently have, that mathematics isn't really a separate language, and should not be considered and labelled as one - instead being merely a consistent part of every other language, that now shares a set of (standard) labels. If this wasn't the case - then every language would not have their own labels for numbers etc., which act as the foundation of mathematics, itself.

(Note: There is a difference between what we perceive (of the universe around us), the information of this, and how we represent such information to allow communication between us. Language is ONLY an application of the latter - any consideration of mathematics being defined as and by the former information and perception, automatically means it has nothing to do with language, directly, at all. Unfortunately, some still like to confuse them.)

Programming languages are applications of both mathematics and logic, whilst often using additional elements of another language, (to make them easier to read by humans), in order to allow computers to function, by transferring the information they require to do so. (Calling them languages is consistent with what language is/how languages function, and not a problem.)

about 6 months ago

Why Should Game Stories Make Sense?

Keill Game vs Puzzle vs Art (169 comments)

Art = creative story-telling
Puzzle = interacting with stories being told
Game = competing by writing your own stories (in a structured/rules-based environment)

Story = an account of things that happen created and stored inside (a person's) memory (bank (see: account)).

about 9 months ago

Microsoft's Attempt To Convert Users From Windows XP Backfires

Keill If only my soundcard had win7 drivers :( (860 comments)

(Edirol DA2496) Am planning to get a removable HDD bay and hot-swap between XP (music) and Win 7 (games/everything else) - but can't even afford that and another HDD atm. :(

about a year ago

Does Grammar Matter Anymore?

Keill Deeper problems... (Grammar != spelling) (878 comments)

The English language is currently suffering from far greater problems with its grammar, and since its spelling has always been somewhat arbitrarily related to its pronunciation, anyway, it's far more malleable, and not so much of a problem, as the more fundamental problem(s) we currently have with the language as a whole.

We have a FAR more fundamental problem underpinning everything else within the English language (at least):

The (most) basic rule(s) of English grammar are not even fully recognised and understood in the first place. If the STUDY of (our) language is not fully consistent with its USE, that is then used as the basis of its TEACHING - how can we expect people to use it consistently if not being taught any better?

Since the most basic rule of English grammar forms the basis and context for everything else - (from parts of speech (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Part_of_speech) to punctuation, tense and plurality etc.) - to exist, without understanding this, we're merely causing more problems instead of solving them.

The reason for the problem is extremely simple - we're basing our perception and understanding of (this) language upon its study - the act of studying it - rather than its use - (the act of using it).


more than 2 years ago

Square Enix Admits Final Fantasy XIV Damaged Brand

Keill Re:The problem is (234 comments)

Yes - but they made a big mistake, due to not recognising WHY it was called a ROLE-PLAYING game in the first place - i.e. WHAT it had that defined it as such a type of game to begin with, in a manner consistent with what the word game itself represents - and as I said, not knowing and understanding the latter, is therefore the ultimate root cause of this problem, of which everything else is merely a symptom. They DID NOT merely replace the pen and paper with the computer, which is the only consistent method of converting and 'capturing' them, and is why we're having problems...

(p.s. how do you get italics? (I hate having to use caps all the time :-/ )).

Types of games are ONLY defined by two things: The medium/media used, and the type of story that can be written.

The pen and paper are a medium, but merely form a TYPE of RPG, rather than a type of game in general. The RULES, systems and mechanics of a game, in and for themselves, are SUBJECTIVE, and cannot be used to define a type of game at all - merely supporting the identity of an individual game based on their application. The type of written story they ENABLE, CAN be used to define a TYPE of game, but that's NOT what has happened here, and is why we're having problems.

It's the act of a PERSON PLAYING THE ROLE OF A CHARACTER (in conjunction with and ADDITION TO any other media, such as dice/pen and paper and whatever systems and mechanisms, such as the D20 system etc.), that defines such an activity as a TYPE of game, based on such a MEDIUM being used.

But such a label is not being perceived, recognised or understood in a manner that is consistent with such use and definitions of types of games in general - which is why it is now used inconsistently and incorrectly, and is causing so many problems. Based on its use outside of computers - the term RPG, should only have a very limited use and meaning for computer games - since computers CANNOT enable such role-play by themselves - they're not powerful enough, yet - which leaves multi-player games using computers as the medium to enable such role-playing BETWEEN PEOPLE as the only possible method by which computer-based RPG's can consistently exist - replacing the pen and paper with the computer.

Unfortunately, by confusing a medium for mechanics, systems and rules, and then trying to shoehorn it into a type of written story that isn't suitable for such a label, a lot of the power, scope and potential of computer games is not being fully recognised and understood. I can define furniture as being only made out of wood all I like - but that doesn't mean I'll be correct in relation to how the rest of the language is used. Unfortunately, if everyone then only starts recognising furniture if it's made out of wood, and not metal, plastic or glass, we're going to lose something...

Furniture is defined by it's function, not the materials or process used to make it.
Games are defined by the behaviour they are designed to enable - which IS their function - not the rules or media used to enable it in the first place.

Although types of furniture can be LABELLED by such materials, and types of games can be LABELLED by the media being used - they have no impact on their definitions AS furniture or games in general, which is why such terms are used in ADDITION to, in COMBINATION WITH, the words game and furniture themselves, optionally, based on their subjective application.

more than 3 years ago

Square Enix Admits Final Fantasy XIV Damaged Brand

Keill Re:The problem is (234 comments)

As I said - it all comes back to the same, underlying problem - the (collective) lack of recognition and understanding of games - what it is the word game itself represents, based on its use (in general) - BOTH in isolation, and in relation to the rest of the language.

This is therefore a matter, (and failure), of LINGUISTICS, that then causes a problem of semantics.

I have a blog on gamasutra to talk about this problem - but since it's merely symptom of a deeper problem within the language, dealing with how the basics of the language is recognised and understood (ultimately because of how it is taught, which is why it's a matter of linguistics)), is the real underlying problem. (Which is why I have to wade through quite a few things to describe the problem itself for how it is related to the language in general).

In short, the problems with the word game exist because people are not applying the basic rules of English grammar consistently when describing what other words in the language represent based on how they are used - specifically the TYPES of concept/information they are used to represent, further represented by the words NOUN, VERB & ADJECTIVE. (It appears that there's a bit of a problem with adverbs too, but I haven't really looked at them yet).

The problems with the word game, are mainly a symptom of not describing nouns and verbs consistently in RELATION to each other.

Blog: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DarrenTomlyn/3291/

more than 3 years ago

Square Enix Admits Final Fantasy XIV Damaged Brand

Keill Re:The problem is (234 comments)

It depends on how you define the term RPG in relation to computers and computer games, (rather than P&P etc. - (since, no, they're not used the same way to represent the same thing)).

The problem we have is that a lot of what people perceive as having to do with the label 'Role-playing game' has actually very little to do with what such a label describes - because of people's inconsistent, subjective perceptions of what the word game itself represents in the first place. This is then affecting how such games are designed and made, usually at the expense of the game itself, which is why most games now are merely the basic types of game - FPS/RT(TB)S/Action-adventure/Driving/Beat'em'up etc. dressed up.

The REAL problem, which we can solve, is understanding how to MANAGE complexity properly - or rather, how to give the player the tools to do so themselves. Some games can do this in a limited manner or to a limited degree - (driving games with options going from 'simulation' to 'arcade' etc.) - but the scope for using such mechanisms for all types of games, and especially the one, main element we should REALLY be looking at here - (user-defined) gameplay DEVELOPMENT - is MASSIVE.

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — Valid Term or Marketing-Speak?

Keill Here we go again... (98 comments)

The reason for the problems with the term 'gamification' go a lot deeper than anyone probably realises.

For this reason, most people, such as Mr Bogost or Jon Radoff, don't understand the nature of the problem itself, and instead concentrate on dealing it's symptoms, rather than understanding the cause.

Here's my reply to Job Radoff's blog (corrected for spelling - oops):

I'm sorry Mr Radoff, but in this particular case, you are wrong.

This problem goes far deeper than it may at first appear...

The problem with the word 'gamification' is ENTIRELY due to its label, which is based on an inconsistent use of the the word game, which is the built on its inconsistent and not fully recognised and understood definition, which is based on an lack of recognition of how it is used, which is then, further, based on a lack of recognition and understanding of part of the basic rules of English grammar - WHAT concepts types of words are used to represent, in conjunction with HOW they are used.

The actual root of this problem lies with the inconsistent definitions of the words noun and verb (in RELATION to each other).

The term gamification is used as an application of game-theory. The problem with game-theory, is that it's about far more than just GAMES. It's really about mathematical models of COMPETITIVE behaviour in a structured environment.

But competition is NOT the behaviour the word game ultimately represents. Competition, is instead, merely part of the application of the behaviour the word game happens to represent. Since this type of noun is not fully recognised as representing applications of behaviour, (things that happen), we have problems.

Competition is, of course, the same type of word - representing an application of compete. Unlike the word game, however, what competition represents does NOT have to be created by humanity in order to exist. For this reason, applying game theory in order to model, promote and enable competition and competitive behaviour, has nothing to do with the word game in itself. For this reason, the term 'gamification' that is used to label such a thing, is a complete misnomer - and THAT is the cause of the problem you (and Ian) have.

more than 3 years ago

Developer Panel Asks Whether AAA Games Are Too Long

Keill Re:The REAL Problem... (342 comments)

Interactive Narratives are NOT games in the first place - they're PUZZLES - mazes in literary/video form! (Take a choose-your-own-adventure book - cut out all the parts of text and lay them down in order, then draw lines between them representing the choices and paths the reader can take - what do we have? A MAZE.)

If you want to get REALLY fundamental - the basic games are:

A race
Structured combat
Competitive throwing/movement for accuracy/precision, distance/time (duration).

Game = a structured activity (rules) in which people compete by doing something for themselves - (writing their OWN stories!).

more than 3 years ago

Developer Panel Asks Whether AAA Games Are Too Long

Keill Re:Short games are fine, but... (342 comments)

The problem underpinning ALL of these kinds of arguments is extremely simple though:

Games are NOT fully recognised and understood for what they are, at this time: WHAT the word game itself represents, according to its 'current' USE, is NOT consistently recognised nor understood. (Most definitions of the word game are still based on a perception of the word game that was only ever consistent with some of its use centuries ago - with a meaning that is consistent/identical with the word play (when used as a noun). Since games can be played for work, this is now inconsistent with its current use and therefore definition)).

But the problem with the word game, is actually a SYMPTOM of a deeper problem within the English language - a failure to recognise and understand half of the basic rules of English grammar - WHAT words (especially types thereof) represent, (ideas/concepts), in combination with HOW the words are used. The TYPE of noun the word game belongs to is not fully recognised or understood... (Nouns in general are not fully recognised or understood for what they represent, and verbs and adjectives have problems too - (I've not looked at adverbs yet)).

I'm going to be coming back to all this later on in my blog, but I've covered the basics required for the word game, (and related words, such as competition and puzzle - (am working on the post for art) - so far, (along with word story - which many people seem to have problems with, (that is one of the reasons I'll be revisiting the basics of English grammar later)):


The reason WHY people are complaining about games these days is simple - as you said - they're NOT being made/created/designed consistently AS games in the first place! If you're not doing that, then how can you hope to make the best possible game that people then want to play for a long time?

But that's why getting it sorted out as a matter of LINGUISTICS matters first!

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — How Much of It Is Really New?

Keill Re:'Gamification' (95 comments)

Yes, you're right in general, BUT, game theory has become so encompassing, that parts of it are purely a matter of psychology - and that is the part we're looking at here - NOT the mathematical side at all. (When you get down to it the entire universe is just maths, but such a perspective isn't always useful).

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — How Much of It Is Really New?

Keill Re:'Gamification' (95 comments)

Nothing in what I read in your post above was specific to games - and that's the point I am making - even the implementation you try to speak of above can involve puzzles or competitions. To be honest, some MMO's also interleave games with elements of competitions and puzzles as-well - but then people don't fully understand the difference and the relationship between them, so...

And this is the point I'm making - 'gamification' in general is NOT about games. Although it can involve games, because the basis of it is merely competition and competitive behaviour - it can also involve puzzles, competitions, and even (competitive) play or work. Without fully recognising and understanding what ALL of these words represent, both in isolation, and in relation to each other, the term 'gamification' will, and IS causing problems for games in general - just like 'game' theory which it is applied from.

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — How Much of It Is Really New?

Keill Re:'Gamification' (95 comments)

But none of what you're talking about is specific to just games - some of it can be merely part of work or play in general, puzzles or competitions...

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — How Much of It Is Really New?

Keill Re:'Gamification' (95 comments)

Read my reply above - some of what it says is to do with that - but not all - it's still mainly about using rewards and competition to encourage/maintain certain behaviour - not all of which would be consistent with games - i.e. more game THEORY than games.

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — How Much of It Is Really New?

Keill Re:Different objectives, different techniques. (95 comments)

(But that is not what cRPG's are actually about, but that is most definitely an argument for another time...).

Games are an activity in which people compete in a structured environment by writing their own stories/(doing something for themselves).

The main problem to do with this and work - is that although it CAN involve writing stories in the same manner, not all work does. Because of that, yes, some work can be turned into a game, but even then it's more about using competition itself, (i.e. a reward to be competed for), to encourage some behaviour, rather than using games in general - as I said - more of an application of game theory, than games. Yes, competition can also be the main driver behind such behaviour in games, (whether recognised or not), but because of the way work is structured, it can also be more about competing to be TOLD a story, which is a competition in itself, rather than a game. So competitions and puzzles etc. can also be part of this process, as the article said.

Just like I said - game theory, more than games.

(And as for being something 'new' - it's not, of course. Competition and games have been involved in work for millennia, probably almost as long as games have existed, which will probably be almost as long (or longer?) as humanity itself. (I guess it all depends on your definition of humanity?))

more than 3 years ago

Gamification — How Much of It Is Really New?

Keill 'Gamification' (95 comments)

The problem with 'gamification' is that it's not about games!

'Gamification' is about the application of (the lessons from) game theory, which has to do with psychology - the study of HOW and WHY we behave in such a manner - but not WHAT.

'Game' theory is a misnomer - it's NOT about games in themselves at all - it's about the study of COMPETITION, and COMPETITIVE behaviour in general.

Games are, of course, competitive activities, but so are puzzles, competitions, and life in general.

'Game' theory is not about the specific application of the specific behaviour the word game itself represents, even if it forms PART of its application, and so considering games in such a manner is INCONSISTENT with how the word game is used, and what it represents, elsewhere in the language, and is therefore causing problems!


more than 3 years ago

Revisiting Ebert — Games Can Be Art, But Are They?

Keill Here we go again... (278 comments)

Games and art represent two DIFFERENT APPLICATIONS OF DIFFERENT BEHAVIOUR, based on their use and place within the English language.

Art and games, although different, ARE, however, COMPATIBLE - in that games can be made USING art itself - but because they can and do represent two separate things, they do not define each other. (in the same way that within 'metal table' the word metal does not define the word table).

For this reason, any game which USES art - such as video/board/card games etc., uses another word in combination with the word game, to describe such media being used.

The underlying problem we currently have, however, is that the word game is not fully recognised or understood for WHAT it represents in a manner that is consistent with its use - independently of such (further) applications.

There is very good reason for that, however - the basis of which can be found here:


more than 3 years ago

The Rise and Fall of Graphic Adventure Games

Keill Re:Creativity (134 comments)

I already gave you definitions of work and play that are consistent with how the words are USED.

How words are USED - is PARAMOUNT! A words definition is, and must always be based on, and therefore be fully consistent with, HOW IT IS USED - if it is not, then it is meaningless and irrelevant.

The study of words and how they are used, and decipher their meaning, is called linguistics - as I said, I've been studying games AS a matter of linguistics!

In doing so I've found a number of problems, all of which happen to be symptoms of a very simple, fundamental problem itself:

The (subjective) manner in which the language is USED, is affecting the perception, recognition, understanding and definitions of what OTHER WORDS in the language represent - because of how they are DESCRIBED.

The word game is merely one symptom of this problem, both in isolation, and in relation to the rest of the language.

Boggle and scrabble are NOT puzzles - they're GAMES, since the behaviour they enable and promote is consistently represented by that word, not puzzle. Some games are called 'puzzle-games', but as I explained, that is to do with their APPLICATION, not their DEFINITION.

Like I said - you're not getting beyond the APPLICATIONS which these things are LABELLED by, to understand WHAT it is they're APPLYING in the first place!

I'm sorry, but games and puzzles ARE NOT THE SAME THING - because the words are NOT used the same way! And based on HOW they are used - they MUST represent applications of DIFFERENT behaviour!

Puzzles are NOT, nor can every BE a subset of what the word game represents, since what they MUST represent, based on how the words are USED is INCOMPATIBLE with what the word game must also represent based on how it is used too - it's like trying to define wood as a subset of metal - they're both materials, but are not related beyond that. Game and puzzle both represent applications of behaviour - that is the only thing they share, and can be related by. Just because people are mistaking one for the other, because they fail to understand WHAT they represent, even though humanity uses the words in such a consistent manner, does not mean they're the same. If puzzles were games, we wouldn't need to use the word puzzle in such a manner in the first place...

ALL puzzles, whether we created them or not (in isolation) are consistent with the application of behaviour the word puzzle represents based on its use... The fact that puzzles can exist WITHOUT us having to create them, based merely on out perception, whereas games (as activities), are ALWAYS of our own creation, should tell you something!


As I said - I can explain it in a far more precise manner, but it means arguing with the dictionary.

The best way I can put it, (without going there) is this:

Games have to be created (by people), as an activity, from SCRATCH - they simply do NOT exist AS an activity, until they are played, (irrespective of any (OPTIONAL!) 'things' (that might be) also labelled as games that may be used during and/or to enable and promote such an activity). Puzzles, however, DO - they are created, or simply exist in order FOR people to interact with them - either through power of choice or discovery - the puzzle itself does NOT change based on the person interacting with it - it changes based on what happens TO the person..

In fact, any-time the game (as an activity) has NOT been created from scratch in accordance to it's rules - it is considered CHEATING!

Still not as precise as it could be, but still...

So, what about my question about Snakes and ladders then?

(Note: As I said, I've been working on this for a while, now - (2 years) - and because of what I've discovered about the English language - (all the clues are there in the posts above) - I can tell you quite simply that there is possibly no-one else on this planet, (in a viable way), that understands this problem as well as I do. (It's fairly obvious that they know that a problem exists, just not it's true nature). The only problem I have at this time, is knowing what to DO with what it is I've found (since I'm not at university). I've found a very basic, simple, fundamental problem with the definitions of a couple of words - one of which would appear to be extremely important - again, symptoms of the main problem above.

Your problem is that you are not fully understanding what I'm writing - that the ONE main element you need to focus on is (your own?) BEHAVIOUR, BEHAVIOUR, BEHAVIOUR, when it comes to recognising and understanding game, art, puzzle, competition/competitions etc. for what they are, based on how the words are USED. If you honestly think that interacting with something that happens TO you, is the same as, or a sub-set of, doing something (anything) FOR yourself, then I cannot help you...

The three main types/aspects of behaviour all these words represent are:

Things people DO for themselves - (game, work, play)
Things people DO for others - (art)
Things that happen TO people - (puzzle/competitions).

(Competition as an application of compete mainly represents a state of existence/relationships between people/animate things (competitors) when used in isolation)

Like I said, though - it's still not as precise as I can be...

There is of course one other main mistake you make that is EXTREMELY common, even though it should be extremely obvious that it's wrong:

You assume that, just because we 'play' (verb) a game, it must BE play (noun).

This is NOT the case, based on how the word game is USED. Games are often played for productive reasons - professionally, as a job in itself, or as part of a job, (e.g. in the Military) - this means that games can be, and are played for WORK. There are some other, similar words (even of the same type) that are also used in such a manner - such as music/musical instrument, or concert - all of which can also be played for WORK. The link between play and work as verbs, and play and work as nouns does NOT, therefore, always exist in a consistent manner - it depends on context! Again, the application of behaviour the words game, art, puzzle and competition(s) represent, all exist WITHIN THE LANGUAGE, independently of work and play, (as nouns) - of being productive or non-productive - and do so for a good reason - what they represent exists independently of such things!).

I'd still like to see if you can answer my question about Snakes and ladders though ;)

more than 3 years ago



My first paper, with thanks to Slashdot...

Keill Keill writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Keill (920526) writes "Some people may know that I've been working on a paper, (originally about Computer-based Role-Playing Games (cRPG's)), for the past year. However, with thanks to various people on slashdot, digg, gamedev.net and gamasutra, I've managed to dig down and figure out the real problem underpinning everything I've seen and had issues with, having figured out a solution to it first. This paper exists to explain both, and provide a foundation upon which we can build, (or re-build), our understanding and definitions of everything we do and everything that happens to us — (including games and cRPG's).

The fundamental problem, is that the way we use the English Language, in an individually subjective manner, affects our description and understanding of what words themselves represent, (which has already been decided in a collective manner, and represented objectively), and therefore what they are seen and recognised to represent is inconsistent, from art, to games and puzzles etc..

I'll be using the blog to build on the foundation this paper provides, and will (eventually) get round to talking about cRPG's etc."

Link to Original Source


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