1.1 MDA Framework, Existing Theory
MDA Framework is an existing theory, which connects game design, analysis, and research by grasping the game as a structure of the following three layers .
1.1.1 Usefulness of MDA Framework
By analyzing games using this framework, it is possible to verify comprehensibility and integrity of the structure of the game. The usefulness of this framework is widely accepted, so since 2001 the workshops have been held every year until 2017, at GDC, the world's largest game developer conference.
1.1.2 Problems of MDA Framework
Aesthetics, which is one of the three-layer structure of this framework, is classified by the following eight types.
This classification is not exhaustive (as the authors themselves also mention). Also, since the mechanism by which each fun occurs is unknown, in order to make it a guideline on game design, the part which must rely on personal sensitivity is quite large.
1.2 Agential Structure Model, Overcoming the Problems
In order to overcome the problems of MDA Framework, I propose "Agential Structure Model". This is a theory to classify fun into 8 comprehensive types according to the mechanism of the game generating fun.
2. Previous Research
2.1 Rules and Fiction
According to Juul , meaning expressed in videogames has the following two aspects.
Although this theory is not intended to classify the fun, according to this framework, it can be considered to classify as the fun occurring from the aspect of rules and that from the aspect of fiction.
2.2 Agon, Alea, Mimicry, and Ilinx
According to Caillois , play can be divided into the following four categories.
This theory categorizes play, not games, but at least from the daily usage the concept of games mostly overlaps that of play. Therefore, there is a high possibility that the above four categories can also be used for classification of fun of games.
3. Agential Fun and Game
3.1 Agential Fun
Fun occurring from games can also occurs from activities other than games, such as labor and learning. For example, taking a scholastic test may sometimes be fun for examinees, and this fun is usually similar to that when playing quiz games.
Among the fun occurring from various entertainment activities (watching movies, listening music, and so on), it is characterized in that in a typical game or play it occurs from actions (behaviors with objectives) and feedback. Such fun is called "Agential Fun". It can occurs also from labor or learning.
A typical game is an artificially designed system intended to allow players to enjoy the maximum Agential Fun with minimal effort and time. Specifically, by providing the players with the following elements, it generates fun.
4. Classification of Fun
4.1 Rewardal Fun
The fun occurring from the objectives is called "Rewardal Fun". Specifically, the following fun is included.
4.2 Interactional Fun
The fun occurring from input and feedback is called "Interactional Fun". This can be classified into "Operational Fun", "Social Fun" and "Considerational Fun" depending on the object of interaction.
4.2.1 Operational Fun
The fun occurring from the direct interaction with the actual game state is called "Operational Fun". Specifically, the following fun is included.
4.2.2 Social Fun
The fun to influence the game state through interaction with other players is called "Social Fun". Specifically, the following fun is included.
4.2.3 Considerational Fun
Fun to influence the game state through the player's own thinking is called "Considerational Fun". Specifically, the following fun is included.
4.3 Fictional Fun
Interactional Fun and Rewardal Fun occur primarily from the aspect of rules (so these types constitute the supertype "Mechanical Fun"). A state change in the aspect of rules causes that in the aspect of fiction. The fun occurring from such state changes in the aspect of fiction is called "Fictional Fun". Specifically, the following fun is included.
4.4 Fun other than Agential Fun
4.4.1 External Fun
Agential Fun is attributed directly to things inside the game, so it is positioned as the supertype "Internal Fun". On the other hand, "External Fun" includes the following fun.
4.4.2 Objectual Fun
Among Internal Fun, Agential Fun occurs by having the consciousness that the player oneself is a party to the game state changes, so it is positioned as the supertype "Participational Fun". On the other hand, "Objectual Fun" includes the following fun.
4.4.3 Passival Fun
Among Participational Fun, fun other than Agential Fun is called as "Passival Fun", which includes the following fun.
5. Comparison with Categories by Caillois
The fun that is clearly close to Agon is Social Fun, such as Go and soccer. Play mainly with Considerational Fun such as puzzles and chess problems also is positioned as Agon as competitive games.
Regarding play mainly based on Operational Fun such as kite flying and yo-yo, the categories of Agon / Alea / Mimicry / Ilinx has not been clarified. By extending Agon to Interactional Fun (Operational Fun + Social Fun + Considerational Fun), the above play can be clearly categorized into Agon.
The main cause of the fun of typical Alea such as lotteries and horse races is expectations for rewards. With pure Alea not accompanied by rewards, for example, in simple dice play that does not have occasions to demonstrate players' ability, there is no such fun that the players immerse for a long time in general. Chance is merely a means for reducing the effort to enjoy expectations for rewards and enhancing replayability. In other words, Alea is very close to Rewardal Fun, but the latter is more fundamental as a classification criterion for fun.
Mimicry is almost equivalent to Fictional Fun.
Ilinx is almost equivalent to Passival Fun.
As mentioned above, adding together the range of extended and modified Agon, Alea, Mimicry, and Ilinx corresponds to Participational Fun.
6. Representation of Structure of Fun
The mechanism that generates fun can be represented by the structure of the objectives. A relationship between objectives are called integration.
Objectives are divided into the following two types.
The former includes the following type.
Integration can be classified by two axes.
6.2.1 Vertical / Horizontal Integration
6.2.2 Progressive / Emergent Integration
Fun can be linked to the objectives or integration. However, Interactional Fun must be linked to integration. And, Rewardal Fun must be linked to objectives.
* Fun other than Agential Fun is not directly attributable to objectives and integration, but it can be represented as being linked to them.
From the objective that generates Fun of Improve, the link to the integration which is improved can be drawn.
6.4 Analysis Example
6.4.1 Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
6.4.3 Guitar Hero
Agential Structure Model classifies fun of games into eight types based on its occurrence mechanism: Operational Fun, Social Fun, Considerational Fun, Rewardal Fun, Fictional Fun, Passival Fun, Objectual Fun, and External Fun.
By this model, Agon, Alea, Mimicry, and Ilinx can be extended and modified to more fundamental categories, and play whose category is not clear can be reduced. Fun included in Participational Fun (fun other than Objectual Fun and External Fun) corresponds to these categories without omission or duplication.
Based on this model, it is possible to graphically represent the structure of the objectives and the fun of a whole game. It enables you to find game design defects and improve them. You also can accurately convey the fun of the game at the planning stage to others by this method.
7.2 Future Work
Agential Structure Model can be the theoretical foundation for gamification. In present general gamification, there are many mechanisms that mainly focus on Rewardal Fun, such as points, badges and leaderboards. By introducing a mechanism that generates Interactional Fun, it can be expected to further enhance fun and replayability.
7.2.2 Automatic Game Design
Agential Structure Model can also be the theoretical foundation for automatic game design. Quantification of fun is an important subject for automatic game design, but its difficulty depends on the type of fun. Considerational Fun and Social Fun are relatively easy to quantify, but Fictional Fun and Passival Fun are hard to quantify.