In another of today's Gamasutra features, Thursday at GDC 2006, Hal Barwood and Noah Falstein (of Finite Arts and The Inspiracy, respectively) presented a talk called “Rules Worth Breaking,” an overview of some rules they've collected that as part of the 400 Project that, as Barwood says, “are so good, they're worth breaking.”
Here's an extract from the write-up that explains some of the issues inherent behind the concept:
"The idea behind breaking rules, according to Falstein, is to remember that rules are not strict maxims to begin with. Rather, they are guidelines that can inform a game designer's progress, but don't have to. The takeaway idea of the “Rules Worth Breaking” talk, says Barwood, is to give GDC attendees the “mental equipment [game designers] need to get up to speed on [their] own design efforts.”
Though many professions embrace rules, game designers aren't perceived by the industry as having a rigid code to work by. On the other hand, because of technical needs and limitations, game development on some levels seems to in fact require rules.
As Barwood notes, all people, but especially game designers, are bounded by their own psychological preferences. Additionally, people (especially game designers) are bounded by what materials are available to them. Games are a constrained medium, and what rules do is allow designers to assess the elements that bound them, figuring out reusable strategies for making those limitations work in favor of their design, not against it."
You can now read the full Gamasutra coverage on the matter
, including detailed information on this interesting lecture (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).