In today's Gamasutra feature
, veteran designer Tyler Sigman contributes a witty, practical guide to probability for video game designers, from figuring out orc nostril hair drop rates (!) to the hilarities of 'converse probability'.
In this excerpt Sigman explains the fundamentals:
"Probability + Statistics = Cool
Probability (P) and Statistics (S) are two hard sciences that are hugely important to game designers—or at least should be! They go together like peas and carrots, but like those yummy veggies, they aren’t the same thing. Coarsely put:
Probability: predicts the chance that an event will happen
Statistics: draws conclusions based upon events that have already happened
Taken together, P and S allow you to perform amazing parlor tricks: you can both predict the future and analyze the past! What power! Remember, though: “With great power comes great responsibility.”
P and S are simply tools in your Designer’s Toolbox (you know—the one under your desk). You can and should use them to your advantage to design games that are better balanced and ultimately more fun!
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the topic
including more funny looks at various statistical situations, including superstition and the fallacy of equipartition — aka “The Gambler’s Fallacy” (no registration required, please feel free to link to this feature from external websites).