In today's in-depth main feature
, designer and programmer Victor Chelaru discusses how the classic schoolyard game of "Rock Paper Scissors" can be a key element in multiplayer and one-on-one game design.
In this excerpt, Chelaru explains that at its unmodified core, using rock paper scissors strategies in multiplayer gaming is useful for creating a system that's both unpredictable and fast:
"Following the advancement of strategy of two RPS players eventually leads us to a well-defined strategy. One player may decide to perform one attack over and over. The defender will recognize the pattern and react to it. The attacker will then realize that he must change his attacks.
The defender will realize that the attacker is no longer doing the same attack every time, and must also react by attempting to predict what the attacker will do. To avoid being predictable, the best thing that the attacker can do is to attack as randomly as possible. If the attacker is able to attack in a truly random fashion, this eliminates the defender's ability to predict and react to the attacks. This is the "dead end" of a simple RPS implementation of a game.
Since this article specifically discusses games which implement fast-paced game play, speed becomes an issue. Attacking quickly is more effective than attacking slower because it makes prediction on the defender's part even more difficult.
Therefore we have the following conclusion: The end strategy of a simple Rock Paper Scissors game is to be random and fast."
You can now read the full Gamasutra feature on the subject
for more from Chelaru on how to add new elements such as the all-important signaling to create a more robust multiplayer system in your games (no registration required, please feel free to link to this column from external websites).