Tag Archives: game theory

Navigable Space

Space, or at least the navigation through it, is not usually considered a way of relaying a story in and of it’s self, yet Lev Manovich points out how new media, specifically computer games depict how Navigable space is in fact a form of narrative on it’s own.  Manovich highlights two games developed in 1993 as two key factors in furthering the notion of storytelling through Navigable space in computers. For anyone who was a child in the 1990’s, Doom and Myst are most likely games that they remember and Manovich speaks about how the extraordinary popularity of these games is an indicator of the power of narrative through Navigable space.

For anyone who has not played either Myst or Doom, they are notable not only for being some of the first of their kind but also for their very specific style of game play. For all the similarities that will be discussed in a moment they are quite different stylistically. Where Doom is fast paced in that the player must move as quickly as possible to move from one level to another in order to gain points, Myst is slow in that it is extremely detailed. Each world is built around the details that one must uncover and the clues that are pieced together because of that, many of which can be nuanced. The world of Doom is filled with monsters and demons that one must destroy to advance where as Myst is completely empty and it is the puzzle that must be unwrapped that is at the center. Doom follows the usual convention of computer games in that it contains many different worlds, where Myst contains only four worlds where each is extremely vast and a universe for itself. The worlds of Myst look completely different from each other, unlike many other games.

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War Games and the End of the World

In this section of War in the Age of Intelligent Machines, Manuel de Landa recounts the role of modern war games in predicting military conflict. When modern war games first came into being, there were two theories of how these games should be played  to accurately predict battles. There was the theory of Jomini: war as a purely military concern, governed by a set of eternal laws that act as the basis of the game.  There was also the theory of Clausewitz: war as an extension of politics with outside factors such as friction and fear, taken into account. In the end, it was Jomini’s theory that became the basis of modern war games.

De Landa suggests that war games consist of two components:  hardware and software. The hardware component consists of a model of a stretch of terrain or a map. The software component consists of a relatively rigid set of rules that represent the laws of warfare, as suggested by Jomini.

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