• Welcome to droqen's forum-shaped notebook. Please log in.

Genshin Impact

Started by droqen, July 08, 2023, 11:34:18 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


I downloaded Genshin Impact and played it for a while, and its clone-like nature, its composition out of so many familiar parts - design patterns - is almost inspirational. But it's not inspirational, rather, it's more useful, functioning for my purposes.

Repetition reveals patterns.


Genshin Impact

gacha system, gacha system for characters, party of characters, appealing character designs, controlling a character with pseudo-unique abilities, leveling up by using many currencies, collecting materials, collecting items, items as materials, main story plotline, cutscenes, cutscenes, voice acting in cutscenes, voice acting during gameplay, exploring a world without boundaries, exploring a world with small distinct pieces of content, pieces of content that have a small surface entry point ("shrines", "dungeons").

these separate parts and many, many more, interconnect and relate. it's wild.


the sheer complexity of Genshin Impact's structure is staggering. everything i've named above i could break into so, so many pieces. however: it's very easy, also, to see it as a very simple game. its pieces don't lean on each other. they don't add up to some strange new oblong shape. there is no beautiful grand machine to discover once you understand it -- as an object it's a machine for content and money. it is so many old mechanisms borrowed, and rearranged into a profitable whole.

is it doing anything new? anything at all?

is it doing anything beautiful?


as a tool, let's explore some basic low-level patterns in Genshin Impact.

-> you can collect lizards.

this is a pattern taken, almost too exactly, from BOTW. there are these little lizards and when you are close enough to them you can press a button to pick them up. this adds them to your inventory, and later on down the line you can craft with them. if you don't press the button soon enough they might skitter away (and possibly even despawn) and you won't be able to grab them anymore.

- moving around an open world
- rewarding and compelling distractions
- density of very small diversions
- discrete cute simulated entity
- reward action within timing window

~ SYNAPSE: Generative Sequence of Patterns

we can understand the design of the lizard directly through this series of patterns. at a high level we have moving around an open world, which relies on the world being full of things, or rewarding and compelling distractions. for that pattern to function we rely on a certain density of very small diversions - this is not the only way to produce the pattern above ('rewarding and compelling distractions') but it is the concrete material we have chosen in this case to create the general feeling of distractions existing, as well as being rewarding and compelling. now, the lizard of course does not, alone, create that density, but it plays a part. the lizard is an intersection of two patterns: discrete cute simulated entity, and reward action within timing window. these patterns relate to one another... the timing of 'reward action within timing window' comes from the 'simulated entity' as well as some 'player movement' pattern which we presume exists because of 'moving around an open world'. it may be useful to explicitly call out those related patterns, but we could do that forever, so some level of presumption is required.

some related patterns:

- smaller rewards consumed to produce larger reward
- intuitive/satisfying player movement
- random objects in world for player to encounter as they move through it


how is this useful for a designer? this is a hard question, but it is also not such a hard question. the problem comes when trying to develop 'new' patterns, which i and many fellow designers are very interested in. putting together preexisting patterns on the other hand is very useful but can feel somewhat bad? this is the very feeling i want to break down by embracing certain philosophies expressed by Christopher Alexander... hmm...

developing a new pattern feels very different depending on the size of such a pattern. i'd like to make a small case study of this but i'll do it in another forum so that i don't get too off topic here, and so that i can find it later. connecting thoughts is better than diving too deeply as i am now. this forum needs more connections, rather than lessons and experiments and findings being siloed only beneath the singular work or experience which happened to aid in its first discovery...