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A Systemic Approach to Systemic Design

Started by droqen, November 22, 2023, 08:14:34 AM

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what a terrible crowd! laugh at mike's joke, crowd! oh well.

edit:: Oh maybe it's just the way he's mic'd up. I hope it was a good crowd!


Plato to Galileo: "a whole organized of parts" [definition of a system]
Newton: "De mundi systemate" [The system of the world] (1687)

Wild. I did not realize that the title of The Idea of the World was constructed in the same fashion as... possibly in reference to... a different older book which appears to be the very root of 'world-as-machine' thinking. Fascinating.


Wow, wonderful little example of people failing to do systems thinking, and actually how the 'world-as-machine' thinking I mention above is reductive and fails to catch the whole. This is exactly what Christopher Alexander is talking about with the 20th-century mechanistic viewpoint.


Asking people what do they see in this picture . . . most people, particularly in the west, say "there's three big fish, some plants" . . . calling out the little bits, not the relationships between them . . . it's a little more common in Asia people say "this is an aquarium, this is an undersea scene," talking about the relationships between things . . . people [in Japan are] most likely to see this as an overall scene . . . a sort of gestalt in psychological terms


He gets into whether a glider in the game of life is 'a thing', earlier says the Kanizsa triangle is not 'a thing'. Why is it not 'a thing'? "We experience it as a thing," he says of the glider. Why is it not 'a thing'?



You could have speed = 6, and hit points = 20
In reality we have the same organization [parts and relationships. how things are connected creates the system], but there's no bottom as far as we can tell.



'A thing-ness'
John Holland . . . his short definition of emergence was that when you have something where it's easier to define a thing at its higher level rather than at its constituent parts, that's where you have an emergent property

Interesting lens to think about this. Sellers continues to speak about how 'the face does not exist' in an illusion of a face visible in flowers and a butterfly..
I maintain the question, what then is existence? Not in the case of the face illusion, but in the glider, the triangle, and so on. Sellers suggests that these non-things have thing-ness, but we are all non-things with thing-ness. I'll be very disappointed if he doesn't get there by the end of this talk.



The meaning can never be found in the parts. . . .
You have to look the next level up, and the next level up beyond that.


calls Candy Crush a fantastic game. hmm ok


MDA == FBS???

Sellers going to present his own framework, 'Parts, Loops, and Wholes'! Exciting



"A systems designer can turn a spreadsheet into a game, and a game into a spreadsheet."


- Are the system parts defined? Hierarchy, attributes, state, behaviours
- Can all the parts be implemented?
- Do the parts have methods & reasons to interact with each other to create significant effects? e.g. many attacks that all 'just do damage'
- Are all the parts equivalent and unbalanced? (Beats everything, lead object, etc) - I can't tell if he's saying this is good or not? I think it's bad

- Simultaneous complexity, not serial or linear complicatedness
- Does the system create a space or path? (Space is good, path is bad)
- Does the player make meaningful decisions?

- Is there a cohesive, intentional experience for the player? Supported by the loops and the parts within the loops?
- Does the game have a heart?
- Does it mean anything to the player? There's a tiny spark of meaning when I get the long piece into a hole in Tetris



It's . . .very difficulty to see what's going on in a system while it's in progress. . . . You can go for a long time where it doesn't really quite gel yet. It requires a lot of iteration and a lot of failure, and you have to be willing to fail at it, and if you're working at a company, your company has to be willing to have the time, and be able to have the time, to let you fail at it until you can make something work.

Hmm, hmm, hmm.



When you are a designer and you're doing systemic design you are on the backside of a magic trick. . . . Once you understand the system it no longer feels emergent to you, it no longer feels like magic to you, and this is a very difficult place to be, because you'll say "No, this isn't very good at all" until [players?] say "No this is terrific! This is great!" And they, your players can actually see things in it that you don't see, because you're seeing the backside of the magic trick.


QuoteSystemic design advantages, full slide (28:50)

- Cohesive, deep system = engaging gameplay
- Emergent effects enable endless gameplay
- Keeps you out of static "content creation" trap
- Game + player system creates more meaning
     - More engagement
     - Longer play
     - More $ €

I don't really like this slide but I can see how you might want to use this as leverage in a company, and I can also get the value many people might see in it -- but it's one of the things that bothers me about games, I don't know if these constructed systems are that interesting to me anymore. Systems thinking, that's beautiful, but systems themselves... I want to go up a level, and another level. There are such beautiful real systems out there, why would I want to spend my time creating and experience fabricated ones, disconnected from the world?

Damn it, I wish I still loved these things.