Author’s note: I’m attempting to develop a method for game analysis around irreducible game elements (gamels). This and all the other articles are a sort of log of my thought process, and are not definitive truths. Please feel free to react or comment in any way.
I had previously stated that a game element could be classified according to two criteria: whether it is abstract or concrete, and whether it is implicit or explicit. I’ve been giving this idea a little more thought now that everything is quieter on the job front, and would like to expand on it.
First off, I think it is necessary to clarify the labels applied to the criteria.
Concrete: Anything that can be seen, heard, touched, or felt in any other way. An object which has a physical manifestation.
Abstract: All that is not covered by “Concrete”. Abstract objects exist only in someone’s mind.
Explicit: Elements that have a direct, measurable or objective effect on other elements. Causality, correlation and deductive relationships.
Implicit: Elements that have an indirect, non-measurable or subjective effect on the player. Belief, emotional and intuitive relationships.
What emerges from these definitions is that the Concrete/Abstract axis is really about the passive nature of a gamel while the Explicit/Implicit axis is about its active nature. These divisions should be general enough to be all-inclusive and non-ambiguous; a gamel necessarily falls into either category and can’t be both at the same time. If an object appears to have characteristics in two opposed categories, this means it is in fact composed of two different gamels.
I doubt these “containing objects” need any description other than “contain gamels”, their in-game function being determined by their contents. Think of them as your computer’s directories.
The next logical stop from here would be looking into how gamels interact with each other…