Gameplay is the specific way in which players interact with a game, and in particular with video games. Gameplay is the pattern defined through the game rules, connection between player and the game, challenges and overcoming them, plot and player's connection with it. Video game gameplay is distinct from graphics and audio elements.
OverviewArising alongside video game development in the 1980s, the term gameplay was used solely within the context of video games, though now its popularity has begun to see use in the description of other, more traditional, game forms. Generally, gameplay is considered to be the overall experience of playing a video game excluding factors like graphics and sound. Game mechanics, on the other hand, is the sets of rules in a game that are intended to produce an enjoyable gaming experience. Academic discussions tend to favor terms like game mechanics specifically to avoid gameplay since the latter term is too vague.
TypesThere are three components to gameplay: "Manipulation rules", defining what the player can do in the game, "Goal Rules", defining the goal of the game, and "Metarules", defining how a game can be tuned or modified. In video games gameplay can be divided into several types. For example, cooperative gameplay involves two or more players playing on a team. Another example is twitch gameplay which is based around testing a player's reaction times and precision, maybe in rhythm games or first-person shooters. Various gameplay types are listed below.
- Asymmetric video game
- Cooperative gameplay
- Emergent gameplay
- Nonlinear gameplay
Ambiguity in definition
- "A series of interesting choices." -Sid Meier
- "The structures of player interaction with the game system and with other players in the game."
- "One or more causally linked series of challenges in a simulated environment."
- "A good game is one that you can win by doing the unexpected and making it work."
- "The experience of gameplay is one of interacting with a game design in the performance of cognitive tasks, with a variety of emotions arising from or associated with different elements of motivation, task performance and completion."
- "Gameplay here is seen as the interactive gaming process of the player with the game."
Playability is defined as: a set of properties that describe the Player Experience using a specific game system whose main objective is to provide enjoyment and entertainment, by being credible and satisfying, when the player plays alone or in company. Playability is characterized by different attributes and properties to measure the video game player experience.
- Satisfaction: the degree of gratification or pleasure of the player for completing a video game or some aspect of it like: mechanism, graphics, user interface, story, etc. Satisfaction is a highly subjective attribute that provokes a difficult measuring due to player preferences and pleasures having influence in the satisfaction for specific game elements: characters, virtual world, challenges, and so on.
- Learning: the facility to understand and dominate the game system and mechanics. The Desktop Systems try to minimize the learning effort, but in video games we can use the learning curve according to the game nature. For example, in one hand, we can demand great initial abilities before to play, or training them harshly in first phases of the game, to help players to understand and dominate all the game rules and resources and they can use them from the beginning of the game. In the other hand, players can learn step by step in a guided way when they need some ability in the video game.
- Efficiency: the necessary time and resources to offer fun and entertainment to players while they achieve the different game objectives and reach the final goal. An efficient video game is able to catch the player's attention from the first instant, and provoke him to continue playing to the end of the game. Efficiency can be analyzed as the correct use of the challenge through the game, the correct structuring of the objectives or the best adaptation of the control to the actions in the game.
- Immersion: the capacity to believe in the video game contents and integrate the player in the virtual game world. The immersion provokes that the player looks involved in the virtual world, becoming part of this and interacting with it because the user perceives the virtual world represented by the video game, with its laws and rules that characterize it. A video game has a good immersion level when it has equilibrium between the proposed challenges and the necessary player abilities to overcome it.
- Motivation: the characteristics that provoke the player to realize concrete actions and persist in them until their culmination. To obtain a high degree of motivation, the game should have a set of resources to ensure the players perseverance in the performed actions to overcome the game challenges. This means, different factors to make sure positive behavior in the interpretation of the game process, focusing the player on the proposed challenges, showing the relevance of the objectives to reach and reward for challenges, promoting the player confidence to face them and the pleasure to achieve them.
- Emotion: the involuntary impulse, originated in response to the stimulus of the video game and induces feelings or unleashes automatic reactions and conducts. The use of emotions in video games help to obtain a best player experience and leads players to different emotional states: happiness, fear, intrigue, curiosity, sadness... using the game challenges, story, aesthetic appearance or the music compositions that are capable of move, affect, to make to smile or to cry to the player. A big success of video games is that they can provoke to players different feelings in a short space of time, some of them hardly obtainable daily in the real world.
- Socialization: the degree of the set of game attributes, elements and resources that promote the social factor of the game experience in group. This kind of experience provokes appreciating the video game in a different way, thanks to the relations that are established with other players or with other characters of the game that help the player to resolve jointly the game challenges in a collaborative, competitive or cooperative way. The game socialization allows players to have a totally different game experience when they play with other persons and promote new social relationships thank to the interaction among them. In addition to this, socialization also is present at how the social connections that we have are projected with the group in the characters of the video game and context in which the game is realized. For example, choosing the player to be connected or to share something, interacting, obtaining information, asking for help, or negotiating for some items, and how our influence with the other character is positive or negative to achieve the game objectives. To promote the social factor it is advisable to develop new shared challenges that help players to integrate and being satisfied with the new game rules and objectives, creating a set of collective emotions where players encourage and motivate themselves to overcome the collective challenges
- Intrinsic Playability: the playability based on the own video game nature and how it is shown by the player. It is strongly related to the GamePlay and Game Mechanic. In this facet we can analyze the video game design implementation especially video game rules, goals, objectives, rhythm and other design mechanics.
- Mechanical Playability: the video game quality as a software system. It is related to the Game Engine, with special emphasis, for example, in the fluency of the movie scenes, correct lights, shadows and rendering, sound and music, graphics motions, character personality implementation and communication systems in a multiplayer video game.
- Interactive Playability: player interaction and video game user interface development, for example interaction dialog and game controls. This playability is easily visible in the Game Interface.
- Artistic Playability: the quality of the video game arts and aesthetics in the game elements: visual graphics, sound effects, music and melodies, storyline and storytelling and how these elements are shown in the video game.
- Intrapersonal Playability or Personal Playability: the individual vision, perception, and feelings that the video game produces in each player when they play the game. It has a highly subjective value.
- Interpersonal Playability or Social Playability: the group consciousness and different user perceptions when the player plays with other player in a competitive, cooperative or collaborative way.