(by Jesse Schell (Morgan-Kaufman, 2008 ISBN 978-0-12-369496-6))
What skills does a game designer need?
The most important skill: Listening. The Five Kinds of Listening: to your team, to your audience, to your game, to your client, and to your self.
The game is not the experience; the game enables the experience, but it is not the experience itself. "If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" If "sound" is the experience of hearing a noise, then the answer is no, it doesn't. Game designers only care about what seems to exist.
Three practical approaches to chasing rainbows: psychology, anthropology, design (musicians, architects, authors, filmmakers, industrial designers, Web designers, choreographers, visual designers, and more).
Introspection: Powers, Perils, and Practice
Peril #1: Introspection can lead to false conclusions about reality.
Peril #2: What is true of my experiences may not be true for others.
Dissect your feelings. Why you feel a certain way, not just feeling it.
Heisenburg (observing a thing interferes with the thing) and experience. To defeat Heisenburg...
Lens #1: The Lens of Essential Experience
How do we define a "game"?
Lens #2: The Lens of Surprise
Lens #3: The Lens of Fun
Lens #4: The Lens of Curiosity
Key qualities of games:
Lens #5: The Lens of Endogenous Value
Lens #6: The Lens of Problem Solving
The Fruits of our Labors (defining a game):
The Four Basic Elements:
Lens #7: The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad
Lens #8: The Lens of Holographic Design
Unifying themes; step 1, figure out what your theme is; step 2, use every means possible to reinforce that theme.
Lens #9: The Lens of Unification
Some themes are better than others because they resonate with people more closely.
Lens #10: The Lens of Resonance
Inspiration: don't look to the others around you, look everywhere else.
Lens #11: The Lens of Infinite Inspiration
State the Problem. Get the problem statement right. This creates three advantages:
Lens #12: The Lens of the Problem Statement
The Eight Filters; only when your idea passes through each of these is it "good enough":
Lens #13: The Lens of the Eight Filters
The Rule of the Loop: The more times you test and improve your design, the better your game will be.
Lens #14: The Lens of Risk Mitigation
Eight Tips for Productive Prototyping:
1. Answer a Question.
2. Forget Quality
3. Don't Get Attached
4. Prioritize Your Prototypes
5. Parallelize Prototypes Productively
6. It Doesn't Have to be Digital
7. Pick a "Fast Loop" Game Engine
8. Build the Toy First
Lens #15: The Lens of the Toy
How much is enough? The Method makes an interesting distinction between what (game designer) Mark Cerny calls "pre-production " and "production" (terms borrowed from Hollywood). He argues that you are in pre-production until you have finished two publishable levels of your game, complete with all necessary features. In other words, until you have two completely finished levels, you are still figuring out the fundamental design of your game. Once you reach this magic point, you are now in production. This means that you know enough about what your game really is that you can safely schedule the rest of development. Cerny states that usually this point is generally reached when 30% of the necessary budget has been spent.
You must know what your audience will and will not like.
Five Things Males Like to See in Games:
Five Things Females Like to See in Games:
Lens #16: The Lens of the Player
Leblanc's Taxonomy of Game Pleasures
Bartle's Taxonomy of Player Types
A few more pleasures to be considered (beyond the two taxonomies):
Lens #17: The Lens of Pleasure
Psychology: understanding an opaque system that we are intrinsically immersed in.
The only way our minds are able to get by at all is by simplifying reality so that we can make some sense of it. Correspondingly, our minds do not deal with reality itself, but instead with models of reality. [Philosophy: the map is not the terrain.] Reality is full of aspects that aren’t at all part of our day-to-day modeling. Consider Charlie Brown [or any other cartoon character], there's nothing "real" about him.
One crucial technique our brains use to make sense of the world is the ability to focus its attention selectively, ignoring some things, and devoting more mental power to others. What we focus on at any given moment is determined through a blend of our unconscious desires and our conscious will. When we create games, our goal is to create an experience interesting enough that it holds the player’s focus as long and as intensely as possible. When something captures our complete attention and imagination for a long period, we enter an interesting mental state. This state of sustained focus, pleasure, and enjoyment is referred to as "flow". Some of the key components necessary to create an activity that puts a player into a flow state are:
Flow activities must manage to stay in the narrow margin of challenge that lies between boredom and frustration, for both of these unpleasant extremes cause our mind to change its focus to a new activity. Csikszentmihalyi calls this margin the "flow channel."
Lens #18: The Lens of Flow
As human beings, we have an amazing ability to project ourselves into the place of others. When we do this, we think the other person’s thoughts and feel their feelings, to the best of our ability. It is one of the hallmarks of our ability to understand one another that we can do this, and it is an integral part of gameplay. Of course, the brain does all this using mental models — in truth, we are empathizing not with real people or animals, but with our mental models of them — which means we are easily tricked. We can feel emotion when there is none. A photo, a drawing, or a videogame character can just as easily capture our empathy. As game designers, we will make use of empathy in the same ways that novelists, graphic artists, and filmmakers do, but we also have our own set of new empathic interactions. Games are about problem solving, and empathic projection is a useful method of problem solving.
Imagination puts the player into the game by putting the game into the player.
For example, if I tell you a short story: "The mailman stole my car yesterday," I have actually told you very little, but already you have a picture of what happened. Weirdly, your picture is full of details that I didn’t include in my story. Take a look at the mental image that formed, and answer these questions:
Now, I didn’t tell you any of those things, but your amazing imagination just made up a bunch of these details so that you could more easily think about what I was telling you. Now, if I suddenly give you more information, like, "It wasn’t a real car, but an expensive model toy car," you quickly reformulate your imaginary image to fit what you have heard, and your answers to the above questions might change correspondingly.
Lens #19: The Lens of Needs
The fourth level of Maslow’s hierarchy, self-esteem, is the one most intimately connected to games. But why? One deep need common to everyone is the need to be judged. (People don't hate being judged--they hate being judged unfairly.)
Lens #20: The Lens of Judgment
On one level, game mechanics are very objective, clearly stated sets of rules. On another level, though, they involve something more mysterious. Earlier, we discussed how the mind breaks down all games into mental models that it can easily manipulate. Part of game mechanics necessarily involves describing the structure of these mental models. Since these exist largely in the darkness of the subconscious mind, it is hard for us come up with a well-defined analytical taxonomy of how they work.
As a game mechanic, space is a mathematical construct. We need to strip away all visuals, all aesthetics, and simply look at the abstract construction of a game’s space. There are no hard and fast rules for describing these abstract, stripped-down game spaces. Generally, though, game spaces:
Many game spaces are more complex than the examples we have looked at here. Often they feature "spaces within spaces." Computer-based fantasy role-playing games are a good example of this. Most of them feature an "outdoor space" that is continuous and two-dimensional. A player traveling this space sometimes encounters little icons representing towns, or caves, or castles. Players can enter these as completely separate spaces, not really connected in any way to the "outdoor space" but through the gateway icon.
Does every game take place in a space? Consider a game like "Twenty Questions," where one player thinks of an object, and the other player asks "yes or no" questions trying to guess what it is. There is no game board and nothing moves — the game is just two people talking. You might argue that this game has no space. On the other hand, you might find it useful to think of the game happening in a space containing three nodes on a line: the mind of the questioner, the conversation space, and the mind of the answerer. The mind of the answerer contains the secret object. The mind of the questioner is where all the weighing of the previous answers is going on, and the conversation space between them is how they exchange information. Every game has some kind of information or "state" (as we’ll see later in Mechanic 2), and this has to exist somewhere. So, even if a game takes place in a single point of zero dimensions, it can be useful to think of it as a space. You may find that figuring out an abstract model for a game whose space seems to be trivial may lead you to insights about it that surprise you.
Lens #21: The Lens of Functional Space
A space without anything in it is, well, just a space. Your game space will surely have objects in it. Characters, props, tokens, scoreboards, anything that can be seen or manipulated in your game falls into this category. Objects are the "nouns" of game mechanics. Technically, there are times you might consider the space itself an object, but usually the space of your game is different enough from other objects that it stands apart. Objects generally have one or more attributes, one of which is often the current position in the game space.
Attributes are categories of information about an object. For example, in a racing game, a car might have maximum speed and current speed as attributes. Each attribute has a current state. The state of the "maximum speed" attribute might be 150 mph, while the state of the "current speed" attribute might be 75 mph if that is how fast the car is going. Maximum speed is not a state that will change much, unless perhaps you upgrade the engine in your car. Current speed, on the other hand, changes constantly as you play.
If objects are the nouns of game mechanics, attributes and their states are the adjectives.
Attributes can be static (such as the color of a checker), never changing throughout the game, or dynamic (the checker has a "movement mode" attribute with three possible states: "normal," "king," and "captured"). Primarily, we are interested in dynamic attributes.
A very important decision about game attributes and their states is who is aware of which ones.
Lens #22: The Lens of Dynamic State
The next important game mechanic is the action. Actions are the "verbs" of game mechanics. There are two perspectives on actions, or put another way, two ways to answer the question "What can the players do?"
The first kind of actions are the operative actions. These are simply the base actions a player can take. For example, in checkers a player can perform only three basic operations:
The second kind of actions are resultant actions. These are actions that are only meaningful in the larger picture of the game — they have to do with how the player is using operational actions to achieve a goal. The list of resultant actions is generally longer than the list of operational actions. Consider the possible resultant actions in checkers:
The resultant actions often involve subtle interactions within the game, and are often very strategic moves. These actions are mostly not part of the rules, per se, but rather actions and strategies that emerge naturally as the game is played. Most game designers agree that interesting emergent actions are the hallmark of a good game. Consequently, the ratio of meaningful resultant actions to operation-oriented actions is a good measure of how much emergent behavior your game features. It is an elegant game indeed that allows a player a small number of operation-oriented actions, but a large number of effect-oriented actions. It should be noted that this is a somewhat subjective measure, since the number of " meaningful"resultant actions
is a matter of opinion.
Trying to create "emergent gameplay," that is, interesting resultant actions, has been likened to tending a garden, since what emerges has a life of its own, but at the same time, it is fragile and easily destroyed. When you notice some interesting effect-oriented actions showing up in your game, you must be able to recognize them, and then do what you can to nurture them and give them a chance to flourish. But what makes these things spring up in the first place? It is not just luck — there are things you can do to increase the chances of interesting effect-oriented actions appearing. Here are five tips for preparing the soil of your game and planting seeds of emergence.
Lens #23: The Lens of Emergence
Lens #24: The Lens of Action
The rules are really the most fundamental mechanic. They define the space, the objects, the actions, the consequences of the actions, the constraints on the actions, and the goals. In other words, they make possible all the mechanics we have seen so far and add the crucial thing that makes a game a game — goals.
When your game changes modes in a dramatic way like this, it is very important that you let your players know which mode you are in. Too many modes and the players can get confused. Very often, there is one main mode, with several sub-modes, which is a good hierarchical way to organize the different modes. Game designer Sid Meier proposes an excellent rule of thumb: players should never spend so much time in a sub-game that they forget what they were doing in the main game.
How the rules are enforced.
Games have a lot of rules — how to move and what you can and cannot do — but there is one rule at the foundation of all the others: The Object of the Game. Games are about achieving goals — you must be able to state your game’s goal, and state it clearly. Good game goals have three important qualities:
1. Concrete. Players understand and can clearly state what they are supposed to achieve.
2. Achievable. Players need to think that they have a chance of achieving the goal. If it seems impossible to them, they will quickly give up.
3. Rewarding. A lot goes into making an achieved goal rewarding. If the goal has the right level of challenge, just achieving it at all is a reward in itself. But why not go further? You can make your goal even more rewarding by giving the player something valuable upon reaching the goal — use the Lens of Pleasure to find different ways to reward the player, and really make them proud of their achievement. And while it is important to reward players that achieve a goal, it is equally (or more) important that players appreciate that the goal is rewarding before they have achieved it, so that they are inspired to attempt to achieve it. Don’t overinflate their expectations, though, for if they are disappointed with the reward for achieving a goal, they will not play again!
Lens #25: The Lens of Goals
Lens #26: The Lens of Rules
The mechanic of skill shifts the focus away from the game and onto the player. Every game requires players to exercise certain skills. If the player’s skill level is a good match to the game’s difficulty, the player will feel challenged and stay in the flow channel. When you design a game, it is a worthwhile exercise to make a list of the skills that your game requires from the player. Even though there are thousands of possible skills that can go into a game, skills can generally be divided into three main categories:
1. Physical Skills. These include skills involving strength, dexterity, coordination, and physical endurance. Physical skills are an important part of most sports. Effectively manipulating a game controller is a kind of physical skill, but many videogames (such as Dance Dance Revolution and the Sony Eyetoy) require a broader range of physical skills from players.
2. Mental Skills. These include the skills of memory, observation, and puzzle solving. Although some people shy away from games that require too much in the way of mental skills, it is the rare game that doesn’t involve some mental skills, because games are interesting when there are interesting decisions to make, and decision making is a mental skill.
3. Social Skills. These include, among other things, reading an opponent (guessing what he is thinking), fooling an opponent, and coordinating with teammates. Typically we think of social skills in terms of your ability to make friends and influence people, but the range of social and communication skills in games is much wider. Poker is largely a social game, because so much of it rests on concealing your thoughts and guessing the thoughts of others. Sports are very social, as well, with their focus on teamwork and on "psyching out" your opponents.
Making a list of all the skills required in your game can be a very useful exercise. You might make a general list: "my game requires memory, problem solving, and pattern matching skills." Or you might make it very specific: "my game requires players to quickly identify and mentally rotate specific two-dimensional shapes in their heads, while solving a grid-based packing problem."
Lens #27: The Lens of Skill
Chance is an essential part of a fun game because chance means uncertainty, and uncertainty means surprises.
The expected value of a transaction in a game is the average of all the possible values that could result. And consider values carefully; take care to measure the real values of actions in the game. If something gives a benefit that a player can't use, or contains a hidden penalty, you must capture it in your calculations.
You must also keep in mind that expected value calculations do not perfectly predict human behavior. (Behavioral economics, loss aversion, etc)
Lens #28: The Lens of Expected Value
As much as we like to think that chance and skill are completely separate mechanics, there are important interactions between them that we cannot ignore. Here are five of the most important skill/chance interactions for a game designer to consider.
Lens #29: The Lens of Chance
The Lens of Essential Experience: To use this lens, you stop thinking about your game and start thinking about the experience of the player. What experience do I want the player to have? What is essential to that experience? How can my game capture that essence? If there is a big different between the experience you want to create and the one you are actually creating, your game needs to change: You need to clearly state the essential experience you desire, and find as many ways as possible to instill this essence into your game.
The Lens of Surprise: Surprise is so basic that we can easily forget about it. Use this lens to remind yourself to fill your game with interesting surprises. What will surprise players when they play my game? Does the story in my game have surprises? Do the game rules? Does the artwork? The technology?
The Lens of Fun: Fun in desirable in nearly every game, although sometimes fun defeats analysis. What parts of my game are fun? Why? What parts need to be more fun?
The Lens of Curiosity: Think about the player's true motivations*not just the goals your game has set forth, but the reason the player wants to achieve those goals. What questions does my game put into the player's mind? What am I doing to make them care about these questions? What can I do to make them invent even more questions? For example, a maze-finding video game might have a time-limit goal such that at each level, players are trying to answer the question "Can I find my way through this maze in 30 seconds?" A way to make them care more would be to play interesting animations when they solve each maze, so players might also ask the question, "I wonder what the next animation will be?"
The Lens of Endogenous Value: Think about your players' feelings about items, objects, and scoring in your game. What is valuable to the players in my game? How can I make it more valuable to them? What is the relationship between value in the game and the player's motivations? Remember, the value of items and score in the game is a direct reflection of how much players care about succeeding in your game. By thinking about what the players really care about and why, you can often get insights about how your game can improve.
The Lens of Problem Solving: Think about the problems your players must solve to succeed at your game, for every game has problems to solve. What problems does my game ask the player to solve? Are there hidden problems to solve that arise as part of gameplay? How can my game generate new problems so that players keep coming back?
The Lens of the Elemental Tetrad: Take stock of what your game is truly made of. Consider each element separately, and then all of them together as a whole. Is my game design using elements of all four types? Could my design be improved by enhancing elements in one or more of the categories? ARe the four elements in harmony, reinforcing each other, and working together toward a common theme?
The Lens of Holographic Design: You must see everything in your game at once: the four elements and the player experience, as well as how they interrelate. It is acceptable to shift your focus from skin to skeleton and back again, but it is far better to view your game and experience holographically. What elements of the game make the experience enjoyable? What elements of the game detract from the experience? How can I change game elements to improve the experience?
The Lens of Unification: Consider the reason behind it all. What is my theme? Am I using every means possible to reinforce the theme? This works very well with the Lens of the Elemental Tetrad. Use the tetrad to separate out the elements of your game, so you can more easily study them from the perspective of a unified theme.
The Lens of Resonance: You must look for hidden power. What is it about my game that feels powerful and special? When I describe my game to people, what ideas get them really excited? If I had no constraints of any kind, what would this game be like? I have certain instincts about how this game should be. What is driving those instincts? This lens is a quiet, delicate instrument. It is a tool for listening to yourself and listening to others. We bury important things deep inside ourselves, and when something causes them to resonate, it shakes us to our very core. The fact that these things are hidden gives them power, but also makes them hard to find.
The Lens of Infinite Inspiration: "When you know how to listen, everybody is the guru." (Ram Dass) Stop looking at your game, and stop looking at games like it. Instead, look everywhere else. What is an experience I have had in my life that I would want to share with others? In what small way can I capture the essence of that experience and put it into my game? Using this lens requires an open mind and a big imagination. You need to search your feelings and observe everything around you. You must be willing to try the impossible--for surely it is impossible for a roll of the dice to capture the excitement of a swordfight, or for a video game to make a player feel afraid of the dark--isn't it? Use this lens to find the non-game experiences that will inspire your game. Your choices in the different quadrants of the tetrad can each by united by a single inspiration, or each can build on different inspirations, blending them together to create something entirely new. When you have concrete visions based on real life that guide your decision making, your experience will acquire an undeniable power, strength and uniqueness. This lens works hand in hand with Essential Experience. Use the Infinite Inspiration to seek and find beautiful experiences, and the Essential Experience to bring them into your game.
The Lens of the Problem Statement: Think of your game as the solution to a problem. What problem, or problems, am I really trying to solve? Have I been making assumptions about this game that really have nothing to do with its true purpose? Is a game really the best solution? Why? How will I be able to tell if the problem is solved? Defining the constraints and goals for your game as a problem statement can help move you to a clear game design much more quickly.
The Lens of the Eight Filters: You must consider the many constraints your design must satisfy. You can only call your design finished when it can pass through all eight filters without requiring a change.
The Lens of Risk Mitigation: Stop thinking positively, and start seriously considering the things that could go horribly wrong with your game. What could keep this game from being great? How can we stop that from happening? Risk management is hard. It means you have to face up to the problems you would most like to avoid, and solve them immediately. But if you discipline yourself to do it, you'll loop more times, and more usefully, and get a better game as a result. It is tempting to ignore potential problems and just work on the parts of your game you feel most confident about. You must resist this temptation and focus on the parts of your game that are in danger.
The Lens of the Toy: Stop thinking about whether your game is fun to play, and start thinking about whether it is fun to play with. Ask yourself these questions:
There are two ways to use this lens. One way is to use it on an existing game, to figure out how to add more toy-like qualities to it--that is, how to make it more approachable, and more fun to manipulate. The second way (the braver way) is to use it to invent and create new toys before you even have any idea what games will be played with them. This is risky if you are on a schedule--but if you are not, it can be a great "divining rod" to help you find wonderful games you might not have discovered otherwise.
The Lens of the Player: Stop thinking about your game, and start thinking about your player. Ask yourself these questions about the people who will play your game:
A good game designer should always be thinking of the player, and should be an advocate for the player. Skilled designers hold The Lens of the Player and the Lens of Holographic Design in the same hand, thinking about the player, the experience of the game, and the mechanics of the game all at the same time. THinking about hte player is useful, but evne more useful is watching them play your game. The more you observe them playing, the more easily you'll be able to predict what they are going to enjoy.
The Lens of Pleasure: Think about the kinds of pleasure your game does and does not provide. Ask yourself these questions:
The job of a game is to give pleasure. Always be on the lookout for unique, unclassified pleasures not found in most games--for one of these might be what gives your game the unique quality it needs.
The Lens of Flow: Consider what is holding your player’s focus. Ask yourself these questions:
The Lens of Needs: Stop thinking about your game, and start thinking about what basic human needs it fulfills. Ask yourself these questions:
It sounds strange to talk about a game fulfilling basic human needs, but everything that people do is an attempt to fulfill these needs in some way. And keep in mind, some games fulfill needs better than others — your game can’t just promise the need, it must deliver fulfillment of the need. If a player imagines that playing your game is going to make them feel better about themselves, or get to know their friends better, and your game doesn’t deliver on these needs, your player will move on to a game that does.
The Lens of Judgment: To decide if your game is a good judge of the players, ask yourself these questions:
The Lens of Functional Space: Think about the space in which your game really takes place when all surface elements are stripped away. Ask yourself these questions:
The Lens of Dynamic State: Think about what information changes during your game, and who is aware of it. Ask yourself these questions:
Game playing is decision making. Decisions are made based on information. Deciding the different attributes, their states, and who knows about them is core to the mechanics of your game. Small changes to who knows what information can radically change a game, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Who knows about what attributes can even change over the course of a game — a great way to create drama in your game is to make an important piece of private information suddenly become public.
The Lens of Emergence: To make sure your game has interesting qualities of emergence, ask yourself these questions:
The Lens of Action: To use this lens, think about what your players can do and what they can’t, and why. Ask yourself these questions:
Can I somehow enable these, either as operational or resultant actions? A game without actions is like a sentence without verbs — nothing happens. Deciding the actions in your game will be the most fundamental decision you can make as a game designer. Tiny changes to these actions will have tremendous ripple effects with the possibility of either creating marvelous emergent gameplay or making a game that is predictable and tedious. Choose your actions carefully, and learn to listen to your game and your players to learn what is made possible by your choices.
The Lens of Goals: To ensure the goals of your game are appropriate and well-balanced, ask yourself these questions:
The Lens of Rules: Look deep into your game, until you can make out its most basic structure. Ask yourself these questions:
There is a common misconception that designers make games by sitting down and writing a set of rules. This usually isn’t how it happens at all. A game’s rules are arrived at gradually and experimentally. The designer’s mind generally works in the domain of "operational rules," occasionally switching to the perspective of "foundational rules" when thinking about how to change or improve the game. The "written rules" usually come toward the end, once the game is playable. Part of the designer’s job is to make sure there are rules that cover every circumstance. Be sure to take careful notes as you playtest, because it is during these tests that holes in your rules will appear — if you just patch them quickly and don’t make a note, the same hole will just show up again later. A game is its rules — give them the time and consideration that they deserve.
The Lens of Skill: Stop looking at your game, and start looking at the skills you are asking of your players. Ask yourself these questions:
Exercising skills can be a joyful thing — it is one of the reasons that people love games. Of course, it is only joyful if the skills are interesting and rewarding, and if the challenge level strikes that ideal balance between “too easy ” and “too hard. ” Even dull skills (such as pushing buttons) can be made more interesting by dressing them up as virtual skills and providing the right level of challenge. Use this lens as a window into the experience the player is having. Because skills do so much to define experience, the Lens of Skill works quite well in conjunction with Lens #1: The Lens of Essential Experience.
The Lens of Expected Value: Think about the chance of different events occurring in your game, and what those mean to your player. Ask yourself these questions:
Expected value is one of your most valuable tools for analyzing game balance. The challenge of using it is finding a way to numerically represent everything that can happen to a player. Gaining and losing money is easy to represent. But what is the numerical value of “boots of speed ” that let you run faster, or a “warp gate ” that lets you skip two levels? These are difficult to quantify perfectly — but that doesn’t mean you can’t take a guess. As you go through multiple iterations of game testing, tweaking parameters and values in your game, you will also be tweaking your own estimations of the values of different outcomes. Quantifying these less tangible elements can be quite enlightening, because it makes you think concretely about what is valuable to the player and why — and this concrete knowledge will put you in control of the balance of your game.
The Lens of Chance: Focus on the parts of your game that involve randomness and risk, keeping in mind that those two things are not the same. Ask yourself these questions:
Risk and randomness are like spices. A game without any hint of them can be completely bland, but put in too much and they overwhelm everything else. But get them just right, and they bring out the flavor of everything else in your game. Unfortunately, using them in your game is not as simple as sprinkling them on top. You must look into your game to see where elements of risk and randomness naturally arise, and then decide how you can best tame them to do your bidding. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that elements of chance only occur around die rolls or randomly generated numbers. On the contrary, you can find them wherever a player encounters the unknown.
Last modified 20 December 2020