Friday, October 27, 2006

Lesson: Group

While we often talk of the properties or behaviors of a player, many of those same questions can be extended to that of a group of players. This is not a simple translation. What one person does may not make sense for four or five people.

The actions of the group pass through the same process that creates the social contract among them. Mutual understandings and agreements, overt or unstated, are made to allow the group of players to collaborate. On this foundation, the group can be considered much like a single player, with goals, interests, and ways of doing things.

Sometimes this abstraction can be done multiple times. Especially in distributed play, different groups of players may form larger groups. These meta-groups might even have individuals joining in without an intermediate group. Thus a complex hierarchy forms as players and their groups interact and communicate.

As complex as it is, this hierarchy is not fixed. Even small, simple groups can and do change in response to their players actions. Absence and social contract disputes will often disrupt or otherwise modify the groups in which they occur.

What aspects of theory apply just as well to individual players as to groups? Which cannot apply to groups? How do the dynamics of a group affect what can be said about them?

Related Lessons: Player, Social Contract, Distributed

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