CSI Game Criteria; On Figuring Out if you Fit.

So on the previous entry we’ve covered what a CSI Game is, now I’ll add the last entry needed in order to complete the CSI Game project scuffolding, after this post, the project could technically stand on its own.

This entry is about figuring out the “CSI Game” Rating of games, and figuring if your game fits into the criteria.
CSI Game Rating is based mostly on your intentions and their executions, with an added final weight given to subjective opinion on the quality of these paremeters and their integration. The rating goes from 0 to 10, with 0 being “Not a CSI Game” and 10 being “A CSI Game through and through”.

If any of the four individual ratings(Competitive, Interactive, Story and Game) get a score of 0, then the game is not a CSI Game, you may still continue to check the other criteria, to get its “Virtual CSI Game” rating.

1) Competitive: This is the Litmus test, most games will not have this criteria, this most distinguishing criteria, and will thus fail to register as a CSI Game.
Does the game create tension between players, does it intend to, does it succeed?
* Does the game push for Competition as one of its goals? If Yes, add 1 point.
* Does the game use mechanics that create, encourage, reward or in any other way illustrate Competition between the players? If Yes, add 1 point.
* How well do you think those mechanics work, on their own, and in order to accomplish the goal of fostering Competition? Add up to 1 point.

2) Interactive: Does the game foster interaction between players? Can you sit on your own and play without the game, or yourself being harmed?
* Does the game push for Interaction as one of its goals? If Yes, add 1 point.
* Does the game use mechanics that create, encourage, reward or in any other way illustrate Interaction between the players? If Yes, add 1 point.
* How well do you think those mechanics work, on their own, and in order to accomplish the goal of fostering Interaction? Add up to 0.5 points.

3) Story: Do you create a story as you play? Is the story part of what you’re actually playing for? Is Story just an after-thought?
* Does the game push for Story Creation/Telling as one of its goals? If Yes, add 1 point.
* Does the game use mechanics that create, encourage, reward or in any other way illustrate Story Generation? If Yes, add 1 point.
* How well do you think those mechanics work, on their own, and in order to accomplish the goal of creating a Story? Add up to 0.5 points.

4) Game: Is this a “Game”? “What is a game” is a hard thing to answer, the short answer is, “You know it when you see it”. Is this played as a fun activity, rather than as an effort whose goals are to tell a meaningful story, explore the concept of…
* Does the game actually act like a Game, with its goal being having fun and such as described above? If Yes, add 1 point.
* Does the game have a finite finishing point? If Yes, add 0.5 points.
* Does the game have a “Winner” once it ends? If Yes, add 0.5 points.

And now you too can channel the spirit of CSI Games folks. Now I want your help to steer me further.
Now, as I’ve asked on The Forge:
1) Do you “get” anything out of the current posts on CSI Games blog?
2) What kind of tools/topics do you wish were covered?

Also, we got mentioned.

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4 comments on “CSI Game Criteria; On Figuring Out if you Fit.

  1. What about using the same scale for each criterion and counting the average of four scores in order to rate the game? Right now it’s possible for a game that doesn’t figure prominently in some of the categories to get quite a high overall score. E.g. Universalis could get as high as 6.5 without counting Competition – and that’s the same rating as Com 2, Int 2, St 1, Gam 1.5, which would be something totally different.

    Actually, the whole rating loses any meaning if you don’t include the score for every criteria next to it.

    Also, note that 0-10 scale is actually 4-10 scale now, since any CSI must have at least 4 points.

    The question is – do you need as much as seven steps here? 0-3 scale could work just as well: 0 – not a CSI; 1 – barely figures, but lacks something important; 2 – all right; 3 – CSI through and through.

  2. Guy says:

    Universalis has a “Virtual” 6.5 post available, its actual rating is 0.

    Well, if we have 0-3 it’d serve to show “if” it is, but not “How good” or “how much”. I agree, it may very well require to note which rating for which letter.
    If we go 0-3 then why do Computer games have score 1-10 and not 0-4: don’t bother, eh, acceptable, good, great?

    The 0-10 is for Virtual as well, actual CSI Games can have as much as 0.5, if something really sucks you may dock points.

    Also, why not average? Because Interaction is not as important as Competitive, which is the most important facet, Game is very subjective, so I made it be worth less, etc.

    But that’s only my opinion, I am considering yours.

  3. Guy says:

    Filip send me the following on The Forge:

    I was about to post it as a comment on your blog, but there are some problems with the server it seems. And I don’t have constant internet connection right now, so I send it to you like that:

    I think it is possible to look at Universalis as a game that has mechanics rewarding competition (bidding, conflicts etc. can be seen as rules concerning competing for narrative power). If so, it gains 1 point of Competition, and automatically ceases to be “virtual” and becomes CSI in full rights (rated even as high as 7.5). Keep in mind that I’m not talking about Universalis drifted towards gamism, but about the game having certain kinds of mechanics on its pages (do that or that, win a conflict, and you, not other players, gain narration rights).

    Also, “How much” is a valid question here, but “How good” is impossible to objectively measure in my opinion. That would require to know what exactly someone looks for in a particular game – and there is no single thing to be found “good”.

    Computer games might have 1-10 scale, but that measures only subjective opinion of a given reviewer. Also, note that in some magazines/sites there are autonomous ratings for graphics, music, playability etc., and an average rating.

    So the thing is – is there actually need for a scale that could be used to subjectively measure CSI-ness of a game? That could be used only for arguing whether a given game is 4 or 8, and for everyone arguing it would be exactly at that rating.

    IMO more usefull is a scale that would allow to objectively rate a game in terms of to what extent does it resemble an archetypical game of this particular category. It is definitely a CSI Game/it definitely is not, and some shades in between: it has some traits of CSI, but can’t be considered according to CSI categories/it is not 100% CSI, but CSI categories mostly still apply here.

    Just my thoughts ;)

    Best,

    Filip

  4. Guy says:

    Crap, it ate my answer!

    Cliff-notes version:

    Don’t know Universalis, talking generic-level.

    How Much and How Good are identical, referring to CSI Game, not “RPG” or anything else.

    Computer games’ final scores in reviews are NOT averages, but how much the reviewer likes them.
    Game A has Score 1 at 10, Score 2 at 10 and Score C at 6; Final Score can easily be 6-8.

    We can have a simple “CSI Game” or NOT result, but then again, if it has 4 points or higher without the note [Virtual] then you know it is one.

    Of course it’s somewhat subjective, I’m trying to make it more objective. Reviews are ALWAYS subjective, we still read movie critics and game reviwers’ opinions.
    Look at the review questions, they are valid point-questions, score is not decided arbitrarily. If someone argues about the score, bully to them, they’re not meaning to achieve anything but argue.

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