A Practical Model for Separating Games and Simulations

Dan Norton

In this presentation, I’ll be presenting a practical model for games and simulations that allows for critical evaluation and separation of interactive media, using two separate metrics of rewards and identity (“Roles and Goals”).

Roles represent the combination of profession and personal identity that a player inhabits in order to play the game. It also represents the constraints that define the player’s capabilities inside the simulation model.

Goals represent the cyclical structures of tasks and rewards that games layer on top of a simulation model to suggest a particular guided progression. These goals and rewards often reveal new layers of complexity in the simulation model, or enhance the players identity, or sometimes simply allow for new goals.

After defining Roles and Goals, I’ll demonstrate outliers along each aspect, which will help define the landscape. After that, I will discuss some other games such as World of Warcraft, Second Life, Team Fortress 2, and Okami.

Finally, I’ll talk about how Filament Games uses this metric when discussing game models, in terms of taking an educational simulation model and making it more gamelike.

Afterwards, I’d like to open up for discussion both for taking educational concepts and adding Roles and Goals metrics and to talk further about other existing games and how they fit into the model.