This talk starts out with some game grammar stuff that may be familiar, then moves into looking at a definition of NP-complete problems, then provides ten examples of how they can be used to look at games, then finishes by examining cognitive bugs in the brain that many games exploit. Please note, I am not a mathematician nor even claim to be very good at math. 🙂
As usual, this along with all my other talks can be found on the Gaming Presentations page, reached by clicking “Games” on the top bar of the site, then choosing Presentations from the sidebar. For those of you who never click the top bar and think all that is here is the blog — there’s a wealth of stuff available there. 🙂 I’ve recently updated it to include a few presentations that were buried and hard to find, such as the audio for my Games For Change closing address, the videos for Living Game Worlds IV and Siggraph Sandbox, and more.
Randomness has been part of games since their earliest inception — and when I say “earliest inception,” I mean deep into the unwritten Neolithic past. Game scholars sometimes point to The Royal Game of Ur as the earliest known game, and in a sense it is — but we also know of games from any number of Neolithic cultures that survived into the modern era, many of them documented by Stewart Cullin in a series of books for the Smithsonian, published in the early 20th century.
He offered several examples of complex games broken down into abstract graphs. For instance, he took the strategy board game Blokus, in which four players use tiles of various shapes to try to block other players’ ability to place a piece. Only corner-to-corner contact is allowed between pieces of the same color. No edges can touch, and the object is to use as many of your allotted tiles as possible.