Frequently Asked Questions

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Is this approach the ideal/best/only ?


The Game Ontology project is an attempt at categorizing elements of gameplay. As with any schema for categorization, it is not the best and only way: categorization schemas are only so good as they help you do what you want. From this perspective, the current schema has proven useful to us in exploring different research questions. We are in no means bound by it. In fact, one the objectives for having the entire ontology on a wiki is to subject it to a larger community who may collaboratively help grow it into something that is useful to a greater community.

Why the hierarchical approach?

Hierarchical approaches afford a natural way of navigating across varying levels of abstraction. When we identify specific concepts we wish to discuss, it makes sense for more concrete instances to be “under” the more abstract and encompassing definition. That way, by picking the appropriate level of abstraction, you can still carry out productive discussions. I guess you could say that the hierarchical approach scales well.

Why is "Goals" a separate top-level element from "Rules"?

The primary distinction between goals and rules that led us to have goals as a top-level element was the fact that rules are enforced, while goals are not. In the general sense of the word, you can’t do things that are outside of the rules. They limit and regulate. Goals, on the other hand tend to be “softer”. They are guidelines of player activity and may regulate behavior but not action. Also, in terms of the literature on games, goals are generally considered separate of rules (in part because players tend to define their own goals). In this sense, goals as separate was a “comfortable” decision.

Why the name "Entity Manipulation"?

We also think that the name is rather…hmm...uncomfortable. We're open to suggestions! We’ve debated using “verbs”…but never reached a consensus (probably because some of the entries don’t refer to verbs per se...).

Why didn’t we go with the “nouns” instead? That’s an interesting question. We have considered another top-level called “Entities”. (referred to in one of the publications, but not included in the wiki). We haven’t had the time or the need to actually explore it and see what sorts of entries we’d need to define. We are, however, intrigued by the fact that this lack of definition hasn’t impeded the work we’ve done. Our gut feeling is that since entities and entity manipulation are so closely related, you can get by with defining only one side of that equation. The other is implicitly understood and referred to.

So, we chose to favour “gameplay” in the sense of the actions that can be performed in a game (by the player or not). From this perspective, if you can perform the same actions with different objects, we can consider both objects essentially the same in terms of gameplay.

Who do I contact about problems (posting, editing, changing preferences, etc.)?

If you have specific questions or issues about a particular entry, we recommend that you edit that entry´s discussion page. You can also contact any of the active project participants via their talk pages or through the e-mail option.

Why are so many pages protected?

The Game Ontology Wiki suffered a pretty extensive attack from spammers which forced us to protect pages as they were attacked. In order to contain the damage, we began protecting pages. We've also been forced to change the site's policy to disallow anonymous editing, which means that we should be able to start un-protecting pages again.