Google Games

The sheer abundance of data that Google continues to collect makes the corporation and its activities subjects to intense investigations in several disciplines, including arts and aesthetics. With the subtitle “games without limits” the HU Berlin launched a class in its Asthetics Department led by Gerald Wildgruber. It turned out to be very exciting, offering not only deep insights into a society with a search engine in its center but also unconventional cross-references to Aristotle, Averroes, and Borges.

I want to develop playful approaches to the topic that might shed light on some backgrounds or even show some subversive character. My first concept is now online as a flash-presentation.

it’s a flash-movie

This game presents a subset of the google page ranking: Each incoming link (resp. page rank) is divided by the total number of links of the outsending website. In the game each player can set as many links as he wants but they will become less and less powerful. He can decide to support his own team or to attack the other one. The teams should find a good balance between their supports and attacks as their member will be easily overwelmed otherwise and “converted”.

To facilitate calculations and make the game available via internet it will be roundbased (real time would be more fun, though).

The original page ranking takes the value/page-rank of each website into account. That procedure must be implemented recursively, because for a given website incoming links rise the page-rank and in consequence influence the value of an outgoing link of that website. That outgoing link can refer to a website that has a link set to the initial website and so on (this is one reason why Google has to download all websites taken into account before it can start its calculations). As this tends to be a complex task I will have to leave it out for the moment due to limited skills.
Several extensions and alternatives are possible:

  • The inital setup could already make use of this procedure, creating teams out of game play.
  • A Player with lots of incoming links could be more powerful. Although the exact calculation of its power would be difficult one could require at least two incoming links before attacks are allowed.
  • The most powerful Player could receive some extras, just as the most popular websites stay on top of the Google Shortlist
  • getting links from powerful players could prevent players from being converted more effectively
  • of course all your suggestions are very welcome, so please comment!

2 Responses to Google Games

  1. Hannes:

    Today I had the possibilty to present my sketch to Matthias Ljungström who teaches Game Design at fhp.

    He made me realize that with the current concept, everyone will win always as everyone will belong to the same team in the end. So I should describe the goals differently: In the multiplayer mode one would play untill a last man standing (or sth like 4 or 5) and in the doubleplayer mode one would follow the described strategy of making as much avatars of the other player convert as possible.

    Interestingly, the strategies will change in the multiplayer game because with the goal of the “last man standing”, one plays only half with the own team (“together we’re strong”) but half on one’s own (like Schiller’s Tell being “strongest alone”). The complicates strategies and makes predictions a lot more difficult.

    Basically I should describe possible strategies better in order to make the options for the gamers clearer. Even better than describing: Build a prototype of the game.

  2. Hannes:

    Fabian wondered whether it is visible to the enemy how powers are distributed within my team.

    This is linked to another question, concerning communication among team members in general: a well balanced network of support seems to be a way to success thus requiring a lot of consultation within the teams.