February 8th, 2007

Laying in bed the other night, trying to wait out three cups worth of caffeine, I thought of a game concept I’m calling, at the moment, “Match Maker.”  Nothing too grand.  It involves taking a traditional match-two card game, and altering the rules so that not only one but both sides have to match up.  The heuristic is all about what we look for in romantic partners–for now specifically physical traits–and defying expectations of race and gender in relationships.  Once I’ve got it all figured out, I promise I’ll be less cryptic.

In the meantime, the logic required to work through this thing are eating me alive.  It’s not that I’m bad with numbers.  I’m really not.  But trying to understand the equation that will make these mechanics work… I barely know where to start.  The painful part is I keep having this “Ahah!” moments, trying out my brilliant new idea, and finding out it’s a total dud.  Game theory, where are you when I need you?

Tags: Blog

10 Responses to “Oh my God, the numbers!”

  1. Patrick Says:

    What are your variables that associate the mechanics? What sort of dynamic would those variables describe? What mathematical relationship(s) would equivocate those variables along that dynamic, thereby providing an equation to make the mechanics “work”?

  2. Bonnie Says:

    Indeed, Patrick, those are the questions (Sorry if sometimes I sound like a space cadet :). My problem is figuring out the equation. Right now it’s trial and error with those mathematical relationships…

  3. Christopher Says:

    I’m confident I could nail this, or just hand it off to my MIT buddy if I got desperate/lazy. There’s the small problem of I just don’t understand what your asking for though. Are you asking for the math that would be able to compare values of different items, and then give a yes no kind of answer? The kind that you might use in an actually program? Or is there some deeper level you’re trying to get to that I simply don’t get? :/

  4. Bonnie Says:

    Hey, Christopher. No, there’s no deeper level, and least not as far as the math is concerned. It’s just that I’m paranoid. So let me see if I can, you know, stop being that and explain better ;).

    You have 18 cards. On each card there’s a face. That face has three values: skin color, eye color, and hair color. There are three different possibilities for each of these (pink, brown, black; blue, green, brown; blond, red, brown). Each face is unique. The idea is to match each person up to what he’s “looking for.” For example, when I flip over the guy (gender is just fifty/fifty and doesn’t effect things) with pink skin, green eyes, and red hair, on the back of his card it might say “black skin.” Then I have to pick someone with black skin. But, for them to be a match, on the back of the second person’s card it has to say either pink skin, green eyes, or red hair. From there the hope is that there’ll only be one possible set of combinations from the cards, and that, of course, everyone will have a match.

    Does all that make any sense? Or is it just a jumble. Thanks for your help!

  5. Christopher Says:

    We’ll here is my problem with that. If you do this on a computer you shouldn’t need much of any math. I haven’t done much programing since half learning C, but I know you don’t need a complicated formula. It might save you some processor cycles and trim down your code a few lines. However considering how simple the game is you don’t need to worry about that, unless you’re going to put this thing on a TI-83.

    It’s all comparisons, if x=1 then yes otherwise no. Each card simple has four of five values. The first three being the values are integers, which describe the character. The four being gender, which is only require if cards care about the gender of their hook up. The final value is another integer, which describes what the card is looking for. You then tell the program to compare the first three, or four integers to the fourth value. You can then use an if then statement to tell it what to do for a match or rejection.

  6. Bonnie Says:

    Hmm, that all sounds like very useful, except I have to admit I’m already baffled on the computer end. The easiest thing right now might just be to ask my CS friends here at school for some kind assistance ;). But thanks so much for yours!

  7. Patrick Says:

    It sounds like discrete math rather than a continous relationship between variables. If the enumerations on your system aren’t immediately obvious, (they aren’t to me, I’m more in the space cadet school of game design myself) then you should sit down and play test it yourself. Its the best way to learn about your own game.

  8. Christopher Says:

    Wow, Patrick. You know the most awesome words. I almost feel like I should start reading the dictionary. Or at least a lot more math books.

    Anyway it’s really not a matter of discrete math, and yes I had to look that term up. At least I wouldn’t bother to call it that, I would call it ‘how do I write that program.’ Which does contain some math, but it’s simple enough that elementary algebra can do the job. I can lay out the gist of how to write just such a program. However I don’t know enough code to write it myself. Graphic end of it alone would drive me to tears. So yeah your CS friends sound like a great choice.

    I can tell you a few things though that might make life easier on them. You are going to need more values if you want 18 cards. I believe you can only get 7 unique couples going at one time with only 9 variables. More then that and you’ll be able to make matchs with more then just two characters. I’m doing this in my head though, and am terribly rusty at this kind of math. So you might want to double check that, by actually trying it out. If you do need more variables I might suggest things like glasses, hair style, and more depth to the categories you already have. Also an interesting twist to the game might be if instead of revealing what each cards needs to make a match, you had to figure it out. Which in a way is more like the real dating scene anyway.

  9. Bonnie Says:

    You should sit down and play test it yourself.
    That’s what I’ve been doing, again and again, trying to figure out at least one combination that will work. It’s been a slow process :).

    You are going to need more values if you want 18 cards.
    I’m pretty sure it works out. In fact, if my math is correct (3x3x3), you should actually be able to get 27 unique combinations out of those variables.

    Also an interesting twist to the game might be if instead of revealing what each cards needs to make a match, you had to figure it out. Which in a way is more like the real dating scene anyway.
    That definitely would be interesting. In general, I think the game could support a number of variations. I just have to figure out this one first :).

  10. Christopher Says:

    Okay on the first note. I don’t know if play testing it yourself will help to much. I think you’re putting the egg in front of the chicken. You don’t know code, so I don’t get the sense you understand the questions you need to be asking. It may help with understanding how to tweak the rules, but it wont help you turn it into a program.

    Secondly yes there are 27 unique cards. However I’m talking about unique pairs of those cards. From the way you talked it seemed you wanted there to be only one match for the card you have on the table, yes? If that’s the case then 27 won’t cut it.

    Think of it this way, you have two identical tables: one male, the other female. Each of these contains all of your variables, hair color, skin color, and so on. You pick a random value for each table. These values become what the opposite gender are seeking. You then draw the rest of the needed values from the tables. You remove the first two values, what this ‘couple’ is looking for in each other, from the table. You can repeat the process a until you have only one value let in each category. These last values are then used to make the only remaining unique couple. That would give you a way of creating only unique couples. However that would only give you seven in a game if you had nine variables.

    Honestly I’m a little confused again. If you’ve decided that you’re going to ask for help form a CS major, you really shouldn’t have anything left to figure out. A few minutes of discussion, and you should get all of the details ironed out.

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