The Game of Ambiguity, Chaos and Curiosity

Yuri Barzov
Apr 8 · 6 min read

I’m doing this project from curiosity. I’m curious to know if people can become friends with strangers. I’m curious to know if curiosity can make people more humane. I wonder if ...

Resolving Ambiguity (Unexpected Uncertainty): Entertainment by Surprise

Re:Abandon will make players die from curiosity, rejoice in discovery and bond with each other like no other game before.

Such a bold statement is scientifically backed by assumption that unexpected (structural) uncertainty of the environment is the strongest single challenge to human brain. Its resolution ignites in people a unique combination of an unbearable zeal for knowing, an unaccountable joy of courage and unconstrained thrill of discovery.

We want to develop Re:Abandon as a pilot game to demonstrate unique playing advantages as well as cognitive and social gains for players which only resolution of ambiguity (unexpected uncertainty) can deliver. Our aspiration is to make unexpected uncertainty generating technology openly available for game developers, preferably, as a part of a major open source gaming platform.

Unexpected uncertainty is a very rare substance in the modern life, art and entertainment. Humans eliminate risk and unexpected uncertainty along with it from their lives. People entertain themselves with risk because risk is easy to create and it delivers some low hanging fruits of delight. Unexpected uncertainty differs from risk dramatically. Our brains know the difference but our consciousness doesn’t see it. We don’t learn from risk because it’s already known hence expected uncertainty. Unexpected uncertainty is the only source of autonomous learning - the ability that we all master in childhood but predominantly abandon in adulthood.

Unexpected uncertainty is absolutely necessary in adolescence in order to retain the capacity of autonomous learning for the rest of life. Yet teens are conserved in the uncertainty-free environment and find risks and substances when they seek and need only unexpected uncertainty.

Unexpected uncertainty can be dangerous IRL. People invented art to produce a harmless version of unexpected uncertainty to safely practice how to resolve it. Unlike other substances artificial unexpected uncertainty can’t be abused but it’s very difficult to produce unless you know clearly what you are looking for. Great artists know how produce it spontaneously hence real art is an authentic product that can’t be falsified.

Unexpected uncertainty is very sensitive to the dosage of uncertainty. Too high level of uncertainty makes any uncertainty totally expected. Once uncertainty is repeated a couple of times it also becomes expected. Our brain needs to establish the pattern of what to expect in the environment in order to detect unexpected uncertainty. Only chaotic dynamics can generate unexpected structural changes constantly giving to the brain only enough time to detect a new structure before changing it again. Appropriately regulated chaotic dynamics will blow up the head of a player again and again without repeating itself a single time.

In Re:Abandon we will produce unexpected uncertainty deliberately, inexpensively and abundantly using the capacity of chaos to generate an extremely complex behavior from very simple initial conditions. Our extra bonus of this approach will be that chaos grabs attention spontaneously while art requires deliberate concentration of attention in order to extract unexpected uncertainty out of it. As we all know, attention is the real currency of the modern world.

Variant One: Ambiguity from Players’ Behaviour

In order to generate abundant unexpected uncertainty we need to introduce chaos in several structural dimensions of the environment of the game as well as to use chaotic dynamics to select in which dimension the next chaotic structural change will take place.

Dimension 1. Players’ control over playable characters

Nonlocal Quantum Games inspired principle of two players controlling the same character without a direct contact with each other will be used with the objective of achieving a state of quazy entanglement between the players.

For example, a Magic Square Game algorithm can be employed to control a character with overlap of players’ commands. Players can be arranged into randomly selected pairs which will jointly manage a playing character in the game. Players in a pair will not know each other and will have no other means of communication except for giving commands to the same playing character - a human-like pet.

Players in pairs will try each to manage the character from distinctively unequal positions: a first-person-view position of a pet (touchscreen controls) and an in-line-of-sight position of a pet owner (voice controls).

If players win in a simplified magic square game the character will run in the desired direction or otherwise act according to players’ joint command. If players lose the game the character will tumble in place until the next attempt is made.

Dimension 2. Behavior of playable characters and guns

Biased Random Walks will be used instead of purely deterministic or purely random behavior will be demonstrated by characters. Players won't directly control the behavior of their characters but only bias the random walk of characters towards a certain goal.

For example: Players can only set a general direction of character's running or aiming of weapons and the chaotic algorithm will use the set direction or aim only as an attractor. Biased random walks in the running of characters and in the behavior of weapons can arise for ‘free’ from generic properties of chaos and does not require sophisticated internal rules governing the switching between a variety of random walks each with its own characteristic step length.

Dimension 3. Fights between playable characters

Physical chaos will emerge in rock-paper-scissors rules based non-zero-sum fights of characters which strategies will be augmented by a simple reinforcement learning algorithm to achieve heteroclinic coupling with winnerless competition dynamics.

For example: Characters will compete with each other in a battle royale. Choice of weapons/tactics in specific engagements will be arranged as a rock-paper-scissors game that generates high dimensional chaos already from two character engagements with very simple rules.

The Community And Bonding Of Qualified Players

All pairs of players which characters win a battle royale at least once will qualify for joining an incognito community of players. Players of the pair will be able to establish a direct contact with each other through the community.

Community members will have facial picture avatars which will become alive each time when a player goes online. Member avatars - faces of human-like pets of players’ choice will be using real voices of players and copying their real time facial expressions. Facial and voice recognition technology will be used for member authentication without jeopardizing members’ incognito.

Players within the community will be able to form pairs for future adventures in the game. Nobody, of course, will prevent them from contacting each other IRL. On the contrary, making new real friends will be a major objective of the game.

If properly designed, the game will favor players which will manage to spontaneously arrive to a winnerless competition (meta-entanglement) phase of cooperation in their pairs. At its highest level winnerless competition manifests itself in successful jazz jam sessions or the condition of flow in working teams. In our case it will let players manage their pet together flawlessly and will make them feel good about each other. Only by practice players will be able to achieve a maximum 98% winning rate in their joint control of an avatar. Meta-entanglement may bring the success rate to 100%. Toxic and bullying players won't be able to achieve the level of top performance required for winning.

Narrative

We need to set the scene, the initial conditions for the narrative of the game so that it will spontaneously unfold in accordance with chaotic dynamics differently in each episode played.

For example: We have some ideas like saving the world of manushas - robotic beasts which evolved from dinosaurs who escaped the global extinction event by migrating to Europa, a satellite of Jupiter. Manushas’ world is collapsing and they call humans for help. Each player will think that she or he is helping out an alien manusha while competing over the control over a character in the game with a stranger.

Audience, Genre, Devices

Re:Abandon will be a multiplayer free to play battle royale game available on smartphones for teenager non players.

Bonus

We enjoy a moment of being super intelligent creatures when we resolve unexpected uncertainty because our brain reaches beyond the space-time continuum to pick up a previously nonexistent pattern. We experience the moment of creation. The very moment which we came into this world for.

Yuri Barzov

Written by

Curious about life and intelligence

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