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SimWord of the Day: Higher Level Patterns/ Emergence


Mon Dec 26 2005


When capturing what domain experts know/do for a simulation, one has to interview/watch for high level patterns. What are the patterns that they see play out time and time again, and what are the variations of that pattern?

  • There are basic patterns, like bell curves.

  • There are higher-level patterns, like people hiring other people that are similar to them, or the fact that new technology is always over-hyped.

Systems theorists have a library of patterns like Success to the Successful, tragedy of commons, and escalation.


From a sim perspective, however, patterns are a might tricky.

  • There is always the hope that they emerge organically from a portfolio of well-designed rules.

  • More often, they have to be firm-wired into the units and maps.

  • Easiest, they can be hard-wired into level design.

And then there is need to understand how domain experts encourage good patterns and correct bad patterns.

Patterns are often easy to write about or diagram in linear content. But it is only in context that there true power and treachery become appreciated.

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