Designer as Watchmaker: This role describes designers from the opposing school to the designers as entertainers. They both create character-based narrative games, but the approach to it and philosphy behind it differs.

The designer as watchmaker sets the elements of a clockwork world into motion, and motivates the player to manipulate those elements to in pursuit of goals, either of the designer's or the player's own specification. The designer as watchmaker creates world systems and arranges them in provocative ways, inviting the player to activate them however he sees fit. Often, the watchmaker still directs the player, guiding them with imposed objectives and predefined storylines within the gameworld, but the gameplay itself arises from a process of the player observing and deciphering the elements in the world and how they react to one another, then figuring out amusing ways to set them up before knocking them back down.
This designer's approach opposes the entertainer's fundamentally. A game created by the watchmaker will be similar from player to player, but fundamentally different depending on the decisions that the player himself makes and the ways in which he approaches the problems set before him. Whereas every player will encounter the same events in the same order in the same way in a game like F.E.A.R., how the player tackles the gameworld in Deus Ex can be as divergent as night and day from one player to the next.

This isn't a question of the watchmaker building in multiple binary choose-your-own-adventure paths (simply flipping a switch between Stealth Path and Demolitions Path,) but consistently providing a useful array of affordances in the gameworld, so that the player's experience comes down to his own values and his own ingenuity.
More than other roles, though, it's hard to design a game wearing the watchmaker's hat exclusively. The problem of motivating the player on some forward trajectory, and providing a sense of measureable accomplishment and resolution, is difficult to address without inserting linear, choice-free, hand-holding segments in the form of unalterable expository interludes, a rigid progression through a set series of levels, or cut-and-dry missions inserted into the otherwise open gameworld. The prime examples of watchmaker's games (Deus Ex, Thief, Grand Theft Auto 3) all regularly resort to methods that remove any illusion of player freedom in order to push the game forward towards a satisfying conclusion. The watchmaker is concerned with the core of the play experience, the meat of observation, improvisation, and problemsolving, but at present must necessarily make certain concessions to the largely linear, restrictive nature of the character-driven video game.

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