Moo Tang Clan: "Sandbox" or "Dynamic"?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Sandbox" or "Dynamic"?

In writing that last post I almost tagged it with "dynamic" .. but instead decided to tag it "sandbox". (A new tag on this blog - I now have to trawl my archives and do some re-tagging).

Is there a difference? In my mind: yes. A sandbox world is one which players can shape and change in whatever direction they want, while a dynamic world changes in response to player actions according to it's own rules.

The roll out of the Isle of Quel'danas content progression in response to player actions is dynamic, albeit simplistic. As is the flipping of Halaa in Nagrand. The freedom of construction of structures in A Tale in the Desert and in Second Life makes them sandboxes.

You don't however see the Second Life world develop a global warming problem or rampant wild weather in response to all the rampant development going on. When a Second Lifer plants a thousand trees on an island you don't see a change in the wildlife. Thus, SL isn't dynamic.

There is of course potential for a huge overlap, and a world which is bother dynamic and a sandbox would be a very interesting place to live and play.

What do you think? Do these distinctions between the terms make sense to you?

1 comment:

Glyph, the Architect said...

I've always considered there to be a difference between sandbox and dynamic games. Sandbox games are games where they set you loose in a world that is completely open, and what players do determines what is in the world.

A dynamic games is very similar, except the developers have provided options as far as what happens when players do certain things.

Sandbox = shooting a jar breaks the jar and scatters glass.

Dynamic = shooting a jar breaks the jar and one piece of glass flies across the room, hitting a secret button which opens a secret passageway to something new.