COMP 585/185: Serious Games. Player User Interface Storytelling Engine Core Mechanics Triggers Narrative Events In-Game EventsPlayer Events

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  • COMP 585/185: Serious Games
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  • Player User Interface Storytelling Engine Core Mechanics Triggers Narrative Events In-Game EventsPlayer Events
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  • Linear Branching Foldback Emergent
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  • Aesthetically Greater emotional capability Deny dramatic freedom Practically Require less content Engine simpler Less prone to bugs (absurdities)
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  • Aesthetically Replayable Harder to create specific emotions Event influence Advise player of significance Deferred or cumulative Practically Expensive and complex Merging Number of endings
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  • Inevitable events that create the story arc Every play comes through them Compromise between complexity and dramatic freedom
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  • No storytelling engine Story evolves strictly from player actions
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  • Endings Dramatic and premature Multiplicity Narrative granularity
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  • Mechanisms Challenges Choices Drama (time) Journey Tools Cut scenes Dialogue
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  • Set up Confrontation Resolution
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  • A hero ventures forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder: fabulous forces are there encountered and a decisive victory is won: the hero comes back from this mysterious adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow man. Call to adventure Road of trials Boon Return to the ordinary world Application of the boon Voglers version Voglers version
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  • Tony Hirsts Digital WorldsDigital Worlds Lee Sheldon, Character Development and Storytelling for Games (2004)
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  • Shape shifter Form changer Threshold guardian Progress delayer Trickster Mischief maker Shadow Ultimate evil Herald Used to facilitate change in the story Hero Outer problem is aim of game Inner problem is flaw or dark secret Mentor Guide character Higher self Hero as he aspires to be Ally Meant to aid the hero
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  • Must include growth to have a meaningful story Growth varies by genre Must decide: Which characters will grow How they will grow Implementation in game Affect on gameplay Representation to player
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  • Enhance story Emotional response Characters to identify with and care about Credible within the game style
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  • Create characters that people find intriguing (even if a villain) can believe in can identify with Distinctive enough to be memorable
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  • Flexibility differs by genre Role-playing games usually greatest Race, sex, hair, physical attributes, etc. Typically no personality but what is created Goal is tools for players to create themselves
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  • Designer doesnt specify anything Text-based adventure games Allows very tight connection between player and avatar Half-Lifes Gordon Freeman Limiting for designer
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  • Goals Personality of their own Belong in the game Begins with visual depiction Players relationship more complex Identify with, not become In extreme, avatar can reject players guidance The Longest Journeys April Ryan
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  • Only partially characterized Better to make cartoonish Common with action game avatars Mario Lara Croft Beyond the bare facts of her biography, her perfect vacuity means we can make Lara Croft into whoever we want her to be. Steven Pool, Laras Story
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  • Indirect (point and click) Doesnt steer avatar, points to where to go. Player as disembodied guide friend More likely specific avatar Direct Player steers avatar through game world, doing a variety of actions as necessary More likely nonspecific or semi-specific
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  • Nonspecific, semi-specific or specific Visual, psychological, social Direct or indirect control Goal: character the player can identify with qualities can appreciate
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  • Creating a character by first thinking about his visual appearance Visual design Character physical types Physical design Defining attributes Sidekicks
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  • Realism doesnt matter, self-consistency does Pac-Man Lara Croft Purely artistic characters tend to be more superficial and one-dimensional Lets the player impose his own personality
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  • Humanoids Non-humanoids Hybrids
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  • Methods to attract Hypersexualization Cuteness Cartoonlike qualities Cool, tough, cute, goofy Culture differences in art styles Japanese: large eyes and tiny/huge mouths Cute faces with sexually provocative women European: often ugly and strange to Americans
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  • Clothing, weapons, symbolic objects, name Color palette reflects characters attitudes or emotional temperament Superman, upholder of truth, justice, and the American way: bright/cheery, American flag Batman, Dark Knight of Gotham City (grittier, more run-down than Metropolis): somber
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  • Most prominent common element in game design Combine qualities (e.g., tough with cute) to provide variety and comic relief Benefits Give player additional moves and actions Extend emotional range of game Can give player information they couldnt get otherwise
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  • Starting with the story behind the character and developing his traits and personality before considering his appearance Character dimensionality Language & accent Developing believable characters Character growth Character archetypes
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  • Zero-dimensional May display only discrete emotional states One-dimensional Have only a single variable to characterize a changing feeling or attitude Two-dimensional Have multiple non-conflicting variables that express their impulses Three-dimensional Have multiple emotional states that can produce conflicting impulses
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  • Key cue to characters personality Vocabulary age, social class, education Grammar and sentence construction education and class Accent place of origin and social class Delivery (speed and tone) excitement, boredom, anxiety, suspicion, attitude or emotional state Vocal quirks distinguishing Sound effects also tell about personality Confirm players command Signal injury, damage, death Pitch describes
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  • Major characters need rich personalities Answer many questions about them Where was he born? What is his education? What are his favorite activities? What were his biggest triumphs in life? What are his interesting or important possessions? Etc. Show through appearance, language, and behavior
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  • Attributes location, health, relationships, etc. Can change as the player plays the game Status attributes: change frequently and by large amounts Characterization attributes: change infrequently and only by small amounts or not at all
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  • Three golden guidelines to developing effective, believable characters Needs to intrigue the player Needs to get the player to like him Needs to change and grow according to experience