Seminar at Doctoral Program on Digital Media Arts, at Universidade Aberta, Silves on the 18 July 2014.
Text of Choice and Moral Design in Interactive Storytelling
Choice and Moral Design in Interactive Storytelling Nelson Zagalo, Universidade do Minho http://nelsonzagalo.googlepages.com Universidade Aberta, Silves 18 July 2014 Seminar at Doctoral Program on Digital Media Arts
Storytelling is a communication model, and one the best ways to understand the world around us, because it allows us to understand the Other, feel the Other, and feel for the Other. Storytelling permits us to understand community moral values. Videogames use this model adding the novelty of interactivity, which in essence means adding choices to the communication model. Storytelling and Interactivity
Game Narrative Story Form Linear Non-linear Choice means the power to act upon, to change, modify and transform according to own motives. Multilinear Emergent Branching Interactivity and Choice
Message Choice can give us the opportunity to interact with the representation of the story (world and characters) or with the message (events unfolded). Multilinear Emergent Branching Choice has different approaches The Last of Us (2013) Fallout 3 (2008)
Mass Effect Trilogy (2007-2012) Trilogy trailer
Form 1. Manipulation Appearance, Genre, Skill 2. Navigation Mode, Perspective, Plot 3. Participation Morality, Dialogue Message 4. Multilinear - Character Story 5. Emergent - Sidequests plus 6. Branching - Moral Decisions Mass Effect choice deconstruction
Mass Effect - Manipulation Appearance and Genre
Mass Effect - Manipulation Skills, actions, power, arms and squad
Mass Effect Navigation (Mode) Casual Story : The combat levels of enemies are scaled down based on player level. Most enemies have no special protection or immunities. Story oriented. Normal RPG: The combat levels of enemies are scaled based on player level, but Bosses are scaled up based on the player level. Some enemies have special protection. Game and story mixed. Veteran Action : The combat levels of enemies are scaled up. Most enemies have special protection. Game oriented.
Mass Effect Navigation (Perspective) Third-person view I see the world I see my character I see the world as my character see
Mass Effect Navigation (Plot) Citadel Citadel Feros Noveria Therum Virmire Ilios Mass Effect Plot Structure
Mass Effect - Participation Paragon: become a shining example of the best of humanity, a compassionate, heroic person. Renegade: can be brutal and calculating person who stops at nothing to get the job done. Permits the receptor to participate in the definition of the tone of actions taken. In the long run can affect also the story message.
Mass Effect - Participation Friendly Hostile Move on Charm to know more Intimidate to know more Investigate more subjects Mass Effect Dialogue Wheel
Mass Effect - Multilinear A. Pre-service History Spacer Colonist Earthborn B. Psychological Profile War Hero Sole Survivor Ruthless C. Class Soldier Engineer Adept Infiltrator Vanguard Sentinel
Mass Effect - Multilinear 1.1 Spacer: Shepard was raised on ships and space stations by his Alliance soldier parents. 1.2 Colonist: Shepard grew up on Mindoir, a colony which eventually gets attacked by Batarian slavers. 1.3 Earthborn: Shepard grew up an orphan on the streets on Earth. A. Pre-service History
Mass Effect - Multilinear 2.1 War Hero: Shepard, at one point, risked their life to save fellow soldiers, and single-handedly dealt with a Batarian attack on Elysium. 2.2 Sole Survivor: Shepard's unit fell to a thresher maw attack on Akuze, leaving Shepard to fight for survival against all odds on his own. 2.3 Ruthless: A pragmatic, brutal Shepard once sent most of their unit to their death, then killed a group of surrendering Batarians on Torfan. B. Psychological Profile
Mass Effect - Multilinear 3.1 Soldier: The Soldier is a tough warrior, able to deal with a range of combat situations. The Soldier gets improved health, has the widest selection of weapons, and is eventually able to wear heavy armor. 3.2 Engineer: The Engineer is a tech specialist, able to quickly and easily manipulate the environment with specific talents. 3.3 Adept: The Adept is the ultimate biotic, able to affect the physical world with the power of the mind. 3.4 Infiltrator: The Infiltrator is a tech-savvy warrior, able to win battles by quickly disabling and killing enemies. 3.5 Vanguard: The Vanguard is a powerful combatant, able to combine the offensive powers of the Adept and the Soldier. 3.6 Sentinel: The Sentinel is the most flexible class, able to combine tech and biotics to manipulate the environment, disable and track enemies, or defend the party. C. Class
Mass Effect - Emergent Mission side quests and the world Prioritary, N7, Secondary, World
Mass Effect - Branching 1. The Rachni Queen (Noveria) Let live or kill: The queen. 2. Zhu's Hope (Feros) Let live or kill: Ethan Jeong, Colonists, Asari 3. Krogan disease (Virmire) Convince or kill: Wrex 4. Parallel Mission (Virmire) Let live and let die: Ashley or Kaidan 5. Final Battle (Citadel) Convince or kill: Saren to suicide or to fight till death 6. Final Battle (Citadel) Let live or let die: Council Moral decisions: Let live or kill, Convince or kill, Let live and let die
Moral dilemmas Moral dilemmas are situations in which no solution is satisfactory. Crossroads defying everyone trying to create rules to decide what is right and what is wrong, from lawyers to philosophers
Choice means to empower the receptor, to the limit of experimenting with self moral values. In movies you get to know the past, in games you get to decide the future. You dont have someone telling you what happened, in order to help you decide next time. Youve to decide, try, go for it. It depends exclusively on you. Thats why playing through moral decisions in games, can become hard on receptors, because we get that strange sensation of being lost, like in real life. The sensation is similar to movies, when were trying to predict what the character will do, but then you pass it on the shoulders of the author. In games we co-author the object of meaning, and thats why engagement reaches levels unattainable by any other art form. Choice is Empowerment Choose your own moral
Choice and Moral Design in Interactive Storytelling Nelson Zagalo, Universidade do Minho email@example.com Universidade do Minho