Immersion, Transformation And Agency

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Immersion, Transformation And Agency

  1. 1. Immersion, Transformation and Agency Digital Narratives, Cyberdrama and Janet Murray
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Video games are a window onto a new kind of intimacy with machines that is characteristic of the nascent computer culture. The special relationship that players form with video games has elements that are common to interactions with other kinds of computers. The holding power of video games, their most hypnotic fascination, is computer holding power” </li></ul><ul><li>Turkle, S. The Second Self: Computers & The Human Spirit (1984) </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ When you create a programmed world, you work in it, you experiment in it, you live in it. The computer’s chameleonlike quality, the fact that when you program it, it becomes your creature, makes it an ideal medium for the construction of a wide variety of private worlds and through them, for self-exploration” </li></ul><ul><li>Turkle, S. The Second Self: Computers & The Human Spirit (1984) </li></ul><ul><li>Turkle states that that Videogames “most hypnotic fascination, is computer holding power”. This “holding power” can be, according to some theorist broken down into easily understood facets that users experience. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ The perpetual feedback between a player’s choice, the computer’s almost-instantanious response, the player’s response to that response, and so on –is a cybernetic loop, in which the line demarcating the end of the player’s consciousness and the beginning of the computer’s worlds blurs.” </li></ul><ul><li>Friedman, T. (1999) Civilisation and its discontents: simulation, subjectivity, and space, http://www.duke.edu/~tlove/civ.htm </li></ul>
  5. 5. Hamlet On The Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace
  6. 6. 1997, 2004, 2008 <ul><li>“ The forms of cyberdrama that I described in Hamlet on the Holodeck have proliferated since the book was published in 1997. Role-playing games have blossomed into a new genre, the Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game, starting with Ultima Online (1997), reaching a usership of over 400,000 with Everquest (1999), and perhaps reaching over a million with Star Wars Galaxies, which as of this writing is planned for release in the summer of 2003.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Harrigan, P. [ed.], 2004. First Person: New Medias Story, Performance, and Game , The MIT Press.   </li></ul>
  7. 7. GigaOM Top 10 Most Popular MMOs (2007) <ul><li>World of Warcraft, released 2004 – 8.5 million subscribers. </li></ul><ul><li>Habbo Hotel , released 2000 – 7.5 million active users. </li></ul><ul><li>RuneScape , released 2001 – 5 million active users. </li></ul><ul><li>Club Penguin , released 2006 – 4 million active users. </li></ul><ul><li>Webkinz , released 2005 – 3.8 million active users. </li></ul><ul><li>Gaia Online , released 2003 – 2 million active users. </li></ul><ul><li>Guild Wars , released 2005 – 2 million active users. </li></ul><ul><li>Puzzle Pirates , released 2003 – 1.5 million active users </li></ul><ul><li>Lineage I/II, released 1998 – 1 million subscribers. </li></ul><ul><li>Second Life, released 2003 – 500,000 active users. </li></ul><ul><li>http://gigaom.com/2007/06/13/top-ten-most-popular-mmos/ </li></ul>
  8. 8. The Sims as narrative generator <ul><li>“ The current most popular game in digital form, Will Wright’s imaginative The Sims (2000), which is like a novel-generating system.” </li></ul><ul><li>“ Looking back one hundred years from now, The Sims may be seen as the breakthrough text of cyberdrama, just as Don Quixote (1605) was for the novel or The Great Train Robbery (1905) was for movies.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Harrigan, P. [ed.], 2004. First Person: New Medias Story, Performance, and Game , The MIT Press. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Cyberdrama/Ergodic Text <ul><li>“ In Hamlet on the Holodeck , I reluctantly coined the term cyberdrama, emphasizing the enactment of the story in the particular fictional space of the computer” </li></ul><ul><li>Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Harrigan, P. [ed.], 2004. First Person: New Medias Story, Performance, and Game , The MIT Press. </li></ul><ul><li>“ Open, dynamic texts where the reader must perform specific actions to generate a literary sequence, which may vary for every reading.” </li></ul><ul><li>Aarseth, E.J., 1997. Cybertext: Perspectives on Ergodic Literature , The Johns Hopkins University Press.   </li></ul>
  10. 10. New Forms <ul><li>“ The first of this new storytelling are in linear media, which seem to be outgrowing the strictures of the novel and movie in the same way that we might imagine painting outgrowing the frame and morphing into three-dimensional sculpture.” </li></ul><ul><li>Wardrip-Fruin, N. & Harrigan, P. [ed.], 2004. First Person: New Medias Story, Performance, and Game , The MIT Press. </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>A simple example of this would be Mike Figgis’ Timecode (2000) </li></ul>
  12. 12. Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck , New York: Free Press (1997)
  13. 13. It is said that we can think of these as… Can be thought of in terms of Can be thought of in terms of Can be thought of in terms of Interactivity Identification Suspension of disbelief
  14. 14. Agency <ul><li>“ Agency is the satisfying power to take meaningful action and see the results of our decisions and choices” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H., 1998. Hamlet on the holodeck , MIT Press. </li></ul><ul><li>Agency is the feeling that the user has an effect on the virtual environment, in a cyberdrama it may be the effect that a “reader” has on the direction of the narrative   </li></ul>
  15. 15. Agency and Interaction <ul><li>Agency should not be mistaken for interaction, there is a discernable difference between what Murray outlines as Agency in her work and the process of interaction. </li></ul><ul><li>As Chris Crawford outlines in his essay The Fundementals of Interactivity “There is one common experience we all share that is truly, fundamentally, interactive: a conversation.” </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.erasmatazz.com/library/JCGD_Volume_7/Fundamentals.html </li></ul>
  16. 16. Interactivity <ul><li>“ Of course, the whole point of this ‘interactive media’ revolution is that it proposes to automate interactivity, to replace one of the participants in the conversation with a machine. We can therefore rephrase the problem of designing interactive entertainment as follows: &quot;How can we program the computer to be an entertaining conversational (metaphorically speaking) partner?” </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.erasmatazz.com/library/JCGD_Volume_7/Fundamentals.html </li></ul><ul><li>Interactivity then is a two way process between the computer and the user or reader. Interactivity is a dialogue not a experience such as the experience of Agency as Murray outlines it. </li></ul>
  17. 17. Transformation <ul><li>“ It [the computer] makes us eager for masquerade, eager to pick up the joystick and become a cowboy or space fighter” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck, New York: Free Press (1997) </li></ul><ul><li>Transformation refers to the computers ability to create and simulate an environment to role play. </li></ul>
  18. 18. Immersion <ul><li>“ The experience of being transported to an elaborately simulated place is pleasurable in itself, regardless of the fantasy content. We refer to this experience as immersion. Immersion is a metaphorical term derived from the physical experience of being submerged in water.” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck, New York: Free Press (1997) </li></ul>
  19. 19. Immersion <ul><li>“ Immersion is a metaphorical term derived from the physical experience of being submerged in water. We seek the same feeling from a psychologically immersive experience that we do from a plunge in the ocean or swimming pool: the sensation of being surrounded by a completely other reality, as different as water is from air that takes over all of our attention our whole perceptual apparatus. We enjoy the movement of our familiar world, the feeling of alertness that comes from being in this new place, and the delight comes from learning to move within it.” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck, New York: Free Press (1997) </li></ul>
  20. 20. Immersion <ul><li>“ Hotshot digital cinematography doesn’t make a digital story immersive. What makes it immersive is a world where no territory is off-limits, anything you see is fair game, and all your actions have consequences” </li></ul><ul><li>Provenzo, E. Video Kids: Making Sense of Nintendo Cambridge,MA: Harvard University Press (1991) </li></ul>
  21. 21. Immersion and Videogame Studies <ul><li>“ Immersion means the player is caught up in the world of the game’s story (the diegetic level), but it also refers to the player’s love of the game and the strategy that goes into it (the nondiegetic level)” </li></ul><ul><li>McMahan, A. The Video Game Theory Reader - Immersion, Engagement and Presence –a method for analyzing 3-D Video Games, New York: Routeldge (2003) </li></ul>
  22. 22. Designing for Immersion <ul><li>“ Three conditions create a sense of immersion in a virtual reality or 3-D computer game: </li></ul><ul><li>The user’s expectations of the game or environment must match the environment’s conventions fairly closely; </li></ul><ul><li>The user’s actions must have a non-trivial impact on the environment; </li></ul><ul><li>The conventions of the world must be consistent, even if they don’t match those of ‘meatspace’.” </li></ul><ul><li>McMahan, A. The Video Game Theory Reader - Immersion, Engagement and Presence –a method for analyzing 3-D Video Games, New York: Routeldge(2003) </li></ul>
  23. 23. Designing for Immersion <ul><li>“ The user’s expectations of the game or environment must match the environment’s conventions fairly closely” </li></ul><ul><li>McMahan, A. The Video Game Theory Reader - Immersion, Engagement and Presence –a method for analyzing 3-D Video Games, New York: Routeldge(2003) </li></ul><ul><li>This is achieved in a number of ways through visual representation and creating a “Semiotic Domain” </li></ul>
  24. 24. Designing for Immersion <ul><li>“ The user’s actions must have a non-trivial impact on the environment” </li></ul><ul><li>McMahan, A. The Video Game Theory Reader - Immersion, Engagement and Presence –a method for analyzing 3-D Video Games, New York: Routeldge(2003) </li></ul><ul><li>Through Murray we understand this as Agency, the user must be able to effect the fiction and the fictional world. </li></ul>
  25. 25. Designing for Immersion <ul><li>“ The conventions of the world must be consistent, even if they don’t match those of ‘meatspace’.” </li></ul><ul><li>McMahan, A. The Video Game Theory Reader - Immersion, Engagement and Presence –a method for analyzing 3-D Video Games, New York: Routeldge(2003) </li></ul><ul><li>This constant set of interactions means that a sense of flow is maintained through the virtual environment. </li></ul>
  26. 26. A Possible 4 th Term <ul><li>Presence - “we experience what is made of information as being material” </li></ul><ul><li>Ryan, M.L. Narrative as Virtual Reality: Immersion and Interactivity in Literature and Electronic Media, Baltimore MD: The John Hopkins University Press (2001) </li></ul>
  27. 27. Interesting questions posed by Murray...
  28. 28. <ul><li>“ If we could someday make holographic adventures as compelling as Lucy Davenport, would the power of such a vividly realized fantasy world destroy our grip on the actual world?” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck , New York: Free Press (1997) </li></ul>
  29. 29. <ul><li>“ Will the increasingly alluring narratives spun out for us by the new digital technologies be as benign and responsible as a nineteenth-century novel or as dangerous and debilitating as a hallucinogenic drug?” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck , New York: Free Press (1997) </li></ul>
  30. 30. <ul><li>“ Do we believe that kissing a hologram (or engaging in cybersex) is an act of infidelity to a flash-and-blood partner?” </li></ul><ul><li>Murray, J.H. Hamlet on the Holodeck , New York: Free Press (1997) </li></ul>

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