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UC Berkeley PPT

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Anthony Burch's powerpoint presentation at UC Berkley about character development and player identity in story-driven videogames

Anthony Burch's powerpoint presentation at UC Berkley about character development and player identity in story-driven videogames

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  • 1. Character development and player identity in story-driven videogames Anthony Burch UC Berkeley March 8, 2010
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  • 3. http://braid-game.com/news http://clicknothing.com
  • 4. DWARF FORTRESS BRAID SLEEP IS DEATH
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  • 8. CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT
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  • 10. USEFULNESS EMPATHY
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  • 14. “ To convey a sense of urgency, we originally designed Alyx to nag the player pretty frequently. She’d say things like ‘Hurry up!’ and ‘Keep moving!’ Whether or not this created a sense of urgency is debatable. But after about three minutes of this, the one thing it definitely did was make the player hate Alyx. This was one of the observations that eventually led us to switch Alyx from generally leading players to almost always following. Through playtesting we discovered that players much preferred to set the pace themselves and that they especially disliked virtually any hint of bossiness from Alyx. ”
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  • 18. This is slightly profound
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  • 23. Christian Bale says: “ Pretend I'm not an actor for two hours, and you'll enjoy this movie.“ No problem! Trish says: “ Pretend I'm not a virtual character.“ Sure! “ Also, fall in love with me in the next twenty minutes, or else the impending moral choices won't make any sense.“ Oka—wait, what? “ Also, I'm useless, but try to ignore that.“
  • 24. THE KIM BAUER PROBLEM SOUNDS STUPID PICK SOMETHING ELSE BEFORE THE TALK AND DON'T FORGET TO DELETE THIS TEXT
  • 25. PLAYER/AVATAR DISSONANCE
  • 26. MASS MURDER, LOL
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  • 29. SUSPENSION OF AGENCY: I will let the game forbid me from doing certain things if, in exchange, I will be more immersed in the story, to the point where I feel like a character in it. The game will not forbid me from doing something I feel like I NEED to do, nor force me to do anything I absolutely REFUSE to do, without giving me a spectacularly good narrative reason that deepens my immersion in the story. If the game breaks this pact, my control will feel meaningless, and I will no longer feel immersed in the story. (I will also be pissed off.)
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  • 38. If a game treats the desires of my avatar as more important than my own, then why am I even playing? Why am I being asked to control someone if I don't have any control when it really matters? What's the point of my presence? PLAYER IRRELEVANCE
  • 39. PRESS THE X BUTTON TO CHEAT ON YOUR WIFE Interactivity is complicity:
  • 40. Am I a participant, or an audience member?
  • 41. “ True CHARACTER is revealed in the choices a human being makes under pressure - the greater the pressure, the deeper the revelation, the truer the choice to the character's essential nature. “
  • 42. Am I willing to risk my friends dying in exchange for mastery of the Force? Will I be able to defeat Darth Vader if I leave Dagobah? Will I dishonor the memory of Obi-Wan if I disobey Yoda? Does compassion make me a better or worse Jedi? A better or worse human being? What happens if I fail to defeat Darth Vader? Will Ilsa be happy without me? Will I be happy without Ilsa? Does my happiness even matter in the grand scheme of things? Would Ilsa regret staying with me? Which is more important: love, or justice? Does Lazlo deserve Ilsa? Does that even matter?
  • 43. Am I willing to risk my friends dying in exchange for mastery of the Force? Will I be able to defeat Darth Vader if I leave Dagobah? Will I dishonor the memory of Obi-Wan if I disobey Yoda? Does compassion make me a better or worse Jedi? A better or worse human being? What happens if I fail to defeat Darth Vader? Will Ilsa be happy without me? Will I be happy without Ilsa? Does my happiness even matter in the grand scheme of things? Would Ilsa regret staying with me? Which is more important: love, or justice? Does Lazlo deserve Ilsa? Does that even matter? ???
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  • 47. Am I willing to risk my friends dying in exchange for mastery of the Force? Will I be able to defeat Darth Vader if I leave Dagobah? Will I dishonor the memory of Obi-Wan if I disobey Yoda? Does compassion make me a better or worse Jedi? A better or worse human being? What happens if I fail to defeat Darth Vader? Will Ilsa be happy without me? Will I be happy without Ilsa? Does my happiness even matter in the grand scheme of things? Would Ilsa regret staying with me? Which is more important: love, or justice? Does Lazlo deserve Ilsa? Does that even matter? Do I want good karma points or evil karma points?
  • 48. How much do I trust Morrigan? How much do I like her? How difficult will the final fight be if she leaves? Am I willing to risk bringing a demon into the world if it means Morrigan will stay a little longer? Am I willing to risk the death of a Grey Warden if I don't give Morrigan what she wants? Knowing that BioWare might allow me to import my character into the sequels, am I willing to sacrifice my own character to kill the Archdemon? Am I willing to let one of my companions die just so my character will survive? Is there such a thing as justifiable murder? How can I best use these buddies to my advantage before killing them? Am I willing to risk the deaths of innocent people just to keep myself safer? Is it okay to let a few innocents die early on so that more will be saved later on? What if I die before reaching the end? Did those first innocents die for nothing? Is it okay to kill buddies who would have never betrayed me, so I can kill buddies who eventually would have? How heartless am I willing to be to survive this permadeath run?
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