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Cross-media social game experiences
 

Cross-media social game experiences

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Killzone 2 for the playstation 3 and killzone.com pair up to deepen the game experience. ...

Killzone 2 for the playstation 3 and killzone.com pair up to deepen the game experience.
Using the web and console platforms to make use of their strengths and possibilities Killzone 2 offers a more immersive game environment. With a cross-platform strategy game developers can further extend the gameplay, even after the title has been released.

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  • Presented by Reinoud Bosman Online: http://www.slideshare.net/ReinoudBosman/crossmedia-social-game-experiences Video: http://www.viddler.com/explore/DElyMyth/videos/79/
  • We started working for Sony Ericsson on a global basis since MediaCatalyst was founded in 2001. The experience we gained in working with a global brand and their processes has resulted in a focus at multinational clients where mobile and the web are key media for driving success in terms of branding, advertising, sales, customer service and loyalty. Specific Dutch clients are Nestle, Atradius, OMA, KNMP, Schiphol, Amsterdam Admirals
  • Castle Wolfenstein was the game that popularized First Person Shooters (FPS) as we know them today. Basic elements like first-person view and a maze/dungeon to navigate were introduced http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castle_Wolfenstein
  • Doom saw a jump in graphics and also allowed people to play against each other in a LAN environment , but online play was limited to almost nothing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doom_(video_game )
  • Quake II became very popular because of its online gameplay . ISPs like xs4all hosted game-servers to attract players from all over the world. Quake was also easy to modify, which allowed players to add their own improvements to online gameplay. New game-modes were introduced such as Capture the Flag, Rocket Battle and User-generated Maps. Users could upload their own skins (uniforms) for the characters. This allowed players to organize themselves into groups called clans http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quake_II
  • Clans of course started their own online presence in the form of clan-websites with player profiles, discussion forums etc. ISPs that hosted the games tracked the statistics of players so that they could compare their performances online in leaderboards (a.k.a ladders) http://clanbase.ggl.com/ h ttp://www.lords-of-doom.de/ http://www.bnbclan.net/
  • Half-Life, apart from being a hugely successful game was pivotal in online gaming because of Counter Strike. Counter Strike was not created by the original company who created Half-Life (Valve). Instead two players ( Minh "Gooseman" Le and Jess "Cliffe" Cliffe ) ‘modded’ the original game by giving it their own skins, maps, missions and other game-play elements. They released it to the game-commnunity, essentially creating and open-source game , built by gamers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Half-Life_(series ) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Counter-Strike
  • Counter-strike introduced new game elements that further deepened the gaming experience. Weapons had to be bought , forcing players to allocate resources and plan their strategies. Team play was encouraged by setting missions such as hostage-rescue or bomb-defuse, rather than simply shooting your opponents. Because characters stayed dead in the game-rounds instead of re-spawning immediately , teams were forced to work together to reach their objectives.
  • Killzone was the first popular FPS on the Playstation 2 ®. It did include online gameplay but because PS2 owners had to buy additional hardware to play online, this wasn’t widely used.
  • Killzone 2 for the Playstation 3® is the next step in FPS gaming, packaging all the elements seen in its predecessors and adding further improvements. Characters can develop extensively, by earning ranks based on points and ribbons based on achievements in the game. Some of the higher ranks are ‘honour’ ranks, that the player can only earn temporarily, by having the highest scores of the online game-community. Badges allow the players to specialize their in-game characters , using badge combinations to give them strengths or capabilities in specific areas. This allows for strategic planning while playing missions together with your clan-members or other players.
  • The 4 Fun Keys is a PX model for how games create the emotions people most like. Today we’ll focus on the People Fun quadrant. This is review for some of you. For those of you who are new to the concept I will condense the past 5 years into 7 mins Game designers cannot design the emotions that players feel directly. Instead they design the mechanics that offer players choices (in the center of the diagram). It is in the making of these choices that players feel the emotions coming from gameplay. It is this new way of creating emotion that separates games from other media. What is most important here is designing the center to create emotion in at least 3 of the 4 quadrants. Turns out that by watching people play there are over 30 emotions that come from the choices that players make in games. Designers who understand the relationship between their game mechanics and these emotions can craft these emotions as early as the concept stage rather than waiting for the end of design or even production where changes are harder to make. At XEODesign we can track how players really react to the game in context. We looked at what create emotion in players and mapped that to what they liked the most about games. There are seven emotions in the face and more in the body. We look at these emotions and match them to game mechanics to hack the “what’s fun?” problem from the player’s perspective. Watching emotions as people play we find that emotions are fluid and braided over time, one emotion blending into the next. We’ve taken this emotional response analysis and developed player experience models or PX to map out the relationship between player and choice. These models can be used to diagnose problems in the player experience and connect strong emotions with the game design and not leave them up to chance as we have here. There isn’t a language for many of these emotions or how to create them. Where required I will use the language we use at XEO to describe how players react to their favorite parts of games.
  • To design a truly cross-media social game experience, we focussed on three specific areas.
  • The killzone.com website needed to be an addition to the game , making the combined experience of the game and the site improve upon each other
  • Chris Crawford in his book The Art of Computer Game Design defined four primary qualities of games: - Representation: A game is a closed format system that represents a subset of reality . By closed I mean the complete and self-sufficient structure. - Interaction - allowing the user to explore the changes in the intricate webwork of cause & effect - Conflict - The player is acitvely pursuing some goal. Obstacles prevent him from easiliy achieving this goal . Conflict is an intrinsic element of all games. It can be direct or indirect, violent or nonviolent - Safety: A game is the artifice for providing the psychological experiences of conflict, while excluding their physical realizations
  • For the design of killzone.com we focussed on two of these qualities and re-interpreted them to create the best fit with the online environment. Interaction with the game and its elements became interaction with the results of the game . Conflict focussed on stimulating further competition between players when reviewing and comparing these results.
  • Each time a person plays a ‘round’ of Killzone 2 this results in a set of game-data . By capturing these data automatically and exposing them online to other players we allow people to interact with the results of their - and other peoples - actions. This allows people to re-tell their experiences outside of the game. Re-living the events that happened and so deepening their experience through sharing it.
  • In the context of bragging rights, the results of the game after each round we saw earlier can be re-purposed towards personal experiences .
  • So that a generic game result becomes a personal achievement which can be employed to gain social standing within the game community.
  • Now all that’s left to do is visualize those achievements so that they can be shared with the rest of the community. Leaderboards show how well the player is doing compared to everyone else. Tournaments can be organized to create official results , culminating in finals in which players or clans can be put in the spotlight and gain additional status. Statistics which are organized into dashboards show achievement metrics, exposing the skills - or lack thereof - a player posesses.
  • User profile pages visualize key data in a dashboard-like manner. - Player progress data such as their rank and badges they’ve earned are displayed graphically, as well as how much more effort is required to go to the next level; - The win/loose ratio is shown in the performance bar , showing the balance of games’ outcomes; - Weapons that the user plays with are displayed in a tag-cloud like manner, where the more a gun is used, the bigger it gets; - Target-like graphs show the performance of a player, such as their kill/death ratio or which badges they use most frequently when playing (an indication of role-specialization); The lower part of the screen shows details that are of interest for people who want a closer look, showing the people this person is connected to, the battles they’ve played recently, what messages they left in the public forums etc. This results in an information-dense page, providing a lot of detail while users can still get a quick overview of the main achievements and playing-style of the player
  • The medal & ribbons screen shows the overview of ribbons a player has attained while playing Killzone 2, visualizing the skills and progress of a player. Medals get awarded when a player has eight badges in that class and focus on game-play elements such as prowess in a certain area (e.g. head shots or sniper-rifle kills) or team-play achievements (e.g. defending assassination targets) in multiplayer missions.
  • The statistics drive the Leaderboards , which show the standing of all Killzone 2 players worldwide . Players can compare each-other's achievements and look up other players they’re interested in.
  • Now all that’s left to do is visualize those achievements so that they can be shared with the rest of the community. Leaderboards show how well the player is doing compared to everyone else. Tournaments can be organized to create official results , culminating in finals in which players or clans can be put in the spotlight and gain additional status. Statistics which are organized into dashboards show achievement metrics, exposing the skills - or lack thereof - a player posesses.
  • The design of the clans portal page has many elements in it that are meant to encourage competition between the clans. The best-scoring clans are featured prominently with a mini-profile and the top-10 leaderboard . So are upcoming matches and tournaments between high profile clans. The details of these matches are visible so spectators can join if they wish (and the settings of the battle allow it). Live overall statistics give an idea of the size of the community making it visible how big the playing field is - and the effort it takes to stay on top
  • The tournament progress wheel allows players to view the proceedings of a tournament . It visualizes the rounds of the tournament as a number of concentric circles, the middle showing the finals and semi-finals. Distributed on the circles the played matches are shown as droplets. When clicking on a droplet the path that lead up to that match lights up, instantly showing which other matches were won by that clan. The winner of the selected match is shown as a yellow line, the looser red. The circle makes it easy to visualize how the tournament is progressing. Viewers have real-time access to round-information, clan details and can look up and track the clans they’re interested in. The higher screen resolution on the web makes it possible to scale this up to the biggest tournaments of 256 players without problems
  • Now all that’s left to do is visualize those achievements so that they can be shared with the rest of the community. Leaderboards show how well the player is doing compared to everyone else. Tournaments can be organized to create official results , culminating in finals in which players or clans can be put in the spotlight and gain additional status. Statistics which are organized into dashboards show achievement metrics, exposing the skills - or lack thereof - a player posesses.
  • Battle Replay is a special feature of the site that allows the killzone.com visitor to replay any match played in the Killzone 2 universe. Viewed from above it shows a movie of where players are on the mini-map, representing the game arena (this will look familiar to players, as it is the same map as in the radar screen in the game). Every detail of the match is captured: who killed, who died, which weapon was used , which mission goals were accomplished. The viewer can pause, zoom in and traces show the bullets flying - even the distance of the shot. A timeline allows for pausing, speeding up or jumping to the next round. All the players in the round are listed on the lower part of the screen, including links to their profiles . The battle replay can be used to relive matches, or for more advanced players to analyze battles and discuss tactics.
  • For people that still haven’t had enough, the detailed statistics-view provides the raw player data, which was all created in-game. The stats get captured within the Playstation 3®, which uploads it to killzone.com after each session.
  • Laurent Goffin identified a number of key-roles to make an online community a success ( http://www.slideshare.net/lgoffin/building-social-web-experience-euroia-2008-presentation ). The star plays a key role attracting people to your community. The opinion leader makes them return and contribute by giving them something to talk about. Connectors build sub-communities with special interests or bring disparate groups in contact with each-other. While the addicts are the people that make a community thrive . All these roles can appear multiple times in an online community. The community-administrators should keep an eye out to identify people that fit these profiles so they can prominently feature them.
  • Within killzone.com these roles can be re-defined to Killzone 2 specific profiles. This way site designers can allocate specific parts of the site to reinforce those profiles, such as giving star players a prominent place on the home page. Tournament winners can be put in the spotlight with feature articles , linking to their game results so other people can see how they did it Discussion leaders can be looked for by monitoring the community statistics using web analytics or resourced by the site owners to kick-start discussions and provide support. Clan leaders are given the tools to manage their clans. They also have extensive capabilities to delegate rights to fellow clan-members when their task becomes too much to handle by themselves. They can communicate with their clan members in a private environment, invisible if you’re not a member. Gamers are a valuable source to get feedback about the Killzone 2 experience and provide valuable feedback on what can be improved and which new features should be included. Via the community it becomes much easier to get in contact with them.
  • By publishing the data the game generates in a personal context (i.e. my achievements) the site becomes more dynamic and a reference portal for the whole game community. The players can share their profiles with members of their own social group as a starting-point for discussions or tactics . Or simply boast about them to other players.
  • A tournament (results page) is an event where multiple clans battle each-other in a knock-out round system . The winner moves on to the next round, until the finals. Tournaments can have anywhere between 4 to 256 clans and can be set up by players or Sony Computer Entertainment (only SCE can set up tournaments with 256 clans). Tournaments usually have a valor entry-fee, where the clans who end up on position 1, 2 and 3 get the ‘prize-money ’. With the ‘official’ events, set up by SCEE sometimes (big) prize money can be won as well.. Especially for the bigger tournaments, the exposure a clan gets - and the ‘bragging rights’ - can be considerable. The winners are featured on the website in the tournaments results page (shown here) with the details of what winnings there were, who won, when it was played, mission modes, weapons allowed (much like setting up a challenge). News articles get published on various topics around the tournament. The participating clans are shown in a tournament-ladder, with their overall leaderboard position and the name and rank of the clan-leader. All the clans have links to their profiles of course. By visualizing the proceedings of a tournament and publishing the achievements of the players and their clans online, killzone.com gives credit to the players and encourages them to participate . And although it’s primarily targeted and used by game players it’s published on a website - so everyone can see it, not only people with a PS3 - and the whole world can see it.
  • The clan profile page shows dashboards similar to the player profile pages, giving a visual overview of key achievements. - The clan details show the name, position and background information - Clan statistics and achievements visualize the movement in the clans hierarchy, how much credit they’ve gained or lost - The Activity Index takes individual players’ and clans’ activity, and displays that in a meaningful number indicating how active a clan is - handy when challenging them (there’s only a limited amount of outstanding challenges a clan can have) - The clan leader can broadcast messages , not only to the outside world but also to members-only . And the clans have personal messaging systems to discuss tactics, game strategies etc.. - Clan calendars show which battles are due to happen - Clan rosters show which players are part of the clan, linking to their personal profiles
  • More in-depth communication can take place in both platforms . Speaking to other players with a microphone and headset during the game; leaving messages or discussing topics online. The messaging service within Killzone 2 is accessible from both the Playstation 3® and the website, so players can send messages to a friend on the PS3 and see it appear in the website (and vice-versa). More complex interactions which require a lot of typing or selecting many options are quicker to complete on the player’s online profile, making it a virtual ‘command centre’. The site helps the player progress further in the game-experience.
  • When challenging another clan there are many settings that can be configured, as these screens show. Proposed battle date & time , amount of valor , how many players , which maps , which missions , which weapons etc. etc. Almost all conditions of a match can be set. A clan can for instance suggest to only use sniper rifles - or hand grendades - with 4 players on each side. When all the conditions are set, the invite gets sent to the challenged clan. They can either accept directly, or re-negotiate the terms by changing some of the options (e.g. date, valor [“ hah! chicken! let’s play for 10.000 instead!”] game-settings) and explaining why. Once both clans are agreed, the challenge is set. When a clan doesn’t show up at the agreed time within 30 minutes they loose the battle. A complex process like this is much easier to manage through the website because of a bigger screen, easier typing etc. Also, the players can do it in their own time (read: school, the office...) without having to turn on the Playstation 3®..
  • Forums are community’s ‘town square’ to discuss a wide variety of topics, localized and personalized. It’s possible to have a private forum, e.g. for tactics and strategic discussions. Forum posts are tracked back to player profiles and vice versa so other people can see who’s been involved in which conversations . Active forum posters can be tracked using web analytics and activated to be ‘opinion leaders’ (see next section) that can drive discussions and feature content. Hot topics are a great source of inspiration for further development and features.
  • Original content: Nicole Lazzaro, XeoDesign The 4 Fun Keys is a PX model for how games create the emotions people most like. Today we’ll focus on the People Fun quadrant. This is review for some of you. For those of you who are new to the concept I will condense the past 5 years into 7 mins Game designers cannot design the emotions that players feel directly. Instead they design the mechanics that offer players choices (in the center of the diagram). It is in the making of these choices that players feel the emotions coming from gameplay. It is this new way of creating emotion that separates games from other media. What is most important here is designing the center to create emotion in at least 3 of the 4 quadrants. Turns out that by watching people play there are over 30 emotions that come from the choices that players make in games. Designers who understand the relationship between their game mechanics and these emotions can craft these emotions as early as the concept stage rather than waiting for the end of design or even production where changes are harder to make. At XEODesign we can track how players really react to the game in context. We looked at what create emotion in players and mapped that to what they liked the most about games. There are seven emotions in the face and more in the body. We look at these emotions and match them to game mechanics to hack the “what’s fun?” problem from the player’s perspective. Watching emotions as people play we find that emotions are fluid and braided over time, one emotion blending into the next. We’ve taken this emotional response analysis and developed player experience models or PX to map out the relationship between player and choice. These models can be used to diagnose problems in the player experience and connect strong emotions with the game design and not leave them up to chance as we have here. There isn’t a language for many of these emotions or how to create them. Where required I will use the language we use at XEO to describe how players react to their favorite parts of games.

Cross-media social game experiences Cross-media social game experiences Presentation Transcript