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Game Design for Storytellers
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Game Design for Storytellers


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Slides for a workshop on game design for storytellers. narrative not as core, but as one of the useful components. We explore the game universe, give a short intro to game design, explore the …

Slides for a workshop on game design for storytellers. narrative not as core, but as one of the useful components. We explore the game universe, give a short intro to game design, explore the different meaning of narrative in / on / form games, and then try a game design exercise.

Published in: Design, Entertainment & Humor

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  • 1. Game design for storytellers: from the myth of interactive narratives to the reality of game mechanics Pietro Polsinelli @ppolsinelli 1
  • 2. 2 Our workshop schedule.
  • 3. Meaningful games: examples
  • 4. Passage:a full game. 4
  • 5. Spaceteam U
  • 6. Refraction
  • 7. The games universe 7
  • 8. 8
  • 9. 9 Emergenceis the primordial game structure, where a game is specified as a small number of rules that combine and yield large numbers of game variations, which the players then design strategies for dealing with. This is found in card and board games and in most action and all strategy games. Emergence games tend to be replayable and tend to foster tournaments and strategy guides. Progressionis the historically newer structure that entered the computer game through the adventure genre. In progression games, the player has to perform a predefined set of actions in order to complete the game. One feature of the progression game is that it yields strong control to the game designer: Since the designer controls the sequence of events, this is also where we find the games with cinematic or storytelling ambitions. This leads to the infamous experience of playing a game "on a rail", i.e. where the work of the player is simply to perform the correct pre-defined moves in order to advance the game. Progression games have walkthroughs, specifying all the actions needed to complete the game.
  • 10. Emergence / Progression Sim City, Braid.
  • 11. 11
  • 12. Self referential / Referring games Both may be good or bad. 12
  • 13. Non played games. Dear Esther, Proteus, Journey
  • 14. Games for change
  • 15. Games for change
  • 16. Oh how nice it is to work as a slave for this multinational 16
  • 17. Playfied solutions “Gamification”. Bottle bank arcade. Somemtimes, unhealthy psychological consequences. Techniology of “fitting better”: technology for control (Foucault). Game play is instrumental to an external goal.
  • 18.
  • 19. Persuasive UIs
  • 20. Learning & teaching with games from games
  • 21. Cargo Bot Videogames are ideal for transmitting formal rules through concrete examples. This can cover a lot of ground. Also probe – test – rethink – probe cycle.
  • 22. Search energy in a 3D environment.
  • 23. The dark side
  • 24. No narrative ideal, no purpose beyond monetization. Lenses in a skeleton:The Sims Social.
  • 25. Measure,measure,measure.
  • 26. Addiction by Design Natascha Schull 97% is given by the slot machine – study IT
  • 27. Narrative for / in / from / out games
  • 28. The Magic Circle: Huizinga, Johan. 1971. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • 29. Which story? - user gameplay story - learning story - author scripted story - game generated story - describing the game (story as ux tool) Distinguish: emergent narrative vs. embedded narrative.
  • 30. Classical media is not interactive: depends how you look at it.There is a branching reality, and videogames are rarely truly interactive.
  • 31. “If one understands that storytelling for games has little or nothing to do with interactive storytelling one has already saved oneself a lot of trouble.” It goes in many directions.
  • 32. 32
  • 33. 33
  • 34. Anti narrativism
  • 35. There isn't one right way to include stories in games: Storyteller, Blackbar ...
  • 36. Short intro to Game Design
  • 37. 37
  • 38. Example analysis: Pinball Which are the user inputs? Works in different media – nice on the iPad.
  • 39. Pinball game hermeneutics. Progressive views: 1.Just keep the ball in play 2.Make point rich hits 3.Reach goals 4.Complete the story 5.Solo not fun any more. Can be fun just to show off (high scores, show to friends).
  • 40. Games vocabulary:article “Formal Abstract Design Tools,” designer Doug Church
  • 41. Game are made of loops To analyze the mechanics of a game, you got to find the loops.
  • 42. And loops are interesting because of surprises
  • 43. Stick to basics These are some of the mechanics – plus status competition … This is very important in order to establish deep contact with your users:find the deep motivation.
  • 44. Is this simple mechanic union relevant only for classical games? Union of drawing – racing
  • 45. Drawing with your finger on the iPad is nice. Racing with small cars is beautiful.
  • 46. “This game is engaging, its fun” Engagement can be caused by disparate reasons: 1. Engagement because of s fun base mechanic 2. Engagement by using a virtual world projection mechanics Engaging design is ambiguous:can mean engaging by using a base mechanic (flipper, tower defence), or by using a virtual world projection mechanics
  • 47. Koster – Deterding definition of fun.
  • 48. “Fun is about learning in a context where there is no pressure” But in school there is, and there has to be, pressure.There is here a dynamic.!
  • 49. The flow The blurry edge between challenging and too difficoult. There is the flow.We are tackling the tip of something complex.When we are kept at the margin of our abilities – it’s the flow graph. So its complex, there are exceptions everywhere.
  • 50. Flow:The Psychology of Optimal Experience Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author)
  • 51. Stress based classification.
  • 52. Fun is learning - but learning is not always fun. “Fun is a feedback we get in the mind when absorbing patterns for learning purposes” - Koster From “Theory of Fun”
  • 53. Game Dev Story A small, simple game…
  • 54. Game Dev Story reverse engineered Game genres, …
  • 55. Creating working prototypes: Machinations, HTML5, Unity
  • 56. Show it online:
  • 57. 57
  • 58. Example of feedback loop analysis: Risk
  • 59. Risk feedback loop 1: armies to territories to armies
  • 60. Risk feedback loop 2: attacks to cards to armies
  • 61. Risk feedback loop 3: attacks to continents to armies
  • 62. Risk feedback loop 4: continents lead to being attacked
  • 63. Other tools: HTML5, Unity.
  • 64. A game idea is not a game prototype
  • 65. From “a game on Da Vinci” : Summer 2011. A decent proto will be ready MAYBE end 2013.
  • 66. Find a theme that it taught in school and that you like. And that maybe you don’t like how it is being thought. Reach as far as you can in this scheme: Your turn.
  • 67. Exercise: write up a “game idea”
  • 68. - Platformer? - First person magician? - Strategy? - Ludo narrative dissonance? Suggestions
  • 69. 69
  • 70. My twitter stream is mostly dedicated to game design: A blog on game design 70