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Playfied Storytelling
Workshop
http://tiny.cc/playStory
Pietro Polsinelli
@ppolsinelli

VII Summit Italiano di Architettur...
2
A couple of notes

3
Passage: a full game.

4

4
Digital / Analogical

5
Examples

7
Game
design as
a UI tool

This is the usage we are focusing.

8
Problem:
RAI Cinema -> people love
movies, people don’t go to
movies.

Make them play “movie writer”.
Melt-a-Plot: UI desi...
11
Problem:
Integrating social tools in the
enterprise (like anything else)
is conceptually complex and
practically hard.
Soc...
Meet this “thing”. Reactions?

13
We have a complex theme, a friendly approach. We basically have this problem: the cards are on the
surface. And the altern...
(See mockup.)

15
Turning into a strategy game
activates a feedback loop – only
the digital game can give this is a
practical, feasible way....
Engine core is the action / task relationship.

17
One idea:
progression
vs.
emergence
18
Emergence is the primordial game structure, where a game is specified as a
small number of rules that combine and yield la...
Emergence / Progression

Sim City, Braid.

20
21
Exercise

22
Progression game idea template
-

Idea
Story
Main character(s)
Non-Player Characters (NPCs)
Background
What can the player...
Emergence game idea template
-

Idea
Situation
Units guided by player(s)
Units guided by “artifical intelligence” (AI), co...
Find a theme that is taught in
school and that you like. And that
maybe you don’t like how it is
being thought. Reach as f...
- Platformer?

- First person magician?
- Strategy?
- Ludo narrative dissonance?

Suggestions

26
The games universe

27
Self referential / Referring games

Both may be good or bad.

28
Non played games.

Dear Esther, Proteus, Journey

29
Games for change
Games for change

31
Oh how nice it is to work as a
slave for this multinational

http://unmanned.molleindustria.org/
32
Playfied solutions

“Gamification”. Bottle bank arcade. Somemtimes, unhealthy psychological consequences.
Techniology of “...
http://thegamebible.com/

34
Learning & teaching
with games
from games
35
Cargo Bot
http://twolivesleft.com/CargoBot/

Videogames are ideal for transmitting formal rules through concrete examples....
Search energy in a 3D environment.

37
The dark side

38
No narrative ideal, no purpose beyond monetization. Lenses in a skeleton: The Sims Social.

39
Measure, measure, measure.

40
Addiction by Design Natascha Schull
http://gelconference.com/videos/2008/natasha_schull
97% is given by the slot machine –...
Narrative
for / in / from / out
games
42
The Magic Circle: Huizinga, Johan. 1971. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston:
Beacon Press.

43
Which story?

- user gameplay story
- learning story
- author scripted story
- game generated story
- describing the game ...
Classical media is not interactive: depends how you look at it. There is a
branching reality, and videogames are rarely tr...
“If one understands that
storytelling for games
has little or nothing to
do with interactive
storytelling one has
already ...
47
48
Anti narrativism
http://www.whatgamesare.com/2012/05/games-dont-tell-stories-people-tell-stories.html#more
49
There isn't one right way to include stories in games: Storyteller, Blackbar ...

50
Feedback time?

51
Short intro to
Game Design
52
Example analysis: Pinball

Which are the user inputs?
Works in different media – nice on the iPad.
53
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 a...
Games vocabulary: article “Formal Abstract Design Tools,” designer Doug Church
http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/13176...
Game are made of loops

To analyze the mechanics of a game, you got to find the loops.

56
And loops are
interesting
because of
surprises

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder_Surprise

57
Stick
to
basics

These are some of the mechanics – plus status competition …
This is very important in order to establish ...
Is this simple mechanic union relevant only for classical games?
Union of drawing – racing

59
Drawing with your finger on the iPad is nice. Racing with small cars is beautiful.

60
“This game is engaging, its fun”

Engagement can be caused by disparate reasons:
1. Engagement because of s fun base mecha...
One way to see “make it a game”.

62
The flow

The blurry edge between challenging and too difficoult.
There is the flow. We are tackling the tip of something ...
Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author)

64
Stress based classification.

65
Koster – Deterding definition of fun.

66
“Fun is
about
learning in
a context
where there
is no
pressure”
But in school there is, and there has to be, pressure. The...
http://codingconduct.cc/Pawned

68
Fun is learning - but
learning is not always
fun.
“Fun is a feedback we
get in the mind when
absorbing patterns for
learni...
Game Dev Story

A small, simple game…

70
Game Dev Story
reverse engineered

Game genres, …
http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Game_Dev_Story/Walkthrough
72
Creating working
prototypes:
Machinations, HTML5,
Unity
73
Show it online: http://www.jorisdormans.nl/machinations/wiki/index.php?title=TempleRun

74
75
Example of feedback
loop analysis: Risk
76
Risk feedback loop 1: armies to territories to armies
77
Risk feedback loop 2: attacks to cards to armies
78
Risk feedback loop 3: attacks to continents to
armies
79
Risk feedback loop 4: continents lead to being
attacked
80
Other tools: HTML5, Unity.

81
A game idea is not
a game prototype
82
GAMES ARE EXPENSIVE...

Finding job for game creators is non trivial. And its also quite expensive.

83
From “a game on Da Vinci” : Summer 2011. A
decent proto will be ready MAYBE end 2013.
84
Beyond

86
87
88
Persuasive UIs

89
Jesse Schell

Sebastian Deterding

Chris DeLeon “Hobby game Dev”

90
https://twitter.com/ppolsinelli/lists/game-designers

https://twitter.com/ppolsinelli/lists/game-magazines-studies

91
My twitter stream is mostly
dedicated to game design:
http://twitter.com/ppolsinelli
A blog on game design
http://designag...
Playfied Storytelling
Playfied Storytelling
Playfied Storytelling
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Playfied Storytelling

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We’ll review and apply videoludic techniques to non strictly ludic contexts, focusing on the many roles storytelling can play in games and outside games.

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  • We’ll review and apply videoludic techniques to non strictly ludic contexts, focusing on the many roles storytelling can play in games and outside games.As this year’s theme is "1 world 1 experience“ from digital to analogic,
  • Storytelling is used & constitutes games (various levels, so gets confused), but today we go the other way round
  • A reminder on Passage - an experience game that can move stones http://hcsoftware.sourceforge.net/passage/  - from 2007Show a game of PassageAlternatives.Narrative.Interactivity: 1 choice. Only one.
  • Storytelling is a key unifying factor. Can go across media. A functional storytelling.An interesting tool that can bridge storytelling with combinatorial aspects are cards: cards are a remarkable tool.
  • This is by Ian Bogost “Gamification is Bullshit”. We wantto use game design proper, not gamification, for not strictly videoludical purposes.
  • Merges a social network (so a reputation engine StackOverflow like) with a contest: story that wins will be produced as a movie.Story progresses by fertility and by likes.
  • Also we played by analogies, usign the tweet as the basic writing unit.
  • Notice that in both examples we (re)defined the entire solution, we didn’t add “badges, scores, rewards”.
  • “JesperJuul made the invaluable distinction between games of emergence and games of progression that informs the entire book.”http://www.jesperjuul.net/text/openandtheclosed.htmlMost basic distinction.As such, EverQuest is a game of emergence, with embedded progression structures.
  • Steering choices: games of emergence / game of progressiontempted by progression -> if it is a brand story, the writer’s journeytempted by emergence: complex problem
  • We’re taking the ludus path.Print as front / back.
  • Exercise: pick or describe a story, situation or theme, tell igame and we'll analize it together
  • Just take a mental note. Both may be good and bad.Connected with the autotelic / instrumental gameplay aim.
  • Narcoguerra, The System boardgame http://evil.gua-le-ni.com/
  • http://www.ticonblu.it/thesystem/
  • http://unmanned.molleindustria.org/Ludo narrative dissonance.
  • Show bottle bank arcade. Show video. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSiHjMU-Muo
  • Learning: alone, Working: groupGames: learning naturally happens sociallyReal time feedbackhttp://ejohn.org/blog/introducing-khan-cs/
  • Games have dark sides.
  • Hundred of techniques, scarcity, special moments, ornamental items, price discrimination, avatar types, gift boxes, segmantation, quest unlocks, consumable items, secondary markets, collection mechanics,
  • Scientific approach.
  • All this is ok... But what is the role of narrative?For storytelling: vg (vs. boardgames) made internal story possible because players don’t stop on the mechanics. So almost any vg has an internal storytelling dimension.video games hide the rules, can have involved mechanics
  • A common term.
  • It is not very interesting to consider games as movies plus some interactivity: what such idea misses is that movies are interactive, for the viewer. Viewing a movie issolving dilemmas. In the face of a possibility which is not actually there, we can fake it and live it as real, perfectly naturally. Hearing a story is living the story and taking choices.What is incorrectly superimposed is the space of possibilities which could “really” be taken, and the space of possibilities told but that in a linear story setting can never be taken. From the experience of the player or movie watcher there is no such distinction.
  • The first time that a writer approaches the idea of writing for games a simple reasoning will be quite natural – even in my limited experience, I heard it several times – and it goes along like this : what is the difference in media between books and games, movies and games? Well, its interactivity. So this is the major factor to be taken into account when writing for video games: interactivity, of the game and “hence” of the story plot.There are two thesis here: (1) traditional media lack interactivity , and (2) video games stories are interactive – of course, this is why they are video games at all! In a brief interview of Salman Rushdie “Video Games and the Future of Storytelling” a similar thesis is in the background.This is a most natural line of reasoning and it can lead to mistakes and misconceptions. I’ll try to show that both (1) and (2) are false.
  • http://gamamoto.com/2011/11/08/storytelling-and-video-games/
  • Linear stories work because you can build emotional tension .In narrative, important choices must look important.Consider: when does the storytelling engine tick?
  • Explicit target, meta theme ...
  • Search of primitives.
  • Even more general statement, engaging because its fun.Center of game design, which probably escapes people coming from business software design, is that games are about fun. When we stop learning, we don’t have fun any more. It becomes work. We’ll get back to thisWhat does fun mean? We feel god with games as…Mastering a problem mentallyAesthetic appreciation (Sword&Sworcery)Visceral reactionsSocial status manouvresLearning too is quite ambiguous term.Rote learning != Game learning is a path where you get surprised. (And this is something that games can re-teach to education.)
  • Quiz: which game design?A didactic end from the start!
  • 4 inputs, narrative, engagement, high scores …The most important principle to learn for understanding games is this (ask): the subject matter of the Western Pinball game above is not the west. The subject matter is “not making the sheep escape the encirclement XXX” and keep getting more and more milkCut scenes are well balanced: last a few seconds.Theme is not the game core: pinball abut the west is not about the west, its still abut “keep the sheep in the XXX and get the milk in the meantime”This is the crucial point, getting this it should be way easier to understand what you can and what you cannot do with games.For example for Pinball, you can analyze it in terms of a physics model, but.. sheep in the XXX
  • What you see in the first plays is not what you see afterwards. A good game is fun at several stages, and most importantly, it is fun right from the start.It has also the social aspect of the two player game.
  • Flipper has a short loop hit ball – ball hits something which makes things flash, more points – ball comes down The longer loop is from bal launch to ball in xxx.“The main game dynamic is the warding off of gravity to achieve scores. Shooting the ball creates a variable loop with many possible reactions, some pleasing, some not. There are bonuses and multipliers to achieve, but there is also failure: Most pinball games have side chutes into which the ball can fall, which the player cannot prevent. Also, the space between the bats in the centre is usually just a tiny bit wider than the diameter of the ball, also a source of unpreventable failure.”Another typical example is Fishvile loop (simple loops is a basic feature of the success of these Uis) [copy image from min 45 of killer loops ]Having loops is related to game pace(s)
  • This is why it is debatable whether a game in a violent story is teaching violencetetris with humans … teaching spatial combinatoricsGames, sex and violence: most media IS about sex and violence, but gives an articulated picture, games often don’t.[Bovary - FPS]
  • [pallesullaspiaggia]DrawRace [check the designer]technically a beta not to hardDisegnareunapistapolistil – parte del piacere
  • Even more general statement, engaging because its fun.Center of game design, which probably escapes people coming from business software design, is that games are about fun. When we stop learning, we don’t have fun any more. It becomes work. We’ll get back to thisWhat does fun mean? We feel god with games as…Mastering a problem mentallyAesthetic appreciation (Sword&Sworcery)Visceral reactionsSocial status manouvresLearning too is quite ambiguous term.Rote learning != Game learning is a path where you get surprised. (And this is something that games can re-teach to education.)
  • Notes from ThOfFun:Fun is learning - but learning is not fun (also podcast)Fun is a feedback we get in the mind when absorbing patterns for learning purposes All the above is missing a point: the choice of the kinds of patterns we want to absorbe.Is not that easy making learning not fun – but schools do that magnificentlyPoint about the origin of the word fun p39 tofun Playing is about learning life skills. Isn’t that a definition of school? So the “secret” for teaching, gamifying, introducing fun is using a vocabulary for basic life skills to teach something more complex Literature through games is an uphill battle because games are about life skills (and this is why it is fun) In the case of engaging, loops use base skills to engage in an overall message that can be way more complex and useful Using games in class is harder fprthre teacher as technically using primitives is harder than following a book.Lens: what I experience playing a what I remember / tell: two kind of satisfaction
  • - scheme of the long and winding path for “getting to a decent idea”- ex: write a game concept- examine the concept- take a further step
  • Games teach a lot. There is trainig there. And beh fun. Evaluate which is your model. Games as pure deciration resemble bad ui.Games are expensive.1. Games are like operas2. Games are made of loopsWhat is the very minimal cost I can expect?Distinguish games of progression and games of emergence, as they have additional costs.- character design- sounddebug- balancing- networking- scoreboards- public profiles
  • Nobody got inspired by my suggestion to use locally available sources for creating video games at the local talk about this. Understandably as creating a videogame is for many a trip into creative freedom, where the ideal universe is the self-referential world of videogames [also say it at the beginning: this is FINE, actually, it is great, but its another perspective. ]. So I started doing it myself.
  • Calloispaidia & ludusI will now introduce some of the most effective categorization I found in my ongoing research.
  • Game mechanics is a field of its own, as is the literature on engagement.In the infoberg give references by theme: fun -> fun bookGamificationdeterding (again takeaway clearing ambiguities), amyUser models: kahnemanVirtual: lehdonGame mechanics: schell, fun, what.
  • People, mostly on Twitter.
  • 2 Twitter lists I curate
  • Transcript of "Playfied Storytelling"

    1. 1. Playfied Storytelling Workshop http://tiny.cc/playStory Pietro Polsinelli @ppolsinelli VII Summit Italiano di Architettura dell’Informazione / Bologna 15 –16 novembre 2013 1
    2. 2. 2
    3. 3. A couple of notes 3
    4. 4. Passage: a full game. 4 4
    5. 5. Digital / Analogical 5
    6. 6. Examples 7
    7. 7. Game design as a UI tool This is the usage we are focusing. 8
    8. 8. Problem: RAI Cinema -> people love movies, people don’t go to movies. Make them play “movie writer”. Melt-a-Plot: UI design includes motivation. 9
    9. 9. 11
    10. 10. Problem: Integrating social tools in the enterprise (like anything else) is conceptually complex and practically hard. Social Business Toolkit 12
    11. 11. Meet this “thing”. Reactions? 13
    12. 12. We have a complex theme, a friendly approach. We basically have this problem: the cards are on the surface. And the alternative is not very friendly. It is a learning problem. 14
    13. 13. (See mockup.) 15
    14. 14. Turning into a strategy game activates a feedback loop – only the digital game can give this is a practical, feasible way. 16
    15. 15. Engine core is the action / task relationship. 17
    16. 16. One idea: progression vs. emergence 18
    17. 17. Emergence is 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. Progression is 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. 19
    18. 18. Emergence / Progression Sim City, Braid. 20
    19. 19. 21
    20. 20. Exercise 22
    21. 21. Progression game idea template - Idea Story Main character(s) Non-Player Characters (NPCs) Background What can the player(s) do? Stories First mission: Missions 2, 3 Losing / winning condition 23
    22. 22. Emergence game idea template - Idea Situation Units guided by player(s) Units guided by “artifical intelligence” (AI), combinatorics Background Loops Generated strategy What can the player do? What gets harder? Losing / winning condition 24
    23. 23. Find a theme that is 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. 25
    24. 24. - Platformer? - First person magician? - Strategy? - Ludo narrative dissonance? Suggestions 26
    25. 25. The games universe 27
    26. 26. Self referential / Referring games Both may be good or bad. 28
    27. 27. Non played games. Dear Esther, Proteus, Journey 29
    28. 28. Games for change
    29. 29. Games for change 31
    30. 30. Oh how nice it is to work as a slave for this multinational http://unmanned.molleindustria.org/ 32
    31. 31. 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. 33
    32. 32. http://thegamebible.com/ 34
    33. 33. Learning & teaching with games from games 35
    34. 34. Cargo Bot http://twolivesleft.com/CargoBot/ Videogames are ideal for transmitting formal rules through concrete examples. This can cover a lot of ground. Also probe – test – rethink – probe cycle. 36
    35. 35. Search energy in a 3D environment. 37
    36. 36. The dark side 38
    37. 37. No narrative ideal, no purpose beyond monetization. Lenses in a skeleton: The Sims Social. 39
    38. 38. Measure, measure, measure. 40
    39. 39. Addiction by Design Natascha Schull http://gelconference.com/videos/2008/natasha_schull 97% is given by the slot machine – study IT
    40. 40. Narrative for / in / from / out games 42
    41. 41. The Magic Circle: Huizinga, Johan. 1971. Homo Ludens: A Study of the Play Element in Culture. Boston: Beacon Press. 43
    42. 42. 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. 44
    43. 43. Classical media is not interactive: depends how you look at it. There is a branching reality, and videogames are rarely truly interactive. http://gamamoto.com/2011/11/08/storytelling-and-video-games/ 45
    44. 44. “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. 46
    45. 45. 47
    46. 46. 48
    47. 47. Anti narrativism http://www.whatgamesare.com/2012/05/games-dont-tell-stories-people-tell-stories.html#more 49
    48. 48. There isn't one right way to include stories in games: Storyteller, Blackbar ... 50
    49. 49. Feedback time? 51
    50. 50. Short intro to Game Design 52
    51. 51. Example analysis: Pinball Which are the user inputs? Works in different media – nice on the iPad. 53
    52. 52. 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). Pinball game hermeneutics. 54
    53. 53. Games vocabulary: article “Formal Abstract Design Tools,” designer Doug Church http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131764/formal_abstract_design_tools.php 55
    54. 54. Game are made of loops To analyze the mechanics of a game, you got to find the loops. 56
    55. 55. And loops are interesting because of surprises http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinder_Surprise 57
    56. 56. 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. 58
    57. 57. Is this simple mechanic union relevant only for classical games? Union of drawing – racing 59
    58. 58. Drawing with your finger on the iPad is nice. Racing with small cars is beautiful. 60
    59. 59. “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 61
    60. 60. One way to see “make it a game”. 62
    61. 61. 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. 63
    62. 62. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Author) 64
    63. 63. Stress based classification. 65
    64. 64. Koster – Deterding definition of fun. 66
    65. 65. “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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=x5YtkTw4wn4#! 67
    66. 66. http://codingconduct.cc/Pawned 68
    67. 67. 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” 69
    68. 68. Game Dev Story A small, simple game… 70
    69. 69. Game Dev Story reverse engineered Game genres, … http://strategywiki.org/wiki/Game_Dev_Story/Walkthrough
    70. 70. 72
    71. 71. Creating working prototypes: Machinations, HTML5, Unity 73
    72. 72. Show it online: http://www.jorisdormans.nl/machinations/wiki/index.php?title=TempleRun 74
    73. 73. 75
    74. 74. Example of feedback loop analysis: Risk 76
    75. 75. Risk feedback loop 1: armies to territories to armies 77
    76. 76. Risk feedback loop 2: attacks to cards to armies 78
    77. 77. Risk feedback loop 3: attacks to continents to armies 79
    78. 78. Risk feedback loop 4: continents lead to being attacked 80
    79. 79. Other tools: HTML5, Unity. 81
    80. 80. A game idea is not a game prototype 82
    81. 81. GAMES ARE EXPENSIVE... Finding job for game creators is non trivial. And its also quite expensive. 83
    82. 82. From “a game on Da Vinci” : Summer 2011. A decent proto will be ready MAYBE end 2013. 84
    83. 83. Beyond 86
    84. 84. 87
    85. 85. 88
    86. 86. Persuasive UIs 89
    87. 87. Jesse Schell Sebastian Deterding Chris DeLeon “Hobby game Dev” 90
    88. 88. https://twitter.com/ppolsinelli/lists/game-designers https://twitter.com/ppolsinelli/lists/game-magazines-studies 91
    89. 89. My twitter stream is mostly dedicated to game design: http://twitter.com/ppolsinelli A blog on game design http://designagame.eu 92
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