Transmedia Zurich - World Building

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World building is an essential component of story creation. Here we discuss points of what it means to build a world, how to prototype one using Unity 3D, and the wonderful contributions from Alex McDowell at the X Media Lab Transmedia conference.

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Transmedia Zurich - World Building

  1. 1. Transmedia Zurich Mark Melnykowycz World Building and Character Development Dec. 2nd 2013 Colab Zurich
  2. 2. Transmedia Toolkit What is Transmedia World Building Basics http://www.transmediazh.ch/ http://www.meetup.com/Transmedia-Zurich/
  3. 3. Meetups Ideas Experiences Transmedia Toolkit Story Consumption www.transmediatoolkit.org Container
  4. 4. Why Transmedia?
  5. 5. Media Channels Story Engagement Transmedia Users Narrative Audience Emotions
  6. 6. World Building The over-arching purpose of building a world is to setup the context and conflict for the characters. They may triumph in a traditional story structure, but only because they have the opportunity to, either by their own devices or by being placed in a unique situation.
  7. 7. Story Structure and Conflict
  8. 8. A Generic Story Character presented with challenge Generic Hero Generic Threat Character overcomes challenges Finds courage... Character evolves Triumphs!
  9. 9. Character Change Through Conflict Character evolves A character evolves/ changes due to conflict inherent in the story Relationships Environment
  10. 10. Story Development Character Driven World Driven Generic environment, used as a setting for character interaction to take place. The story of a character in a given environment, which forces action / conflict ...character traits stay the same ...become a different person How will the world affect character development?
  11. 11. Traditional action hero Contemporary super hero Die Hard Arnold Schwarzenegger Ironman, Thor, Spiderman, etc. Watchmen Dark Night Man of Steel X-men Simple dialogue, hero never dies, always triumphs. Question their actions and place in the story, supporting characters die, like real life. Good vs. Evil Good? vs. Grey Zone
  12. 12. World Building Basics
  13. 13. Characters Characters represent the windows through which the audience experiences the story by emphasizing with those characters and their choices/actions. Conflict Story Conflict is the reason that characters grow and evolve, the reason why they change, and teach the audience how to live (or not live) their own lives. World The world sets the stage, the context in which the characters exist and deal with the conflicts they are presented with. The boundaries of the world can directly influence how conflict materializes.
  14. 14. World building often revolves around origin stories. If the world exists in a certain time or physical set of laws govern it, then logic dictates how it has evolved. The origin story is the logical set of events which allow the world to exist, similar to how we explain our own history on the Earth. World The speed and ease which a character can negotiate their world will profoundly influence how they can overcome challenges. Logistics Origins Conflict
  15. 15. The context in which the characters exist and deal with the conflicts they are presented with. World Location Time Physics Where is the world? Is it a city, a new planet, a coffee house? Each comes with specific physical boundaries. Time is an important physical boundary that can dramatically influence characters. Place a person in another time or use a world from a different time? If it’s a new world, does it respect the physics of Earth as we understand them? Changes the basic laws of gravity or physics can have a profound influence on characters.
  16. 16. Character Integration Character traits can be determined after building the world Build World Character Journey Define Character Define your world, physics, time, location, etc. The character journey helps define character traits or elements based on the logistic challenges of the world. Based on the origin logic of the world and the Character Journey, finetune character traits that define who they have to be to fit with the logic of the world.
  17. 17. Character Journey How does a character move around the world? Transportation logistics Character becomes sick How would she die? Must go to hospital Never invented gasoline, all hydrogen
  18. 18. Alex McDowell X Media Lab Switzerland 2013
  19. 19. Alex McDowell has working on world building aspects for many movies, such as Minority Report, Fight Club, Charlie and Chocolate Factory, Man of Steel, etc. X | Media | Lab Switzerland 2013: Transmedia Alex McDowell – Transmedia’s Renaissance Man: Narrative Designer for Minority Report; Fight Club; Man of Steel; Associate Professor, USC – School of Cinematic Arts; Visiting Artist, MIT Media Lab (Hollywood)
  20. 20. At X-Media Lab I got a fine appreciation for the aspect of origin and story/ character evolution related to the framework or boundaries of the world one wishes to create. X | Media | Lab Switzerland 2013: Transmedia Alex McDowell – Transmedia’s Renaissance Man: Narrative Designer for Minority Report; Fight Club; Man of Steel; Associate Professor, USC – School of Cinematic Arts; Visiting Artist, MIT Media Lab (Hollywood)
  21. 21. In creating the world for Man of Steel, design logic started from the Superman “S” and the organic-inspired form logic for the Krypton world. The language of Krypton served to define the identity of Krypton society, and also integrated into the spaceship and physical planet design. More info: http://www.fastcocreate.com/1683341/alex-mcdowell-on-creating-krypton-and-the-future-of-production-design http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=105221 X | Media | Lab Switzerland 2013: Transmedia Alex McDowell – Transmedia’s Renaissance Man: Narrative Designer for Minority Report; Fight Club; Man of Steel; Associate Professor, USC – School of Cinematic Arts; Visiting Artist, MIT Media Lab (Hollywood)
  22. 22. Starting from organic forms, the design philosophy of Krypton included only curved lines. Since Krypton was a dying planet, fully mined of resources, this was reflected in the stratified terrain of the planet. X | Media | Lab Switzerland 2013: Transmedia Alex McDowell – Transmedia’s Renaissance Man: Narrative Designer for Minority Report; Fight Club; Man of Steel; Associate Professor, USC – School of Cinematic Arts; Visiting Artist, MIT Media Lab (Hollywood)
  23. 23. Virtual World Building and Prototyping
  24. 24. Physical Virtual World Building / Prototyping In case you don’t have the resources of Alex McDowell, how can you digitally build a world for your story? Flexibility to build physical terrain Ability to add in elements like buildings, tanks, etc. Able to use free tools and access a community for support
  25. 25. Physical Virtual World Building / Prototyping Unity 3D • Multi-platform Game • • • • development Terrain building Visualization Integration of buildings, people, etc. Free version
  26. 26. Sketch out worlds The Hobbit Map http://lotr.wikia.com/wiki/File:F27c_thorins_map_from_the_hobbit.jpg In prototyping your world, the digital canvas can act as a way to visualize the place you’re creating. This can allow easy play in the creation process, giving context to the world you’re creating in your mind.
  27. 27. Paint terrain and topography features Add textures for grass, rock, water, etc. Add buildings, people, tanks, etc.
  28. 28. Unity User Interface Paint on topography Load new models Use different brushes Load textures
  29. 29. Thank You Colab Zurich for hosting!
  30. 30. Transmedia Zurich http://www.transmediazh.ch/ http://www.meetup.com/Transmedia-Zurich/ Mark Melnykowycz Liz Henry @americanpeyote idezo.ch Lostinreality.net @whereareyouliz henrygeneral.com

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