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COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER
PRESENTED BY
CHRISTINA NORMAN
Twitter: @truffle
League of Legends: kitaeLink to full slides at end...
THANKS FOR VIEWING THIS
Want the full version? Ask @megganpez (GDC chair) to make this one of the free
talks viewable on t...
INTRODUCTION
WHO AM I?
‣  Game	
  Designer	
  &	
  Writer	
  @	
  Riot	
  Games	
  
‣  Previously	
  Game	
  Designer	
  &...
AGENDA
WHY HOW NEXTWHY
TLDR; Familiar techniques, it’s all about how you use them
STORY INSPIRES PLAYERS
AND HELPS THEM IMMERSE
SETTING
CHARACTER
NARRATIVE
“It’s what she’d want. And you know it.”
CHARACTERSETTING NARRATIVE
STORY ALIGNS DEVELOPERS
SO WE CAN CREATE AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE
COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER GAMES
HAVE STORIES TOO
SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN
IS A POWERFUL TECHNIQUE
MULTIPLAYER ONLY GAMES
ARE BECOMING MORE COMMON
THEIR STORIES
ARE HARDER TO TELL
TRANSMEDIA
CAN WORK – BUT ISN’T PART OF PLAY
VIDEOS COMICS BOOKS
WHAT IF STORY COULD BE PART OF COMPETITIVE PLAY?
COMMON CONCERNS
‣  Story	
  disrupts	
  gameplay	
  
‣  Players	
  don’t	...
AGENDA
WHY HOW NEXT
1. NEVER IRRITATING
2. NO PAUSING OR DELAYS
3. NO DISTRACTIONS
4. NO CONFLICTING GOALS
GROUND RULES
FOR COMPETITIVE STORYT...
4 TECHNIQUES
•  Ambient NPC Voice-over
•  PC Voice-over
•  Story Objectives
•  Story Events
TECHNIQUE: AMBIENT NPC VOICE-OVER
“Can	
  the	
  reapers	
  be	
  
stopped,	
  Shepard?”	
  
GOOD FOR
‣  Tone	
  
‣  SeOng...
TECHNIQUE: AMBIENT NPC VOICE-OVER
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Tone	
  mismatch	
  
‣  Relevance	
  to	
  gameplay	
  
‣  Dis...
CASE STUDY: LOL SHOPKEEPER
GOALS
‣  Establish	
  world	
  
‣  Establish	
  champions	
  
‣  Lighten	
  tone	
  
	
  
EXAMP...
CASE STUDY: LOL SHOPKEEPER
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Tone	
  mismatch	
  
	
  
‣  Relevance	
  to	
  gameplay	
  
	
  
‣  ...
CASE STUDY: LOL SHOPKEEPER
“You	
  look	
  just	
  like	
  your	
  
sister…	
  wait…	
  I’m	
  not	
  supposed	
  
to	
  t...
ONE LINE
Tons	
  of	
  engagement	
  
	
  
4 TECHNIQUES
•  Ambient NPC Voice-over
•  PC Voice-over
•  Story Objectives
•  Story Events
PC VOICE-OVER
“I’ve	
  got	
  to	
  keep	
  
moving.”	
  
GOOD FOR
‣  Confirming	
  player	
  acQon	
  
‣  DirecQng	
  play...
PC VOICE-OVER
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Tone	
  mismatch	
  
	
  
‣  Relevance	
  to	
  gameplay	
  
	
  
‣  DistracQons	
...
CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE EXAMPLE
CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE
“Oh,	
  sweet	
  Jesus,	
  look	
  
at	
  all	
  these	
  guns!”	
  
SCRIPTED
APPROACH
CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE
“Can	
  somebody	
  help	
  
me?	
  Damsel	
  in	
  distress	
  
over	
  here.”	
  
GAMEPLAY ALERT
	
...
CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE
“Oh	
  shit!	
  Look	
  at	
  ya.	
  Let	
  
me	
  help	
  you	
  up.	
  
GAMEPLAY CEREMONY
	
  
APPR...
CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Tone	
  mismatch	
  
	
  	
  	
  
‣  Relevance	
  to	
  gameplay	
  
	
  	
...
CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE
RESULTS
‣  Players	
  learn	
  about	
  characters	
  
naturally	
  through	
  play	
  
‣  Players	
 ...
4 TECHNIQUES
•  Ambient NPC Voice-over
•  PC Voice-over
•  Narrative Objectives
•  Story Events
TECHNIQUE: NARRATIVE OBJECTIVE OVERVIEW
GOOD FOR
‣  MoQvaQng	
  players	
  
‣  SeOng	
  up	
  gameplay	
  
‣  Moving	
  th...
TECHNIQUE: NARRATIVE OBJECTIVE
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Goals	
  can	
  feel	
  repeQQve	
  
‣  Team	
  goals	
  can	
  f...
CASE STUDY: THE HUNT IS ON
GOALS
‣  Experience	
  narraQve	
  
resoluQon	
  through	
  gameplay	
  
‣  PosiQve	
  experien...
CHARACTER MOTIVATION EXPRESSED IN GAME
HUNT TO GET TROPHIES
APPROACH
HUNT TO EVOLVE
INTERSECTING BACKSTORY APPROACH
FIGHT WITHOUT A CLEAR VICTOR
NARRATIVE RESOLUTION
KILL QUEST TRIGGERED LATE GAME
APPROACH
The	
  Hunt	
  Is	
  On!	
  
Kha’zix	
  must	
  kill	
  Renga...
THEMATIC REWARD
FULL EVOLUTION
APPROACH
ULTIMATE TROPHY
CASE STUDY: THE HUNT IS ON
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Goals	
  can	
  feel	
  repeQQve	
  
	
  	
  
‣  Team	
  goals	
  can...
FEW PLAYERS WILL EXPERIENCE THIS RESULTS
BUT SOCIAL MEDIA INCREASES REACH
4 TECHNIQUES
•  Ambient NPC Voice-over
•  PC Voice-over
•  Story Objectives
•  Story Events
TECHNIQUE: STORY EVENT
GOOD FOR
‣  Player	
  parQcipaQon	
  in	
  narraQve	
  progress	
  
	
  
OVERVIEW
TECHNIQUE: STORY EVENT
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Goal	
  changes	
  can	
  disrupt	
  compeQQve	
  play	
  
‣  Not	
  all	...
GOALS
‣  Establish	
  Freljord	
  region	
  
‣  High	
  player	
  parQcipaQon	
  
‣  Increase	
  understanding	
  of	
  fa...
TRANSMEDIA APPROACH
PROSE AND ILLUSTRATION
TRANSMEDIA APPROACH
WEBSITE
TRANSMEDIA APPROACH
NARRATIVE VIDEO
EARN ONE ICON BY WINNING TEN GAMES
CHALLENGE ALIGNED WITH FRELJORD THEMES
PROVISIONAL ICON PERMANENT ICON
EVENT THEMATIC A...
CASE STUDY: CHOOSE YOUR TRIBE
MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES
‣  Goal	
  changes	
  can	
  disrupt	
  compeQQve	
  play	
  
	
  	
 ...
PLAYER PARTICIPATION
HIGH LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION
PARTICIPATION METRIC
‣  Measured	
  all	
  players	
  who	
  
won	
  ten	...
PLAYER COMPREHENSION
COMPREHENSION INCREASED AND WAS RETAINED
COMPREHENSION METRIC
‣  Survey	
  of	
  random	
  players	
 ...
AGENDA
WHY HOW NEXT
1. NEVER IRRITATING
2. NO PAUSING
3. NO DISTRACTIONS
4. NO CONFLICTING GOALS
WE’VE TALKED ABOUT GROUND RULES
FOR COMPETITI...
WE’VE EXPLORED TECHNIQUES
AMBIENT VOICE-OVER PLAYER VOICE-OVER
STORY OBJECTIVES STORY EVENTS
AND BEST PRACTICES
NEXT STEPS ARE
A CHALLENGE
TELL STORIES IN GAME
YOU KNOW PLAYERS WILL LOVE
“MY FAVORITE CHARACTER
HAS A SISTER? I HAVE TO PLAY HER!”
LET PLAYERS PROGRESS NARRATIVE
THROUGH GAMEPLAY
“I KILLED RENGAR AND GOT MY 4th
EVOLUTION POINT!”
LET PLAYERS EXPRESS THEMSELVES
THROUGH STORY
“I’VE ALWAYS HAD A SOFT SPOT FOR
VILLAINS. FROSTGUARD ALL THE WAY.”
BRING NEW TECHNIQUES
???
???
??? ??? ???
TO COMPETITIVE PLAY
WHAT STORIES WILL
YOUR GAMEPLAY INSPIRE?
COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER
PRESENTED BY
CHRISTINA NORMAN
Twitter: @truffle
League of Legends: kitae
STORYTELLING
hfp://www.ri...
Gdc 2014 Competitive Storytelling
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Gdc 2014 Competitive Storytelling

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Why would you want to develop narrative in a multiplayer competitive game? In this talk, Christina Norman will show how establishing characters, setting and world can increase player engagement and enjoyment in PvP games. Drawing on examples from League of Legends and other multiplayer competitive games, she will describe effective techniques for communicating narrative without disrupting gameplay. She will also share insights gained from narrative development in League of Legends.
Takeaway
Attendees will gain an understanding of how narrative development can improve player enjoyment in PvP games. Techniques for developing narrative will be discussed that are effective in PvP, co-op and single-player games.

Intended Audience
This talk is directed at narrative designers and all game developers with an interest in player experience. While all examples are drawn from PvP games, the techniques discussed and insights shared are relevant to both co-op and single-player game development.

Published in: Entertainment & Humor

Gdc 2014 Competitive Storytelling

  1. 1. COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER PRESENTED BY CHRISTINA NORMAN Twitter: @truffle League of Legends: kitaeLink to full slides at end of presentation STORYTELLING
  2. 2. THANKS FOR VIEWING THIS Want the full version? Ask @megganpez (GDC chair) to make this one of the free talks viewable on the GDC vault. This version is just the slides, it’s missing the presentation and thus full context. Hope you find the presentation useful! ON THE INTERNETS
  3. 3. INTRODUCTION WHO AM I? ‣  Game  Designer  &  Writer  @  Riot  Games   ‣  Previously  Game  Designer  &  Programmer  @  BioWare   ‣  Worked  on  League  of  Legends  &  Mass  Effect  1,  2,  3      
  4. 4. AGENDA WHY HOW NEXTWHY TLDR; Familiar techniques, it’s all about how you use them
  5. 5. STORY INSPIRES PLAYERS AND HELPS THEM IMMERSE
  6. 6. SETTING
  7. 7. CHARACTER
  8. 8. NARRATIVE “It’s what she’d want. And you know it.”
  9. 9. CHARACTERSETTING NARRATIVE STORY ALIGNS DEVELOPERS SO WE CAN CREATE AN AUTHENTIC EXPERIENCE
  10. 10. COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER GAMES HAVE STORIES TOO
  11. 11. SINGLE PLAYER CAMPAIGN IS A POWERFUL TECHNIQUE
  12. 12. MULTIPLAYER ONLY GAMES ARE BECOMING MORE COMMON
  13. 13. THEIR STORIES ARE HARDER TO TELL
  14. 14. TRANSMEDIA CAN WORK – BUT ISN’T PART OF PLAY VIDEOS COMICS BOOKS
  15. 15. WHAT IF STORY COULD BE PART OF COMPETITIVE PLAY? COMMON CONCERNS ‣  Story  disrupts  gameplay   ‣  Players  don’t  want  or   care  about  stories     IT CAN - LET’S TALK ABOUT HOW It  doesn’t  have  to   They  will  if  you  tell   the  right  stories   LEAGUE OF LEGENDS COMPETITIVE GAMEPLAY <<< LCS VIDEO GOES HERE >>> Imagine awesome #LCS gameplay or just watch the #LCS. It’s awesome. www.lolesports.com    
  16. 16. AGENDA WHY HOW NEXT
  17. 17. 1. NEVER IRRITATING 2. NO PAUSING OR DELAYS 3. NO DISTRACTIONS 4. NO CONFLICTING GOALS GROUND RULES FOR COMPETITIVE STORYTELLING MULTIPLAYER FIRST       DISTRACTIONS CAN KILL       SUPPORT TEAMPLAY       PLAYERS OPT IN    
  18. 18. 4 TECHNIQUES •  Ambient NPC Voice-over •  PC Voice-over •  Story Objectives •  Story Events
  19. 19. TECHNIQUE: AMBIENT NPC VOICE-OVER “Can  the  reapers  be   stopped,  Shepard?”   GOOD FOR ‣  Tone   ‣  SeOng   ‣  Character   ‣  NarraQve       OVERVIEW
  20. 20. TECHNIQUE: AMBIENT NPC VOICE-OVER MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Tone  mismatch   ‣  Relevance  to  gameplay   ‣  DistracQons  can  kill     CHALLENGES
  21. 21. CASE STUDY: LOL SHOPKEEPER GOALS ‣  Establish  world   ‣  Establish  champions   ‣  Lighten  tone     EXAMPLE LEAGUE OF LEGENDS HAS 118 PLAYABLE CHARACTERS EACH HAS RELATIONSHIPS AND BACKSTORY
  22. 22. CASE STUDY: LOL SHOPKEEPER MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Tone  mismatch     ‣  Relevance  to  gameplay     ‣  DistracQons  can  kill   KEY TAKEAWAY“Priceless!  Now,  hand   over  the  gold.”     APPROACH Suppor8ve  humorous  tone   Speaks  in  response  to  player  shopping  ac8vi8es,   crea8ng  ceremony   Non-­‐combat  area   Create  characters  that  work  with  exis8ng   gameplay  and  pacing  
  23. 23. CASE STUDY: LOL SHOPKEEPER “You  look  just  like  your   sister…  wait…  I’m  not  supposed   to  talk  about  that.”     RESULTS
  24. 24. ONE LINE Tons  of  engagement    
  25. 25. 4 TECHNIQUES •  Ambient NPC Voice-over •  PC Voice-over •  Story Objectives •  Story Events
  26. 26. PC VOICE-OVER “I’ve  got  to  keep   moving.”   GOOD FOR ‣  Confirming  player  acQon   ‣  DirecQng  player   ‣  SeOng   ‣  Main  Character       OVERVIEW
  27. 27. PC VOICE-OVER MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Tone  mismatch     ‣  Relevance  to  gameplay     ‣  DistracQons  can  kill     CHALLENGES Iden8cal  to  NPC  voice-­‐over  
  28. 28. CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE EXAMPLE
  29. 29. CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE “Oh,  sweet  Jesus,  look   at  all  these  guns!”   SCRIPTED APPROACH
  30. 30. CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE “Can  somebody  help   me?  Damsel  in  distress   over  here.”   GAMEPLAY ALERT   APPROACH
  31. 31. CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE “Oh  shit!  Look  at  ya.  Let   me  help  you  up.   GAMEPLAY CEREMONY   APPROACH
  32. 32. CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Tone  mismatch         ‣  Relevance  to  gameplay       ‣  DistracQons  can  kill   KEY TAKEAWAY           APPROACH Wrote  to  gameplay  tone   Characters  and  players  have  the  same  goals   Lines  draw  aEen8on  to  relevant  gameplay   Observe  gameplay,  write  lines  in  character  to   highlight  relevant  informa8on  
  33. 33. CASE STUDY: ROCHELLE RESULTS ‣  Players  learn  about  characters   naturally  through  play   ‣  Players  develop  character   preferences  despite  no  gameplay   impact   RESULTS
  34. 34. 4 TECHNIQUES •  Ambient NPC Voice-over •  PC Voice-over •  Narrative Objectives •  Story Events
  35. 35. TECHNIQUE: NARRATIVE OBJECTIVE OVERVIEW GOOD FOR ‣  MoQvaQng  players   ‣  SeOng  up  gameplay   ‣  Moving  the  story  forward       Lol! Another EZ delivery quest… NEW QUEST! ‣  Take  the  ring  to  Mt.  Doom      
  36. 36. TECHNIQUE: NARRATIVE OBJECTIVE MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Goals  can  feel  repeQQve   ‣  Team  goals  can  feel  impersonal   ‣  Individual  goals  can  disrupt  teamplay   CHALLENGES
  37. 37. CASE STUDY: THE HUNT IS ON GOALS ‣  Experience  narraQve   resoluQon  through  gameplay   ‣  PosiQve  experience  for  both   teams     EXAMPLE
  38. 38. CHARACTER MOTIVATION EXPRESSED IN GAME HUNT TO GET TROPHIES APPROACH HUNT TO EVOLVE
  39. 39. INTERSECTING BACKSTORY APPROACH FIGHT WITHOUT A CLEAR VICTOR
  40. 40. NARRATIVE RESOLUTION KILL QUEST TRIGGERED LATE GAME APPROACH The  Hunt  Is  On!   Kha’zix  must  kill  Rengar  first  to  become  the   ulQmate  predator  (assists  count).   “I  have  grown  and  adapted  since  I  took  his   eye.  Now  I  will  have  feast  on  him.”  –  Kha’zix   The  Hunt  Is  On!   Rengar  must  kill  Kha’zix  to  become  the   ulQmate  hunter  (assists  count).   “He  is  my  greatest  prize.  The  one  beast  who   escaped  me.  I  must  have  his  head.”  -­‐  Rengar  
  41. 41. THEMATIC REWARD FULL EVOLUTION APPROACH ULTIMATE TROPHY
  42. 42. CASE STUDY: THE HUNT IS ON MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Goals  can  feel  repeQQve       ‣  Team  goals  can  feel  impersonal       ‣  Individual  goals  can  disrupt  teamplay       KEY TAKEAWAYS APPROACH Rare  (probably  too  rare)   Specific  to  Kha’zix  and  Rengar   Trigger  during  team  fight  phase  of  game   Rewards  must  impact  gameplay   Theme  increases  value  of  gameplay  rewards  
  43. 43. FEW PLAYERS WILL EXPERIENCE THIS RESULTS BUT SOCIAL MEDIA INCREASES REACH
  44. 44. 4 TECHNIQUES •  Ambient NPC Voice-over •  PC Voice-over •  Story Objectives •  Story Events
  45. 45. TECHNIQUE: STORY EVENT GOOD FOR ‣  Player  parQcipaQon  in  narraQve  progress     OVERVIEW
  46. 46. TECHNIQUE: STORY EVENT MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Goal  changes  can  disrupt  compeQQve  play   ‣  Not  all  team  members  may  want  to  parQcipate   CHALLENGES
  47. 47. GOALS ‣  Establish  Freljord  region   ‣  High  player  parQcipaQon   ‣  Increase  understanding  of  facQonal  affiliaQon   ‣  Measure  results   CHOOSE YOUR TRIBE EXAMPLE
  48. 48. TRANSMEDIA APPROACH PROSE AND ILLUSTRATION
  49. 49. TRANSMEDIA APPROACH WEBSITE
  50. 50. TRANSMEDIA APPROACH NARRATIVE VIDEO
  51. 51. EARN ONE ICON BY WINNING TEN GAMES CHALLENGE ALIGNED WITH FRELJORD THEMES PROVISIONAL ICON PERMANENT ICON EVENT THEMATIC ALIGNMENT ‣  Players  pick  tribes   ‣  MulQple  victories  required   ‣  Failure  is  possible   FRELJORD THEMES ‣  Champions  picking  tribes   ‣  War  spans  many  bafles   ‣  Harsh,  brutal,  environment   APPROACH
  52. 52. CASE STUDY: CHOOSE YOUR TRIBE MULTIPLAYER CHALLENGES ‣  Goal  changes  can  disrupt  compeQQve  play       ‣  Not  all  team  members  may  want  to  parQcipate             KEY TAKEAWAY   APPROACH Layer  meta-­‐progression  on  exis8ng  goals   Par8cipa8on  is  op8onal  and  gameplay  is   unchanged   Preserved  compe88ve  play  but  event  didn’t  feel   truly  in-­‐game.  Opportunity  to  improve  through   in-­‐game  ceremony.  
  53. 53. PLAYER PARTICIPATION HIGH LEVEL OF PARTICIPATION PARTICIPATION METRIC ‣  Measured  all  players  who   won  ten  games  during  the   event     RESULTS
  54. 54. PLAYER COMPREHENSION COMPREHENSION INCREASED AND WAS RETAINED COMPREHENSION METRIC ‣  Survey  of  random  players  to  measure  knowledge  of  champion  facQonal  affiliaQon   ‣  Measured  before  event,  ager  event,  and  six  months  ager  even   ‣  Comprehension  increased  and  was  retained   RESULTS
  55. 55. AGENDA WHY HOW NEXT
  56. 56. 1. NEVER IRRITATING 2. NO PAUSING 3. NO DISTRACTIONS 4. NO CONFLICTING GOALS WE’VE TALKED ABOUT GROUND RULES FOR COMPETITIVE STORYTELLING MULTIPLAYER FIRST       DISTRACTIONS KILL       SUPPORT TEAMPLAY       PLAYERS OPT IN    
  57. 57. WE’VE EXPLORED TECHNIQUES AMBIENT VOICE-OVER PLAYER VOICE-OVER STORY OBJECTIVES STORY EVENTS AND BEST PRACTICES
  58. 58. NEXT STEPS ARE A CHALLENGE
  59. 59. TELL STORIES IN GAME YOU KNOW PLAYERS WILL LOVE
  60. 60. “MY FAVORITE CHARACTER HAS A SISTER? I HAVE TO PLAY HER!”
  61. 61. LET PLAYERS PROGRESS NARRATIVE THROUGH GAMEPLAY
  62. 62. “I KILLED RENGAR AND GOT MY 4th EVOLUTION POINT!”
  63. 63. LET PLAYERS EXPRESS THEMSELVES THROUGH STORY
  64. 64. “I’VE ALWAYS HAD A SOFT SPOT FOR VILLAINS. FROSTGUARD ALL THE WAY.”
  65. 65. BRING NEW TECHNIQUES ??? ??? ??? ??? ??? TO COMPETITIVE PLAY
  66. 66. WHAT STORIES WILL YOUR GAMEPLAY INSPIRE?
  67. 67. COMPETITIVE MULTIPLAYER PRESENTED BY CHRISTINA NORMAN Twitter: @truffle League of Legends: kitae STORYTELLING hfp://www.riotgames.com/careers   Help us tell stories: Full Slides: hfp://bit.ly/CompeQQveStorytelling  

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