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LAFS Game Mechanics - Narrative Elements

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Level 8 of the Los Angeles Film School's Game Mechanics class.

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LAFS Game Mechanics - Narrative Elements

  1. 1. Level 8 David Mullich Game Mechanics The Los Angeles Film School
  2. 2. Randomness  Randomness  Luck  Surprises  Easter Eggs
  3. 3. Decision-Making  Predictable Consequences  Perceived Chance To Succeed  Trade-Offs
  4. 4. Risk and Reward  Rewards  Illusionary Rewards  Penalties  Risk-Reward Decision
  5. 5. Remember This?
  6. 6. Narrative Structures The structure of stories that are unfolded by playing the game.
  7. 7. Elements Providing Narrative Structure  Information About Future Events  Characters and their Goals  Changing Character Abilities  Limited Set of Actions  Irreversible Actions  Illusionary Rewards  Cut Scenes  Ultra Powerful Events  And…
  8. 8. Narrative Mechanics Extra Credits: How Games Can Express An Idea Using Only Their Mechanics
  9. 9. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  10. 10. Why Designers Use Narrative Structures  Explain  Player Goals  Game Reality Logic  Game World Changes  Balances Level of Complexity  Encourages Emotional Immersion Warning! May conflict with:  Freedom of Choice  Illusion of Influence  Player-Defined Goals
  11. 11. Gameplay Immersion Seizing the players’ attention and focus in a game world or in the activity of play.
  12. 12. Contributors to Gameplay Immersion  Game World  Consistent Reality Logic  Freedom of Choice  Smooth Learning Curves
  13. 13. Types of Gameplay Immersion  Cognitive  Spatial  Sensory-Motor  Emotional
  14. 14. Disruptors of Immersion  Downtime  Save-Load Cycles  Book-Keeping Tokens  Status Indicators  Invisible Walls  Attention Disruption
  15. 15. Anticipation The feeling of being able to predict future game events in the games to which one has emotional attachments.
  16. 16. Sources of Anticipation Narrative Structure:  Illusionary Rewards  Ultra-Powerful Game Events  Character Development Game State:  Predictable Consequences  Delayed Effects  Rewards Procedures  Turn-Taking  Downtime  Player Defined-Goals
  17. 17. Tension The feeling of caring about the outcome of actions or events in a game without having full control over them.
  18. 18. Tension Narrative Structure:  Illusionary Rewards  Ultra-Powerful Game Events  Cut Scenes  Surprises  Leaps of Faith  Player Ability Losses  Enemies  Deadly Traps  Competition  Betrayal  Bluffing  Red Herrings  Attention Swapping Game State:  Uncertainty of Information  Delayed Effects  Penalties  Combat  Shrinking Game World  Time Limits Procedures  Turn-Taking  Downtime  Player-Decided Distribution of Rewards
  19. 19. How are the similarities and differences between Anticipation and Tension?
  20. 20. Characters Abstract representation of persons in the game.
  21. 21. Why Designers Use Characters  Serves as Focus Loci  Encourages Emotional Immersion and Identification  Richer Narrative Structure
  22. 22. Character Design Considerations  Does the game provide created characters or do players create their own characters?
  23. 23. Character Development The improvements of character’s skills and knowledge.
  24. 24. Why Designers Use Character Development  Advancement through Narrative Structure  Improved Abilities  Varied Gameplay  Player-Defined Goals  Perceived Chance to Succeed Warning! Can cause:  Disruption of Player Balance
  25. 25. Character Development Design Considerations  Causes  Game-Controlled Rewards  Player-Controlled Investments  Effect  New/Improved Abilities  Ability Losses  Extra-Game Consequences
  26. 26. Player-Controlled Character Development Where character development is under a player’s control and can be planned.
  27. 27. Player Controlled Character Development  Encourages  Player-Defined Goals in Competency Areas  Provides  Freedom of Choice  Creative Control  Emotional Immersion  Encourages  Identification  Strategic Planning Warning! Can conflict with:  Narrative Structure
  28. 28. Player Controlled Character Development Design Considerations  What options are players given for developing their characters?  What goals are required to use those options?
  29. 29. Role-Playing Players having characters with somewhat fleshed-out personalities. The play is centered on making decisions on how the characters would react in staged imaginary situations.
  30. 30. Why Designers Use Role-Playing Encourages:  Social Interaction  Emotional Immersion  Story Telling  Alternative Reality Affects:  Team Play  Narrative Structures
  31. 31. What Makes Us Role-Play? Extra Credits: Why game worlds feel real
  32. 32. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  33. 33. Role-Playing Design Considerations  What are the consequences of a player’s character behaving in certain ways?  How do character’s actions affect the game world in a permanent way?
  34. 34. Creative Control Players have the ability to be creative within the game world.
  35. 35. Why Designers Allow Creative Control  Emotional Immersion  Empowerment  Investment  Ownership  Social Status
  36. 36. Sources of Creative Control  Storytelling and Role-Playing  Construction  Player-Defined Goals  Planned Character Development  Player-Constructed Worlds
  37. 37. Illusion of Influence Players feel that they can influence the outcome of the game, regardless of whether that is correct.
  38. 38. Requirements For Influence  Smooth Learning Curves  Right Level of Difficulty (or Randomness)  Perceived Chance to Succeed
  39. 39. Illusion of Influence Design Considerations  Can players choose which events should occur in the game?  Can players create objects or events in the game?  Can randomness give players a feeling of luck?
  40. 40. Freedom of Choice Players have the ability to make choices in the game.
  41. 41. Freedom of Choice Requirements  Illusion of Influence  Perceived Chance to Succeed  Seemingly Different Effects for Each Choice
  42. 42. Why Designers Allow Freedom of Choice  Cognitive Immersion  Strategic Planning  Perceived Chance to Succeed  Risk-Reward Trade-Offs  Emotional Immersion  Empowerment  Replayablity  Varied Gameplay Warning! Can cause:  Analysis Paralysis
  43. 43. Freedom of Choice Design Considerations  What actions are possible for the players?  What can players do with those actions?  How do those actions affect the the results in the game?  Can the players choose their own goals?
  44. 44. Story Telling The act of player’s telling stories within a game.
  45. 45. Why Designers Use Storytelling Provides:  Narrative Structures  Freedom of Choice  Creative Control  Emotional Immersion Encourages:  Role-playing  Social Interaction  Strategic Knowledge  Player-Decided Results  Extra-Game Actions (Bragging)  Game Mastery
  46. 46. Storytelling Design Considerations  Is the storytelling done by a game master or by the players?
  47. 47. Capture The goal where the end result is the elimination or change of ownership of an actively resisting goal object.
  48. 48. Ways To Capture  Alignment  Configuration  Enclosure  Contact  Connection  Combat
  49. 49. Why Designers Use Capture Goals  Gain Ownership  Transfer of Control  Support Eliminate Goal  Prevent Other Player’s Evade Goals
  50. 50. Capture Design Considerations  What game element must be captured?  What game element(s) can do the capturing?  What action is used to capture the game element?  Is the aim to eliminate or gain ownership?
  51. 51. Guard The goal to hinder other players or game elements from accessing a particular area in the game or a particular game element.
  52. 52. Why Designers Use Guard Goals  Promote Ownership  Encourage Strategic Planning  Prevent Other Player’s Rescue Goals
  53. 53. Guard Design Considerations  What is the objective to be guarded?  Is the objective guarded actively or passively (or both)?
  54. 54. Choose one of the following games to play: CAPTURE  Arabian Knights (2-6p, 120m)  Cosmic Encounter (3-5p, 60-120m)  GUARD  Ghost Stories (1-4p, 60m)  Shadows of Camelot (3-7p, 60-90m)  Star Trek: Expeditions (1-4p, 60m)
  55. 55. Group Quest Design an analog game prototype using mechanics supporting one of the following goals:  Capture  Guard
  56. 56. Cut Scenes Sequences of story-telling where players cannot act within the game.
  57. 57. Cut Scenes Extra Credits: Cutscenes
  58. 58. What Was The Main Message Of This Video?
  59. 59. How To Use Cut Scenes Appropriately  Reinforce the powerlessness of the player.  Contextualize gameplay Warning! Can cause:  Downtime  Disruption of:  Focused Attention  Illusion of Influence
  60. 60. Cut Scene Design Considerations  Where do the cut scenes appear?  What information do they convey to the player?  Is their sequence pre-determined, or can the order vary based on the game state?
  61. 61. Ultra-Powerful Events Events that cannot be affected by player actions.
  62. 62. Forms of Ultra Powerful Events  Cut Scenes  Deadly Traps  Controllers  Moving Platforms  Shrinking Game Worlds
  63. 63. Why Designers Use Ultra-Powerful Events  Enforce Narrative Structure  Provide Anticipation  Turn Actions into Irreversible Actions  Ensure Player Balance in Turn-Based Games Warning! Can cause:  Downtime  Diminished Freedom of Choice  Diminished Perception of Chance to Succeed  Diminished Illusion of Influence
  64. 64. Ultra-Powerful Events Design Considerations  What is the event that the player cannot affect once it unfolds?  Can the player affect why and when the event starts?  What are the consequences of the event?  Are those consequences predictable for the player?
  65. 65. Describe a Cut Scene and Ultra Powerful Event for telling a story’s complication and climax on the LMS.

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