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Computer Games - Story Theory - Narrative Delivery Types


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This material has been produced to be used on the BTEC Level 3 Games Development Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma) course delivery. This resource can be adapted and amended for other relevant courses.

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Computer Games - Story Theory - Narrative Delivery Types

  1. 1. Story In Relation to Game
  2. 2. Why Stories? • In general: – Illuminate the human condition – Make you feel something – Help you learn something – Fun
  3. 3. Stories • In Games: – New medium – new ways to tell stories – Keep people playing to the end – They end – feeling of accomplishment instead of exasperation or boredom – Good experience will sell the next game
  4. 4. How? • In General: – Beginning Stability – Middle Disruption – End Resolution
  5. 5. How? (continued) Drivers of Drama •Conflict •Mystery Stakes –Raised •Life •Food •Shelter Love •Companionship •Reproduction
  6. 6. How? (continued) Stakes •Comfort •Money •Fashion •Fame •Power •Social standing •Control of others •Control of your own destiny
  7. 7. Story in Games • Narrative to Start then forget it – Who are you? – Who are they? – Why do you want to kill each other? • Are there other stories to tell that don’t involve life and death stakes? Are there other mechanics to play than violience?
  8. 8. Story and Games Story Delivered in the Structure of Games
  9. 9. • Story is same for all players • Play stops at each obstacle until it’s overcome • Examples: – X-Wing – TIE Fighter – Myst – Tomb Raider – Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Linear story
  10. 10. Linear story • Advantages – Complete narrative control – Player sees all content or quits • Disadvantages – Play stops until obstacle is overcome – No replayability – Player may quit
  11. 11. • More than one path from beginning to end • Players have varying degrees of success yet can continue • Examples: – Wing Commander – Balder’s Gate – Planescape Torment – King of Dragon Pass – Europa 1400: The Guild Branching Storyline
  12. 12. Branching Storyline • Advantages – Players make choices that affect their entire game experience – Replayability – Some narrative control – major plot points • Disadvantages – Unseen content – Some game experiences better than others
  13. 13. Emergent Storylines • Broad rules lead to stories that emerge during play • Winning conditions dictate end of game, not narrative • Examples: – Civilization – Falcon 4.0 – X-Com – Daggerfall
  14. 14. Emergent Storylines • Advantages – Every game has unique story – Player feels totally in control – Replayability • Disadvantages – Very difficult to generate good stories – Very little narrative control
  15. 15. How do we write in-game stories? • Story space as opposed to linear narrative – Discovery as a means of storytelling – Scripted action sequences – Found stories
  16. 16. Linear/Branching/Emergent • Task 3 – For each of the 3 story writing styles above cite an example of a game that you have either played or researched. – Discuss how the story is delivered in your example and how that complies to the type of delivery – Discuss the strengths and weaknesses within this story and the story delivery method itself – Draw conclusions about the methods of story delivery. Consider how appropriate these methods are in relation to games. Does one have more potential than another? If so why?