Brainstorming

Brainstorming

Storytelling Game Design Vishnu Kotrajaras, PhD Designers story Many game has one predetermined story

Story told with cut scene Some game allows simple branching But they are usually limited, and predetermined by the programmer anyway Players story

Mini story unique to the player, of how he won that level The idea is to merge designers story and players story into one Allowing what player does to have impact on the main story Dungeon and dragons

Dungeon master leads the game and telling the story as it happens, but he adds things according to what player does Neverwinter Nights Computer cant do this, so we have to anticipate what players can do Do your best, you cant come up with every possibility anyway

Dungeon & Dragons and d20 game www.privateerpress.com www.wizards.com/dnd monsters Armors & weapons items

Neverwinter Nights Places for storytelling Out-of-game In-game External materials

Out-of-game storytelling The player is not playing when the story is told, such as cut-scenes: cinematic techniques Text briefing before mission Images:

Map (Zelda, a link to the past) suggestion of a next challenge recap of what the player has achieved Comic book style Audio Together with document or mission briefing (X-Wing)

Can save budget for cut-scene Zelda shows map guide before each journey Admiral Ackbar briefs you in X-wing X-wing versus Tie fighter text briefing

But dont let it interrupt gameplay (players want to play) The 7th Quest (or any FMV game is a good example of FMVs failure because of using it too much) Designing cut scenes Consistent visuals between cut-scene

and gameplay Many games use the same graphic engine for cut-scene and gameplay Pac-Man Karateka Zelda (2D and 3D) Metal Gear Solid Games

that dont use the same graphic engine in cut scenes Command & Conquer Cut scenes between levels, but uses live actors. So it looks very different from the ingame environments Mechwarrior 2, Centipede 3D, Final Fantasy VII Super-high polygon, pre-rendered 3D (much more beautiful)

Disjointed visual experience! This reminds player that this is a game! Red alert 2 Mechwarrior 2 cut-scene Mechwarrior 2 real game Centipede (PS) real game

Centipede (PS) cut-scene FFVII screenshots and cut scenes Remember, cut scene is for single player to experience Therefore it is not like watching a film in a cinema

So it must be like reading a book if possible Player must have freedom to stop, read text with her own pace, or re-watch cut scene Designing cut scenes Early final fantasy: None (bad)

Players have to hack to watch the movie file Final Fantasy X, X-2 Cant re-watch cut scene right away, but can do later at a movie location Cinema experience when first watch (cant

rewind but can pause if you want) But allows freedom of watching eventually FFX now graphics are almost the same for cut scenes and normal scenes The Last Express

Egg save allows players to go back and re-watch cut scene at any time Damage Incorporated Interactive mission briefing Can flip back and forth between images and documents

Pause, rewind, fast forward spoken dialog The last express (real-time adventure) Damage Incorporated What about skipping cut scenes?

Necessary, since players may have played many times and will get bored if he is unable to skip The best is to allow skipping forward and back within the cut scenes, Especially for very long ones but this is quite rare at the moment Cut-scene examples Most

famous = Final Fantasy Tekken, what? Cut scene before the gameplay and after finishing the game with one character Characters do not show personalities during gameplay Arenas have noting to do with the story Why have a story at all? (yes, reward cut scene for finishing the game)

Cut scene from Tekken 4 Tekken 5 In-Game storytelling Story occurring while playing Setting configurations

Choosing conversations Pre-mission planning Half-Life has only in-game storytelling Chat Announcement on PA NPC behavior

Command & Conquer In-game storytelling in mission design Otherwise, cut scenes Soul Edge Players have some control for the story at the end (mixing

in-game and out-of-game) Soul Calibur 2 Techniques for in-game storytelling Text Signs, notes, books that players can read Graffiti on the wall

Level settings Centipede: garden Monopoly: real estate RPG: Scene can tell about inhabitant of an area, including the areas past Advent children (not a game, but good example)

FFVII Advent Children Techniques for in-game storytelling (2) Dialog Conversation with NPC Items in the game: PC terminal, PA systems, tape

Phoenix Wright NPC behavior Two people that hate each other will argue NPC in a peaceful village may flee when seeing our weapons In a hostile town, NPC may attack players

who draw swords, demanding players to give up weapons NPC may interact with other NPCs in various ways Marathon Lots of computer terminals Reveals more plots Objective of current level

But the game is still active Player can be attacked while sitting at a terminal Keep tension of real-time Yes, player can control the reading speed and choose the page he wants to read Damage Incorporated

Dialog Response to players order Comment about mission Response to players performance Different teammates react differently

Behavior Rebel against player when they do not agree Will player miss the story, if its ingame? Player may not have chance of talking to some character, or witnessing some events

Dont worry, its the players responsibility to seek the complete story elements External materials Introduction written in the manual Back-story

Map Often used for games with limited hardware (old games) Arcade Written out on the cabinet

Infocom games always come with extra documents Some time the extra materials are needed to complete a puzzle (not good in term of gameplay though) Infocom text adventures External materials used today We

dont need storytelling in the manual anymore Technology is better today It distracts from gameplay but extra materials to the game world is welcomed

Linear story? Screenwriter and novelist Not good for non-linear storytelling because they only know how to create one-track story Movie-like nonlinearity, because they will delete non-narrative path But we need various paths, even not-so-narrative

ones. Player story is more important than designers story Glory of film maker Some game designer wants it Long cut scenes -> failure as a game

Character personality Player character needs a distinct look But little personality Because players want to play as themselves Mario Lara Croft

too strong character will make a player feel that she is not in control Player character keeps repeating irritating dialog Some popular characters are exceptions!

An exception! Tomb Raider: angel of darkness NPC personality On the other hand, NPC needs to have

memorable personality If player is annoyed by an NPC Its actually not bad It means the NPC has enough personality Sephiroth vs Ultimacia, the opposite Yuffie (\_/), Rikku (^_^) Oaka (do you want to visit him?) Writing story Should

worry about situations that player can interact with game world If characters and situations are good, then the story does not really matter But its even better with a good story Just dont overdo telling story Only give players what he needs to continue The rest, player will figure it out, or fill it with their own imagination

Final Fantasy VII ending Overdoing the story Star wars The force, mysterious power in all beings It doesnt need an explanation Episode 1, Mediclorian. What the hell?

Underdoing the story Too many unexplained things Or does not explain important points Final Fantasy VIII Time compression? No explanation? And no clear

picture in our head how it would benefit Ultimacia Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions Hard-to-understand dialogs Where are the henchmen from Matrix 2 in Matrix 3? Why does Neo have power out of Matrix? (this is totally impossible, and actually destroys my belief

of The Matrix) Non-Linear writing use in-game storytelling when possible It forces us to think in non-linear term Branching

story Player chooses order of the story components Maybe only the first and final chapters need to be in order Working with the gameplay

Do not contradict gameplay and technology with story See the environments you are working in Think of the most interesting content possible for that environment Example: Know that we will have team mates in FPS

then think about each team mate personality, their reaction when comrades are killed, what kind of person each one is Ideas come out of limitations, gameplay, and technology available Beware of marketing people

They want complex story Easier to put in advertisements than game play They want strong personality character So they can sell action figures

But great games must allow player to tell their own story Sim city Civilization No pre-made or complex story at all Story Tip #1: Create a Conflict! No

conflict, no story. Conflicts are interesting. Keep it simple. Story Tip #2: Put the story to work! Shape it to meet your needs! Story is

more flexible than gameplay. 3DO story Gravity Gun Use clichs when they can help you! Examples?

Story Tip #3: Use Simplicity and Transcendence! Medieval Futuristic War

Modern Story Tip #4: Keep your story world consistent! Jumping the Shark Jumping the Shark

Same Character, Different Actor Birth | Death

Ted McGinley Puberty Singing Live! I Do They Did It

The Movie Moving Special Guest Star

A Very Special... New Kid In Town Hair Care Exit...Stage Left Graduation Color Story Tip #5 Make

your story world accessible! Finding preferred narratives Exp 1 12 students (age 20-23, played 10 or more games in the past, selected from 70 final year multimedia students ) played 4 adventure games individually.

Broken Sword 2: The Smoking Mirror Ecstatica 2 Discworld 2: Missing Presumed The Curse of Monkey Island Analyzed their responses to those games in 5

small group sessions (group size = 3,2,2,3,2). Broken Sword Ecstatica Discworld II: Mortality Bytes Monkey Island

Exp2 Inviting all 1st year management students. Selected by gender, gameplay exp., and earliest response. Four sessions: 3,2,4 and 4 participants, playing individually before joining discussions. Play for a few hours.

Gothic, Might and Magic IX, Morrowind Propositions from exp1 were debated. Gothic Might & Magic IX Morrowind

Like Social/Psychological traits in the story Trust, suspicion, anger, rudeness, goodness, badness Player likes to be able to choose how to respond to questions (polite, rude, angry, etc) And they like it even more if has a subsequent effect on a story. Gothic: people go around asking what you are doing.

Background/character story interspersed with play activities Morrowind: too long speech, not good. Broken Sword: Every time you click on an object, itll give you a little bit of story. You build the story yourself. :D Gothic: you only get the info you need. Like2

Long term character memory Morrowind: NPC talks the same all the time. Broken Sword: NPC changes what he/she talks every time.

GTA: gangsters try to kill you after you betray them. Gothic: meeting guards, they remember they met you before. 1st they warned you that theyd kill you. If you go up to them again, they will really do it. Gothic: enemies follow you all the way. Combat that arise from players own aggressive

behaviour Might and Magic: enemies attack you the same at the same location, not good. Control in navigation M &M: only 1 path, not good. Gothic: many choices :D

Like3 Choices to be limited A story to be episodic and directed. Difficult level can be opened for access, but the player will choose not to go there until they are ready. This keeps the story linear, but also gives the player the feeling that its his choice not to go there.

Not allow to leave certain areas unless players obtain necessary resources. So that the player do not have to come back after progressing for many hours.

NPC to direct him to another NPC. Otherwise the player will get bored, not doing what the story is focusing. A game that maintains the degree of the illusion of freedom of choice. Dont like NPC talking too much

Discworld: NPCs talk too much about themselves (too much background), without giving direction. Illusion of choice that player wants

Different paths in traveling. Different speeches. Different items and equipments. Side quests Baldurs Gate FF

Offering earned clues when a player gets stuck. Allowing different ways of solving problems. Different elements in fighting monsters in FF, but players dont need to use it. Buy your way into a castle, or smuggle your way in. Tools and techniques

Faade IDTension Planning (LISP) using intention parameter http://people.ict.usc.edu/~riedl/pubs/ dissertation.pdf

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