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Reminder: Game Design Analysis Deadline written document: November 18 th in class, PRINTED! (next Monday) Deadline PowerPoint presentation: November 18.

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Presentation on theme: "Reminder: Game Design Analysis Deadline written document: November 18 th in class, PRINTED! (next Monday) Deadline PowerPoint presentation: November 18."— Presentation transcript:

1 Reminder: Game Design Analysis Deadline written document: November 18 th in class, PRINTED! (next Monday) Deadline PowerPoint presentation: November 18 th until 6AM (EST time) has to be e-mailed to instructor (next Monday)

2 Create Your Game Project Due date: Monday December 2 nd Will be open: invite friends! The project is to be presented at at 4:00PM on December 2 nd ; invite your friends!

3 Games as Narrative Play (Ch. 26) Prof. Hector Munoz-Avila

4 Introduction Typical examples of narratives in games – Interesting story (no pun intended) From Complex.comComplex.com Excellent games with different approaches to storylines: – Linear: half lifehalf life – Branching while linear, multiple endings: Blade runnerBlade runner – Nonlinear, one ending: Elder ScrollsElder Scrolls – Nonlinear, multiple endings: ? Games  Culture: Games’ stories made into movies – Silent Hill Silent Hill – Doom – Resident Evil

5 Linear Storyline Story arc is a sequence of pre-defined events Example in Half life: 1.Gordon travels deep in the Mesa facility 2.Gordon gets acquainted with surroundings 3.Gordon performs an experiment that goes wrong 4.…

6 Branching-while Linear Storyline Branching because player makes choices that change storyline Linear because player is basically following the same story arc (with slight changes depending on choices made) Example in Blade Runner: 1.Ray McCoy is a new member in the Blade Runner office … 10.Ray McCoy choose between helping or pursuing Dektora … 25.RayMcCoy escapes with Dektora There are 13 possible endings and the game can be longer or shorter depending on the player’s choices Different cutscenes are shown depending on path: one and twoone two

7 Nonlinear, one ending Story arc is formed by events following a variety of game choices Nonlinear because story arc changes based on player’s choices. – As a result subplots are interleaved e.g., going back and forth between completing the mage’s and thieve’s guilds storylines But in the end, player converges to the same pointsame point

8 Key Questions Viewing games as a narrative space Where do narratives in a game reside? How to design games as narrative experiences? What kinds of narratives experiences does digital games allow? – think of restrictive medium: cell phone game vs. latest PC Role (if any) of narrative in designing meaningful play

9 Controversy about Narratives as Games Two camps: Narratives is just a backstory to the game mechanics – Story is told in an opening cinematic that players’ basically forget – Don’t really add utility to game design – Example (Titan Quest) Example Games are narrative mediums (“interactive narratives”) – It is just that some stories are bad – As demonstrated by epic storylines – Example (Mass Effect series) Example Your opinion?

10 Common Trends (by Jesper Juul) We use narratives for everything – So of course, games and narratives are related – (Certainly holds when I am preparing lectures) Most games feature narrative introductions and backstories Games do share some traits with narratives – We will expand on this

11 Elements to Understand Narratives (J. Hills Miller) Situation: – Initial state – Changing state (the linking of which form the “plot”) Character(s): – The usual person elements But can be personification: Earth (the 2007 movie)Earth Form: – Patterns of events – Repetition (e.g., conceptual theme)

12 Earth (The 2007 Movie) Situation: – Newly born animals – Fight for survival story Characters: – The 3 families – Earth Form: – Conservation

13 Chess Situation: – Opening moves – Middle of the game – The End Game Characters: – Pieces and what they represent Form: – Stylized representation of war as defined by the operational rules: Chessboard Turn based

14 Starcraft (Campaing) Situation: – Human’s colonies under attack by aliens – Final defeat of the “The Overmind” Characters: – Raynor, Tychus, Mengsk, Kerrigan Form: – Real-time strategy – Difference between the factions in strategies and gameplay – Video scenes telling the story Video

15 Structures of Narrative Play Embedded: Experience narrative as a defined story told interactively Emergent: narrative arises while playing

16 Embedded Narrative Predefined: already crafted before player plays the game Classical examples: – Storyline in Half-life – Storyline in Starcraft – Storyline in Blade Runner Frequently cutscenes are used to tell the story arc Frequently linear storyline or branching-while-linear

17 Emergent Narrative Emerges from a set of rules But it is not “pre-scripted” Unlike branching–while-linear, player’s choices may lead to unexpected (or at least non-tried-before) storylines Player interactions are context-dependent Story arcs change dynamically In most games emergent narratives occur at the micro-level – E.g., how I choose to complete a mission(*) in an RTS game, might be very different of how someone else’s completes it Easy to see that this is the case: imagine the same observer narrating what is happening. – The two accounts will be different

18 Combining Embedded and Emergent Narratives Most games combine embedded and emergent narratives Embedded narratives are used at the macro-level In most games emergent narratives occur at the micro-level – E.g., how I choose to complete a mission(*) in an RTS game, might be very different of how someone else’s completes it Easy to see that this is the case: imagine the same observer narrating what is happening. – The two accounts will be different

19 Narrative Goals The goal of the game serves two purposes:  Judge progress (meaningful play)  Understanding the narrative context Examples of final goals in games? – In linear storylines, the point to achieve the goal is pre- determined (e.g., after completed the storyarc in a linear narrative) – In other games that point is subject to the player’s choices Earth 2140

20 Narrative Subgoals The story arc is frequently stated as a sequence of goals for the player to achieve Creates a narrative coherence The book mentions The Sims example: 1.Getting ready for a date 2.Getting a date 3.Sharing activities 4.… Well combined story and gameplay enhances meaningful play

21 Elements We Studied can Enhance Narratives Complexity and Emergence in Games Information theory in Games Games as Information Systems Games as Cybernetic Systems Games as Game Theory Systems Games as Systems of Conflict

22 Research Topic: Automated Generation of Narratives Recall guest lecture about AI and specifically about planning: – Planning: generate a sequence of steps to achieve some goal The basic premise is to define a narrative goal and thus the sequence of steps become the narrative arc Planning techniques guarantees that a consistent story is generated – Including work by our invited speaker, R. Michael Young, early this semester

23 Generating Diverse Stories (Alexandra Coman) NPC: Minotaur Goal: Exit Labyrinth ND Actions: walk cautiously pre: not fallen AND not thread broken eff: free OR fallen OR none OR thread found follow thread re: thread found and not thread broken eff: free OR fallen pull thread pre: thread found eff: thread broken OR fallen fly pre: not fallen eff: free OR fallen rise pre: fallen eff: not fallen walk without fear pre: not fallen AND thread broken eff: free OR none ND Actions: walk cautiously pre: not fallen AND not thread broken eff: free OR fallen OR none OR thread found follow thread pre: thread found and not thread broken eff: free OR fallen pull thread pre: thread found eff: thread broken OR fallen fly pre: not fallen eff: free OR fallen rise pre: fallen eff: not fallen walk without fear pre: not fallen AND thread broken eff: free OR none ND Actions (II): pull thread pre: thread found eff: thread broken OR fallen fly pre: not fallen eff: free OR fallen rise pre: fallen eff: not fallen walk without fear pre: not fallen AND thread broken eff: free OR none ND Actions (I): walk cautiously pre: not fallen AND not thread broken eff: free OR fallen OR none OR thread found follow thread pre: thread found and not thread broken eff: free OR fallen

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