WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
STORY VS. GAME?
SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 ...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
GAME MECHANICS ARE THE
VEHICLE FOR MAKING A
GAME FUN
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Fun comes from learning and
mastering new experiences.
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Compare:
Shopping on Amazon vs. shopping on eBay.
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
WHY DO PEOPLE
STOP PLAYING A
GAME?
People quit when i...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Humans take in vast amounts of information and
chunk it into smaller pieces...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Brain has three levels of thought:
1. Conscious thought – logical, mathema...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
INUNDATED
WITH DATA...
To	fight	this	huge	onslaught	of	data,	we	chun...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
OUR BRAINS
REALLY REALLY
LIKE LEARNING
NEW THINGS
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Why, then, do some people not think learning is fun?
FUN ONLY
EXISTS IN
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Fun is about our
brain feeling good
Brains release endorphins into our sys...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Boredom is the
brain looking for
new information
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Games must
navigate between
boredom and
overload
Watch ...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Play, Games, Sports
• All about recognizi...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
SO WHAT DO
PLAYERS WANT?
Players want a challenge
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Players expect:
• A	consistent	world	(one	that	they	can	“chunk	and...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Eight Kinds of Fun. AND SO
Sensat...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
#1 • Player performs an action.
• T...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
BUT a system alone is not a game.
A dump of information is not a
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
#2 Simpler division between
mechanics ...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
Tetris
...
WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY
SO WHAT IS THE POINT OF NARRATIVE IN A GAME?
The simplest...
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Narrative theory and games

Published on: Mar 3, 2016
Published in: Design      
Source: www.slideshare.net


Transcripts - Narrative theory and games

  • 1. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY STORY VS. GAME? SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 2. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY GAME MECHANICS ARE THE VEHICLE FOR MAKING A GAME FUN BUT WHAT IS FUN? SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 3. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Fun comes from learning and mastering new experiences. Just as any game is composed of smaller sub-games that need to be mastered, so can any activity be broken up into sub-activities, all of which can be made more fun. Some of the elements of fun are • how you complete an activity should matter, • it should be hard enough that there’s a chance of failure, • you should be able to get better with practice, and • context should be provided and should matter for every action. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 4. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Compare: Shopping on Amazon vs. shopping on eBay. V. On Amazon, it’s a straightforward, consistent experience. On eBay, you can learn tricks that make it easier to succeed, there is risk and possibility of failure, and there are different ways to approach the same action. As a result of these and other fun features, people become much more involved in an eBay purchase and have more fun doing it. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 5. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY WHY DO PEOPLE STOP PLAYING A GAME? People quit when it’s too hard to win People quit when it’s too easy to win WHY? It’s all in the way that our minds work... SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 6. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Humans take in vast amounts of information and chunk it into smaller pieces • Humans can see up to 72 frames per second (60 is adequate) • Humans can distinguish millions of colors (women 30% more than men) • Can recognize image (afterblurs) even at 1/220th of a second • 100M neurons in the retina • The eye processes 10 Million point images/sec • Brain holds about 100M Megabytes Yet, we are always taking mental shortcuts SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 7. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 8. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Brain has three levels of thought: 1. Conscious thought – logical, mathematical, list-based 2. Intuitive, associative, integrative – chunking, no words 3. Autonomic nervous system – whole sets of decisions CHARACTERISTICS OF THE HUMAN BRAIN: • It fills in blanks. • It notices more than we think it does. • It cuts out the irrelevant bits. • It actively hides reality from us. • Most of us never actually learn to SEE what is in front of us. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 9. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY INUNDATED WITH DATA... To fight this huge onslaught of data, we chunk and create “icons” and patterns: • Interface standard – Only give 3-7 options. • Most people can only make judgments about 4 things at once. People dislike chaos, they prefer ordered, chunkable patterns... BUT there is a thrill of delight when you get it, and discover the pattern. Noise is any pattern we don’t understand... Practice is building a library of chunked skills and decisions. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 10. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY OUR BRAINS REALLY REALLY LIKE LEARNING NEW THINGS SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 11. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Why, then, do some people not think learning is fun? FUN ONLY EXISTS IN CONTEXTS WHERE THERE ARE NO REAL CONSEQUENCES. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 12. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 13. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Fun is about our brain feeling good Brains release endorphins into our system... Our brains are on drugs all the time There’s a chemical release when we master a task: Our “moment of triumph” is rewarded by the brain. Notice someone always smiles when they “get it” Needed for survival of the species SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 14. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Boredom is the brain looking for new information It happens when there are no new patterns to absorb • When a game stops teaching us, we feel bored • When a book is dull, it’s failing to show a captivating pattern Don’t underestimate the brains desire to learn • The brain craves stimuli • Not necessarily new experiences, just new data to make patterns • Experiences force new chunking (because, paradoxically, the brain doesn’t like to do more work that it has to... That’s why it chunks in the first place!) SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 15. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Games must navigate between boredom and overload Watch out for: Noughts & Crosses – “Too easy” Sport stats. – “Fun but not worth my time” Don’t see any patterns – “Too hard” Patterns shown too slowly – “It’s too repetitive” Patterns shown too quickly – “It got too hard too fast” Players mastered the pattern – “I beat it” SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 16. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Play, Games, Sports • All about recognizing goals and patterns, BUT usually have different risks and rewards. Games are exercise for our brains • As we learn the patterns, more novelty is needed. • Practice can keep a game fresh, but soon we’ll “grok” it. • Games are thus disposable, and boredom is inevitable. Formal games are very susceptible to this • They usually don’t have enough variables to be interesting. • The pattern is too easily figured out. • The more formally constructed a game is, the more limiting it will be. • Adding physics, psychology, multiplayer all add variables. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 17. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY SO WHAT DO PLAYERS WANT? Players want a challenge Players want to socialize Players want a dynamic Solitaire experience Players want bragging rights Players want an emotional experience Players want to fantasize SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 18. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Players expect: • A consistent world (one that they can “chunk and grok”) • A world with understandable bounds • Reasonable solutions should work • Direction towards success… goals • Accomplishment of tasks incrementally… subgoals • Immersion • to fail • a fair chance • not to need to repeat themselves • never to be hopelessly stuck • to do, not to watch SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 19. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Eight Kinds of Fun. AND SO Sensation Game as sense-pleasure Fantasy WHAT IS A Game as make-believe Narrative Game as unfolding story Challenge Game as obstacle course GAME MECHANIC? Fellowship Game as social framework Discovery Game as uncharted territory Game mechanics are rule based Expression systems / simulations that facilitate Game as soap box and encourage a user to explore and learn the properties of their Submission Game as mindless pastime possibility space through the use of feedback mechanisms. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 20. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY #1 • Player performs an action. • The action causes an effect within the game world. The simulation contains public and private tokens and the causal rules that affect the states of the tokens. The player rarely knows all the rules and is highly unlikely to be able to instantly describe the complete possibility space described by the rules. The unknown portion of the simulation is a “black box” that the player must attempt to decipher. • The player receives feedback. • With new tools and information in hand, the player performs another action. Using what we’ve learned, we pursue additional pleasure. This model is based on posited natural human desire and pleasure from learning. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 21. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY BUT a system alone is not a game. A dump of information is not a game. A system that encourages learning through strong feedback mechanisms and fun is a game. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 22. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY #2 Simpler division between mechanics and rules, which breaks down into two things: Mechanics are the actions you can perform Rules determine the outcome And gameplay is derived by balancing these two things. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 23. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY Tetris The mechanics of Tetris are • Turn a block • Drop a block fast • Destroy blocks by creating a line The rules of Tetris are • Gravity, which accelerates in a stepped fashion according to score • Score, which increases in a stepped fashion according to created lines • Pile reformation, which determines the effects of a destroyed line on the blocks above. • The lose condition of whether the pieces reach the top • The next piece determinant, which selects what new piece will show after the previous one has landed. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1
  • 24. WRITING A GAME :: GAMING A STORY SO WHAT IS THE POINT OF NARRATIVE IN A GAME? The simplest and most compelling theory is narrative exists to help the player continue playing the game. Narrative does this by encouraging the player to have an emotional investment in the story, by tying together a series of potentially unconnected events and places (the ice level, the fire level), and giving perceived value to repetitive actions. This overarching function of narrative at any point in the game has two immediate goals: telling the player what actions they need to do next, and reminding the player what they have already done. Telling the player what they need to do next can take the form of a quest diary or journal that a player can refer to at any point. It becomes increasingly important as the complexity of games has increased. The difference between traditional narrative and games is that with games the player is not only required to read the narrative, but must make decisions to propel it forward. SHIRALEE SAUL :: A-WEBSITE.ORG :: 2010 : Media Cultures 1

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