Academic Research and Game Development


#1

Hi all!
I’m new to the forum.

This was particularly interesting:

Watching the Tof Ekland video helped me rediscover my passion for trying to find the overlap between the disciplines of English and Creative Writing.

After typing in “choicescript creative gameplay elements” into Google, I ran across this article entitled Personalized Gaming for Motivating Social and Behavioral Science Participation which I wanted to share with the community. The actual PDF can be found (as of March 30, 2017) here via this link:

http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?doid=3039677.3039681

It occurred to me that the design elements mentioned in the article would, potentially, make for great discussion. Though Theories of Motivation for example, does specifically mention Bartle’s player types in MMORPGs (“achievers, explorers, socializers, and killers” (34)) which may not apply to games designed for ChoiceScript, the general concept of how the player is motivated is simply fascinating. How is the player motivated? What set of rules apply? How is reward-for-effort implemented?

  • Triadic game design (35) - is not simply having at least three options that the player can choose from. Instead, this design element focuses on “three paradigms to be considered, the world of reality, meaning, and play.”

For me, this seems to imply a closed-universe type of setting. What I mean by that is themes and elements in the game world are consistent with one another. In Choice of the Pirate, for example, we would never see a scene that suddenly focused on researching spaceship technology because the armies of Cthulu were invading. Dissimilar elements have a tendency to create cacophony rather than harmony.

  • Design Principles 1 and 2 (support autonomy and promote creation and representation of self-identity, respectively; see explorer) (35)

Choice of Games is now somewhat famous for it’s inclusive character personalization which can range from different ages, to ethnicities, to gender preferences, or even species (Choice of Robots). Aside from these initial defining choices, how do your characters establish their self-identity as the game unfolds? The answer, of course, is different for every story. As an aside, do you feel that having an opposed-pair attribute system either helps or limits the range of character able to be created? Conversely, I myself would be interested in reading a story where the main character starts with high or max level unopposed attributes (a person in their late 30s or early 40s at the top of their career, for example) and then has to deal with their attributes dropping, either from age, stress, medical problems, relationship concerns, divorce, etc. In a scenario like that, how would you balance gameplay vs. narrative?

  • Design Principles 3 and 4 (design for optimal challenge and provide timely and positive feedback, respectively; see achiever) (35)

These two elements seem to be incorporated into Choice of Games’ design philosophy in that, from my understanding at least, CoG wants to see intelligent choices. Translation: the reader should be able to figure out, at least to some degree, the consequences of their decision. In the Go Left or Go Right example used by CoG, neither choice on their own gives the user any idea of where that choice will lead; it is a dumb choice as opposed to an intelligent one that may be implemented as simply as modifying the original choice Go Left (towards the marsh) or Go Right (towards the forest). However, I believe even dumb choices could be allowed in instances where the reader is previously informed of the consequences of their actions. Having a dumb choice with no reference on the current wall of text (but instead on a previous scene) would then force the reader to first recall the consequences from memory and then actively think about what choice is then best for them. It then comes down to whether or not this style of storytelling (or any style of storytelling, for that matter) measures up to acceptable standards. Perhaps the “optimal challenge” then is not necessarily one solely presented to the player, but also to the designer.

  • Design Principles 5 and 6 (facilitate human-human interaction and represent human social bond, respectively; see socializer) (35)

Do you believe that “human-human” interaction can be substituted for “human-other” interaction (pets, robots, plants, rocks, whatever) or perhaps “other-other”? If you consider the word other to represent marginalized groups, how (if at all) does this change the need for social interaction between main and supporting characters? Is there a real need for social interaction in your project, or is social interaction not (solely) the focus of your game/story?

  • Design Principles 7 and 8 (facilitate one’s desire to influence others and facilitate one’s desire to be influenced by others, respectively; see killer) (36)

One of the best examples that comes to mind with regard to power interacting with gameplay elements is Game of Thrones. Earning power has real consequences, and the drive for power is competitive because power is finite in that universe – not everyone can do everything. Studying how different characters in Game of Thrones earn power appears to be a worthy endeavour. Conversely, how do those without power (including the silenced, the unmentioned, marginalized, etc.) navigate their environment given their then-current circumstances?

  • Design Principles 9 and 10 (induce intended emotions via initial exposure to the game and induce intended emotions via intensive interaction with the game, respectively) (36)

I would love for the devs to weigh in here on the significance of emotional impact to the player. What makes a good story? What makes a good story a piece of literature worth reading for generations to come?

Thanks for reading!


#2

Thanks for making this forum! It really helps one to think on how to improve what they’re working with to give someone a full-experience with a story! Often I find myself creating flat MCs by writing out characters who continue on with no motive. So this helped me rethink how far I’m willing to work to continually make my writings better!

Thanks again!


#3

Thank you. Glad I could help :grinning: