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Published on August 2, 2007

Author: Shariyar

Source: authorstream.com

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Bringing Game Characters to Life:  Bringing Game Characters to Life Steve Crane Midway Games Game Characters are Dreadful:  Game Characters are Dreadful Why are they dreadful? Why does it matter? How can we improve the situation? Why do characters matter?:  Why do characters matter? Mainstream entertainment is based on interesting characters Games Lack the Broad Appeal of Movies:  Games Lack the Broad Appeal of Movies Not everyone is goal-oriented or competitive Hand-eye coordination fades Game graphics aren’t quite there yet Game characters fall short Action Movies vs. Action Games:  Action Movies vs. Action Games Games are good at the action scenes Games fail to deliver the 'quiet moments' that define character Great action + memorable characters = massive hit Should be an easier problem than simulating all of human behavior Character Can Drive New Kinds of Gameplay:  Character Can Drive New Kinds of Gameplay If there isn’t any gameplay during the quiet moments, they might as well be cut scenes. I’ll get back to this later Where Do Game Characters Fall Short?:  Where Do Game Characters Fall Short? They’re often autistic Where Do Game Characters Fall Short?:  Where Do Game Characters Fall Short? They respond too similarly Where Do Game Characters Fall Short?:  Where Do Game Characters Fall Short? They’re wooden Where Do Game Characters Fall Short?:  Where Do Game Characters Fall Short? They repeat themselves Where Do Game Characters Fall Short?:  Where Do Game Characters Fall Short? They don’t interact believably How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting?:  How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting? Challenge 1: Characters shouldn’t act like idiots They need to respond to events believably Characters should vary their behavior How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting?:  How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting? Challenge 2: Characters should display a baseline level of human behavior Their behavior takes relationships and past events into account They have moods They behave differently around people they know versus ones they don’t They express themselves (at a minimum) via body language How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting?:  How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting? Challenge 3: Characters should have recognizable personalities One-note personalities are acceptable for supporting characters (e.g.tough guy, weasily coward) Ideally, main characters have at least two competing traits. This enables meta-games. How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting?:  How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting? Challenge 4: Characters should be able to engage emotionally with the player Special Cases:  Special Cases Zombies Special Cases:  Special Cases Soldiers Special Cases:  Special Cases Law Enforcement Special Cases:  Special Cases Stone-cold killer Special Cases:  Special Cases Sports Special Cases: Crowds:  Special Cases: Crowds Real crowds are non-uniform Special Cases: Crowds:  Special Cases: Crowds Real People Respond Differently to Events Personality:  Personality Heroic Personality:  Personality Villainous Personality:  Personality Likeable Personality:  Personality Ditzy Personality:  Personality World-weary Personality:  Personality Intense Personality:  Personality Cool Personality:  Personality Irritable Facial Expression and Body Language as Indicators of Personality and Mood:  Facial Expression and Body Language as Indicators of Personality and Mood Animators figured out the rules long ago “93% of human communication is through body language”:  '93% of human communication is through body language' A search for 'body language' on Amazon generates 1373 hits Body language is straight-forward to implement Body Language:  Body Language Level 1: Brain-dead obvious Body Language:  Body Language Level 2: Subtle Body Language:  Body Language Level 3: Obscure Don’t over-think it. Players won’t get it. Body Language:  Body Language Static postures are the place to start Body Language:  Body Language Posture plus movement can provide an unmistakable signal Body Language:  Body Language Crowds can tell a story Body Language:  Body Language Body language can express a changing relationship Body Language:  Body Language Another example of a changing relationship Body Language:  Body Language Invading personal space creates tension Body Language:  Body Language The message is clearest when postures reinforce each other Body Language:  Body Language Mixed messages are interesting Body Language:  Body Language You can always tell when someone cares Body Language:  Body Language Group dynamics are a harder problem Case Study - Poker:  Case Study - Poker There is no such thing as a poker face Case Study - Poker:  Case Study - Poker Poker is a game and a meta-game The meta-game is all about body language Case Study - Poker:  Case Study - Poker 'A player is either acting or he isn’t' How Character Can Drive Gameplay:  How Character Can Drive Gameplay Imagine that you cared about an NPC Would you change your play to avoid hurting their feelings or alienating them? Suppose an enemy NPC had human weaknesses that you could exploit? Case Studies:  Case Studies The guard The alien abductee The plucky heroine Connecting Emotionally with Game Characters:  Connecting Emotionally with Game Characters Can an NPC be your friend? Shared interests Shared experiences Responsiveness Friendly gestures How about if you choose your friends? Summary: How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting?:  Summary: How Do We Make Game Characters More Interesting? Characters should react to what’s happening around them Characters should display a baseline level of human behavior Characters should have recognizable personalities Characters should engage emotionally with the player Questions?:  Questions? (Oh, and by the way, Midway is hiring AI programmers. Lots of them.)

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