Stories and Games at Barcamp Brighton

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Information about Stories and Games at Barcamp Brighton

Published on March 18, 2008

Author: adrianhon



What are the different ways that stories are told in games?

Stories and Games Adrian Hon Six to Start

ARGs • Games that use multiple media - or media in interesting ways - to tell a story • Email, blogs, twitter, newspapers, IM, GPS, etc • The Beast, I Love Bees, Perplex City, World Without Oil

Interactive Stories • Traditionally a few different ways to do it: • Story as reward • Story as experience • Branching narrative • Pseudo-AI • Make your own story • Dungeon Master / Puppetmaster In no particular order, not mutually exclusive, etc

Story as Reward • Story generally told through cut-scenes • e.g. Wing Commander, Command and Conquer • Gameplay largely unrelated to story • Last thing you do - paint the car, write the story • Walkthroughs • On rails

Story as Experience • Story told through gameplay • e.g. Half-Life, Deus Ex, Mass Effect? • No cut-scenes - or rather, cut-scenes integrated into game • Story has to be written right at the start • On rails

Branching Narrative • Can make choices about the story • Choose Your Own Adventure • Gives illusion of choice... • ...But involves creating ‘wasted’ content • Sometimes not subtle and/or only at end • Really annoying • On rails

Pseudo-AI • Can completely influence story, within certain parameters • Facade • Natural language processing and AI... • ...or HUGE amount of scripting • Will be cool, when the Singularity comes

Make your own Story • No set narrative (but maybe a setting) • Civilization, The Sims, playground games • Sort of cheating • Stories can be better than anything pre- written • Requires great game design, not for everyone

DM / PM • Somewhat set narrative • Dungeons and Dragons, ARGs • Can react to player actions... • ...but requires real-time responses • Not replayable or scalable for personal experience • Sort of on rails

Designing Stories • Interactive stories that aren’t games or CYOA • Still on rails • Google Maps - see context, pacing of story. Play around with medium. Different views, overlays. • Interaction and presentation must be designed

What do you think? • More ideas for story types? • Which do you like? • Which are most promising? • •

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