Dungeons & Dragons is a fantasy tabletop role-playing game (RPG) developed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson that paved the way for modern day RPG games. The game is played with each player controlling a single fictional character. The abilities and background story of the character will be based on the imagination of the player. The game will also have a Dungeon Master who will take up the responsibility of running the game and providing the players an overall pleasant gaming experience.
Each player will are supposed to guide their in-game characters through series of adventures and make decisions that will affect the outcome of the game. At the same time, they also have the chance to interact with different characters throughout the game. The exploration and interaction of the characters in the game are based purely on verbal communication among the players and the Dungeon Master.
The video emphasized on the potential of cross-media platform interaction among games to play a major role in the future of the gaming industry. It provided various examples, and one of them is the game “Dust 514”, a first-person shooter developed by CCP Games, as an example to explain the concept. In the game “Dust 514”, the outcome of the games played by the players will have a direct impact on the gaming world of Eve Online, another game developed by CCP Games. The aim is to engaged the players for a long period through the interactions between the different gaming platforms by different players. This allowed them to share their gaming experiences with more people. It also provided more exposures for the games through this notion of game sharing experience.
Façade is an interesting artificial intelligence-based interactive project that was created by Michael Mateas and Andrew Stern. It provides a unique gaming experience for the users. The player plays the role of a close friend of a married couple, Grace, and Trip. Throughout the game, you will be interacting with them in first person context, and you can explore the house through the use of arrow keys. You will also be able to communicate with them through typing on the keyboard. During a meet up with them at their apartment, a marriage related conflict will occur, and you will be dragged into it. During the conflict, you will need to take a side and make decisions that will ultimately change the lives of both Grace and Trip.
What I love about this interactive project is its openness to possibilities and explorations. Right from the start, it gives you the opportunities to decide the type of personalities your in-game character will possess as it provides limited information about your character. It gives you the freedom to be yourself or be someone that you want to be. The interaction with Trip and Grace also creates an engaging experience. Your conversation with them will have an immediate impact on their relationship and also their relationship with you. The intriguing part of the game does not provide you with pre-set options in response to their conversations towards you. You are free to type in any reply in your words as responses to them. This leads to limitless possibilities in your interaction with the couple. This motivates you to experiment with different dialogues to discover different outcome possibilities. You can try to persuade them to stay together or try to break them up. It allows you to do anything you want by not providing any objectives.
Through the responsibility of providing personalized responses to the couple, it allows you to be emotionally connected with them. You do not feel that you are just part of an interactive project but rather part of a real-time conflict. You have a clearer sense of attachment to the information you convey to the couple. You are not merely performing the conversations with them for the sake of achieving certain objectives, but it is for the outcome of the relationship between Trip and Grace. I feel that this interactive piece is a revolutionary attempt that makes us rethink what interaction with a virtual dimension is about through the blurring of virtual and reality.
You will be able to download the interactive project through the following link: http://www.interactivestory.net/
In “Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games: Four Naughty Concepts in Need of Discipline,” Eric Zimmerman established his text by explaining his intention for analyzing the context of “game-story” relationship and its importance. It is a necessary effort as there is an extensive amount of enthusiasm in surveying the relationship. It is important for us to thoroughly understand the thoughts involved, so we understand the concept on the crossing of games and stories.
Zimmerman dived into the manner in which the “game-story” relationship is carried out in the current context and the necessities that make its existence relevant. He analyzed the four crucial terms relevant to games design: Narrative, Interactivity, Play, and Games, broadening on their definitions and providing applicable insights on use within games by surveying their context outside of games. These concepts do not exist on their own but are constantly overlapping and influencing each other in various means.
As an interactive designer, I found the portion on interactivity to be particularly engaging and relevant to my field of studies. Hence, the following paragraphs I will be heavily focusing on my thoughts and reasoning on the understanding of the role played by interactivity in the context of games and stories. At the same time, I will also be attempting to draw references from the other important concepts mentioned by Zimmerman to further elaborate my understanding of the text.
We often fail to focus on the essential message we are trying to convey to our audience through the interactive medium we created. Instead, we are too focus on the other aspects during the process that we tend to include interactivity as part of the after-thought. I feel that this gesture eliminates the relevance of interactivity and it becomes an area that is not a necessity for consideration in the building of an interactive piece. This serves as the main motivation for Zimmerman to push for reform in the manner interactivity are performed across various platforms such as websites and video games.
Interaction should be performed based on the well thought out environment that is structured to encourage interaction. Too often, interaction happened under the effect of a scripted environment that kills the urge for users to explore and experience. It detached them from the medium that they are interacting with and feels the lack of personal connection and understanding towards the medium. Instead, it should allows them to have a deeper appreciation of interactivity which allows the spawning of possibilities beyond our understanding.
The original text written by Eric Zimmerman can be found here.