Story Telling Techniques – A Bit Of Game Play Research

18 Nov

So in all of the games that I’ve created, none of them have narrative. And to be honest I’m not a narrative type of guy and That’s not to say I don’t appreciate it, because it’s still an art form in itself. But it’s a powerful thing that I want to learn to tap into. My knowledge or skill to write narrative or story telling? I can’t say I have the practice, nor am I aware of my narrative writing or telling skills. I found a few games to play and tried to pull apart elements that I found that might help me try and build some story telling techniques or just techniques alone to try and create a connection between a person (player) and a game or objects inside of a game.

The three games that I chose as examples are:

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A Dark Room is a browser text based resource gathering game where you build a village and people end up populating the village you build. Even though ‘A Dark Room’ is text based, I’m sitting here trying to visualize the environments.

In my head I was building an environment from nothing. Contextually there is a setting, you are in a freezing room where there is a fire, but nothing points towards theme. It was creating a sense of home and community from nothing, literally out of text (Is this what books do?). It’s telling you your own story, only because there’s no visual representation of it. The mind is a powerful thing.

In Little Party, you play as a mum (From third person) in your own house while your daughter (Suzanne) is throwing an art party and you are kind of awkwardly in the way and also make conversation with your daughters friends. It uses a separate black image overlay with text as conversations. Suzanne and her friends are positioned in ways that force the player to have to run into them, and while the dialogue isn’t exactly spine tingling, it gives a real sense of ‘If I was a person who was unfamiliar with all of these people in my house but I was trying to make conversation for the sake of trying to engage with friends of someone whom is important to me’. Not to mention that house is my ‘Home’. The house itself was populated with things that made it ‘Home’ but wasn’t the focus. The focus was the interaction between beings and that sense of being the awkward mum.

Welcome Home Master is a first person perspective game where you are a dog who gathers objects for your “master” human. Game play doesn’t evoke anything, other than representing what it’s like to have a dog sometimes. But there’s a deeper meaning and that’s what I want to latch on to and convey. Like I am a dog and I have a connection to my companion, likewise they are my human and they have a connection to me. Create a connection between two things. Regardless if they’re actually close to each other or not.

These are all rather helpful things to learn because, in my latest game – which I shall refer to as ‘FTF’ at the moment, is a first person walking sim where the objective of the game is to interact with particular people in the world and engage in meaningful conversation. Not make any decisions which changes the outcome or progression of the conversation but rather soak in the conversation and relate to or create particular thoughts and emotions inside of the players head. I’m really trying to address a partially automatic negative stereotype. I hope that some of the conversations will create or shift ideologies that are

There are elements from A Dark Room and Little Party that I feel I could help me in my narrative & story telling dialogue. Although A Dark Room is practically text based and didn’t have drastic visual representations of environment, I still constructed environments in my mind and let my imagination run wild with the elements presented to me. Little Party had me directly interacting with humans inside of the game (much like what FTF will). FTF‘s most important part will be the dialogue and the conversation between player and persons of interest. The playable character within the game and the persons of interest that they talk to are going to feel like this isn’t the first time that they’ve spoken, because it won’t be. But to the player it will. They’ll have to make sense of the only dialogue they’re reading and create their own perception of that person of interest. So much like A Dark Room only so much makes sense contextually and the rest I’m leaving to the player to form their own back stories of previous encounters or how they got where they are now. But at the same time like Little Party having a visual representation of something in front of you, another human being, consolidate imagination with a physical object. Something that you can create an attachment to also much like the intent behind Welcome Home Master.

Until next time –


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Posted by on November 18, 2016 in Uncategorized


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