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GDC2011 The Identity Bubble

The identity bubble -a design approach to character and story development
Matthias Worch
Mworch@lucasarts.com
Http://www.worth.com
Twitter/@mworch

Writing for games is different than writing for any other media
Games are participatory, others are reflective - viewer vs player

Identity approaches
Avatars
The character is a tool, a puppet, an object for the player to manipulate according to the rules of the game - rules of play

A sort of vehicle from which a world can be seen and otherwise experienced. This character both constrains us....

Identity range
Puppet.  -------    vehicle

The player willing becomes a schizophrenic and pushes part of their consciousness away to experience the game
Character vs player vs person (outside of games)
3 frames that each whisper and want their way

Double consciousness
Shared fantasy - Gary Alan Fine

Harvey Smiths identity fragments

Character -writer biggest concern
Fictional
Literary pop or mythic archetype

Player - game designer biggest concern
Solving problems, completing tasks
Sense of skill level
Primal emotions

Person
Sense of skill level
Sense of idealized self
Self as person with life demands


ludonarrative dissonance

Identity range
Ludonarrative parity --- complementary goals ---- mythic archetypes 
Portal, halo       --------    Fallout 3, COD4    ------- uncharted 2


Ludonarrative parity - character and player are aligned in goals, primal motivation, get to the end and kill glados
Highly story driven game

Complementary
Char wants to find father, player wants to explore world
Need to match quests to final game goals
Puppet the player controls, but has it's own backstory
Scrapping and exploring
Ludonarrative harmony
May not care about char goals, but still follow it to some degree and are reminded of story goal by game

Games are essentially myth reinforcing activities... Players tend to choose the kinds of games that reaffirm their own personal beliefs - bob bates

mythic archetypes
Player sees qualities of themselves in the char and try to live it out
The journey is more important than the goal
Identity absorption
Like driving a car, we stay separate, but refer to it as ourselves  - oh my gosh, he almost hit me (not my car)
Highly scripted, cutscenes


Need to keep sending I pulses to keep player and character identity together, frequency changes based on game type and how tightly they are tied
Don't send mixed signals, if you are a robot, shouldn't need to eat

myth
Creation ------- recall


The power of myth - Joseph Campbell
Save the cat goes to the movies. - Blake Snyder

--Tom Ogburn

posted on Sunday, March 06, 2011 11:38 AM by TOgburn

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