In response to the comments I received on the series Putting into play, I have produced a set of patterns showing the hands-on structuring of narrative and cognitive elements. Additionally, it keeps my time restraints from holding back curiosity.
The Hidden Art of Pacing is a three-part trip that takes you on a journey to trace the core of the hidden art of pacing by stripping familiar story and game structures from standard elements to discern the engaging and motivating forces that trigger the receiver´s building of experiences, feelings, and expectations.
If you would like to read the first part, here is the link to The Hidden Art of Pacing 1 (3)
Driving a car is often used as a metaphor to describe the pacing of accelerating and decelerating information. The art of pacing examines how you can inconspicuously engage the receiver’s thinking and the strength and speed at which the receiver processes causal, temporal, and spatial networks. In doing so, you make it possible to utilize the drive behind the motivation to understand. This was something I became aware of when I moved from scriptwriting to game design. Evident was the difference between engaging and motivating someone. It elucidated the balancing of providing and withholding information, which deepens the experience, emotions, and expectations of the receiver.
The Hidden Art of Pacing is a three-part trip, which takes you on a journey to trace the core to the hidden art of pacing by stripping familiar story and game structures from standard elements to discern the engaging and motivating forces that trigger the receiver´s building of experiences, feelings, and expectations.
Before shifting to interactive media, I wrote story arcs for films and television series. The technique of scriptwriting was to follow your gut, establish a conflict, take it to a climax, and end it with a twist. The receiver’s engagement was built into the dramatic story structure, which meant that focus was laid on the character’s motivations, relations, and behavior. As long as the audience stayed seated and the ratings were good, work continued as usual.
The series Putting into play is part of a more than a one-year-long project which began when I received a request from readers. They had noticed how the cognition-based method Narrative bridging (Boman, Gyllenbäck, 2010) provided an overlook and control of the organization and arrangement of the information (also known as plotting) in the design of an engaging and dynamic game system. Since it is one thing to show how narration and cognition interplay as systems in a game that already exists of which the outcome can be evaluated, but quite another to start from nothing when putting thoughts and feelings into play. When readers expressed curiosity in learning how to use the method from absolute scratch in a hands-on tutorial, a ten-year-old conundrum reemerged concerning the minds-on part of the process.
A schemata is a pattern of thinking that describes our seeking for meaning and how we categorize information and store it in small boxes that we call our memory, which forms our experiences and knowledge. What meanings we are creating from a narrative perspective is not easy to tell. However, what isn´t that unpredictable and arbitrary as we might think are the schemata that are running like a goal-oriented vehicle that makes us look for causes and consequences in familiar patterns.
Thus the reality for they who work with narrative construction within the game industry is to work with a story-driven/based genre I will revisit the conditions I described in the first part of the series “Don´t show, involve” when I paired up the writer Vince Gilligan (creator of the television series “Breaking Bad”) and the game designer Jenova Chen (the creator of the online game “Journey”). Since the story and the gameplay are seen as two separate elements within the game industry, which easily leads to the creation of two premises to be merged into one (1) form I will take a closer look at dialogues as a stylistic element from the perspective of the narrative as a cognitive and dynamic element and how it can give meaning to an experience.
I was recently asked if I could show a perfect narrative composition for everyone to see. There aren’t any, I replied, and remembered the puzzled faces when giving lectures in narrative design when I avoided answering which video game I liked; since if I did I was likely to receive concepts that looked the same.