Putting into play – The Hidden Art of Pacing 3 (3)

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.

To enhance the reading experience, I suggest you start with the first part if you haven´t done so already.

As a result of the stripping of the dramatic story structure, and the removal of its standard features (acts, turning-points, rising and falling actions), the previous part revealed a learning curve. The flow-state of the learning curve (illustrated below) shows the motivating engine by how the receiver gradually builds experiences and feelings on the path towards the goal.

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Putting into play – The hidden art of pacing 2 (3)

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.
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Putting into play – The hidden art of pacing 1 (3)

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.

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Part 3, Putting into play – On narrative from a cognitive perspective II

Continuation of Part 2, Putting into play

Realizing that our restraint to embrace the cognition-based method, Narrative bridging (Boman, Gyllenbäck, 2010) was a matter of control due to the lack of a clear description of how our mind works, and where the familiar story structures and templates constituted a safety. The thorny issue I faced was how to make people aware of their thinking as to access our core cognitive activities. If you have tried talking to people about their thinking and how it works, you will then also know that it is the trickiest thing one can do. If not handled with care, people will, at the most, become aware of you by comparing your thinking with theirs: opinion and meaning-wise. The awareness I am talking about isn’t about being smart or skilled. Instead, it is a matter of being conscious of the mind as a way to become conscious of how emotions, attention, desires, beliefs, and intentions relate to our causal thinking and understanding.

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Part 2, Putting into play – On narrative from a cognitive perspective I

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 organisation 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.

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Part 1, Putting into play – A model of causal cognition on game design


The title Putting into play is inspired by the term mise-en-scene, which means, “putting into the scene” (or “put on stage”). The term had its origin in theatre and was later picked up by film scholars to have a way of referring to the practice of directing, planning and controlling the elements for the desired effect on a stage or in a frame of a film. Since the term isn´t established in games but where the concept could provide an overlook of the stylistic elements that are to be organized and arranged in the creation of a form; my intention is not to put a new term into play. What I will “put into play” are the thoughts that precede the choice of elements that are to become the parts of the desired form of an engaging and dynamic game system.

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Are you a man or a mouse?

What differs our thinking from animals is that we can create meanings based on beliefs, desires, and dreams. What it means in practice is that we can have a dream about an adventure and start building a boat and create a meaning that motivates our actions. We can also stand on a carpet and pretend it´s a boat and share the experience with others by creating a meaning that makes others join in. But due to the conflicting currents between the church and science during the Enlightenment everything relating to our ability to imagine was put aside in order to study nature. In this way our creation of meaning based on beliefs, desires and dreams, together with stories that were seen as a carrier of fantasies and illusions, and where the narrative became the scapegoat to all creations that didn´t correspond to reality, were bundle off away from science and labelled with the sign saying “disbelief”.

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