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, 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 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.
Based on a question on how to use the narrative in the testing of an experience I will explain what it means to have a cognitive approach to the narrative and how to approach a quality assurance from a narrative perspective beyond templates and strong structures.
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.
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, bundled off away from science and labeled with the sign saying “disbelief”.
This is the home of my work and findings as a narrative constructor that I would have liked to find myself in the late nineties when moving my skills as a writer and director within film and television to development of digital and interactive media. At that time there was nothing called narrative design, and when I took my master in computer science, the narrative was recognised as not to be part of game studies and human-computer interaction (HCI). The narrative was like “It-Which-Must-Not-be-Named” until I met a Lyotard-reading captain of a robot football team who Continue reading