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#Story #Design for #Games Intro Talk

Posted on July 8th, 2014

Games Forum20140707_202931[1]

David Kuelz @

7/7/2014 Microsoft, 11 Times Square, NY

David Kuelz gave an outstanding presentation of structures uses to build successful computer games.  David talked about the interplay of gameplay, plot, characters, and settings. Games are dissimilar from linear stories, so their development often proceeds from gameplay which leads to a character. This in turn leads to the story line. Setting may enter at any point in the creative process.

Due to their lack of a single linear structure with a fixed time frame, successful games incorporate parts of a high level story, which the player cannot change, and an immediate level story whose ordering is determined by the player. David said that games can have a greater emphasis on either the high or immediate level story, but the most successful games have an emotional progressions that attracts and keeps the player.

The heart of David’s presentation was a division of the story line into 15 chapters making up three acts. Act 1 starts with the Opening Image, have the hero gain skills and understand the longer term goals of the game. Act 2 launches the player into the main section where gameplay is central to the story progression. Successes are followed by a crisis. In Act 3, the player solves the problems and fixes the loose ends by employing the skills and knowledge acquired in Acts 1 and 2.

David skillfully showed how various popular games (such as Legend of Zelda to Minecraft, whether they have embedded or emergent stories) use these concepts of emotional progressions, gameplay, skill acquisition, gradual revelation of the game themes, etc. As in any good entertainment, he emphasized that good games are a mix of action, reaction, and resolution to create an emotional journey.

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