This is a look at my game “A Place to Call” and how I try to inject narrative in to a small game experience.
Check out the Game here if you haven’t already.
There is one thing you need to take into consideration when write a narrative so that the viewer understand and is receiving the message that you are portraying. Following a hierarchy of understanding can help to hit all the pieces of information that people need to fully understand a story.
I will be looking at how I achieved these and where I may have not effectively.
Who am I?
As the player has no model or physical for of sorts, how do you know who I am? This was something that I tackled by have that player talk to themselves as a way to set up the introduction of this player and hint at the reasoning for being in this house.
By refereeing that the there is a storm outside and that they are glad there was an open window has the player seeing that they have taking this opportunity to shelter in this house.
This adds its own questions to who this person may be. Normally you don’t just climb in some ones window and start looking around a house so there would be a reason to this. I didn’t blatantly say that this person was a robber or a homeless person so that player would question this and wonder why they are in this house. Using the player inner thinking and have them say “Looks like this place hasn’t been empty long. I should see what I use in here to get some rest and warm this place up a little.” is the next thing to help players with is question to and give them as sense that the character
What can I do? And what is my objective?
I wanted to have the narrative direct and inform the player. With the player’s internal thought stating what the players’ action can be or hint at the player should do. I believe I achieved this, however have story and tutorial couple in the same element of my game they blur each other effectiveness and in turn each suffered. Breaking this up into narrative and tutorial so that each are effect but then have them complement each other instead of conflicting with each other. This way each can do what they need well and complement the other.
Where are we in the world?
This was something that I didn’t really cover greatly or in way that I would have liked. The players in a house on a stormy night, I would have like there to be an element of a car driving past every now and then but I reconsidered this as I left that it would make it feel as if this house is on a busy street. I felt that this would conflict with an abandoned house, if this house was on a busy street people would so if a fire was lit inside, and natural people would look into something like that. We replaced this with a storm element. I wanted to add the world outside of this in different ways through interaction but never go to them, but making feel like the world outside of this place might not be a normal scene of the world or that something bigger might be going on than just this person looking for shelter.
How do I contextualize it? Who or what motivated it?
I A Place to Call’ motivations is the actions the character performs and the narrative was something i wanted to come from this however with players playing in different ways i felt this was let down from a structure of interactions. that way i could make sure each player experienced the narrative the same way and it have a better effect..
The Other Questions.
Who are the characters involved?
How do they feel/about me?
How do I feel?
In this hierarchy of understanding these question these question fall in to a narrative that has different interaction with other people and situation, as my game only had a character I feel this fell to the interaction that the players have with object and the choices to make a fire in a curtain area or break an object for certain reasons. This is more of individual player story and the reason they think for doing something. I felt that these had little or no reasoning. They could have more of an impact if these interaction and objects had some mortal choices or make the player think should I or shouldn’t I do something to an object. Have the way players feel be effected by these choices that you make during game play would be a way for player to feel invested in the game and its narrative.
This structure of question will be something that i will fall back on in the future when add narrative to a game, as it ask questions that i didn’t normal think of when address game stories.
Thanks for reading