PLAYER EXPERIENCE DESIGN

The experience of a player is decided by

the narrative  that is provided,

the interaction that is allowed, 

the environment that is set up and

the perspective that the player possesses.

Narrative

Interaction

Experience

Environment

Perspective

Usually of two types, physical and social. Both can be designed to a certain degree but are usually not cost effective measures.

The personal biases and awareness of the player. This cannot be controlled but the project can be directed to a predictable target audience. 

 

The following is an ongoing project that I have used to outline player experience design

Project

ABDUCTED

 

Pitch

You can't see.

You can't speak.

You can't move.

All you can communicate is

'YES' or 'NO'

The weird sounds and hostile voices tell you a story, but can you believe all that you hear? 

Your Objective:

Convince your interrogators to set you free. But be warned, a wrong set of answers can lead to instant termination. 

The Interaction Setup

Desired Experience

The player should imagine the game visuals and relate intimately to the game world.

Blind safety + a high number of plausible interpretations of sounds.  

Predictability in player response and player persona generation

Execution

The player is blindfolded. All information is presented through audio input (3D Ambient sounds, character voices and interactive feedback)

Player bound to a chair and restrained (by choice).

Controllers that enable only binary input (Yes and No)

Narrative Experience Design

The narrative experience for the player was designed in two tiers.

 

Linear Tier (Game Mood)

This design scheme ensures an organic flow of the player's mood via a narrative skeletal structure to the game story; Right from before the player actually starts the game, up until after the player has finished a game session.

Curiosity

The hype about the game should make the player want to explore the audio immersive experience. Posters, trailers, hints, advises before play etc.

Anxiety

This experience is surrounding the transition from the real world to the game world. The first interactions in the game need to set in familiarity with the theme of mystery and suspense.

Learning

Here the player learns his/her way around in the game. This experience pertains to game-world exploration where the player grasps the possible ways to interact with the game system.

Competing

Having sufficiently learned about how the game works, now the player should feel the urge to compete and beat the system. 

Thirst for more

Having finished a single game session, the player needs to be left wondering what if he/she had made different decisions and played differently? This design adds replay value to the game.

 

Multilinear Tier (Game Story)

This design scheme is about designing the appropriate story experience for the player. The following steps were undertaken in the process

1. Player Persona Generation

2. Emotion and Instincts Identification

3. Player Actions Identification (Game Mechanics)

4. Mapping player actions to instincts.

5. Constructing the Narrative

Player Persona Generation

Story

Enthusiasts

Game

Killers

Objective

Achievers

Casual Explorers

Emotion Identification

Fear 

Excitement

Tension

Relief

Amazement

Excitement

Anger

Amazement

Pride

Tension

Fear

Anger

Tension

Relief

Pride

Joy

Joy

Excitement

Amazement

Relief

Instinct Identification

Feel for character

Precaution

Risk-taking

Postgame trivia

Aggressiveness

Revenge

Pretentious

Killjoy

Irrational decision

Collecting Compulsion

Greed

Survival

Competition

Precaution

Random decision

Exploration

Compliance

Hesitance

Player Actions Identification (Game Mechanics)

The design of the game Interaction (as previously shown) allows only four distinct actions via the two binary input controllers as listed below.

YES

When the player presses the left button

 

NO

When the player presses the right button

 

NO REPLY

When the player doesn't press either of the buttons.

 

YES AND NO

When the player presses both the buttons together or in quick succession

Mapping Player Actions to Instincts

This diagram predicts the player instincts that give rise to the four actions.

Compliance

Confession

Survival

Roleplay

Courage

Willingness

Acceptance

Obedience

Truth

Denial

Defiance

Disobedience

Ignorance

Lie

Desperate

Disinterested

Rebel

Reflex

Shock

Surrender

Explore

Reluctance

Uncertainty

Killjoy

Disobedience

Hesitance

Accident

Spoil Sport

Mistake

Rebel

Mislead

Confused

Curious

Desperate

YES

NO REPLY

NO

YES AND NO

Constructing the Narrative

With all the above information the final narrative of the game was designed.

Starting Premise

Player has been abducted and is being interrogated.

Sample Narrative Construct

The narrative follows a question and answers pattern. For each question posed by the Game AI, the player shall respond using the two binary input controllers. 

(Yes/No/Both/No Response)

NO

YES

The player wants to take risks

BOTH

Player wants to confuse the AI

NO

Accusation

The player wants to self-protect

N/R

Player wants to play safe

Blackmail

Threaten to punish

Shoot 

(Game Over)

YES

Player is a

Game Killer

N/R

Player scared

Time bomb scare

NO

Personal Question

Free to Go

N/R

N/R

Casual

Explorer

YES

Prefers quick game sessions

NO

Non Identification with in-game character

Disinterested Player

NO

YES

Player willing to immerse in game world 

Rebellious Player

Reveil Critical Information

Player wants to play more 

YES

YES

Story Enthusiast

Competitive Player

Player wants action

BOTH

Connecting the dots

NO

NO

N/R

&

BOTH

Provoking player

to take action

YES

Self-centered player

BOTH

Player wants to confuse the AI

Player

upholding 

morality

N/R

&

BOTH

Guild Trip

Player non-responsive

GAME PROTOTYPE 

COMING SOON