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.
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
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?
Convince your interrogators to set you free. But be warned, a wrong set of answers can lead to instant termination.
The Interaction Setup
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
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.
The hype about the game should make the player want to explore the audio immersive experience. Posters, trailers, hints, advises before play etc.
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.
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.
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
Feel for character
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.
When the player presses the left button
When the player presses the right button
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.
YES AND NO
Constructing the Narrative
With all the above information the final narrative of the game was designed.
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.
The player wants to take risks
Player wants to confuse the AI
The player wants to self-protect
Player wants to play safe
Threaten to punish
Player is a
Time bomb scare
Free to Go
Prefers quick game sessions
Non Identification with in-game character
Player willing to immerse in game world
Reveil Critical Information
Player wants to play more
Player wants action
Connecting the dots
to take action
Player wants to confuse the AI