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I’m looking through Warren Spector’s set of essays on Next-Gen Storytelling on The Escapist. Here’s my notes on part one.

  • What makes a good story?
    • Change
    • Pacing (needs to vary)
    • Compelling Characters (Care about them!)
    • Subtext – “Your story should be about something.”
  • Narrative Game Structures
    • Rollercoaster – A game with a predetermined narrative from which the players can’t deviate.
    • Retold – A game with no story at all beyond what the players retell about their experience. Games like MMOs.
    • Sandbox – Games whose story is player-generated. Tools are provided to players so that they can create their own story. Though there is no predetermined overarching narrative there is a strong sense of a story being created through the player’s choices.
    • Shared Authorship – The goal is to give the players significant freedom. The games in this category are separated by how “‘coercive’ their narrative is” and how deep the player choices are.
    • Procedural – This form of storytelling gives players the freedom to explore the game worlds and interpersonal relationships, to “‘grow’ stories through their choices.”
  • Local Agency – Player ownership over the minute to minute
  • Global Agency – Player control over the overall plot.
  • “Trend Tracking” – Looking at the players many small decisions and using them to push one path or the other, to offer certain decisions, etc… and doing this for the overall game.
    • Issues:

      “We have to communicate to players on an ongoing basis what all the little decisions are adding up to.
      And we have to warn players that continuing with a particular play-style, in pursuit of particular goals, will result in some friends and/or enemies going away (along with all the information and assistance they might provide in the future).”

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