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?
- 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.
“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).”