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Environmental Storytelling


-HP-

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Interesting but this is only a small part of big topic. There's a lot of "blah blah" talk for me but still I can't any more advanced topic that covers psychology and research. I need to know WHY it is and work like that to build up something more interesting and NEW. A lot of articles only covers "How we did that". Just a few already done game titles revisited and analised... It's good for small beginner developers and mappers. Talking about perception is like entering the large area and didn't explain what is it... Perception in games are taken from real life and there's a lot of books about perception of environment, architecture, color and other living forms.

Also there's a lot of examples that are ridiculous. It have sense but typical gamer will say "WTF!?". Typical player doesn't bother why the fish is stuck...

I also see that a lot of bigger companies on GDC are just to show up their products. They want to tell something but it's a total minimum of knowledge because they might be rivals in the future.

From my experience of doing env. stories:

- avoid creating large stories behind small objects - there's too big possivility to get "WTF effect" from ovservers

- create simple stories that covers location theme and actual situation - take all that from real life

- organize scenes with clues that will give feedback to observer

I think it's a good idea to make an article about that. I'll start this today at home. It will cover some of observer psychology and perception of locations more...

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i think this should be very elemental knowledge to a creative director as well as to a design lead. it is then up the leads to make sure that everyone on the team knows this.

that zero punctuation guy (i can't spell his name) wrote an article about it, in direct relation to both bioshock games. you can find it here: http://www.escapistmagazine.com/article ... eractivity

here's an excerpt:

[...]Fun Space Game: The Game.

With game development, I start with an opening level as a sort of proof of concept for the core gameplay mechanics, which also doubles nicely as a tutorial for the player. In the case of FSG:TG, we open with our scavenger hero (still unnamed) searching the wreckage of a large ship for collectible salvage. Then a big hostile ship arrives and the player must hide amongst space rocks and debris.

And with even these bare parameters, the plot almost fills in the blanks by itself. The big ship is probably allied to the ruined ship, so they attack you to stop you stealing their stuff. If they're doing that they must be fanatic about protecting their technology, since you're just one tiny independent operator and they're basically doing the equivalent of using a katana to swat a fly off the cup cakes. So we've got our first big player in this fictional universe - a vast navy of fanatics that obsess religiously over technology.

also:

From my experience of doing env. stories:

- avoid creating large stories behind small objects - there's too big possivility to get "WTF effect" from ovservers

- create simple stories that covers location theme and actual situation - take all that from real life

- organize scenes with clues that will give feedback to observer

some very good pointers there. i would like to say that if it's good atmospheric/environmental storytelling, it comes naturally. but that's the thing; it may not come naturally to everyone. if all else fails, the above pointers should definitely be kept.

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I am entirely distracted by the topic of this thread by the amazement at Harvey Smith for still using the "Witchboy" moniker. I mean, damn. You'd think somewhere along the line he'd go "Man this pseudonym sounds totally awful and I should just go by my real name" somewhere along the line. I mean, back when Deus Ex came out it made for the nice enough title of "Witchboy's Cauldron" for his Deus Ex modding/level design guides posted on Planet Deus Ex, but that was like ten years ago.

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