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This material has been produced to be used on the BTEC Level 3 Games Development Extended Diploma (formerly National Diploma) course delivery. This resource can be adapted and amended for other relevant courses.
Computer Games - Story Theory - Narrative Delivery Types
Story In Relation to Game
• In general:
– Illuminate the human condition
– Make you feel something
– Help you learn something
• In Games:
– New medium – new ways to tell
– Keep people playing to the end
– They end – feeling of
accomplishment instead of
exasperation or boredom
– Good experience will sell the next
• In General:
– Beginning Stability
– Middle Disruption
– End Resolution
Drivers of Drama
•Control of others
•Control of your own destiny
Story in Games
• Narrative to Start then forget it
– Who are you?
– Who are they?
– Why do you want to kill each other?
• Are there other stories to tell that don’t involve life and death stakes? Are there
other mechanics to play than violience?
Story and Games
Story Delivered in the Structure of Games
• Story is same for all players
• Play stops at each obstacle until it’s
– TIE Fighter
– Tomb Raider
– Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
– Complete narrative control
– Player sees all content or quits
– Play stops until obstacle is overcome
– No replayability
– Player may quit
• More than one path from beginning to end
• Players have varying degrees of success yet
– Wing Commander
– Balder’s Gate
– Planescape Torment
– King of Dragon Pass
– Europa 1400: The Guild
– Players make choices that affect
their entire game experience
– Some narrative control – major plot
– Unseen content
– Some game experiences better
• Broad rules lead to stories that emerge during play
• Winning conditions dictate end of game, not narrative
– Falcon 4.0
– Every game has unique story
– Player feels totally in control
– Very difficult to generate good stories
– Very little narrative control
How do we write in-game stories?
• Story space as opposed to linear narrative
– Discovery as a means of storytelling
– Scripted action sequences
– Found stories
• Task 3
– For each of the 3 story writing styles above cite an example of a game that
you have either played or researched.
– Discuss how the story is delivered in your example and how that complies to
the type of delivery
– Discuss the strengths and weaknesses within this story and the story delivery
– Draw conclusions about the methods of story delivery. Consider how
appropriate these methods are in relation to games. Does one have more
potential than another? If so why?