Character-driven game design : a design approach and its foundations in character engagement

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Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Doctoral thesis (article-based)
Date
2010
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
56 + app. 126
Series
Taideteollisen korkeakoulun julkaisusarja A, 101
Abstract
In this study I propose a design approach for character-based games. In order to develop a design method for character-based games, I look at how games guide players and the playing experience (especially the relationship between formal features and playing experience). This design approach has been used in the design of the game Lies and Seductions. Research implies that people react to human-like entities (e.g., game characters) as if they were people, including empathizing with characters. I argue that player characters can be used to guide the playing experience by limiting player choices. In addition, the system can make some things easier or more difficult to perform. This means that when the game system promotes or denotes some choices, the system can fix the personality traits of the character. These techniques support certain kinds of interpretation of the player character and of the game. In this study, I argue that the relationship between the game system and the representation of characters should be taken into account. I use formal analysis in conjunction with theories of cognitive science to distinguish designable features and trace the possible implications of using these features within the design. As the main results I introduce a character engagement model and a design approach (that is grounded to the character engagement model) for character-based games that integrate insights from dramatic writing for theatre. The proposed design approach focuses on character-driven conflicts.
Description
Thesis advisor
Björk, Staffan
Järvinen, Aki
Keywords
computer games, characters, design, game design, character design
Other note
Parts
  • [Publication 1] :LANKOSKI, P., HELIÖ, S. & EKMAN, I., 2003. Characters in Computer Games: Toward Understanding Interpretation and Design. In: Level Up, DiGRA 2003 Conference Proceedings, 4–6 November, 2003, pp. CD-Rom. (Full text of the publication is included in the PDF-file of the dissertation).
  • [Publication 2]: LANKOSKI, P., Forthcoming. Player Character Engagement in Computer Games. Games and Culture. (Full text of the publication is included in the PDF-file of the dissertation).
  • [Publication 3]: LANKOSKI, P. and BJÖRK, S., 2007. Gameplay Design Patterns for Believable Non-Player Characters. In: Situated Play, DiGRA 2007 Conference Proceedings, September 24–28, pp. 416–423. (Full text of the publication is included in the PDF-file of the dissertation).
  • [Publication 4]: LANKOSKI, P. and BJÖRK, S., 2007. Gameplay Design Patterns for Social Networks and Conflicts. In: GDTW 2007 Proceedings, November 2007, pp. 76–85. (Full text of the publication is included in the PDF-file of the dissertation).
  • [Publication 5]: LANKOSKI, P. and HORTTANA, T., 2008. Lies and Seductions. In: U. SPIERLING and N. SZILAS, eds. Interactive Storytelling, 2008, Springer pp. 44–47. (Full text of the publication is included in the PDF-file of the dissertation).
  • [Publication 6]: LANKOSKI, P. and BJÖRK, S., 2008. Character-Driven Gameplay Design: Characters, Conflict, and Gameplay. In: GDTW 2008 Proceedings, 2008, pp. 59–66. (Full text of the publication is included in the PDF-file of the dissertation).
Citation