Creating critical gameplay: Designing affective player experiences
School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
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AbstractPlayer emotions can be generated in a variety of ways. Encouraging the experience of critical thought - a type of gameplay experience which the players consider as having value beyond "fun" - is a key problem in both game design and my master thesis. The emotional affect associated with critical gameplay causes players to experience deep levels of personal significance and bonding, resulting in very deep and profound levels of engagement with the game. In this thesis work I explore the different practical techniques for designing such critical game experience in-game and suggest them as a direct toolkit game designers, level designers and game artists can use. By examining a variety of games across all genres and scales of production I suggest three key approaches that seem to be especially useful when trying to generate emotion in players that designers can directly apply and have control over: -Building Context, referring to the different approaches to audio-visual presentation, level/environmental design or making gameplay relevant to real world concepts. -Presenting Consequences of player actions in different ways in order to make players thoughtful and feel the impact of their actions in the game situation. -Utilizing Player Consent by using the nature of actions we are designing for players to participate in, to create tension - in many cases by asking players to commit to actions they might not be comfortable with outside of game context.
Thesis advisorSicart, Miguel
game design, emotions in games, level design, player experience design, narrative architecture, critical gameplay design