Lesson 7 of 10
Overall Game Design
- Game story is the story you craft beforehand that is the same for all players, and player story is the narrative unique to each player based on choices made or randomness in the game system. With this in mind, game stories can fall within this spectrum: Game Story Dominant -> Balanced Game and Player Story -> Player Story Dominant -> 99% Player Story.
- Where in this spectrum does your project’s story currently exist? Is this current location in the spectrum where you want your project’s story to be? If not, what next steps should you take to move it closer to where you want it to be in the spectrum?
- Why did you choose your project’s story’s particular place in the spectrum? What specific benefits are you gaining by having your story exist there, and what goals does this location help you achieve?
- Think about several of your favorite games. Do these games’ placement on the spectrum coincide with where your project’s story will be, or is your project’s story being created for a persona different than you?
- Game story dominant games are primarily judged by the quality of their story, and player story dominant games are primarily judged by the quality of their systems. How are you investing in the story and/or systems to ensure your project obtains high quality in the appropriate areas, and are there changes you need to make to realign that investment?
- Jason Rohrer, creator of One Hour One Life, mentioned at GDC 2019 that “consumable” games players can finish and put aside (e.g. game story dominant games with little replay value) are more risky endeavors for indie developers than “infinite unique situation generators” which by their nature give each player a unique experience each time they place (e.g. player story dominant and 99% player story games). This was also seen by the creators of That Dragon, Cancer, a game story dominant game, where they said, “we underestimated how many people would be satisfied with only watching the game [on a Let’s Play video] instead of playing it themselves.”
- If your project is on the game story dominant end of the spectrum, would you be fine with your game becoming “consumable?” If not, how can you ensure that it doesn’t?
- If you are working on a team, how are you ensuring that your project’s narrative structure remains strong as game design and development progresses and doesn’t turn into “Game Design vs. Narrative?”