Games have come far... http://www.newgrounds.com/collections/osama.html
A little history Military & Academic computers Huge sized computers Spacewar (1962) Stephen Russell
A little history II First commercial game Arcade Pong (1973) Atari Space Invaders (1977) Pac-Man, Tetris...
Insert coin • Faster, faster • Can’t win • Glory list • Mainly graphics But devices have changed... The PC Revolution
1980’s • Pac-Man • Adventure • Zork • Ultima • Donkey Kong
1990’s • Sim City • Wolfenstein • Doom • Monkey Island • Myst • Civilization • EverQuest
trends • Two-player to single-player to multiplayer • Huge industry: leads software development, makes more money than movies • Cultural phenomenon: specialized shops, magazines, conferences... • Online game communities i.e Everquest • Games as objects of study
rpg history I: birth • Wargames (60s and 70s) • TLOTR and fantasy literature • Dungeons & Dragons (1974), the explosion and sequels • Runequest (skills, smooth system) • bad press starts end 70s
rpg history II: diversity • Call of Cthulu, 1981 (cannot win, emphasis on roleplaying) • The Dragonlance Chronicles (1984) AD&D to mega corporation • GURPS (generic universal role-playing system) 1984 • Opposite trend, worlds: MERP, Stormbringer • Rules complexity as serious (Rolemaster) • From film to game: Star Wars (1987)
rpg history III: innovation • Weirdness: Toon, Paranoia (Costikyan) Light rules, laughs. • Pendragon (ethos-centered via rules) • Amber (no dice, cards) • Cyberpunk, 1988 (with the times)
rpg history IV: revolution • Vampire (White Wolf and storytelling) simple rules, gothic punk theme: The World of Darkness • Against hack’n’slash? /Parodies • Cards: Magic: The Gathering • New ideas?: d20 system, settings (7th Seas, Legend of the 5 Rings)
computer rpgs • character growth • storytelling: quests • important: combat, statistics as emulation of real life (get rid of bothersome calculations) • from single player to multiplayer • Relationship with p&p rpgs: inspired 2 genres: Adventure, Ultima, MUDs...
Vampire: The Masquerade. Redemption • How succesfully can a tabletop roleplaying game migrate to the electronic form? • What is lost and what is gained? • How does the digital medium affect the nature of the roleplaying activity?
The Dot System You use ten-sided dice • Dexterity • Drive • Dice to be rolled: 5 • Difficulty: normal=6 • Success (dice over 6 determine degree of sucess) You don’t need tables
How the game was designed... Using the White Wolf license also meant that our users would have high expectations in terms of story, plot, and dialogue for the game. It’s a role-playing license based heavily around dramatic storytelling, intense political struggles, and personal interaction. Fans of the license would not accept a game that was mere stat-building and gold-collecting. (Huebner, 2000) How the game was packaged & marketed Be Immortal… Your unholy showdown begins in medieval Europe and rages on into the modern day, as you track a soulless enemy in an eternal struggle to destroy him. (Rodriguez, 2000: backcover)
Medium Migration: From Tabletop to Computer game • Interface • Rules • Character interaction and objectives • Gaming Styles
Tension: Simplification Diversity • digital medium is more immediate • digital medium is less morally sophisticated • digital medium is at once more and less faithful to reality This paradox springs from the fact that the visual environment of V: TM Redemption needs a greater simplification of relationships to be effectively immersive, whereas the tabletop game works with a mental immersion that is not broken by further abstractions (the more specific rules). The visual illusion has to be kept simple and intuitive or lose its charm completely.
V:TM R Possibilities for player action: • -explore (the virtual space: walking across the landscape and inside buildings, the graphical quality of the game makes for a compelling experience) • -find/use objects (hidden door switches that need to be operated, ancient vampire lore books that can be used to learn spells, etc.) • -enter combat (exclusively against NPCs) • talk (between PCs/with NPCs/with the Storyteller in OOC, Out Of Character, mode)
Trinity Lily Munster William Wallace You can be anyone you want... Antonio Banderas?
To summarize: The computer creates an immediately perceptible world (instead of an imaginary one), thus eliminating the need for narrative mediation and facilitating automatic spatial immersion. The storytelling heart of the game is fully maintained, but the storyteller now uses computer tools to create spaces, objects and characters instead of words to narrate. Interaction is still mainly textual, although the visualization of oneself as a character-part of the virtual world is very important to the sense of immersion. Some of the most subtle aspects of the tabletop game are lost: like the moral progression of the characters, the accuracy of the description of actions or the effective use of disciplines, but this doesn´t seem so much an attribute of the digital medium as of this particular implementation. Finally, the multiplayer computer game encourages different kinds of socialization and creative collaboration between participants.
but this is only an option • Vampire- Storytelling • Quake-Hack’n’slash • Everquest-Gimme more treasure, quests (strategy) • Anarchy online: theme / plot
Practical: The design document
Brainstorm checklist • 1.Setting. Where are we? What is it like? Is there a background story? • 2.Mood / style? Is this run by a striking mood / style? • 3.Basic goals and conflict. (Who is the conflict between? What kind of conflict is it? How does one resolve the conflict?) • 4.Basic characters. (How are they related? Do they work in groups?) • 5.Basic structure. (Open, persistent world / No time limit but free play for all / 15 minutes before a pending disaster / series of quests that need to be solved.) • 6.Interaction. What kind of interaction is provided between the users / between users and NPCS / between users and things. How will the player's need to work toward the goal lead to what interaction? How will you encourage drama? • 7.Graphics. What will it look like? Photorealism / Toy story / children's drawings / oil painting / collage / cutouts from newspapers / photos of real locations & people.
The design document • Table of Contents • Introduction/Overview • Game Mechanics (gameplay) • Artificial Intelligence (game world) • Game Elements (characters,items,objects/mechanisms) • Story Overview • Game Progression • System Menus • Any other stuff