Sprint Goal

A draft research proposal and clear research goals.

Sprint Planning

  • Ideation
  • Preliminary Literature Review
  • Begin Extensive Research to find A New Area of Innovation
  • Game References

Ideation

Fig 1. Masters Brainstorm 2021

My research interests are in the role of emotion, narrative and serious game design. To brainstorm I considered where there may be gaps in research and ideas that will also have commercial viability and entertainment.

Game studios such as Square Enix with Life is Strange invest in player insights exploring the role of emotion in their choice and consequence narratives. To create morally agonising decisions, they contracted Player Research, who iterated on moral choices in gameplay until participants responded with as close to a 50/50 split as possible (Player Research 2021). Studies into critical player perspectives, player agency, eudaimonic appreciation support academic research into choice and consequence narratives. But how does choice and consequence act in persuasive games in an ecocritical sphere?

Persuasive Games: Choice and Consequence

Considering different research into eudaimonic appreciation and persuasive games I noticed that choice and consequence and branching narratives have been less studied in how they can act as persuasive games.

To narrow down the topic, how I will explore choice and consequence in persuasive games and how I might create a commercially viable game through research I explored keywords, literature, games, videos and so on in these areas.

Consequences

I am particularly interested in the way games like Life is Strange and This War of Mine show you the consequences at the end of the game or chapter. In Life is Strange you can see the players narrative choices as a percentage and see if you agreed with the majority or not – I would suspect this leads to further engagement in the discussion of the morality of your choice. Potentially these discussions might even create lasting thoughts. I would like to compare choice and consequence answers with a pool of participants in a survey but apply the moral decisions to climate change issues and crises.

The Role of Emotion – Torschlusspanik

Climate Change – Time is Running Out. “We have 12 years to limit climate change catastrophe, warns UN” (IPCC 2021). Exploring the role of emotion through Branching Narratives and Vanishing Landscapes. “Torschlusspanik describes the agitated, fretful feeling when we notice time is running out” (Tiffany Watt Smith year)

Player Agency

While the majority of choice and consequence games go through the decisions and actions of a character, I will explore hidden agency in a disembodied overseer similar to playing the Commander in XCOM or the Captain in Frostpunk.

Prelimary Literature Review

As ecocritical games, emotional game design and player perspectives are part of my general research interests I have a good idea of where to start searching for a preliminary literature review. The areas my research and reading are weakest are probably in branching narratives and specific reading about choice and consequence.

Keywords: Player Agency, Branching Narratives, Patterns of Sustainability, Persuasive Games, Serious Games, Choice and Consequence, The Role of Emotion, Ecocritical

Established Literature

Game Design: BOGOST (2007) Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames (Bogost 2007), Critical Play: Radical Game Design. (Flanagan 2009), How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design (Ibister 2017), Making Deep Games: Designing Games with Meaning and Purpose (Rusch 2017), Game Feel: A Game Designer’s Guide to Virtual Sensation (Swink 2009).

The Climate Change Crises: The Great Derangement (Ghost year), The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis (Ghosh 2021)

Persuasive Games: Persuasive Gaming in Context (Hera 2021)

Game References

References of games: Thunderbird Strike, Horizon: Zero Dawn, Life is Strange, Astrologaster, Heaven’s Vault.

User Persona

One Page Game Design Document

Game Design Outline

List of Figures

Figure 1. Sarah MASTERS. 2021 Brainstorm

Figure 2. Elizabeth LaPensée. 2021. Thunderbird Strike [online] Available at: https://www.thunderbirdstrike.com/about

Figure 3. Guerrilla Games. 2021. Wikipedia [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon_Zero_Dawn#/media/File:Horizon_Zero_Dawn.jpg

Figure 4. Deck Nine, Square Enix. 2021. Wikipedia [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_Is_Strange:True_Colors#/media/File:Life_Is_Strange-_True_Colors.png

Figure 5. Nyamyam. 2021. Wikipedia [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrologaster#/media/File:Astrologaster.jpg

Figure 6. Inkle. 2021. Wikipedia [online] Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heaven%27s_Vault#/media/File:Heaven’s_Vault_cover.jpg

Figure 7. Deck Nine, Sqaure Enix. 2021. Attackofthefanboy [online] Available at: https://attackofthefanboy.com/guides/life-is-strange-true-colors-all-major-choices-in-chapter-1/

Figure 8. A year of playing the world.. 2021. Ayearofplayingtheworld [online] Available at: https://ayearofplayingtheworld.com/tag/survival/

References

Books

BOGOST, Ian. 2007. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

FLANAGAN, Mary. 2009. Critical Play: Radical Game Design. Cambridge, Mass. London: MIT Press.

GHOSH, Amitav. 2021. The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

HERA, Teresa de la. 2021. Persuasive Gaming in Context. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

ISBISTER, Katherine. 2017. How Games Move Us: Emotion by Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

RUSCH, Doris C. 2017. Making Deep Games: Designing Games with Meaning and Purpose. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, Taylor & Francis Group

SWINK, Steve. 2009. Game Feel: A Game Designer’s Guide to Virtual Sensation. Amsterdam ; Boston: Morgan Kaufmann Publishers/Elsevier.WATT SMITH, Tiffany, Therese VANDLING, and JOHN CALMANN AND KING LTD. 2020. The Box of Emotions.

Websites

‘Global Warming of 1.5 oC —’. n.d. [online]. Available at: https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/ [accessed 5 Feb 2022].

Games

Astrologaster. 2019. Nyamyam

Heaven’s Vault. 2019. Inkle

Horizon: Zero Dawn. 2017. Guerrilla Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment

Life is Strange. 2015. Deck Nine, Square Enix

Life is Strange True Colours. 2021. Deck Nine, Square Enix

This War of Mine. 2014. 11 Bit Studios

Thunderbird Strike. 2017. Elizabeth LaPensée