Having successfully completed my progress update presentation for the tutors at university they have offered me some advice to move forward with. They have advised me to make a statement about what my deliverable s will be, how I want them judged, and some more advice to really focus the artefact and research to the core of what I am exploring in this project.
On that note: By the 13th of March I would like to hand in an artefact consisting of a game in which players bond with a player character and experience emotions vicariously through that character using all of the techniques and skills I have learned so far. For example, I will be focusing on the so called “basic” emotions. These emotions are considered to be innate (we are born with the ability to feel and recognise these emotions) versions of an emotion used for survival and communication [Ekman, P: 1992]. The emotion I am specifically focusing on will be sadness, this is because of the wealth of documentation and research in regard to sadness. So throughout the game players will bond with their character, and events will happen that will reinforce this sense of sadness. I need another emotion to juxtapose against the sadness, to create contrast and to allow the emotional topography of the game to be experienced in peaks and troughs, rather than an un-impactful flat line. So the two emotions I am hoping to evoke in players are: sadness and enjoyment.
Ideally this would be judged based on the techniques I have used to evoke that emotion, what techniques I have had success with and what ones I haven’t – and more importantly why each technique did work or failed. For instance, whilst most of this dissertation has been focused on players developing an empathetic response to a character because this was the area I most struggled to accomplish. However without solid mechanics, dynamics and aesthetics the player wouldn’t play the game long enough for the empathetic design choices to be noticeable. Mechanics can also be used to promote theme and message. So on the surface this game may seem incredibly basic, the only mechanics are to collect and walk. But those mechanics reinforce the theme of family- family members collecting food to feed and grow a child so in fact the mechanics compliment the emotional context and the narrative. In the same way level design will be important to this project, because environmental storytelling is driven by level design. Good level design can impart a sense of character personality and experiences. How successfully have I used all of my skills, and gained knowledge, to make the player care about this character?
Ekman, P. (1992). [online] Available at: https://www.paulekman.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/An-Argument-For-Basic-Emotions.pdf [Accessed 15 March. 2018].