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September 1, 2008

Week 5 Development of the Game Story “Psycho-Ego – the knowing of the self”

Filed under: ECU MInT,GDT3102 Writing for Games — steve @ 9:56 pm

[1.] Develop a story for a game [see high concept here] and answer some of the questions that Rollins (2003, p. 118) asks:

Q a. Does the story begin with the beginning of the game, or are you intending to use a back-story?

A. There will be some back-story in the prologue cut sequence to give an indication of who the Player character is, their role in the world, and what their main objective will be.

Q b. Will it be essential to know the story to play the game?

A. No, but certainly will be helpful in identifying the main objective – that of identifying with the Anima/Animus.

Q c. Will the story use a traditional dramatic structure? If not, will it be open-ended or non-linear?

A. The story will use a traditional Hero Archetypal narrative within a Web [Simple non-linear] structure. Overall narrative pathways and tasks for the development of the Player’s “psychological growth” will be defined however the achievement of those tasks will not be determined by a linear sequence within each of the 4 stages of “The Mirror Stage”, “The Self”, “The Anima/Animus”, and, “Final Stage” (see 3B below as explanation).

Q d. Will the story use Campbell’s “monomyth”? If so, what elements?

A. Yes, the Hero’s journey and growth toward the discovery of the self. Analogies with David Lynch’s “Wild at Heart” could be drawn, though on a much more psychologically derived basis.

Q e. Where will the narrative material be? The manual? Cut-scenes? As an introduction, mission briefing, transition, in-game dialogue, narration, conclusion?

A. Cut-scenes: Prologue, Dream Sequences, Hallucinations. In-game dialogue: Interaction with NPCs. In-game text: Through the exploration of in-game props, Map.

Q f. If the story is multi-part, how will you handle the plotlines: as a series, serial, or episodically?

A. Episodic with respect to dream sequences. Series with respect to advancement through psychical growth.

 

[2.] Elaborate upon your story by asking:

Q a. Who is it about (key characters)?

A. The Player’s virtual Personal Development through Archetypical and other Psychological experiences in a surrealistic 3D exploratory environment. The Player’s character is one that is plastic – it will be moulded by the decisions and actions it performs as reflected by its ‘psychological growth’.

The following main characters the Player will need to identify and interact with:

The Mother , The Father, The Anima/Animus

Supporting character archetypes:

The Animal , The Shadow, The Trickster

Q b. What is its dramatic focus (key conflicts and plot complications)?

The Mirror stage – identification of the Player’s Avatar

1. Physiology – identification of the needs of the body:

  • Individuality – initial moulding of the Avatar
  • Safety and security – identification of shelter and rest

2. Belonging and loving – establishing social acceptance and intimacy:

  • Confrontation with the Father – Oedipus complex
  • Development of the super-ego/social norms
  • Esteem – establishing social approval and trust – meeting the shadow

The Self

1. Cognition – understanding of one’s place in the world

  • Travel and conquests for psychological growth
  • Battle with the Trickster

2. Aesthetics – understanding beauty

  • Recognition of beauty in others – compassion
  • Recognising the duality of the Animal

The Anima/Animus

  • Travel in search of the Anima/Animus
  • Identification and connection with the Anima/Animus
  • Confrontation with the Mother
  • Self-actualisation and personal growth – internal peace and connection to the world

Final stage – ‘God-like Omniscience’

  • The need to help others find their own self actualization
  • Final battle with the Shadow
  • Transcendence – end of game

Q c. When is it set (times of the day, historical period)?

A. 24 hour day – Player must “sleep” in order to “rest” and “dream”. Early stages of the Player’s “psychological growth” will be set in an Hellenistic Greek type world. As the Player develops its psychical awareness the world will become more modern/present day.

Q d. Where is it set (local settings and world)?

A. See previous

Q e. Why is it happening (what is the theme behind it?)

A. To gain understanding of the Self through identification of the Partner (Anima/Animus) in order to obtain a God-like omniscience (Collective Unconsciousness).

 

[3.] How will the plot be paced? What is a possible “hook” to keep players interested? Graph the major points of crisis, climax, rest and resolution to get a sense of the shape of your story.

A. There are a number of “hooks” to keep the Player engaged in the game:

The plastic nature of the Player’s Avatar that will evolve through the actions that the Player undertakes will be an unique experience – the Player determines his or her look not by selecting attributes from a menu but rather through the actions he or she performs in the game. The surreal aspects of the visual representation of the 3D world will also provide a fascinating opportunity for escapism as will the world changing from helenistic to post-modernistic as the Player’s “psychological growth’ evolves or devolves. Idiomatic representations of the Player’s ‘psychological issues’ will provide an entertaining and fun quality to combat sequences while the ability for the Player to determine how they interact with NPCs will provide a non-linear feel to the gameplay that ensures the Player feels in control of their actions and destination in the game.

B. Plot pace and flow chart:

  • Challenges/conquests are stated in red text.
  • Arrow arcs indicate that the sequence of events are non-linear.
  • ‘S’ shaped bold arrows indicate a journey of exploration must take place.
  • Wavy lines indicate transitionary cut-scenes: bold wavy lines indicate a cut-scene narrative between game levels; thin wavy lines indicate reward cut-scenes on completion of a conquest:

 

[4.] Choose a story structure, with reference to your graph, that complements the story you have started to sketch and compose a flowchart of the main dramatic arcs in the story, clearly marking the actions/choices that determine the flow of narration.

Yet to be completed – electricity was off today for 5 hours unfortunately, although I did discover I could cook in the dark holding a torch under my chin.

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