GDC 2011: The Identity Bubble – A Design Approach to Character and Story Creation
March 5, 2011 · Print This Article
Description: Who is the actor in a game? Is it the person holding the controller in the real world, or the player-character who moves through the game-world? The answer is Both, and the game designer must work carefully to keep the interests of these two consciousnesses aligned. This session presents a design approach for reconciling developer-defined and player-derived character identities. Games often feature strong pre-authored characters and story arcs, while trying to give the player the feeling of uninhibited agency. The practical techniques presented here show how to design stories that dont simply provide a context for the players actions, but instead create impulses and motivations within the player that are in alignment with those of the avatar. Player and avatar float along in unison inside an identity bubble, working towards a common goal.
Takeaway: Attendees understand how games establish a high level of character identification, and they acquire techniques that can be used to achieve similar results. Writers (and developers working with external writers) gain insight into the design and identity concepts that should guide the development of character, story and mission objectives in games.
Intended Audience: Game designers, writers and developers working with external writers.
Download the annotated .PDF slides (3mb).