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 GDC talk looks at how we reconcile 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 don’t 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.
You can download the annotated .PDF slides (3mb) to follow the entire lecture.