Archive for December, 2014

tension cycles

Extra Credit’s ‘How horror games create tension cycles’


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CRAM in more powerful tension and horror

  • Cliches
    Cliches from film and books, can be over-used. However, while they can telegraph a potential outcome they will create an atmosphere and tell your players something about what to expect and how to behave. They create a form of anticipation. Use them to set the tone, switch them up to avoid over-use or removing any surprise from the plot.
  • Relationships
    Relationship is the connection that the player has to other characters, to the story and to the environment. Creating space for players to create and form relationships can be challenging in a fast paced or action story.
    Look for opportunities for shared experiences that create emotional connections. Some of the strongest bonds that people have are established throug highly emotional circumstances that release chemicals in to the player’s mind.
  • Anticipation and Pacing
    Anticipation is everything and is key to building any kind of tension in your game. Build and release, repeat. Consider foreshadowing as a means to create anticipation – Checkov’s gun
  • Moral decision
    Moral = ‘of or concerned with the judgment of right or wrong of human action and character’
    It is likely to be a point in time, at which the players have to consider their situation, the story, their relationships and character. Explicit choice is good for a game. And a situation with consequences leads to a meaningful choice that player’s will remember.

Ultimately it all need wrapping together in a good story

  • Story is king
    The power of story in your level comes down to two things. The story of the environment; and character’s story in that environment. As well as the relationship between each other.
    Story is what we remember. We love to tell stories. We love to listen to stories. There is no better way to communicate and to connect with someone. We don’t care about facts.
    Look for ways to tie the environment and story together, select the environment carefully to add to the mood and atmosphere.

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discounting drive to free to play?

Discounting of ‘premium’ products is effectively creating a situation where developers need to consider additional ways of covering their costs. It may be that the discounted products will dress their live service up as something different than the more traditional free to play models, but there will be many similiarities.

Steam’s culture of deep-discounting has become more pervasive and intense in the face of this chronic overcrowding, stirring up impassioned debate over what some believe will beprofound long-term effects for the perceived value of PC games. Every discussion needs balance, but in this case the back-and-forth seemed purely academic: for a lot of developers steep discounts are simply a matter of survival, and precious few could even entertain the notion of focusing on the greater good instead.

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5 questions that lead to your strategy

An excellent HBR article on strategy. Incluing the difference between it and plans or budgets. Answering these 5 questions will help lead to a clear, focused strategy that can then lead to a plan.

  • What is our winning aspiration?
  • Where will we play?
  • How will we win?
  • What capabilities need to be in place?
  • What management systems need to be instituted?

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master the WTM…M

According to ‘How Google Works’, Google’s 1-1 model is summarized as follows;

  • Performance on job requirements = Work & delivery focused
  • Relationships with peer groups = People and effectiveness
  • Management/Leadership = Coaching, guiding and feedback, are you working hard enough at recruitment
  • Innovation/Best Practice = Are you constantly moving forward, learning new things

As an alternative way to structure 1-1 meetings, focus on the 4 key topics of Work, Team, Management and Mastery WTMM.

* Work: performance delivering work requirements

* Team: relationships with peers and team

* Management: feedback, coaching & motivation

* Mastery: new learnings & opportunities, training goals

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