Friday, May 29, 2009

Class 7: design principles

Well done on the second set of project presentations!
You have also learned about different types of parallel and non-parallel play and the implications and opportunities for you as designers.


Please post your project URLs as separate blog entries and allow for comments.
Read the papers for next week.
Comment on today's lecture here.
Grade each project you have seen in its respective blog entry's comments. Use F, C, P, ...
Provide an explanation if you feel comfortable and think it is helpful.


  1. Heya, Dylan here :)

    Good lecture, may i just start off saying that that's yet another truly flattering photo of me there!

    I found this lecture quite eyeopening as i hadn't thought about the idea of parallel and non-parallel play. Yet these concepts seem to be major factors to consider when designing and developing a game. Addressing which sort of game you were dealing with and wanted to make would help in keeping the game idea on track with a clear aim.

    In the lecture i tried to come up names to each style or degree of gameplay so that it was clear in my head. If you could let me know if i'm on the wrong track or you have better words for stuff...

    First off, let me say that by target i mean what you use to play the game. Vehicle might be a closer word to what i'm trying to say, i still don't like it though

    INDIVIDUAL GAMES (400m) - Individual space, individual target (your body)

    SHARED TARGET, INDIVIDUAL SPACE GAMES (tennis) - Individual space, shared target (the ball)

    SHARED GAMES (Football) - Shared Space and shared Target (the ball)

    BODY AS TARGET GAMES (Judo) - Shared Space, Shared Target (both bodies; players use their own body as the vehicle to play the game, and the other person's body is their target, and vice versa.)

    The difference between the targets of Shared Games and Body as Target games is that the object of play (if that makes sense lol i think i'm making up shit now) is an inanimate object in Shared Games and a body or a person that can respond and have a consciousness in Body as Target Games.
    And a major thing to point out i believe is that you can play the first 3 types of games on your own (running by yourself, hitting a ball over a net to noone, etc) and, though it may be extremely boring, it can be done. Body as target games can not be played by a single person, because if you take away the other body, you're effectively taking away the target.

  2. Scott Battye S3201290May 31, 2009 at 4:38 PM

    Scott here,

    I was a bit indecisive about the conversation involving tennis, although it is (as a general rule) played against another person; there are the people that use lobsters to practice or serve to nobody. As practice you don't necessarily need anyone else to play against, but for the discussions sake none of that really applied so I kept my mouth shut.

    Something I was going to raise though is that the net, although dividing the two players, is also a shared objective, because both players need to hit the ball over this line into the oppositions space of the court, if they fail to do this then the opposition wins and vice versa.

  3. Dylan,

    pretty much spot on!
    Well said.

    Think of the body in martial arts not as 'consciousness target', (not that it isn't), but it can be said easier: remember that it is all about offense and defense, and what the designer (you) can do about it. In a martial arts game, the player is always directly part of the game, because the body is 'shared', in all the other games, there are moments where the game is 'out of control' for the player: think of when she/he is hitting the ball: after that, the player has to wait what the other player is doing to react (of course you anticipate the next move and react accordingly, but on a very different level than in martial arts, there, your body is 'always' part of the game). This difference is important, because the 'waiting' time for your partner to react can be used to bridge the gap from the exertion space to the virtual space. Think Breakout for Two: Players could just stop playing and wait what the other person is doing. In Remote Impact, the player cannot stand still, the only way to stop playing is leaving the exertion space. Now it is up to you to figure out what it means for your designs.

  4. Hey everybody,
    I'm finding it kind of weird that's there's so few comments this week : S. We are supposed to be commenting the class and the presentations, aren't we? I don't want to look stupid lol.

    But yeah, another great concept to consider; thanks Floyd. Though I'm still finding it hard to see the definite lines and differences between the proposed definitions. I'm confused mostly by the 'shared space' and 'shared target' concept. The defence and offence idea helped to clear things up quite a bit though, so thanks for that example : ).

    I didn't really like the idea of games not being stories. Pfft to that! I'm in this course to build beautiful, imaginative and complex worlds with deep storylines, characters and relationships. Video games originated from the natural evolution of stories and books; a way to better bring the reader into the story world. At the risk of saying immersion, I like games because of their immersion. That's right, I said immersion.

    I understand there are a plenty of games out there that make their money from frivolous button-mashing or social interaction, but I don't see anything special about them. It's not WiiTennis or Second Life that stay close to my heart, it's the Legend of Zelda or Tales of Symphonia.

  5. howdy folks

    another good lecture this week and i was glad to see that there were more game ideas ready to go compared to last week...about games and stories ......alot of the games i find myself constantly going back to play have amazing stories with good character developement and a smart plot and i really value this in a game these types of games(that are heavily story based)are usually one player and although the person is palying the game their actions will not change any aspect of the story so no matter how many times u play iot it will always be the same just like reading a good book, so althgough the gameplay may be really good its still the story that pulls it over the line.

    but not all games are stories or to put it better have stories, but to me that does not make it a bad game ...the story was just one way to involve you in the game, another way to involce people in games is intense gameplay , button mashing social interaction and many of the things we have spoken about already in class these all make for a good im not sure where im going witth this but to end it....not all games are stories but to say some games arnt is wrong. the story is just another way to help a player get more involved with the game.
    also are there any games that include all of these an in depth story, intense gameplay,awesome graphics, complicated controls that require complete attention and a social aspect aswell.......ofcourse i havnt played every game out there so there could be lol...but maybe we cant have all of these things in a game maybe we need to pick a couple and just develope those...hmm hmmm......pondering..pondering...pondered

  6. Firstly, not about this week's lecture but relevant to the overall discussion on physical games; I just saw that the XBox 360 has unveiled a new motion controller at e3. Instead of waggling a wiimote, you are using your entire body as the controller. Exciting stuff.

    See the video here!:

    It is easy to see the implications this will have on the development of physical games.

    And about the lecture:
    I agree - games are not stories. Games may use stories, very effectively, as a method of immersing the player, but some games contain no story at all (Tetris was mentioned as an example). Therefore, we can infer that while a game may incorporate a story, and may be greatly enriched by doing so, the definitive factor of what makes a game has nothing to do with story at all - it is about the act of playing, and some would say competing.

    Lisa Dyball

  7. Oops, sorry: broken link.

    That should be:

  8. ok so yet again another interesting lecture. Im loveing listening to all the groups present their game ideas. There are some pretty original concepts like that hamster rolling game. Thought that was a pretty fun idea.
    Anyway games and stories, is an interesting topic. I see it as stories are kind of one sided in the sense that you sit down, shut up and listen to the story. Its the same everytime (Think of reading harry potter or LOTR), where as games may be heavily story based, but at the end of the day, a key element in games is that the user has a heavy influence on the outcome (winning or losing)


  9. Interesting lecture as always. the continuous definitions and explanation of parallel and non-parallel games from whole class.

    Games and Stories - In my opinion, games with stories is more to RPG style game as you play as a character inside the game itself that has been narrated or scripted during the creation of the game.

    As for the non storyline games, you play as yourself with no background in the game or stories.

    So in the comparism, in a storyline game, you play according to the stories which in the other hand, for the non storyline game, you play as yourself.


  10. Intriguing lecture indeed, gives us budding developers something to really think about - parallel, or non-parallel gameplay? Either type is playable, but will it work in the context of the a game we are making? This is certainly something all of us must consider at the start of each game project in the future.

    Good presentations from all the groups overall. Impressive stuff each week!

    Games and stories are usually related in one way or another, with exceptions like the classic game Tetris. For example, stories give the players context and sometimes, meaning to their actions (if required). The level of complexity of the story or backdrop matters little at times, while at other times they are instrumental to the gameplay overall.

    For example, in Counter-Strike, there is a little elaboration on why the Terrorists are planting the bomb at point A or B. This is to smoothen the gameplay by giving the palyers a better chance to involve themselves more with the actual objectives of either bombing or defending the said objective. In this case the story matters very little.

    In games with longer and more elaborate stories, (especially in singlepalyer campaign/ story) modes, players are 98% motivated by the storyline, and their actions may or may not affect the story overall. Like Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic, be a goodie-goodie and you remain a Light-side Jedi knight whos good in nature. Do bad stuff like Mind Trick money from people and maim enemies, then you turn to the dark side. Either way, the decisions leading up to the ending of the game do alter the way the story progresses and ends, as there is a Light side ending and a Dark side ending. In this case, the story adn gameplay are inextricalby linked together, and it can be said that they are co-dependant?

    As i've said, the story and the gameplay can be entirely independant of each other, correlate to each other at a simple but meaningful manner, or be inextricably linked, with changes to the gameplay or story deeply affecting the other element directly or indirectly.

    That's all for now. i'm off to help my team with the presenations on Thursday evening. Thanks.

    Nicholas Lim

  11. A nice lecture as usual, a lot of it seemed to be focused simply on clarifying the whole idea of what makes a game parallel or non-parallel etcetera which I think I grasped well enough in the week before but I found the talks really interesting. I liked some of the things that were said in the presentation of ‘what is fun’ particularly around the idea of fun should be in playing the game not in winning the game. I have some friends who I’ll play multiplayer games with and they can really get me angry sometimes when they will play the game in the must un-enjoyable and boring way just so that they can have the highest score. They think that being the winner is the most important thing, but it’s not, a game should be fun in HOW it’s played and the actual mechanics involved in achieving a win OR a lose.
    About what was said on games not being a story, I can somewhat understand the basis of that statement but I think it would be better put to say that the story of a game is not the fun of said game. I would only say that because there are some games I can think of, such as half-life 2, that I would say are games that ARE a story. When I go to describe half-life 2 I find myself telling a story, a sequence of events, not a set of rules or game-play mechanics as with a classically game such as tic-tac-toe or whatever.

  12. Thanks Floyd for explaining the difference between parallel & non-parallel games. It is something I've always understood in a sense but never really thought about & I think most would agree that it is an important consideration when developing a game, particularly a physical game.

    Great comments Dylan, kudos 2 U.

    There is much debate it seems about games as stories so I'll put in my 2 cents worth (showing my age??? ha! ha! Nikki is jealous cos I had a pet dinosaur & she didn't!):

    A game does not necessarily need to be a story to be a game so ultimately, most games are not stories.

    Some games however are interactive stories however which is one thing (other than great visuals & gameplay) which draws me to a game. Stories can enhance a game and give people a reason to buy the sequel. HALO is a popular example of this. There is also an increasing trend these days for Game Companies to hire people with strong writing & journalism degrees or skills because the power of stories is being recognised & valued more. So one day in the not too distant future, more games may become interactive stories (or movies) and for me, that's pretty exciting stuff.

    Thanks yo' all

  13. oh yeah,
    great presentations once again & game concepts were great to see & hear!
    Chow for now!

  14. Was great to see more of the game presentations that people showcased, they were all very good and very different.

    I think games in a way all have stories or some sort of background to it that helps the user understand what they must do throughout the game to complete it.

    It was interesting to see different examples of parallel and non-parallel games where depending on certain rules it would change what category it was in.

    Also that game Floyd showed us with the table tennis table and a screen looked like it could be fun if you weren't able to play the real thing.

  15. A lot of great presentations last week!
    The lesson had a lot of relevance to my part in the group assignment.

    With my groups presentation I was disappointed that we were short for time, as I had prepared my talk exactly about what Floyd had shown us in his virtual tennis about parallel/non-parallel game design. It was very uncanny.

    “The basics of rock climbing are essentially parallel in design, two people racing against each other to the summit the only thing in their way is their own performance. To make our game more than that we decided to add non parallel elements to it, by which players could influence the outcome of the race by using virtual objects to throw at each other. Even though each player is located in a separate space they share the objects. Much like Floyd’s example of tennis.”

    I also enjoyed debating “if a marathon was parallel or non parallel in terms of gaming” Even though Floyd said it was parallel since no interaction is between players (bumping is against the rules therefore if done the player is disqualified.) I believe it is non-parallel since the players share the track and can influence each other’s performance by “drafting”.

    “However, a significant reduction in effort can still be realized by drafting when you run, especially into a headwind (wind resistance goes up with the square of the windspeed).” Quoted from:

    Just my two cents :D

  16. Anthony,

    Well said about the non-parallel aspects in your climbing game. Sorry there was only so much time for your presentation, but everyone is reading it in the blog now, and can do so again and again!

  17. Raphael Chung Shang Yuen S3242135June 4, 2009 at 1:17 AM

    Just my two-cents, any game is based on a non-parallel or parallel basis, either you should influence the opponent (thus offense/defense) or not. But when the game starts i don't think they're absolutely exclusive, some games might have a physical obstruction to the opponent like a tackle in Footy, but in sprints there is also a type of psychological attack to maybe distract the player. Combine these two, and we get something like martial arts, we can also defend or attack using psychological means instead of physical means. So this... this just blurs the line of parallel and non-parallel play for me.

    So in video games, since there is no physical but rather virtual play, it just makes it all the more interesting for us devs. Virtual isn't defined by physics or maths, we can have it change anyway we want. Video games however is more linear in a sense that the game can only have what's programmed in, and therefore the game design has to be all the more intricate, taking in all the factors to make it seem less parallel instead of repeating an action but just getting better at it.

    And onto stories and games, i think what people mean to say is that, games should be more focused in gameplay because, if a game plays good, but the story is the cliche of cliches, we'd still play it, but not vice versa. Come on, if we take into account most games, the stories are soooo predictable, save the world, or go to investigate something but coincidently your whole team gets wiped out and its now up to you, etc.

    Contradictory to my point, i don't play JRPGs to get gameplay, FF has great visuals and good stories (i do agree that most of em are still very predictable). And some games just need to motivate you to play by using a story, another NPC dead doesn't mean squat. Games like CS though, are more on a competitive basis, so that's a whole new ball game.

    I think that's what i meant to say. Oh well, got lost in words. Oh, and i thought i was the only Raphael, so sorry Floyd.

  18. OK!
    I just got run over by my train of thought after losing it in class last thursday!
    I mentioned PAINT-BALL and wasnt sure whether it was parallel or non-parallel, the problem was by the time i said it, i had completely forgoten my point.
    Now i remember and realise that a better example would be;

    !!LASER TAG!!

    In laser tag you can attack and defend, but its so hectic that it doesnt really matter. You can defend by shooting someone who is chasing you, but they can just keep chasing you until they come back online so its not exactly effective. so you can just both just stand there shooting one another, making the game fairly parallel, not to mention boring. You may argue that the field is shared making the game non-parallel, but it doesnt have to be. Infact most of the time you want to keep your distance in laser tag so that you can shoot other players without them seeing or shooting you. Attacking other players will get you closer to victory (high scores) but seeing as though there is no real defense, shared field, object or other device, im strugling to see clearly how this game is non-parallel. Im almost certain that it is non-parallel but id be willing to argue to a definitive answer that its not PLEASE for the sake of my peace of mind, prove me wrong!

    Now, stories in games, no where near as much of a troubling issue. I think anyone who says games are not stories is out of thier mind. SURE, not all games are stories, games dont have to be stories, but stories create success. The first game that springs to mind is Halo. I cant speak for everyone, but the first time i played halo 2, my thoughts bwere something along the lines of "wow, this is like an awesome movie where i can kill things". The greatest thing about halo is not the action, outside of multiplayer, the action is really quite repetative, its about getting through that action to find out where youre going next, whats going to happen to the master chief, how is(am) he, we, i going to get out of this mess? The Half Life games also take a similar approach although more often than not you as a character in the story get to omit as much information as you like by simply bypassing information, but without all this other detail, half life is a fairly easy and strait forward game. The story is powerfull enough to make it seem that by completing a stage of the game, you have earned the rigth to unravel more of the plot.


    Some games could deffinately do without the story, for example, Unreal Tournament 3. All i can say is, "wow! way to screw up a great idea". I mean the game is still fun and all but after about 3 levels of the campaign, i felt so patronised i quit; youre fighting in a war, where there are super crazy weapons and vehicles, which respawn, also when you kill your enemies they respawn, also the war must be fought in a small area where the respawners are, also the respawners run out of power when you kill to may enemies, also the respawners somtime run out of "time"!? NEVER NEVER NEVER should the plot of a unreal tournament be anything other than 'you are in carzy bloodsport area, kill your enemies to prove you are better than them'.
    Another game that needs no story is Super Mario Galaxy. I dont know whether its poor translation, bad voice acting, the fact that you actually have to read the story, the fact that the story makes no sense or even the fact that the story has nothing to do with the development or outcome of the game, but earing peices of the story as the game is played did not peak my interest whatsoever. not even the heroic story of saving peach from the misunderstood shelloid dinosaur made me want to play the game, i just wanted to see if anything cool happens when you finish the game. Unlike Mario 64, i was disapointed :P


  19. My point is very similar to Andrews, and just to quote Raphael "if a game plays good, but the story is the cliche of cliches, we'd still play it, but not vice versa."

    After doing Game Studio 1 last year and making a NWN2 mod, I finally decided to play the game. The gameplay in NWN2 sucks, it is completely repetitive to the point where you get RSI, yet I found the story enjoyable and it kept me playing until the end.

    I also have a test/question for you guys:
    Is Rally Car racing parallel or non-parallel?

    I'm pretty sure I've figured out the answer how about you guys?

  20. The lecture was pretty helpful on Thursday, big thanks to Floyd for explaining the whole parallel non parallel thing again, it was confusing me a bit beforehand.

    Regarding the whole games not being stories debate, it's a tough job to say just yes or a no here because some of the most successful games ever made have no story (eg. tetris, boxing games, basketball or hockey games, racing games etc), but on the other hand some of the most successful games are without a doubt basically interactive stories, eg. all final fantasy, silent hill, kingdom hearts etc.

    When you read a book a good story makes you want to keep reading because you know the character, you know their situation and you want to carry on reading because you're involved, you want to know what's going to happen next. Playing certain games we are introduced to a character and given a sum of up of the current story and what our aim is, then it's our job to maneuver them around, completing the tasks necessary to get further in the story and ultimately see how it ends.

    Some of the most advertised games each year are one's based on newly released movies (Iron Man, Wolverine, Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc) or story lines and characters we are familiar with (Marvel games, Pokemon, etc) the fact that companies are willing to put in the time and money in making these games surely is proof that some of the most successful games are basically interactive stories.

    Also, if games aren't about stories why would companies be spending so much money in creating sequels to certain games? Yes for profit obviously, but the profit comes from the games selling and the reason a sequel game will sell is because people loved the first one's game play, characters and story enough to want to dish out their money and see what the next chapter in the story is.

    Many companies either have or are going out and spending even more of their money in creating movies BASED ON games, eg. bioshock, resident evil, final fantasy, silent hill, dead space, halo, the suffering, mortal combat, tekken, splinter cell, prince of persia, castlevania, fear effect, metal gear solid, clock tower, street fighter, kane and lynch, broken sword, the legend of spyro, earthworm jim, god of war, gears of war, area 51, sabotage 1943, onimusha, etc.

    Movies are stories. They are based on written fiction or non-fiction. If games weren't stories then how could they make movies out of them? Some of the movies listed above have made huge amounts of money, others are hugely anticipated by fans all over. Would they have been so successful, or be so anticipated if the players of the original game weren't captivated by the story?

    nikki outtt.

  21. Hi all,

    I'm person in first presentation so I dont have more stuff to say about "Game aren't stories". However to me,Storyline is a small part of whole game design. Although some simple games don't have stories, special games or complex games need at least a small to make player understand deeper on those games.

    In this lecture, I understand clearly and know which game is parallel or non.I think i would research more about this concept in my game designing.

    So busy, I have nothing to say more!!!


  22. I find it hard to remember what was said last was so long ago.
    But a lot of this discussion seems to be about stories, so I'll talk about that.

    Yes stories are important for making players care about the games they are playing. No they are not essential for it to be a good game. But what i find interesting is that in most games, the gameplay and the story are very far removed. You'll have a cutscene, or some dialogue and then you play. The two don't seem to have any impact on each other.

    One game i think breaks from this is Shadow of the Colossus. A game that's often mentioned alongside phrases like 'best game ever'. If you've played it you'll know why.
    The story is very simple. The main character has to slay 16 ancient monsters to restore life to his lost love. This doesn't really influence how you play the game, but it does give this sense of purpose, and moral ambiguity to everything you do. As you scale each of the monsters (who are friggin huge by the way) and drive you sword into them, you wonder if you should be killing them. The are unprovoked and seem to be peaceful, yet you kill them for your own personal motives.

    I think this is the perfect kind of story. Simple, yet it makes the gameplay all the more interesting.

    Anyway, i hope that was relevant in some way :D

  23. It's all about the story.
    Bad story = bad game. Simple as that.

    If any story - book, movie, game etc. - sucks that's it, you've lost me. Bye-bye. See ya later.

  24. You seem to like the aspect of "story": so billion-dollar question: how does "story" change when you design an exertion (in contrast to non-exertion) game????

  25. Andrew "Dooshie" DemetriouJune 4, 2009 at 1:27 PM

    Finally! I understand the whole parallel thingo!
    Maybe i just wasn't listening last class, because it seems pretty straightforward.

    Oh and also, i guess the importance of the whole story/game thing depends on the person.

    For example, some people would argue that Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is one of the best games of all time. It has an epic storyline and you get to know and love/each each character. The plot is intricate and thats what everyone loves about it.

    However, other people do not warm so much to sitting around for hours reading a book of a game. They prefer running around or shooting people. These people would prefer say, DDR or Counterstrike.

    These games have balls all of a storyline, but who cares, they're fun right?

    Depends who you are.

    I hate games without a story, i find them boring. But when you play with other people, sometimes you're own story is enough. The fact that you want to kick your mates arse at Unreal Tournament should be enough to drive the game forward in terms of fun-factor. I know for me it does.

    It sort of seems like when you are playing without other humans, you need a storyline to keep you entertained, and the experience becomes personal. When you are in the company of others, however, you need not be a loner, and you can get up and dance the crap out of your friends.


  26. Daniel Kidney s3237937

    If you argue Stories are not games then you are correct only if you define games in a very particular way. This is where it weird though because no one defined 'games' clearly enough.

    I will now define games in a way I think makes the argument 'stories are not game and are not important in making games fun' true.

    A game is the act of completing some action with a clearly defined goal and result - as opposed to a title which is a collection of games (Call of Duty 4 is a title, shooting a terrorist is a game within the title.) I will give examples because it is hard to explain with just words. Playing Call of Duty 4 - each aspect is its own game. Shooting a terrorist before he shoots you is a game with its own tightly controlled goal, and consquences (you are alive or you are dead)Seeing a terrorist and attempting to shoot him before he does you is its own game. The story is not important in making this little mini game fun.

    In the same way - small games (like tetris) that have a clear goal with repetitive gameplay do not require story due to the addictive and challenging manner of game play. They are there own mini game.

    What was the problem for the lecture was that everyone was thinking of a Game as an entire title. if you took COD 4 as a whole then Yes Story is important because no one would want to play the campaign if you they didn't know why they were shooting these poor arabic people over and over. COD 4 is made up of heaps of little games (run from one piece of cover to another without dying. - nade a room and run in a blind fire - or whatever) The games individualy do not require a story but to connect them all together and make it feel meaningful and fun the Title (as opposed to the game) must have a connecting story.

    I hope you understand all that - In conclussion, yes you need story to make a successful game TITLE, whether this comes from narrative or from common knowledge of such things (sport games take this into account).

    Daniel Kidney s3237937

  27. Raphael Chung Shang Yuen S3242135June 4, 2009 at 1:49 PM

    Yep Andew, same thoughts as to Laser Tag/Paintball here, to me its parallel because you mostly try to shoot the other dude before getting shot, there isn't much shared space other than the area you're running in. In a more exaggerated point of view, the quick draws of the old west is somewhat like that, you just can't run, and so is that really non-parallel?

  28. Amanda Joy BaileyJune 4, 2009 at 2:06 PM

    i like the thought that a game as a story behind it. fair enough games like wii sport and shit dont really need a story because thats a phsyical activity but games like the legend of Zelda Ocarina of time has a gripping and emotional storyline that makes you more inclined to play. Storylines in games bring you closer to the characters and you feel more apart of the world in which you are playing. For people that dont like taking the time to learn about the backstory of a game thats fair enough but some other people find them useful and fun, that is all.

  29. Just to say sorry folks about last weeks presentation, did not seem very prepared and too bad we did not have time for questions.

  30. interesting leacture as always. i found discussing parallel and non-parallel games and how in some cases they can merge over different play spaces.

  31. “How does "story" change when you design an exertion (in contrast to non-exertion) game?”

    In exertion games the story goes out the window because the focus is placed on the interactiveness of the game, while in non-exertion games it is more emphasised because a story is a good way to explain/expand on characters and grant a sense of immersion into a virtual world.

    In Counter Strike for example, a non exertion game, with no story, the reason why it still works is because of the gameplay. “Gameplay includes all player experiences during the interaction with game systems, especially formal games.” Wikipedia.

    Most exertion games are based on sport; where by doing physical actions in real life they are replicated in the virtual world on the screen. These “sports” based exertion games do not require a story because the game play element is supposed to keep the player occupied/entertained. Example: Wii Bowling.

    But I believe this method can be applied to any game, one could possibly use the Wii Mote as a light sabre in a Star Wars game, a game which would be entirely story based driven.

    Sorry if my points are jumbled up, I just missed my train typing this. :S

  32. Hey there, Logan here.
    the whole Story idea was very well covered in last week's lecture i really enjoyed listening to the debate between games that involve story and those that dont, Story is not an essential, rather it is Adds to the experience of the overall game and i hate to use the word but it can lead to further immersion. Someone brought up the argument that when you play such games that dont involve stories, you yourSELF take on the role of a character.... now i dont exactly agree with this statement, most games we play that DONT involve a stories are merely for social enjoyment or even just passing time. When we play wii bowling we dont take on the persona of..... say Bill Hoffman 2006 bowling champion, or if we play tetris we dont take on the roll of a mathematical codebreaker or puzzle solver. Just thought i'd throw my two cents in...

  33. Yes so it seems that the main thing that everyone took away from the lecture was the role of the story in a game...
    So what does a story do for a game - drives it.
    A good story would give a background to the game, providing a context for the plot and events, builds emotional investment for the player, creates an incentive to progress, and enhances the game-play by providing outside goals and rewards, enriching the feel of the game
    So it is defiantly beneficial, but if it is not developed well it can have a negative impact on the game.
    A story can be detrimental to a game if not functioning well within it – interrupting flow (through the use of cut-scenes), if it isn’t engaging or intelligent it can be ignored, which is a waste or time and money for the developer and a story may slow down the game preventing the designers from creating a great game because of having to follow the events of a simple story.

    All in all I think that a game with a story is far better than one without, because of the added depth and meaning to the events within it, however this doesn’t mean a game without a story isn’t entertaining or engaging.

    I feel I should just say that this crashed when I tried to post the comment, so this is a kinda quick rewrite of what I originally wanted to say.

  34. I found it really interesting learning more about parallel and non-parallel games and how its so important to get the right balance with technology and replicating the space.


  35. Hey all,
    As I said in the lecture.
    Regarding the "Do Games Need Stories?"
    I think it really depends on the audience you're trying to capture..
    I've realised this even more as I've been playing an immense amount of Facebook Games recently. *sigh* hahaha

    Games like Bejeweled have NO story what so ever.
    Because it is not trying to capture a story telling audience.
    It's trying to capture puzzle solvers and people that want to test their skills.

    If you want to capture people that will like the story and the graphics and such you design a game to appeal to these people.
    That's it.

    As for the rest of the lecture I found it really interesting.
    The FLOW presentation was AWESOME and I found it really helpful.
    It was very different from the past presentations which was really refreshing as it was only totally different subject matter.
    The part about ease of use for the player and the difficulties getting that balance of whether the game is too hard or too easy, was really interesting.

    But yeah,
    That's it for me.

    Tim D'Agostino (s3196906)

  36. Centrifugal Spawn the Absolutely Mad!!!June 4, 2009 at 3:25 PM

    Adrienne Giuliano 3236467. Hmmm, well here's some logic (an extension of what was proposed somewhere above.

    Bad story = bad game. BUT
    bad game != bad story AND
    good story != good game AND!!!!
    good game != story

    Therefore, does it really matter? Whether a game needs a story or not depends on the type of game and the audience it is being directed to. Purpose or direction - on the other hand - is not story but is essential to games. Take tetris: there is no story, but initially there is a point in it...sort of. AAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEE! My head hurts, begone foul heathens I've enough of the futility of this debate, I am finished!


  37. So firstly, I really don't understand how people can say the game story is not important? Of course there are some awesome games out there that do not involve a story or tell a story as such, but then there are those game that do tell a story, and if those stories were crap then I guess we wouldn't be playing them. Everyone is different with their preference and I think it just depends on what mood we are in. Its a lot quicker to start getting into and playing a game of tetris, rather than starting to play just say.. um final fantasy or something, which takes a lot to get through to the ACTUAL gameplay of the game. Sport games such as soccer and basketball (which i cannot stand) obviously people love to play them, and they don't have a story or anything behind them, thats because its not needed in the game. The ACTUAL gameplay is important and thats why we keep playing. Another comment from one of the presentations about how there are male and female games, thats so silly. Im a girl and I LOVE to playshooting games, and going around killing zombies, those are my favourite types of games. We could have divided this a few years ago, but I dont think you can say this now, when more and more girls are starting to play and enjoy it! Also a comment on the parralell and non-parralell games? Tennis is sharing the space because the player the ball, to the space desired, so there is a link between the player and the ball. So I guess they do share some sort of relationship? The ball is used as the physical interfernce of the game? I found this topic interesting and its good cos I never really thought about it before! Good classs! :) - bec

  38. When playing a game, I like to be involved and interacting with the gameplay mechanics. Enjoying the game for that. The story often times, for me, interrupts the gameplay. I think as discussed in the lecture, if a story is in a game, it is important to balance the flow of a game between the playing and the narrative.

    An RPG can have a story, but it is usually integral to the play. How you communicate is part of the game play and often time makes the story as you go along.

    Floyd, you make good point on what happens to story when you have a physical game. I think it can still have a story, but it could interrupt the flow of the game. And probably the last thing you want, is an interruption. Although this could be used strategically as a break in the game to rest the body. Like the way wii suggests taking a brea from the game system.

  39. Woo late response!
    In response to the stories thing, I NEED to say, I _totally_ disagree with that. By that definition, movies arn't 'fun' which is fine, but video games arn't really GAMES in that case. The amazing thing about video games isn't just their ability to incorporate technology into tradition games (like Floyd's research), but also thei ability to make traditional games INTO stories.
    You can't say a game is successful simply because it's fun. Take WoW, by the definitions in that book, it isn't fun AT ALL, get there's like a million players on it.
    Stories told in games are breaking the interactivity barrier. I even said in my interview for this course that I see games as becoming 'interactive novels', and I stand by that.
    I'm not saying there's anything wrong with traditional games, nor that non-story based games are poor, but I am saying there is more to success and playability than 'funness'.
    What about Pheonix Wright ay? That's practically ADVERTISED as an interactive story, and it's a damn good game!

  40. Phoenix Wright... HURRAY!


    I think exertion games show interesting implications for storytelling in games, if done correctly. Looking at the new Xbox camera, Natal, for instance. Obviously that creates a high level of emotional involvement with the character, as shown by the Milo thing Lionhead was fiddling with.

    Imagine the applications of that when given the choice to betray someone in an RPG? If the player wanted to murder a companion for money or gold or loot or whatever, actually facing the emotional consequences?

    Or how about an opponent in a boxing exertion game who can tell when you are frustrated due to facial and voice recognition. He is programmed to taunt you, and the game changes the story on the fly so he in some way becomes your rival.

    Mmm... possibilities...


  41. Another brilliant class. I am enjoying speaking about and understanding the principles and mechanics of game design.
    This is one of the reasons I am doing this course and am glad to have a truly challenging class that not only asks difficult, sometimes unanswerable questions, but also dissects them using many differing opinions and experiences.

    I agree with the comments made about gaming being social without actually being interacted with or having a social aspect. Gaming creates its own sociability in the same way a spectator sport does. A simple analogy is a football game. Millions of fans follow it, although they never play it.

    This is a concrete form of social game design and is important when designing any game intended for multiplayer projects.

    The most interesting segment of this lecture was the discussion regarding mapping and shared space within parallel and non-parallel gaming.

    Fighting games are non parallel but whats happening physically is parallel
    This is because of the mapping. Mapping is what designers do.

    Would you map a bicycle to a football game? It would be physically responsive and accurately mapped but the motions and context would be incorrect and there is a limited amount of things you could map to a bike As a designer its our job to map these actions to the a controller.

  42. I think story in games really depend on the game itself. Since not all games require a story (eg. tetris).

  43. Is it possible to have a game with no story? That depends on what your definition of story is and how much of it you need for it to be considered as one. I'm going to try and not use Tetris as an example.

    Games can have a story built into or attached to them (ie. RPGs), with these games the player's objectives are usually tied around the storyline (ie. save princess). It's usually the story that drives the players through these games.

    What's interesting though is that games are interactive experiences, and even if you say a certain game does not carry a story, players can use their imagination and attach one to it. You could turn the most simple game of Tic-Tac-Toe into a war in a battlefield. It's usually not the case, but what's stopping a group of friends from seeing the game like that?

    Troy Innocent, a Melbourne based contemporary artist, has made quite a few games based on semiotics and the roles it plays with language in digital media. If you check his work out you'll see there's no real story behind them (then again, that depends on what you consider a story to be). Players create their own goals, their own story and their own language in the games.

    So does that mean if you leave certain elements of a game (ie. objectives) open ended enough, the player themselves could create a story during game play? For example, you have three toy blocks (cubes) and a lego-man on the floor. The player has full control over them. The player decides to place the blocks on top of each other to create a tower and place the lego-man at the very top. Would the player have created a story by taking those very actions? What was it that drived him in doing so?

    What is it that drives players to choose certain paths/options in games?

    Anyway, I felt I was diving into some deep stuff, time to swim back to the surface.

    As abstract as a game can be, people will (or can) always tie it up with a story. That's what I think.

    As for the parallel/non-parallel play. Floyd's explanation has opened up so many doors that lead to so many questions. The possibilities are almost endless. Thank you, Floyd, for sharing that with us :)

    Okay, time to end this comment. I wonder if any of this will make sense when I read it tomorrow :P


  44. George SelemidisJune 7, 2009 at 3:46 AM

    Games definetly do not have to have stories, although it certainly helps the individual relate to to a game if there is a good story behind it. Definintly games do not have to have a reason to play in order for us to play them. I think I am beginning to diffrenciate between what you mean as paralel and non parallel. Previously you said that certain games such as a race could be classified a parallel and something like footy bing the non-parallel. Could we distinguish this between genres of gaming, stating that one genre is parallel and the other is not. Anyways great lecture.

  45. I hate to be the one to state this profoundly cliche(esque) point BUT with games like tetris, doesnt the high score system act as some form of story telling in itself? after all the purpose of a "story" is to recall events, but hey dont take my word for it, Webster's revised and unabridged defines a story as:

    A narration or recital of that which has occurred; a description of past events; a history; a statement; a record.

    2 things;
    1.can someone now please tell me how games are not stories.
    (that said i still think daniel had the best idea on this topic)

    2.can someone please tell me whether laserforce is paralell or not.

  46. Awesome lecture last week as usual.Both groups presented perfectly. Also, thanks to Floyd for explaining the parallel and the non parallel games again.

    When it comes to games and stories, in my opinion, Readers become readers because they love stories, We often continue reading a book late into the night to find out what happens next. So we can recognize that a game with great stories will motivate palyers to play. Games can tell wonderful stories , and it maybe help players build literacy skills. A lot of games incorporate stories into their play. By adding game play to traditional text-based literacy, encouraging players to read instructional manuals and do research on the game, and also inspiring them to write their own stories, Young gamers may just become hooked on reading. Overall, a good story is very important to game. It helps a game become more attractive and maybe player can get more knowledge when enjoy game.

    I think that's all what i wanted to comment on. Thanks!:)

    Jiajing Zhang (s3213125)

  47. Most games that contain stories have the potential to keep going. Great games have awesome stories. We emotionally invest ourselves in games that contain some kind of narrative or driving force. I can't see myself ever trying to get excited over something like Tetris, but I know I would with something like Mortal Kombat or Onimusha. Story telling is an important facet of game design and opens up so many design possibilities.

    Sama (3239506)

  48. I was about to argue that games can be stories,
    But then I read Lisa's comment - that games may 'use' stories – and that’s a really valid point. They may use stories to drive the game and immerse the player, but storyline is not a necessity.

    Sure, storyline is a major component of some very successful games - games such as BioWares’ Mass Effect and KOTOR where the player makes the game their own by developing their own version of the storyline through dialogue options
    But a lot of games can still effectively work without storyline (Tetris is the popular example).

    I actually was talking to a stranger on the train about this book (oh, the world is full of strange coincidences) and he said the foreword is written by Will Wright, the man behind The Sims and we agreed that The Sims, like all the Sim games, is a good example for this argument as it is very successful but does not come with a set storyline. Thus giving the player the freedom or option to make up their own story in the style they like.

    And then there are exertion games which quite often have no storyline – take our game concepts for example. So maybe that’s why it’s so important for exertion games to be social. As Andrew said “when you play with other people sometimes your own story is enough” and “when you are playing without other humans, you need a storyline to keep you entertained, and the experience becomes personal.”

    I found Koster’s paper interesting… although very assuming and contradictory at times. Like the part where he defines fun as “practicing and learning” but then goes on to say that school is not fun because we take it seriously. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought school was all about practicing and learning… and that not everyone takes school seriously.

    He also writes about, and draws, the underlying gameplay patterns in games such as Space Invaders, Galaxian, Tempest etc. and points out that they are all variations of the same thing, therefore the storyline is irrelevant. But don’t a lot of stories use the same structure – a beginning, middle and end / introduction, conflict, resolution?

    Maybe the actual storyline does not influence -how- the game is played but is used to encourage the player to continue playing.

    -Kalonica Quigley

  49. Ciao a tutti!
    First, I will say thank you for talking about parallel and the non parallel games again ^_^ It is an interesting concept that makes you perceive games under another light and gets you thinking ^^

    With game stories I ask the question, does a game really need a story?
    Does a story only make a good game great?

    It is almost like saying does every book need pictures?

    The answer is no, you can still gain enjoyment out of reading lines of text as you would if there were pictures there.

    Games and their intended purpose, I think for the most part determind whether or not to have a story.
    Chess is a great game, there is really no story behind it, as it is a battle of skill; You compare it to something like any Final Fantasy, which are based on a story, and as you progress through the game the story builds and you become part of that story through you avatar. I know for a fact, both games captivate me to pretty much the same extent, one has a story one does not.

    I think it is when a game no longer has a goal, or a sense of direction, it is no longer a game.

    Of course every game has the objective to win, what game wouldn't? But it is the path that we take, or choose to take in order to get there; albeit a strategic movement of inanimate objects or the well thought out ambush by our animated avatars on unsuspecting creatures that makes it enjoyable depending on personal preferences. Games based on stories are simply another way of giving the user a different experience within the same context - that is a game.

    Lauren :)

  50. In terms of the parallel and non parallel games, I am in agreement the whist stories are usually the best catalyst for stronger interest in a game, it is not a necessity.
    Games like tetris and bejewelled are incredibly popular throughout mainstream gaming, and I believe its because the game is challenging a skill the player is concious of having, so as top call their bluff so to speak. basically I think these games run on the fustration of failiure because the player KNOWS that it is simple and that their neural functions can process the task, making losing all the more annoying to them.

    Games with story lines I think just are trying to script in interest.

  51. Ben Taylor s3168518June 11, 2009 at 1:53 PM

    Paralell and non-paralell games are really interesting, I had never thought about games in that fashion before. The groups that presented did well, I don't really have any other comments, thanks for an awesome week.

  52. A game with no story...well, those are the games I usually don't play.

    All the good games have storylines behind them. (in my personal opinion) Take games like Final Fantasy, The Legend of Zelda, Mario, they all have some storyline that captures the audiences attention and makes them want to play, making these games so popular.

    Paralell and non paralell games are extreamly interesting!! I really have never thought of gameplay in that way.

    It makes so much more sense as a designer when you put it into that perspective.

    Thats why I love Maths and Physics, Floyd always manages to get me thinking about gameplay and questioning different things I could do in my games.

    Kudos To Floyd, and kudos to the teams that presented ;)