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Narrative Weenies - Drop Dead Gorgeous

January 19, 2017

 What are Weenies?

The “weenie” is an architectural concept named by Disney Imagineering. The “weenies” are visual magnets that are meant to draw the attention of theme park guests from one area to another. The idea is that no matter where you are in the park there will always be something of interest in view that will attract your attention and make you think “want to go there”. This concept has been applied in the level design of many games, making it so that the player can always find something they would like to do or explore ("THEORY OF THEME PARKS: Wayfinding in Themed Design: The “Weenie”," 2015). This is a concept that I would like to try and apply to the narrative of my game by having the player look for key adjectives or characteristics that will pop up in conversation, and then follow those leads to have them explore more of the level.

 

Writer and Designer Meet

I needed some guide lines that I could follow when re-writing the story so I sat down with the game designer and we hashed out a few ideas, this lead to the idea of having narrative weenies.

  We came up with Case Goals and ran through the overall story to find ways to optimize the use of the dialogue system. We decided that having key descriptors for the missing person (i.e. Handsome) would be a good way to show the player that they are on the right track. These adjectives are our narrative weenies.

 I went back to the original story took out what no longer would fit and created a new way that the player could work through the story.

 First run through of the new story structure. For each location I outlined the information the player would need and what they would gain.

 After figuring the main beats out I needed to figure out the flow of information from one person to the next. I landed on the idea that the Talent Agency would act as a small hub where the player could access a large amount of information, but unless they knew what they were looking for there would be too much to sift through.

 I broke down how information would flow through the conversations with the Talent Agency A.I.

 

Winslet Apartment - Find out Fin worked with Talent Agent #1

Talent Agency - Gives List of Agents > Player picks Agent #1 and is told that they work in popular entertainment areas around the city  > Player opens map and selects popular entertainment locations and a list of Projects are given.

The player needs to find the name of the project that Fin (the missing person) had been working on. They do this by visiting popular entertainment locations. Once they find the correct project name they can go back to the agency and access the resumes found within the project files.

 Here you can see how I was trying to categorize locations based on certain descriptors so that the player could deduce which locations they needed to investigate to find the correct project name.

 I went through and broke down the hierarchy of the conversation at the Talent Agency so that I could see how many projects and resumes I would have to create for each location/ agent.

 

Moving Forward

After having done all of this I have begun writing out the characteristics of each character and what information they will pass onto the character. There is a lot of work ahead I have to write out the dialogue relative to all the locations and flavor text. Until then the base outline of the story will be put into the game so that we can text to see if the players are able to follow the story and arrive at the correct conclusion.

 

Reference

THEORY OF THEME PARKS: Wayfinding in Themed Design: The “Weenie”. (2015, August 16). Retrieved from http://theoryofthemeparks.blogspot.ca/2015/08/wayfinding-in-themed-design-weenie.html

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