Writing and building.
This week being a break week I felt the need to take a break myself, and just take some time to write out my introduction. As was advised by Scott my head advisor. and in doing so I realized the gravity of my thesis. I danced around the subject, not because I didn't know what it was I was talking about but because talking about always felt so insignificant. "I want to know" should be followed by grand questions, the secrets of the universe, the answer to unsolved questions. not " I want to know how design levels." but that isn't the question I'm asking in the end. I want to know in this case is followed by how to have a conversation. now that is such a simple concept, "hello, goodbye, and the stuff in between that makes the conversation feel fulfilling" as a designer you have to put that into all your work. visually this could be creating something for the viewer to ponder, or even leaving more informed. what are road signs but a designer telling you where you are or where to go?
in-game design that conversation is the same but it's one that evolves if you want it to.
how do I jump? how do I walk? the initial questions. then you get to the complex one. if I do this will I get hurt? if I go here will feel satisfied? what is satisfaction what does it look like in this space?
and so on and so on. I saw level design as the avenue for this because what better way to tell a person where to go than to make the road they're on. the space they have to play in is all designed by me. led by a narrative. and compelled by the design to allow choice. How do these decisions made by a designer result in a pleasant conversation?
in terms of game production I hit a bit of a brick wall. I'm still in the middle of white boxing two scenes but neither chooses to behave and I feel as if I'm too fried to think. perhaps I am. one game scene I want to feel cinematic with a scene of a player falling from a great height into an abyss below. BUT I don't remove choice. how do I do this? can I make it a collection of scenes rather than an actual place? does omitting space mean I've removed one vital aspect of my own thesis's argument? or am I just tired?
regardless I rebuilt the last level from my previous game project. hoping to make the player enter a border crossing. walking atop a bridge each step further they sink just a bit deeper and eventually they fall. the problem is. my NPCs Ai is not behaving so I need to think of an alternate.
my other white box is actually going much smoother, and I rather like the goal. I want players to be able to play guitar versions of Mexican folk songs. for this one, I chose La Llorona. the same song Disney chose a character to sing in Coco.
here's an excerpt of my introduction from my thesis.
"The process of designing games is a collaborative one. Regardless of the size of its team or audience. There is a conversation that is had between player and designer, expressed through the decisions a player makes, and the queues left behind by the designer. The flow that is created when a player gets from point a to point be, and the desire that forms to continue all the way to points C, D, and Z. This is the inherent bond shared between narrative, choice, and level design. How do you design a narrative space around a story that is meant to be walked through as opposed to reading? Or watched? And how are a player’s choices meant to be received? Actions propelling a story? Or ones bound to it?
It is my goal to explore these questions through the generation of 2 versions of a game using the same narrative. One that follows the linear progression of a story, and one that follows a nonlinear path. It is my hope that this exploration will find key differences in how one orients themselves as designers when considering the engagement they wish their games to have."