Action and Intent is the name of my topic for Crafting Intangibles, which was a series of 20-minute talks on and about Narrative Design, organised by Christy Dena.
The talks become free to the public on August 10th 2017, and at that time I’ll post again with more information and the link to the video. But until then…
We all end with a challenge/activity, and here’s mine:
Try this with some of the projects you’ve worked on, are working on, or your favourite (or least favourite) games.
- Describe the theme of your narrative. What is your main character’s hopes and goals? What do they want, and what must they do to achieve it? What shouldn’t they do? What do they need to start or stop doing?
- Over-write it. Don’t worry about being succinct for this activity. If you run out of things to write, keep writing. Really push until you have nothing left.
- Underline all the VERBS that you’ve just written.
- Look for patterns of positive and negative versions of each verb, like Aristotelian vices. From this, you can start looking at neutral versions of the verbs- this makes them more flexible and also narrows down many verbs into a few key ones.
- These key VERBS are some of the options that you should give your player. Some of them- what the player must start doing – are good choices, and some of them – what the player must stop doing – are temptations and vices.
- Think about how it can apply to both Narrative Systems and Gameplay Systems. eg, How can the player “Investigate” as part of narrative and as part of the gameplay?
(example for “Investigation”: Layton Brothers: Mystery Room)
That’s it! I hope this helps focus your project.
Check out the talks at the Crafting Intangibles website for more activities, advice, and inspiration!