June 14, 2005

DiGRA Papers Online

by Andrew Stern · , 3:38 pm

The proceedings of the upcoming DiGRA conference are now online, giving folks a chance to read up before the ludopolooza officially begins Thursday evening in Vancouver. Looks like quite a diverse collection of ideas and arguments! Among them you can find the full text of a new paper by Michael and me, Build It to Understand It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space. Preluded in part of last December’s Head Games discussion and sort of a companion paper to our AIIDE paper, in this new paper we talk about our take on resolving the tension between game and story: to recast interactions within a story world in terms of abstract social games, where players fire off discourse acts instead of guns, in which the player’s “score” is not communicated to the player via numbers or sliders but rather via enriched, theatrically dramatic performance.

Michael also is a contributing author to two other DiGRA papers, Evolution Of Space Configuration In Videogames with Clara Fernandez Vara and Jose Zagal, and Towards an Ontological Language for Game Analysis with Jose, Clara, Brian Hochhalter and Nolan Lichti. Prolific one, that Michael.

Hope to see you in Vancouver.

4 Responses to “DiGRA Papers Online”


  1. josh g. Says:

    Not sure if I’ll be at the conference, the cost is well outside of my budget right now, but perhaps if security is lax …

  2. Nicolas Szilas Says:

    I have just read your paper “Build It to Understand It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space”. Thank you for the set of relevant points it contains, concerning the need to explore, practically, new avenues in narrative games.
    You mention the ludology-narratology debate as “sterile, primarly abandoned with no satisfactory progress”. In my opinion, this is due to the fact that it was not a scientifical debate, as it seemed: it was mostly composed a series of strong “ludologic” statement made by ludologists in order to (consciously or not) establish their field in academics. This “non debate” was thus necessary, and the result is positive: game studies exist now. We can now have a debate, not on “ludology vs naratology” but on more refined categories, such as agency, tension, competition, affordance, rules, etc. Your paper is an example of such a debate.

  3. aukema Says:

    Michael and Andrew: Excellent paper on the design of Facade. Glad to see that you had some Aristotle to offset McKee. I got a real sense of the programming complexities. Do you plan to keep adding modules to the global mix-ins? If so, a few suggestions. A simple way to a greater local and global agency would involve determining the gender of the player. If male, Grace would go after him; if female, Trip might go after her. And what if the player is gay or bi? In Aristotelian terms, there’s an uneasy balance between the protagonist and antagonist when the drama opens. When the player begins the game, that’s the moment of inception that upsets the balance.

    If you gently pull the player into the triangle, the explosion of dramatic story possibilities is not infinite, but highly limited and could be controlled elegantly by your drama manager.

    Do you plan or is there already coded within Facade a ratings system for language? If you use the mode categories from Frye (The Anatomy of Criticism – romantic, tragic, comic, and satiric), all you’d have to do is change the idioms of dialogue expression. Obviously, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf uses some triple X satiric language (I watch my 10 year old daughter godplaying Sims2 for hours and marvel at the XXX version lurking just beneath the surface of the character generator).

    Some off the wall questions: have you read much catastrophe theory (elementary catastrophes: fold, cusp, swallowtail, butterfly, hyperbolic umbilic, elliptic umbilic, and parabolic umbilic), and if so, have you thought about how to incorporate these catastrophes into a story generator?

    Have you looked at the story generator in Propp’s? Three young women at Brown, Nicole Wee,Laura Tan & Celeste Lim, attempted the first Propp generator in JavaScript (http://www.brown.edu/Courses/FR0133/Fairytale_Generator/home.html) I’ve seen. Are there any more out there?

    In case you wonder who this idiot is, I’m Scott’s old teacher at Coe.

    Oh yeah, there’s one more story generator out there: William Wallacee Cook’s Plotto, the Master Book of All Plots. Seems like the story generating software from Dramatica (or else it’s StoryBase) have upgraded (stolen?) Cook’s dramatic situations.

    Anyway, I was quite excited by your paper and have been thinking about the higher level authoring tool you call for at the end of your paper. Keep pushing the envelope.

  4. Grand Text Auto » DiGRA05 in Pictures Says:

    [...] It: Ludology Meets Narratology in Game Design Space. I briefly described the paper in my pre-DiGRA post; but I didn’t mention that the paper, we believe, is the fir [...]

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