Sunday, 20 April 2008

Week 22: GDC

OK, so I've had a look around at the sort of stuff that's going on at GDC, and I can safely say, Damn you Mike I want to go to! It looks like there's loads of interesting talks, but most of all because the weather doesn't suck to high hell over there.

Looking back on GDC 2006 I noticed that events took place in London, which is no more than a short train ride from where I'm stationed when not in Leicester. Looking closer on the events I saw there was an interesting title, 'Creating Emotion In Next-Gen Games' so I've decided to ramble on about that today. Don't worry, I won't get all soppy on you.

'An emotion is a mental and physiological state associated with a wide variety of feelings, thoughts, and behaviours.'

Now I'm not going to get all psychological on you (partly because I don't know enough about it, but also because it's not my particular brand of whisky), I'm just going to look at some of the key techniques used to 'move' you.

Generally people will connect with characters or NPCs, as people who play over the Internet are hardly Oscartm winners. They must make the player identify with the character, and in doing so induce the player into bonding with them.

Creating a history helps, telling you where they've come from and what they've been through. Any little detail that will breathe life into the NPC is vital, and will help them relate to the character, igniting players' emotions, making them hungry for more.

So a great deal of the emotion created is down to the script, storyline and characters, but how about graphics?

With graphics getting better by the day, developers are able to bring facial animations in that can give a heightened sense of realism, but then realism isn't always necessary. Final Fantasy VII stunned fans, and in some cases raised emotions, when Aeries died, and facial animations were non-existent in that game.

But when it comes down to it, there's nothing like a good plot twist, something unexpected that will move the player with the help of shock.

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