Motivations for exploring

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Dan Westtin

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Apr 2, 2003, 5:35:01 PM4/2/03
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I thought this could be a good way to step in here.

I'd like to know if there are any good alternative ways to provide a
plausible explanation for the PC to go off exploring aside from the many
times tried:

You fall asleep and dream of magical places.
Space aliens pick you up.
Amnesia.
You find a pendant/book/trapdoor/other noun at a random opportunity which
mysteriously transports you to wonderous places you've never seen.
Or just skiping explanation all together.

Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that his
character has a good reason to run off and explore the world? And are there
any good advice in attempting to make up new?

--
/Dan


Louie Hannen

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Apr 2, 2003, 5:56:44 PM4/2/03
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"Dan Westtin" <dan.w...@bredband.net> wrote in message
news:ayJia.3217$sg3...@news1.bredband.com...

>
> Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that
his
> character has a good reason to run off and explore the world? And are
there
> any good advice in attempting to make up new?


Other than what you've already listed, some of the better IF games I've
played have involved:

- Investigating a crime.
- Solving a mystery (doesn't have to involve a crime).
- Attaining wealth, fame, power, freedom, or any other number of things like
those.

I'm sure there are tons more.

Most of the better ones I've played don't just shove someone into the game.
They introduce the player to their character's personality and the world
they're about to experience by providing feelies (they can work very well),
back story, pictures, a manual of some sort - or any number of other things.
When done right, these pre-game/out-of-game elements combined with a
well-written IF can provide for a very immersive experience that makes the
player want to explore the game regardless of the character's motivations.

For me it'd be more difficult to just make up a motivation without involving
myself somehow. To start out I'd take something that would motivate _me_ to
explore the game world and expand upon that. I'd wait until I got a little
more experience with writing IF before divorcing myself from the story or
character motivations in any meaningful way. Then again, I have only begun
my first IF... so my perspective may differ from some of the more
experienced authors on here. ;)

Louie

Harry

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Apr 2, 2003, 6:10:48 PM4/2/03
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I think there are two ways of looking at this:

1) You provide a 'game goal'
This involves points to be scored, treasure to be found, puzzles to be
solved. So the *player* is motivated to do stuff in the game.

2) You provide 'character motivation'
In which you give the Player Character a reason to do whatever it is
you want him to do, like a character in a book. This is a lot
trickier, since the PC is controlled by the Player, who might
interpret the events in the game differently then you, and might not
want to do the same things the PC might want.

Option 1 allows for a lot of open-ness in your design and option 2
makes for better stories.

I am still trying to figure out a balance between them, since there
are infinite shades of gray between the two.

Also, I don't know if 2) is superior to 1) in any way. I know lots of
people here will argue that story is the most important part. But
freedom to chose your own strategies, unburdened by a 'personality
transplant' is more appealing to me. I'd love to hear more on this...
Other thoughts, anyone?

-------------------------
"Hey, aren't you Gadget?"
"I was."

(To send e-mail, remove SPAMBLOCK from address)

Dan Westtin

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Apr 2, 2003, 7:29:41 PM4/2/03
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I thank you both for your comments though I was more leaning towards
providing the player with motivation through the player character's
motivations.

Thank you also for the thoughts on player motivations and characterization.

"- Investigating a crime.
- Solving a mystery (doesn't have to involve a crime).
- Attaining wealth, fame, power, freedom, or any other number of things like
those"

I'll add these to my evergreen list of pc and npc motivations.

Keep them comments coming :)


BJ

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Apr 2, 2003, 8:37:53 PM4/2/03
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On Wed, 2 Apr 2003 14:35:01 -0800, "Dan Westtin"
<dan.w...@bredband.net> wrote:

>Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that his
>character has a good reason to run off and explore the world? And are there
>any good advice in attempting to make up new?

Nekked chyck in distant shower. Works for me.

Richard Bos

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Apr 3, 2003, 2:11:00 AM4/3/03
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"Dan Westtin" <dan.w...@bredband.net> wrote:

> You fall asleep and dream of magical places.
> Space aliens pick you up.
> Amnesia.
> You find a pendant/book/trapdoor/other noun at a random opportunity which
> mysteriously transports you to wonderous places you've never seen.
> Or just skiping explanation all together.
>
> Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that his
> character has a good reason to run off and explore the world?

Royal order.

Richard

Daphne Brinkerhoff

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Apr 3, 2003, 11:52:41 AM4/3/03
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"Dan Westtin" <dan.w...@bredband.net> wrote in message news:<ayJia.3217$sg3...@news1.bredband.com>...
> Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that his
> character has a good reason to run off and explore the world? And are there
> any good advice in attempting to make up new?

Tookie's Song and Chasing had animals running off and having to be
hunted down (Tookie was a pet dog, Chasing used horses).

Cattus Atrox -- well, it didn't do this exactly, but it makes me think
of a way -- something threatening you that forces you from a safe
place, coming home to find an intruder, for example. Then you might
also be motivated to go gather resources to deal with the intruder
(this was the part where Cattus Atrox kinda fell down; in Real Life,
you could just dial 911, so you'd have to choose your situation
carefully).

Winter Wonderland started out by sending you to the store (before the
fantasyland transformation). Not Just An Ordinary Ballerina was a
shopping trip, too.

Bureaucracy had a job in Paris you were trying to get to.

For some reason I'm thinking of HEBgB. Some kind of
entertainment/other big event that the player hears about.

--
Daphne

Jay T

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Apr 3, 2003, 4:37:29 PM4/3/03
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> > You fall asleep and dream of magical places.
> > Space aliens pick you up.
> > Amnesia.
> > You find a pendant/book/trapdoor/other noun at a random opportunity
which
> > mysteriously transports you to wonderous places you've never seen.
> > Or just skiping explanation all together.
> >
> > Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that
his
> > character has a good reason to run off and explore the world?


They've all been used to good effect in fiction.
Others: war, rescue, revenge...
From history you can add economic necessity, famine, war, ennui,
desire for fame, religion, ideology...
Then there's self discovery and the desire to prove or test oneself.

Richard Henry Dana spent "Three Years Before the Mast" because
his doctor said a sea voyage would cure his eyesight, so add medical
reasons.


Edmund Kirwan

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Apr 6, 2003, 7:16:28 PM4/6/03
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cen...@hotmail.com (Daphne Brinkerhoff) wrote in message news:<1a80bb93.03040...@posting.google.com>...

> "Dan Westtin" <dan.w...@bredband.net> wrote in message news:<ayJia.3217$sg3...@news1.bredband.com>...
> > Which solutions have been more successful in convincing the player that his
> > character has a good reason to run off and explore the world? And are there
> > any good advice in attempting to make up new?


It's a great question.

It's hard to tell whether it's the most essential question of IF, or
whether it's beside the point.

There are going to be two types of people playing your game:
1) People who've never played IF before. These will see (if you have,
it: there's a live thread on whether it's good or not): "You can go
north and southwest." THAT will probably be enough for them to try,
"Walk," "Run," and eventually (hopefully), "North." In the the goal of
your game is presumably to have players enjoying playing it, then
you'll have won. For about 2 minutes. Longer than that will probably
depend on your ability to balance your players' prowess for
problem-solving against his/her frustration at lack of progress.

2) IF-ol'timers. Here, they probably do want more, "Reason to
explore," than the newbies. Psychologists do tell us that there is
only carrot and stick, and nothing else. That being the case, probably
the best way to get ol'-timers to explore is to show them a big, juicy
carrot and a big, evil-smelling stick. "You are on the well-polished
floorboards of the Titanic's bow on a beautiful, balmy evening. A band
is playing cheerily indoors, and the dancing couples have even spilled
out of the dancehall. There is a lifeboat here." - What would you do?
You know things are going to turn slighty sour, probably shortly. But
wouldn't it be nice to poke around before then? And if you die, just
like in real life (ahem) you can just start again.

The point being: I don't hold that a background check on the character
you're playing should provide the incentive for playing. I think that
the effect is more poignant when the immediate environment suggests
possibilities.

Of course, it could be argued that my example gives a certain
background check on the character and hence discounts my entire
argument.

DOH!

.ed


/==================\
www.edmundkirwan.com
"It's not very good."

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