Published on February 5, 2008
Love Story or…Tell me againwhy I agreed to do this?: Love Story or…Tell me againwhy I agreed to do this? Warren Spector [email protected] Game Developers Conference San Jose, CA March 25, 2004 Welcome: Welcome Thanks a lot, Eric (Insert dripping sarcasm here) I don’t have a clue how to make a love story game. If I DID know, I’d do it… Thinking about the problem: Thinking about the problem Pick your platform and/or game style For me: Single-player, Story-based, Character-based. For the other panelists, maybe something different (MMORPG? God-Game?…) Abstract out the real problems Read all available research materials. Think until blood pours from forehead. If blood, drop the idea immediately. If no blood, ask key questions. Get help from others Synthesize. Platform - MMORPG: Platform - MMORPG Create appropriate visual representations Sight is critical, say the researchers Offer shared experiences Shared interests are a given (playing the same game…) Introduce some risk (get the nervous system working) Let nature take its course Real people interacting with other real people Offer online wedding ceremonies, cheap. God-Game: God-Game Pick the things you want to simulate Stages of love Physiological elements of love Create player avatars and a multitude of AI-driven characters Offer activities designed to affect measurable characteristics (re stages, virtual physiology) Track status of each NPC wrt to player When stats reach appropriate level, alert player he has won at the Game of Love. Story Game: Story Game Beats me Ask appropriate questions: Ask appropriate questions What are we trying to do? What’s the potential (why do it)? What are we trying to simulate? What are the challenges? How well-suited to games is the idea? Has anyone done this before? What are the player goals? What does the player do? Your Answers Here: Your Answers Here (Hey, Eric wanted some audience participation so here it is.) (Be glad I didn’t do what I originally planned to do.) (I was going to get two of you up here to play out a love scene, to show how hard it is to get people to feel something specific…) What are we trying to do?: What are we trying to do? A game about love A story game A single player game A platform agnostic game Why do this?: Why do this? Something new. Grow the audience. Better characters/actors. Impossible. What do we want players to experience?: What do we want players to experience? Stages of love? Attraction, Romance, Passion, Intimacy, Commitment… Physiology of love? All five senses Hormone release (testosterone, estrogen, dopamine, norepinephrine, serotonin, oxytocin, vasopressin…) Courtship rituals leading to specific outcomes? Companionship, Sex, Marriage, Family, Divorce… Feelings associated with being in love? Elevated heart rate, dry mouth, sweaty palms, inability to sleep. What are the challenges?: What are the challenges? Can’t force players to feel. Requires character interaction. Love is a many splendored thing. We know this isn’t real. The feeling challenge: The feeling challenge Can’t force feelings No empathy in games The character challenge: The character challenge Our characters are weak. The best of them look bad. The best of them move like marionettes, and the puppeteer is drunk. Conversations? Not good. The senses challenge: The senses challenge All five senses contribute. Not in games… The unreality challenge: The unreality challenge Anyone here think games are real? Part of the appeal of games is that they’re not real. Fine for killing monsters or solving puzzles Trouble for a game built around the player’s emotional response. How well-suited to games? The bad…: How well-suited to games? The bad… Not very No winning or losing No points Few obvious goals Few action verbs How well-suited, the good: How well-suited, the good On the other hand Classic fantasy Common experience Potential for pain in real world Has anyone done this before?: Has anyone done this before? Japanese dating sims? Ico? DXIW? (Oh, those Spiderbots!) Grim Fandango? Dating sims: Dating sims Ico: Ico Deus Ex and the bots: Deus Ex and the bots Grim, very grim…: Grim, very grim… Player goals: Player goals Not winning or losing No “scoring points” in a relationship Fall in love with a virtual character? Learn something about love? Deal with someone who’s in love with you? What does the player do?: What does the player do? What are the “verbs of love?” Talk? Hug? Kiss? Other (ahem) physical manifestations of love? Sweat? Feel giddy? Exude pheromone’s? Ooze oxycitone? Why is this such a hard problem?: Why is this such a hard problem? We don’t do “emotion” well. We don’t do “character” well. We don’t do kinesthetics well. We don’t do interaction well! We know it isn’t real. That’s the real challenge of the game of love So what CAN we do?: So what CAN we do? Character studies: Character studies Better characters More convincing models More expressive physicality More sophisticated conversational approaches Pursuit, not feeling: Pursuit, not feeling Focus on pursuit and lessons, not the feeling of love Testing behaviors in “risky” situations Believable consequences follow from reasonable choices Guidance counseling: Guidance counseling Externalized situation Guide a character Don’t be a character Track behavior and responses closely Represent (unrealistically): Represent (unrealistically) Play with elements we can control Rendering Audio Thanks for listening!: Thanks for listening!