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Bringing more imagination into games

Bringing more imagination into games
« on: May 17, 2011, 06:01:13 pm »

Spawned by an old post of Michael, I have been brewing on some ideas regarding the place of imagination in games. Finally I have managed to pull my thoughts together and write a blog about it:

http://frictionalgames.blogspot.com/2011/05/finding-videogames-true-voice.html

Basically I argue that video games are missing the "magical essence" that exist in other media: give an attempt at nailing down exactly what this essence is; and finally gives some suggestion on how to achieve it in games. During this discussion I delve into the empty spaces in media, where the the audience's interpretation is essential. Read the whole post to find out more Smiley

This is something I am still thinking about and would very much like to discuss it further with you people!
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Re: Bringing more imagination into games
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2011, 08:11:07 pm »

All through that post I was thinking of Scott McCloud. Cheesy

I don't think I have anything to discuss. you throw a lot of ideas out there but nothing really concrete. Plus my own game development is limited, I'm not sure what to think at this time.
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Irony is for cowards.
Re: Bringing more imagination into games
« Reply #2 on: May 19, 2011, 08:38:51 am »

Thank you for the aknowledgement, Thomas! Smiley

I wonder if an active awareness of what turns something into art is really important to an artist. It feels more like a recipe for non-artists to make art. And as such doomed to fail.  Grin

But the idea that leaving things out to make room for the imagination of the player improves the quality of the work, is of course a very encouraging thought. We're all always looking for things that we can cut from our designs -this stuff is so much work. So your observations can function as a helpful guide as to where we should make the cuts. As I see it, your essay leads to a simple rule: "Don't build things that the player can imagine."

It is indeed exhilarating to be able to imagine things when experiencing art. It connects one so much closer to the piece. The imagination is the place where art and spectator live together.
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Re: Bringing more imagination into games
« Reply #3 on: May 21, 2011, 12:50:08 pm »

I thought it was a very interesting post that has a lot of influence. The idea of telling things through 'not telling' things is interesting and applicable; I wrote Julian to talk about his job for a lot of the start of Dinner Date so the date would grow more in the imagination.

I have to think a bit more on this, but I already now made the choice to have 'cuts' in my new game. It seemed obvious from the moment you wrote games 'don't have this' that this is a thing which misses from games. I thought for a moment that cuts are too much wanting to be cinema, but rather it is a language we are neglecting; and in a way it is odd games so stoically keep to a 1:1 time passing ratio. It makes no sense to tediously show every thing happening (and compress the world for it to happen in real time) if you could add some cuts and let the world be far larger in the player's mind.

That's the main thing I got away from it, actually, that perhaps we make small worlds and then show them 100%, rather than allowing the player's character to experience a far larger world and thus giving the player a means to imagine it also.

We are clamping down their otherwise excellent imagination Smiley! I suppose it's part of what the player is 'good at'; writing dialogue; no; imagining opening the front door and walking to the living room; yes. We don't need to show that walking.

Besides, more rapid cuts makes it a bit more fast-paced and rhythmically more interesting than what the player could come up with. Also it saves you when the player starts doing bad things, you can just cut away to when the player behaves.

As I say I need to think more on this, it feels like such an obvious part of the game language that imagining its uses makes me ramble. (On, and on, in one unbroken sentence...)
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Re: Bringing more imagination into games
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2011, 04:09:00 pm »

I find this direction a very encouraging and inspiring one.

This makes me think: with all the game-making friendly competitions and game jams orginized here and there which mostly give some bad mashups of popular game generes as result, why not oranize a friendly contest/game jam with a research purpose such as finding the "Kuleshov effect" of video games? I mean, gathering a bunch of people to make fast prototypes knowing that they´ll certainly fail, but will serve to find out what dosen´t work and why.
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Re: Bringing more imagination into games
« Reply #5 on: August 04, 2011, 10:12:37 pm »

This makes me think: with all the game-making friendly competitions and game jams orginized here and there which mostly give some bad mashups of popular game generes as result, why not oranize a friendly contest/game jam with a research purpose such as finding the "Kuleshov effect" of video games? I mean, gathering a bunch of people to make fast prototypes knowing that they´ll certainly fail, but will serve to find out what dosen´t work and why.

That is exactly the kind of work I was proposing in this post: A Meaningful Gameplay Game Jam

The findings from the Kuleshov-like test could be posted here: http://www.meaningfulgameplay.com

The first jam is taking place August 12-14, right before the Notgames Expo.

I already now made the choice to have 'cuts' in my new game.

I've started to do the exact same thing! I think visual continuity is completely unnecessary as long as you substitute that for continuity of input. Stationary-camera games prove that it could work, although I don't see a reason why the camera needs to be stationary.
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