Chapter 2.27. Emotioneering Techniques Category 27: True-to-Life Techniques

Chapter 2.27. Emotioneering Techniques Category #27: "True-to-Life" Techniques

A realistic talk about realism.

Adding a sense

of realism to the NPCs' emotional actions and reactions helps create emotional immersion.

Certainly, in the past, one of the primary ways of making a game immersive has been to make it look, sound, and feel realistic.

This effort has prompted successive innovations in creating software that emulates the refraction of light, the textures of buildings, and the semi-random animation of fire, or of waves on the ocean. It's this effort that has prompted games to include changing weather, or to make day in a game turn into night.

The bottom line: Realism creates emotional immersion.

In Star Trek Voyager: Elite Force, you go on a variety of dangerous missions as part of a small squad. There are a few places in the game where you can overhear some of the other team members talking among themselves before a mission.

In one of these situations, you hear a character named Chell expressing his terror at the upcoming mission. Hearing him express his fear actually ups the fearfulness of the mission itself.

The moral of the story is that having NPCs undergo appropriate emotions can make the game much more realistic. This means, for instance, having an NPC express such things as:

  • Fear before or during a frightening situation or event

  • Relief after it's over

  • Sorrow for a wounded or killed comrade

  • Exhilaration after a difficult mission or piece of a mission is over

Remember, however, that when a character expresses fear, sorrow, or some other powerful emotion, quite often the way it's best expressed isn't by the character stating his feelings directly. For instance, having an NPC say "I'm afraid" is usually weak writing and, thus, can undo efforts to create emotional immersion.

The same emotion can often be expressed much more powerfully by such techniques as:

  • Having the NPC feign that he isn't afraid, yet have something about his tone of voice, his wording, or his actions contradict his statement.

  • Having the NPC's pent-up emotion erupt inappropriately toward someone else. For example, before the big, looming battle, which your squad expects to lose, NPC "A" erupts angrily toward his best friend NPC "B," as a result of his inner tension.

  • Learning that the NPC, despite his cool demeanor, is actually terrified from a report by another NPC who saw evidence of the first character's terror.

  • If the NPC does express his fear, "less is more" (having the NPC say few words) almost always communicates strong emotion more realistically and more powerfully than having the NPC go on and on.

Remember that your NPCs should have different Character Diamonds and, thus, would show fear in very different ways. (For more on making NPCs sound unique, see Chapters 2.1 through 2.4.)

Creating Emotion in Games. The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
Creating Emotion in Games: The Craft and Art of Emotioneering
ISBN: 1592730078
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 394

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