Chapter 4: Working with Dramatic Elements

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Overview

Exercise 4.1: Making Checkers Dramatic

start example

The game of checkers is very abstract: there is no story, no characters, and no compelling reason why you would want to capture all of your opponent's pieces, except for the fact that it's the objective of the game.

For this exercise, devise a set of dramatic elements for checkers that make the game more emotionally engaging. For example, you might create a backstory, give each piece its own name, distinctive look, define special areas on the board, or whatever creative ideas you can think of to connect the players to this simple, abstract system. Now, play your new game with friends or family and note their reaction. How do the dramatic elements improve or detract from the experience?

end example

We've seen how formal elements work together to create the experience we recognize as a game, but now let's turn to those elements we've defined as dramatic-those which engage the players emotionally with the game experience and invest them in its outcome. Basic dramatic elements, like challenge and play, are found in all games. Other elements, like premise, character, and story, surround the more abstract elements of the formal system, creating a sense of connection for the players and enriching their overall experience.

One way to create more engaging games is to study how these elements work to create engagement and how they've been used in othergames-as well as other media. Your exploration of these dramatic elements and traditional tools can help you to think of new ideas and new situations for your own designs.

Exercise 4.2: Dramatic Games

start example

Name five games that you find dramatically interesting. What is it about those games that you find compelling?

end example



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Game Design Workshop. Designing, Prototyping, and Playtesting Games
Game Design Workshop: Designing, Prototyping, & Playtesting Games (Gama Network Series)
ISBN: 1578202221
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2003
Pages: 162

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