Wright_Proposal_1_4 by liamei12345

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									Evoking Urgency through
      Level Design




             Hunter Wright
          November 12, 2008




       A Proposal Presented for a
    Masters of Interactive Technology
             SMU Guildhall
Masters Proposal                              SMU Guildhall


    Evoking Urgency through Level Design

                           Hunter Wright


                      A Proposal
                   Presented for the
           Master of Interactive Technology
                        Degree

                           SMU Guildhall


Approved by:


_______________________________
Myque Ouellette, Guildhall Professor   Date
Supervisor

_______________________________
Michael McCoy, Guildhall Professor     Date
Advisor

_______________________________
TBA                                    Date
Reader




Hunter Wright                      2            December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                                                       SMU Guildhall



Table of Contents
Table of Tables ................................................................................................................... 5
Introduction ......................................................................................................................... 6
Field Review ....................................................................................................................... 7
   Time ................................................................................................................................ 7
   Environment .................................................................................................................. 10
   Entities .......................................................................................................................... 12
   Future Research ............................................................................................................ 34
Methodology ..................................................................................................................... 15
   Introduction ................................................................Error! Bookmark not defined.17
   The Product ................................................................................................................... 15
      Quick Summary ........................................................................................................ 15
      Gameplay Overview ................................................................................................. 16
      Technical Overview .................................................................................................. 17
      Details ....................................................................................................................... 18
      Visual References ..................................................................................................... 20
      Rough Map................................................................................................................ 28
   Testing and Data Collection.......................................................................................... 29
   Schedule ........................................................................................................................ 33
Conclusion ........................................................................................................................ 34
References ......................................................................................................................... 36




Hunter Wright                                                       3                                      December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                                             SMU Guildhall



Table of Figures
Figure 1: Gears of War timer puzzle .................................................................................. 8
Figure 2: Call of Duty 4 Sniper Mission ............................................................................. 9
Figure 3: Combo system in The Club ............................................................................... 10
Figure 4: Contrasting Light in Doom 3 ............................................................................. 11
Figure 5: Augustus Cole from Gears of War .................................................................... 12
Figure 6: Alma Chases the Player in F.E.A.R. .................................................................. 13
Figure 7: Super Mario Brothers 3 Auto-Scrolling Level.................................................. 14
Figure 8: A race against an NPC is about to begin in Oblivion ........................................ 14
Figure 9: Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2 ............................................................................ 13
Figure 10: Terrain / Vegetation Example 1 ...................................................................... 20
Figure 11: Vegetation Example 1 ..................................................................................... 20
Figure 12: Terrain / Vegetation Example 2 ...................................................................... 21
Figure 13: Architecture Example 1 ................................................................................... 21
Figure 14: Architecture Example 2 ................................................................................... 22
Figure 15: Architecture Example 3 ................................................................................... 22
Figure 16: Lighting Example 1 ......................................................................................... 23
Figure 17: Texture Example 1 .......................................................................................... 23
Figure 18: Texture / Lighting Example 1 ......................................................................... 24
Figure 19: Texture / Lighting Example 2 ......................................................................... 24
Figure 20: Truck Reference .............................................................................................. 25
Figure 21: Enemy Sniper Reference ................................................................................. 25
Figure 22: Spotter Reference ............................................................................................ 26
Figure 23: Target Reference ............................................................................................. 26




Hunter Wright                                                4                                   December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                                              SMU Guildhall



Table of Tables
Table 1: Project Schedule ................................................................................................. 32




Hunter Wright                                                 5                                   December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                     SMU Guildhall




Introduction
       Modern video games evolved from the arcade games of the late 70s and early 80s.
Games such as Space Invaders (Taito 1977) encouraged short play sessions in order to
extract more money out of players. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is speeding
up the waves of enemies that descend, in hopes that the speed of the enemies overcomes
the player, requiring the deposit of additional money to continue. This sense of speed
carries over to modern gaming, particularly any action game. Games induce a variety of
emotions to involve the player in the game’s story. Action games rely on creating
urgency to achieve exhilarating, fast-paced action. However, what is the best way to
create that urgency? What techniques that create urgency also induce negative side
effects, causing the player to become frustrated and stop playing?

       This project intends to analyze entity based, urgency-evoking level design
techniques to see which methods most effectively evoking urgency while causing the
minimum amount of negative impact to the play experience. The ultimate objective is to
categorize these techniques when used with single-player story-driven first person
shooters (FPS). This is useful for designers that want to convey the specific emotion of
urgency using a technique that is well suited to the style of game they are developing.
This thesis accomplishes this through creating multiple levels with urgency-evoking
situations and having subjects play through the level and report on their experiences.




Hunter Wright                                6                         December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                     SMU Guildhall



Field Review
        Games strive to be fun, and many factors contribute to the overall fun of a game.
Different people enjoy different aspects of games, and have differing views on what
makes games enjoyable. For those that typically enjoy action games suspense, tension,
and urgency all feature themselves prominently thorough the game. Urgency is the
feeling that there is a pressing importance to current situation. Urgency typically presents
itself in one of three forms: time constraints, environmental cues, or Non-Player
Character (NPC) interactions. Edge cases also exist between these three categories as
well.
        The earliest games typically relied on a combination of time constraints and
environmental cues. Space Invaders (Taito 1978) constricted the player’s available
reaction time as the game progressed. The pace of the music also increased with the
speed of the enemies (Harland 2000). A game’s pacing is very important when choosing
which urgency evoking techniques to apply. A technique that works well for a frantic
action game could have disastrous results when applied to a slow-paced game focused on
exploration or complex problem solving.
        Considering the setting of a game is also quite important. For example, flashing
red siren lights or disco music could have unintended results in a medieval game. Most
games seeking to evoke urgency use a variety of methods specific to the game that
contains them, but these efforts are typically categorizeable based on the elements they
contain.


Time
        Time constraints are a central concept in many techniques of evoking immediacy,
from the basic countdown timer, to elaborate combo systems, time-based methods are
likely the most used techniques. Urgency by definition is the sense of pressing
importance, or something that needs attention immediately. This section documents
techniques using explicitly time-based methods of evoking urgency.



Hunter Wright                                7                          December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                          SMU Guildhall


        One particular level in Gears of War (Epic Games 2006) uses a relatively simple
timer to great effect. The player enters a new area that triggers a visible countdown timer
on the screen, requiring them to solve a puzzle within a certain time or die. This
technique is rather blunt, in that it does little to mask the fact that it is an arbitrary timer,
but is effective in creating a strong sense of immediacy for the player. This is acceptable
if the puzzle is easily solvable, but complex puzzles with short time limits likely alienate
players (Griffiths 2007).




                                 Figure 1: Gears of War timer puzzle



        A slightly more complex example is an event with a very specific window of time
for an objective. Call of Duty 4 (Infinity Ward 2007) uses this technique in the single
player portion of the game. The player has to play the part of a sniper, and needs to
eliminate an enemy agent while battling weapon inaccuracy. There is a small window of
opportunity between the agent leaving one vehicle and getting into another. The waiting
period before agent gets out of the car and comes into range of a shot creates a feeling of
anticipation, but once the shot is viable, a sense of urgency sets in. This technique is



Hunter Wright                                    8                           December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                         SMU Guildhall


essentially a very short countdown timer, but it is less apparent to the player since the
countdown time is not visible to them.




                               Figure 2: Call of Duty 4 Sniper Mission



       An advanced technique using timers is the combo timer. Games like The Club
(Bizarre Creations 2007) have countdown timers that the player has a large amount of
control over. Once the player shoots an enemy a combo bar starts, and as time passes the
bar shrinks. The player can replenish the bar by shooting more enemies and once the bar
hits a certain size, the combo multiplier increases. Going too long without damaging an
enemy causes the combos to decrease, causing a high level of urgency to find enemies in
order to keep the combo going. The use of a bar instead of numbers slightly obscures the
fact that this system is a timer the player has control over, but the ability to add back to
the time makes the player take ownership of his score, instead of it feeling like an
arbitrary decision by the designer.




Hunter Wright                                    9                         December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                     SMU Guildhall




                               Figure 3: Combo system in The Club




Environment
       The environment of a play space contributes significantly to the player’s
immersion level. Lighting sets the mood of a level, and different colored lights draw the
player around a level. Doom 3 (iD software, 2004) uses the contrast between light and
dark in this manner, making the player run towards the perceived safety of the light and
out of the monster infested darkness. Quite often, the players find themselves in a dark
area, and see a well-lit area in the distance. Fear of possible monsters in darkened corners
motivates the player to quickly head to the well-lit area. Lighting color can also convey
urgency if used properly. Switching from normal lights to red lighting in an area during a
play session creates a great sense of urgency in the player without much effort from the
developer (Omernick 2004).




Hunter Wright                                 10                        December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                       SMU Guildhall




                               Figure 4: Contrasting Light in Doom 3



       Sound and music also play a large part in setting the pace of a level. Half-Life 2
(Valve 2004) relies exclusively on ambient sounds during a majority of the campaign, but
when a helicopter chases the player through the canals of City 17, up-tempo music slowly
fades in to help convey the approaching danger. Non-background sounds can also play a
primary role in creating urgency. In Yoshi’s Island (Nintendo, 1995) the sound of a
crying baby urges the player to retrieve baby Mario quickly before something
inopportune happens (Weesner 2007). A quicker tempo provokes a fight or flight
response in a person as we equate a sound beat with that of a heart, and a faster beat is
often a response to fear or tension.


       Game design can naturally contribute a great deal to immediacy. One particular
example is games that have defined save points in the level versus the ability of the
player to save whenever and wherever they want. Oblivion (Bethesda Softworks 2006)
used the latter approach and left many players feeling the game’s sense of immediacy
suffered for it. The ability to quickly save and load players gives players the ability to
retry the same section of a level or boss fight quickly, allowing those who have trouble
with a particular section to continually retry it until they complete it without any major
consequences (Weir 2008).


Hunter Wright                                  11                        December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                        SMU Guildhall


       Games with defined save points force the player to traverse the level and possibly
face any number of enemies before reaching a safe spot. The feeling of urgency to find a
save point increased based on the distance between save points and the relative difficulty
or danger of the area the player is currently in. The physical layout of the play space
additionally contributes to immediacy. The closeness of enemies and small physical
dimensions can increase senses of urgency (Careless 1998).




Entities
       Many of the aforementioned techniques combine effectively with game entities
such as NPCs or moving object in the game world. This thesis focuses on player
interaction with these entities in relation to evoking urgency. Friendly NPCs such as Alyx
in Half-Life 2 (Valve 2004) or your squad mates in Gears of War (Epic Games 2006)
accompany the player, provide assistance, and help guide the player through the level. If
the player develops an attachment to these characters, putting them in danger makes the
player want to assist them. The threat of bodily injury to a colleague creates urgency
because the player does not want to lose their companion.




                            Figure 5: Augustus Cole from Gears of War

       Friendly NPCs can also help urge the player on by leading them down paths while
simultaneously using auditory and body language cues to give the impression that the
current situation requires urgency. Often these situations actually have no real




Hunter Wright                                  12                         December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                            SMU Guildhall


immediacy; the NPC could eternally stand in front of the player urging them on with no
ill effect.




                            Figure 6: Alma Chases the Player in F.E.A.R.

         Enemy NPCs can also contribute to urgency if used effectively. In F.E.A.R.
(Monolith 2005) Alma, the main antagonist of the game, often appears and pursues the
player, creating urgency in the player to find a safe point, though there is no real danger.
In Oblivion (Bethesda Softworks 2006), if the player wants to join the thieves’ guild they
start a quest that requires them to race two other NPCs to an objective to gain entry. This
is another example of immediacy that is a blatant timer without actively using a clock.
         While racing an NPC to a specified point is analogous to using a countdown
timer, do players react identically to both methods? How effective is combining
techniques to increase urgency, or to increase it in ways less detrimental to gameplay?




                       Figure 7: Example of Friendly NPC, Alyx Vance from Half-Life 2




Hunter Wright                                   13                             December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                              SMU Guildhall


       Entities not personified as player characters can also evoke urgency in a level. In
Super Mario Brothers 3 (Nintendo, 1990) all levels have a timer that kills the player
when the timer reaches zero. Typically, players complete levels with ample time
remaining making the timer of little consequence in most situations. To increase the
urgency in certain levels the camera automatically moves along without any input from
the player. These auto-scrolling levels physically push the player along and almost create
and enemy out of the edge of the screen, since letting the edge catch up to you results in
death in most situations.




                             Figure 8: Super Mario Brothers 3 Auto-Scrolling Level

       While studying this method it is obvious that it is a timer, but to the player in the
heat of the moment it is not so apparent. These types of levels effectively create urgency
by laying another dimension of complexity on top of all the standard platforming
techniques the game is already asking the player to master. Super Mario Brothers 3
(Nintendo, 1990) only features a few levels with this configuration, likely because an
entire game using this style of levels could become very tiresome.




                        Figure 9: A race against an NPC is about to begin in Oblivion



Hunter Wright                                    14                               December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                       SMU Guildhall



Methodology
       The goal of this study is to determine which entity-based level design techniques
most effectively evoke urgency in a player. Many times a designer wants to create a
certain emotion during a level or sequence and this thesis examines a variety of
techniques to do just that. The hypothesis is that a personified entity chasing the player
provides the greatest level of urgency and causes the least amount of negative impact to
the player’s play session. A general layout of a small Half-Life 2 level helps test this
hypothesis. On top of this general layout, three urgency-evoking treatments create
different variations. The purpose of this is to see how players react to each individual
treatment. Test subjects fill out a survey before playing the level, and also participate in a
short question and answer section after they finish playing.




The Product
       The three levels of this study utilize the same layout, look, and feel but they differ
in the way that they use entities to evoke urgency in the player. Each level uses a
different type of entity to urge the player along the play space. The “Friendly NPCs”
Level uses friendly NPCs to evoke urgency. Friendly squad members assist you as you
race to beat the Combine to the final position. The “Pursuit” Level attempts to
accomplish the same thing using a vehicle that pursues the player. The vehicle starts
behind the player and plows forward at a constant rate. It does not fire at the player and is
impervious to weapons, forcing the player to retreat. Finally, the “Enemy NPC” level
examines the effect of having the player chase an enemy unit. . The enemy runs along the
tops of the buildings so he stays in constant view and gives the player a good reference of
how much more time they have.


Quick Summary
       The player is Gordon Freeman must race to the end of the level to utilize the radio
equipment and alert the rebels to the oncoming combine attack. The level features


Hunter Wright                                 15                          December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                      SMU Guildhall


Combine forces that attempt to stop Gordon as he tries to make his way through the city
before it’s too late. This is a single player mission set in the remains of a cold oppressive
Eastern European city.


Gameplay Overview

General Game Flow
   1. Start exiting a sewer pipe
   2. See intro scene explaining to the player why they need to rush to the combine
       building
   3. Player assumes control and the timer is started
   4. Player passes the first checkpoint, time is recorded
   5. Combine gunships fly overhead toward the combine building in the distance
   6. Player passes the second checkpoint, time is recorded
   7. Second combine gunship flies overhead
   8. Player passes third checkpoint, time is recorded
   9. Player passes fourth checkpoint, time is recorded
   10. Piece of building collapses across the road, the enemy npc uses this to cross
   11. Player passes the final checkpoint, time is recorded
   12. Player reaches the end of the level

Major Elements
      Initial confrontation combine
      Rushing through crumbling corridors while taking fire
      Gunship flyover that take shots at the player (Wow moment)
      Final rush to the radio equipment, successfully notifying the rebels about the
       attack

Major Objectives
      Avoid Enemy soldiers
      Avoid being killed by passing gunships



Hunter Wright                                16                          December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                               SMU Guildhall


      Successfully notify the rebels about the attack


Technical Overview

Campaign
      Name: N/A
      Takes place after the completion of the main game

Mission Location
      Setting: Near future, Eastern Europe
      Time of Day: Morning
      Season: Fall
      Weather: Foggy

Mission Difficulty (1-5)
      Starting: 1
      Middle: 2
      Ending: 1

Mission Metrics
      Play Time: 2-3 minutes
      New Characters – 3
          o Rebel Companion – Standard rebel unit equipped with an SMG
          o Combine Elite – Enemy unit that the player chases through the level
          o Combine APC – Enemy vehicle unit that serves to slow the player
      Visual Themes – 1
          o Eastern European Urban




Hunter Wright                               17                    December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                     SMU Guildhall


Details

Theme/Mood
The level is an abandoned section of an Eastern European city. Empty apartment
buildings serve to create level boundaries and most of the gameplay occurs either in the
shells of the building or the courtyards connecting them. The level also utilizes structures
that common to Eastern Europe. The architecture utilizes grey tones and angular shapes
that when combined with overcast skies and fog create a cold oppressive atmosphere for
the level. Keeping with the abandoned theme structures show signs of decay, and
vegetation begins to overtake the area.


Examples of common elements in the level:
      Apartment complexes
      Abandoned storefronts
      Government offices
      Train Station
      Decaying Automobiles



Major Characters
      Player – Get to the end point of the level as quickly as possible to warn the other
       rebels of the combine
      Antagonist – Beat the player to the end of the level to set destroy the radio
       equipment
      Tank – Slow the player’s progression through the level
      Rebel – Help guide the player through the level to the radio equipment.

Gameplay Mechanics
      Prerequisite Skills
           o Mastery of basic HL2 combat and movement
      Skills Learned


Hunter Wright                                18                         December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                     SMU Guildhall


           o None

Story
       Intro
           o The level begins with Gordon exiting a sewer pipe and being greeted by a
                abandoned city. A rebel pokes out from one of the abandon buildings and
                tells Gordon that the Combine is starting an attack on a main rebel
                stronghold.
           o The rebel asks Gordon to head to the other rebel outpost and let all the
                rebels know about the incoming attack.
       In-Game
           o The player assumes control, and heads immediately right.
           o After heading forward the player passes through the first checkpoint.
           o Rounding the first corner the player encounters some enemies. These exist
                mainly to keep the level interesting.
           o Turning left twice the player sees a Combine gunship fly overhead; it
                drops some mines to agitate the player. The players time is recorded again
                as they pass this section.
           o The player encounters more Combine soldiers as they pass through the
                next gate, and continue to head north.
           o A gunship passer overhead dropping more mines near the player.
           o Passing through another time gate, the player heads right and the final
                time gate records the players progress
           o Reaching the end removes control from the player and records of the
                players final time
       Extro
           o After entering the building Gordon activates the radio and lets the main
                base know to get prepared.




Hunter Wright                                19                        December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                 SMU Guildhall


Visual References

Terrain/Vegetation




Figure 10: Terrain / Vegetation Example 1




Figure 11: Vegetation Example 1




Hunter Wright                               20     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                 SMU Guildhall




Figure 12: Terrain / Vegetation Example 2


Models/Architecture




Figure 13: Architecture Example 1




Hunter Wright                               21     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                         SMU Guildhall




Figure 14: Architecture Example 2




Figure 15: Architecture Example 3




Hunter Wright                       22     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                     SMU Guildhall


Textures/Lighting




Figure 16: Lighting Example 1




Figure 17: Texture Example 1




Hunter Wright                   23     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                               SMU Guildhall




Figure 18: Texture / Lighting Example 1




Figure 19: Texture / Lighting Example 2




Hunter Wright                             24     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                            SMU Guildhall


Characters/Vehicles




Figure 20: Truck Reference




Figure 21: Combine Soldier Reference




Hunter Wright                          25     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                          SMU Guildhall




Figure 22: Companion NPC Reference




Figure 23: Pursuing NPC Reference




Hunter Wright                        26     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                            SMU Guildhall




Figure 24: Combine Gunship Reference




Hunter Wright                          27     December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                            SMU Guildhall


Rough Map




                   Figure 25: Overall Map




Hunter Wright               28                December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                 SMU Guildhall




                   Figure 26: Friendly NPC Map




Hunter Wright                  29                  December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                              SMU Guildhall




                   Figure 27: Enemy NPC Map




Hunter Wright                30                 December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                           SMU Guildhall




                   Figure 28: Truck Path




Hunter Wright               31               December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                       SMU Guildhall


Testing and Data Collection
        The best method to test this hypothesis is to analyze data from multiple play
sessions and compare it to the initial tester survey. The preliminary survey asks questions
that analyze the playing habits of the subject. Typical questions for this section include
“What types of games do you play?’, “How many hours a week do you play games?”,
and basic age and gender questions. The ideal candidates for this study are 18-25 year
olds who typically play a large number of games.


        Subjects play one version of the level, and have their play session recorded
through the Half-Life 2 demo recording system. Players also have their total playtime
recorded, as well as several checkpoint times throughout the level. This combined with
copies of the survey they fill out before and after playing the level, and an audio
recording of the question and answer session provides a complete set of data from the
play test.


        The post-play survey asks the player about their reaction to the level. Questions in
this section ask the player how much urgency they felt while playing and how obvious
they thought the techniques were. This use of Likert-scale questioning means that the
data is easily quantifiable, and can quickly determine correlations with the pre-play
survey. This section deals with questions related to the overall feel of the level, while the
next section focuses on specific moments.


        The purpose of the verbal question and answer session is to investigate the non-
quantifiable elements that the play tester experiences during the level. The questions bear
a resemblance to the ones used on the post-play survey, but this way the interviewer has
the ability to retrieve more qualitative information about the player’s experiences, which
can also be beneficial to the project. To further aid with recollection and clarity, the
recording of the session plays during the question and answer section. This allows the
interviewer to stop at certain sections and prompt the player to relate what they were
feeling at that exact point.



Hunter Wright                                 32                          December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                      SMU Guildhall


Schedule
        For the construction of this project, the designer allocates a month and a half to
the actual construction of the level, and a month for testing and interviews, and two final
weeks for compilation and analysis. These two-week milestones allow enough time to
build the level and complete testing within an acceptable period for review and defense.

December 4h                       Submit Rough Draft of Proposal

December 11th                     Present Final Draft of Proposal to Committee

December 25th                     All Levels to Whitebox Quality

January 8th                       All Levels to Alpha Quality

January 22st                      All Levels to Beta Quality

February 5th                      All Levels to Final Quality

February 19th                     Preliminary Interviews completed

March 5th                         All Interviews Complete

March 19th                        Finish Compiling and Analyzing Data

April 2st                         Final Thesis Due




Hunter Wright                                33                          December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                    SMU Guildhall



Conclusion
       Evoking urgency is extremely valuable for creating a memorable gameplay
experience and can greatly enhance the player’s enjoyment of a game. Players want that
visceral feeling that comes from feeling their interactions with the game world matter and
make a measurable difference to those involved.

        Urgency is an effective tool, but if used excessively can drain the player. This
thesis seeks to determine at what point the optimum balance of urgency occurs, and what
entity-based technique best evokes it. Taking the three main categories of entities and
creating a series of small levels, each with a similar layout, but using a different urgency
evoking methodology allows examination of which strategy impacts the player’s sense of
urgency the most.

       Test subjects on this project fill out a survey that gathers basic information about
their level of experience with games, and how often they play games. Ideal candidates for
this study should have experience with games so that the results reflect the effectiveness
of the urgency evoking methods rather than the player’s ability. After playing through a
level the subject fills out another survey on their experiences and answers a few
qualitative questions about why they played the way they did. Ideally, this study provides
a definitive answer on what techniques work well for evoking urgency in FPS games but
many other genres exist where these same techniques need studying.


Future Research
       Naturally, the combination of multiple methods evokes urgency in a natural and
believable manner. This thesis seeks to find which entity-based techniques drive the
player along best, but other areas worth researching include: what combination of
multiple effects produce the best effects, ways in to obscure these simple time-based
mechanics so they present themselves to the player in a less obvious way, and how the
player reacts.
       As demonstrated in the last section, the Oblivion (Bethesda Softworks 2006) quest
relies on a combination of techniques to increase the player’s sense of urgency. These


Hunter Wright                               34                         December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                        SMU Guildhall


methods try to make the mechanics behind the urgency less obvious to the player. If the
NPC in Oblivion that you race always reaches the goal at the same time, they become
essentially a timer with a face. This is not a bad thing if the player feels the interaction is
meaningful. Do NPCs and timers work better or worse than NPCs with audio cues and
music? Alternatively, do time-based techniques combined with environmental effects
prove to be the most effective combination?
        Additional research into how long players willing accept having urgency evoking
effects applied to them before the player becomes disinterested would also be of great use
to the level design process.




Hunter Wright                                 35                           December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                                SMU Guildhall



References
  Bethesda Softworks. 2006 “Oblivion”; PC Game. 2K Games.

  Bizarre Creations. 2008 “The Club”; PC Game. Sega

  Careless, Simon. April 24, 1998. “Punch - Kick - Punch: A History of One-on-One
  Beat-Em-Ups”; Gamasutra.
  http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3267/punch__kick__punch_a_history_of_.ph
  p (Accessed November 5, 2008).

  Epic Games. 2006. “Gears of War”; PC Game. Microsoft.

  Grand, Joe. February 26, 2003. “Postmortem: Pixels Past's SCSIcide”; Gamasutra.
  http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/2893/postmortem_pixels_pasts_scsicide.php
  (Accessed November 3, 2008).

  Griffiths, Gareth. 2007 “Defining Boundaries: Creating Credible Obstacles In Games,
  Part 2”; Gamasutra.
  http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3771/defining_boundaries_creating_.php?pri
  nt=1 (Accessed November 1, 2008).

  Harland, Kurt. February 17, 2000. “Composing for Interactive Music”; Gamasutra.
  http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20000217/harland_01.htm (Accessed November
  4, 2008).

  iD Software. 2004. “Doom 3”; PC Game. Activision.

  Infinity Ward. 2007 “Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare”; PC Game. Activision.

  Monolith Production. 2005. “F.E.A.R.”; PC Game. Vivendi Universal

  Nintendo EAD. 1990 “Super Mario Brothers 3”; Nintendo Entertainment System.
  Nintendo.




Hunter Wright                            36                        December 12, 2008
Masters Proposal                                              SMU Guildhall




  Nintendo EAD. 1995 “Yoshi’s Island”; Super Nintendo Entertainment System.
  Nintendo.

  Omernick, Matthew. 2004 Lighting Principles for Game Design. New Riders.

  Taito Corporation. 1978. “Space Invaders”; Arcade Game, Midway.

  Valve Corporation. 2004. “Half-Life 2”; PC Game, Vivendi Universal

  Weesner, Jason. March 29, 2007. “On Game Design: The Designer”; Game Career
  Guide.
  http://www.gamecareerguide.com/features/378/on_game_design_the_.php?page=3
  (Accessed, November 2, 2008).

  Weir, Gregory. October 10 2008. “Opinion: Quicksaves Versus Sense Of Urgency”;
  Gamasurta. http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=20549
  (Accessed November 3, 2008).




Hunter Wright                           37                       December 12, 2008

								
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