Games PC Jagged Alliance 2 - Wildfire
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Games PC Jagged Alliance 2-wildfire, size: 4.5 MB
Games PC Jagged Alliance 2 - Wildfire
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This project is non-official modification of Jagged Alliance 2
It will allow you to play in probably all modifications (which are based on classic Jagged Alliance) on Jagged Alliance 2 Wildfire.
Copy all files and folders from Classic JA2 Mods on Wildfire directory and paste it to your game main folder of Jagged Alliance 2 Wildfire. After this, install one of the modifications of Jagged Alliance 2 that you want to play on your Jagged Alliance 2 Wildfire and everything should works fine.
Maps After installation this modification on Jagged Alliance 2 Wildfire, maps will be the same (from Wildfire). If you install some modifications (for example mod. 1.13) strategic map will change to a classic map. In that case copy file B_MAP.pcx from Classic JA2 Mods on Wildfire \ Data directory and paste it to following folder in your game: Data \ Interface JA2 Urban Chaos If you want to install Urban Chaos on Jagged Alliance 2 Wildfire, first you have to change the name of main exe file of your Jagged Alliance 2 Wildfire. The new name should be: JA2.exe This is necessary because this mod will ask for this file (exactly that name) while being installing.
JA2 Critical Edge If you want to have properly showing maps in this modification you have to copy file JA2SET.DAT from Classic JA2 Mods on Wildfire \ Data directory and paste him to the following folder in your game. Data-CriticalEdge \ CriticalEdge \ BinaryData. Do it only after your installation of Critical Edge modification.
Made by: Starchris
Classic JA2 Mods on Wildfire version 1.13
1. Changes from version 1.12 to 1.13
a.) Fixed a bug with wrong file JA2SET.DAT which is necessary to install properly JA2 Critical Edge modification.
2. Changes from version 1.11 to 1.12
a.) Fixed a bug with wrong I.M.P. voices.
3. Changes from version 1.10 to 1.11
a.) Fixed a bug with wrong A.I.M. faces.
4. Changes from 1.00 to 1.10
a.) Removed over 50 % files that were unnecessary.
Embedded Narrative in Games
JonasHerlvWver Teachers:GordonCallejaandEmmaWitkowski Wordcount:4753
Introduction.....1 Theoryandmethod....1 Spatialnarratives.....2 Narrativemechanics.....3 BioShock.....5 Batman:ArkhamAsylum.....6 DragonAge.....6 Conclusion.....8 References.....9 Games.....9
This paper investigates player empowerment through embedded narratives, specifically how such narrativesallowplayerstoscalethenarrativeaccordingtotheirownpreferences.Answeringthisquestion will help equip narrative designers and level designers with the knowledge to implement embedded narrativetechniquesinthebestpossiblewayfortheirparticulargameandtargetaudience. Myhypothesisisthatembeddednarrativesimposethemselvesfarlessontheplayers,andthatthisallows playerstodecideontheirownhowmuchofthegame'sstorytheywishtoexperiencebyseekingitoutand playing detectives to piece it together. By playing several games with embedded narratives and more traditional types of narratives (cutscenes, dialogue, ingame text) and then comparing the structure and scope of these different storytelling mechanics, I should be able to draw some conclusions about how differentstorytellingtechniquesinteractwiththerestoftheplayexperience.
It'squitedifficulttofindmaterialsthatdealwithembeddednarrativesingames.Icameacrossthetermin the article which serves as the foundation for this paper, Henry Jenkins' Game Design as Narrative Architecture (2004),whichisanattempttoreconcileludological theorieswithnarratologicalones.Itwas written as a reply to leading ludology theorists such as Eskelinen and Juul particularly Juul's A Clash Between Games and Narrative (1998) is referenced several times. At the time when Jenkins' article was written, ludologists were still somewhat dogmatic in their efforts to stop what they conceived to be an uncriticalapplicationofnarratologicaltheoriesandtopreventwhatAarsethcalled"thedangerofgeneric criticism." (2004). One of Aarseth's central points is that since game studies are "virgin soil", there's a tendencyforacademicsfromotherfieldsofculturestudytoattempttoapplytheirmethodsandtheories togameswithnorespectforthewaysinwhichcomputergamesdifferfrompreviousmediasuchasfilmor literature. Jenkins therefore dedicates most of his article to reflecting on how and to what extent the theorieshe'sproposingtoborrowcanbetranslatedandappliedtogamestudies. Jenkins appears to have been heavily influenced by a series of articles by Don Carson, a former show designeratWaltDisneyImagineering,whohaswrittenaboutthenarrativetechniquesusedforconstruct ing theme parks and how they can inspire video games (Carson, 2000). I've found Jenkins' article very applicable for understanding game fiction, and I very much want to put his work to use, but it's been difficultfindingsufficientlyacademicsourceswithwhichtoexpandonhiswork.Intheend,Idecidedtogo forastrictlyanalyticalapproach,usingJenkins'terminologyalongwithmoreprescriptivedesignoriented materialsuchasKenLevine'stalkattheGameDeveloper'sConferencein2008(Nutt,2008)toanalysehow narrativehasbeenembeddedinthreemoderngames. For my three objects of analysis, I chose BioShock and Batman: Arkham Asylum, both of which use embedded narrative extensively but in different ways, and Dragon Age, which uses it only rarely, for contrast.BioShockisparticularlyinterestingbecauseKenLevine,thecreativedirectorontheproject,has been quite outspoken about the design philosophies behind the game and their deliberate use of embedded narrative to cater to the most dedicated fans without forcing their story on less engaged players.
Jenkins argues "for an understanding of game designers less as storytellers and more as narrative architects." Jenkins identifies several types of "spatial narratives" that games can use. Jenkins' idea of "evocativespaces"ischieflyanobjectiontoJesperJuulsargumentsagainsttheimportanceofnarrativein games.Jenkinsarguesthatadaptingastoryfromonemediatoanothershouldn'tnecessarilyrequirethe plottoremainrecognisable,aslongasthenewnarrativeevokestheoriginal.Toputitcrudely,aslongas Knights of the Old Republic features lightsabers, wookies, and dashing space scoundrels, it's a satisfying adaptationofStarWarsbecausethegame'siconographywillcallbacktotheplayer'sknowledgeofalarger bodyoffiction. Games can also use what Jenkins terms "micronarratives": small sequences of connected events strung togetherbythebasiccausalityoftheplayer'sactionsandframedbyalarger,morestructuredplot.What Jenkinsdescribesisessentiallyincidentalscriptedeventsorsequences.Jenkinsfocusesontheinteractive type, such as AI responses to the player's actions. These are prominent in for example HalfLife 2 where probablythemostfamousexamplemustbethemetrocopintheverybeginningorderingtheplayertopick upasodacanandtossitinthetrashbinifplayersoblige,theyarepermittedtopasswithoutincident,but iftheyrefuse,themetrocopwillattacktheunarmedplayers,forcingthemtoflee.TheCallofDutygames have many such small scripted events in the heat of battle, many of which are highlighted by comments fromthealliedcharacters.Forexample,alliesmaycomplimentyouforcleankillsorshoutatyoutostop firingifyoushoottooclosetothemorevenwarnyouofthelocationofenemies. Emergentnarrativesaresimilarandrelatedtomicronarratives,butratherthanbeingtightlyscripted,they areallowedtoemergeoutofacomplexsystemofgamemechanics.JenkinsusesTheSimsasanexampleof agamethathasnonarrativeapartfromwhatemergesnaturallyfromthegamesystem,buttheSplinter Cellseriesisanotherexamplewheretheemergenceoccurswithinandalongsideamoretraditionalscripted narrative.Forexample,inSplinterCell:ChaosTheory,theAIisadvancedenoughthatIoncesawanenemy failtoopenadoorbecauseanotherenemywasinthewayofthedooropening,whichpromptedthefirst enemytokickinthedoor,knockingouthiscolleaguewiththeforceoftheimpact.Thiscouldonlyhappen because the AI system in Splinter Cell 3 is designed to account for a wide range of general stimuli and triggerappropriatereactions.Thoughhewastryingtoargueforsimulationtoreplacenarrative,Gonzalo Frasca has described well the potential of narratives to emerge out of such complex game systems: "Simulationcannowbeusedtomodelsystemsthatwerebeforewaytoocomplextodealwith.Wenow haveapowerfulalternativetorepresentationandnarrativetoexplainandunderstandourworld."(Frasca, 2001).Frascaarguesthatmeaningcanbeinferredjustaswellthroughtheconstructionofsimulationsas thearrangingofnarratives,buttheideaofemergentnarrativetakesitonestepfurtherandindicatesthat onecangiverisetotheother:ingames,narrativedoesnothavetobearrangedbyanauthorbutratherthe potentialfornarrativescanbecodedintoagamesystem. Finally, we get to embedded narratives: Jenkins describes embedded narratives as story and plot details builtintotheenvironmentsthattheplayerwillinhabitinthegame.Jenkinsdescribeshowtheplayerswill havetogatherthesecluesandformtheirownpictureofthegame'sfiction.AsJenkinswrites,thisisquite similartohowfilmviewersmentallypickuponandrearrangethedetailsofafilm'sstory(fabula)asthe plot(syuzhet)unfolds.Amajordifferenceisthatmanygameslettheplayercontrolthecamera,inwhich casetheextraresponsibilityofactivelyseekingouttheembeddedstoryclueswiththecameraisplacedon
the player. Using films, Jenkins provides several good examples of how meaning can be embedded in environments and objects. I will further add that a game's character art can also be a strong vessel for narrative meaning, as anybody who has been attacked by the powerful externalisations of the player character'semotionalproblemsinSilentHill2shouldbequicktoagreewith.Inthesectionbelowaswellas inmygameanalyses,Iwillfurtherdescribepotentialimplementationsofembeddednarrative.
Before I move on to my analysis of the embedded narratives in certain games, I will outline the various mechanics that games have used to convey their narratives, and provide a few arguments for how they tendtoinfluencetheplayer'sexperienceofthegame. Cutscenes are probably the most straightforward narrative mechanic used in games. As a storytelling device,theyarewhatgamedesignerKenLevinehasdescribedas"push"narrative:"Levinethinksthatyou should build games that encourage the player to discover the narrative, rather than pushing it via cutscenes."(Nutt,2008).Cutscenescaneitherbe"ingame"(whichistosayscriptedandrenderedinside thegameengine)or"prerendered"(createdandrenderedasavideoanddecodedatruntime),buttheir commontraitisthattheytemporarilytakecontrolawayfromtheplayer.Manycutscenesallowyoutoskip them,butthereisnoroomforcustomisingtheamountofnarrativeyougetoutofcutscenesyouwatchit alloryougetnothing.AnoteableexceptionisthegraphicnovelstyledcutscenesintheMaxPaynegames which allow players to skip back and forth through them, providing the viewer with a finer degree of control. Adifferentmethodforachievingsimilarnarrativepowerascutsceneswithouttakingcontrolawayfromthe playerisscriptedsequences.Theseareingamecutsceneswheretheplayerisallowedtoremainincontrol ofhisavatar.Itmaybeusefultodistinguishbetweenscriptedsequencesthattakeplacebetweenaction segments,suchasthesequenceinSteiner'slabnearthebeginningofHalfLife2,andsequencesthatare executedduringthenormalactionofthegame,suchashowtheCallofDutyseriestendstousethem.The formerismuchmoreakintotraditionalcutscenes,withtheexceptionthatthe"camera"isreplacedbythe player'savatarandthatitmaybesplitintosegmentsthattriggerdependingontheplayer'spositionand actions.Thelattertendstobemorelikesetdressingthattheplayermaynotexperiencefullybecausehisor herattentionmaybeotherwiseengaged,asthustheplayerhastochooseto"pull"thenarrativeinthese sequencesbyactivelypayingattentiontothem. Interactivedialoguesystemscanbeconsideredasortofsubsetofscriptedsequences,especiallyinmodern BioWare games such as Mass Effect or Dragon Age where engaging in dialogue with a character literally triggersascriptedcutsceneinterruptedbyfrequentdialoguechoices.Whetherinteractivedialogueshould beclassifiedaspushorpullnarrativewilllikescriptedsequencesdependontheimplementation:some gamesonlyimpartmissioncriticalinformationintheirmandatorydialoguewhilerelegatingexpositionto optionalconversationsagoodexampleofthisistheconversationswithPaulDentonatthebeginningof Deus Ex, where the first conversation (which triggers automatically as he approaches you) is a simple mission briefing, while the second conversation (which is only played if you "use" Paul after the first conversationhasended)givesyousomebackgroundontherelationshipbetweenPaulandtheprotagonist. Othergames,suchasDragonAge,prefertomixexpositionandcharacterdevelopmentintothebriefings,
makingithardertofocusonyourobjectivesifyoudon'tcareforthegame'sfiction.Eitherway,interactive dialogue is usually skippable, but far from all branching conversations have an early "exit" choice that terminatesthedialogue,inwhichcasethedialoguemustbeskippedonelineatatime.Overall,Ifindthatit ismuchhardertomissorevenignorenarrativegiventhroughadialoguesystem. Alesspushymechanicforexpositionisingametext.Thiscantakemanyforms,forexamplebooksorbook excerpts that can be read as you explore the game world (a common mechanic in roleplaying games), notepadsorsimilarleftbehindbythecharacters,computersthatcanbeaccessedwithinthegameworld and used to browse emails or websites (as seen in eg. Jagged Alliance 2, Grand Theft Auto 4, or Shadowgrounds),orevensomesortofencyclopaediaofthegame'sfictionbuiltintotheGUIwhichmaybe fully accessible to begin with or gradually filled out as you explore the game world. A more advanced variantofthisisaudioorvideorecordingsthattheplayercanfindinthegame,suchastheaudiologsin System Shock 2 or Wallace Breen's video broadcasts in HalfLife 2. Some games allow you to start these recordings and then continue playing while listening to the recording in the background, which allows playerstoabsorbabitofexpositionwithouthavingtoinvesttheircompleteattentioninit. Expositional text, audio, or video can also be reserved for briefings between levels or missions. Three differentyetsimilarwaystodothisarerepresentedinHitman:BloodMoney,theCallofDutyseries,and StarCraft.TherecentCallofDutygamesuseakindofslideshowwithvoiceovertosetupeachmission. The venerable StarCraft used discussions between "talking heads" to brief you before each level. Blood Moneyhadprobablythemostadvancedbriefingmechanicsofthethree,withdetailedinformationabout thelocationandtherelevantcharactersbeforeeachlevelandadynamicallyconstructednewspaperarticle describingtheresultsofyouractionsaftereachmission.Briefingssuchasthesecangenerallybestudied foraslongastheplayerpleasesorskippedentirely,exceptincaseswheretheydoubleasloadingscreens. Finally,theleastpushynarrativeisembeddedintheenvironmentandcharacterart.Everygamewhichisn't completelyabstracthassomedegreeofembeddednarrative.DOOM,forexamplenotexactlyknownfor itsgrippingnarrativerecognisablytakesplaceinalargefacilityofsomekindwhichhasbeenoverrunby demons.As aDOOMplayer,youmaynotbeable totell that ittakesplace onMarsunlessyoureadthe introtextinthemanual,butit'sclearfromthecorpsesthatlitterthehallsthatfightinghastakenplace,and oncloseinspection,someoftheenemiesarehumanswhohavesomehowbeenzombified.Ifyouscrutinise theworldtexturesinthegame,youmayevenbeabletoinfersomeofthefunctionsofthebuildingsyou fightthrough,suchasthespaceportinthebeginningwhichisdecoratedwithlargecomputerconsoles. While the embedded narratives in many games stop at the general setting, the "Where Am I?" (Carson, 2000),somegamesverydeliberatelyembedevidenceaboutspecificeventsintheirenvironmentsandeven their character art. These are what Carson calls "cause and effect vignettes" (ibid.). For example, upon finding a set of binoculars and a sniper rifle on the balcony of your pilot's apartment opposite the penthouseoffemmefataleMaggieChowinDeusEx,it'ssafetoconcludegiventhecontextofthemission that he's had her under surveillance on suspicion of conspiracy for some time. Similarly, it only takes a little deduction to realise that the zombies with metal cages on their heads in the infamous Shalebridge CradlelevelinThief:DeadlyShadowsarethereanimatedcorpsesofthepatientsoftheformerpsychiatric institution. By paying attention to which rooms each zombie haunts and comparing that to the diary snippetsandpatientfilesfoundaroundthebuilding,it'sfurtherpossibletodeducewhichzombieusedto
be which patient. It's even possible to figure out how each of them died. These are very subtle details, however,andit'seasytoplaythroughtheentiregamewithoutpayinganyattentiontothemwhatsoever.
AccordingtothecreativedirectorofBioShock,KenLevine,thegamewasdeliberatelydesignedwiththree "levels"ofnarrativetargetedatthreedifferentmodelplayers:theplayerwhojustwantstoknowwhoto shootandwheretogo,theplayerwhoappreciatessomenarrativecontextforhisorheractions,andthe playerwholovestoengagewithanarrativeanddigoutthedetails(Nutt,2008).Forthispurpose,BioShock featuresavarietyofstorytellingmechanics,eachexistingonacertainnarrativelevel. On the most immediate level, radio messages are used to transmit your objectives to you regardless of whereyouareorwhatyouredoing.Thesegoalsarealsodisplayedintheupperrighthandcornerwhen theyre added to your log or updated, which makes them very hard to miss even if you really dont care aboutthenarrativecontextofthegame.Onatleastoneoccasion,thegamepresentsyouwithascripted sequence that takes control of your avatar, which happens at a major plot point. This is arguably not necessaryforyourprogress,andisthusanexampleofthegamepushingitsnarrativeonplayerswhomay notwantit. Thesecondnarrativelevel,whichcaterstoplayerswhoareinterestedintheplotofthegamebutmaynot wish to spend hours hunting around for clues to meticulously piece together the games background fiction, primarily operates through the audio logs, the animated apparitions that you may occasionally witness,andotherscriptedsequences.Theaudiologsarerarelydifficulttofind,butdoatleastrequireyou tointeractwiththembeforetheirmessageisplayedtoyou.Theselogsareusedtofleshouttheportraits ofthemajorcharactersinthestory,andtoalesserextenttoconveyabitofinformationaboutthesetting. Scriptedsequencesarelesscommon,butstillusedextensivelythroughoutthegame.Thesesequencesare oftenusedtointroducenewenemiesorcharacters,andsincetheydonttakecontrolawayfromyou,you arefreetoignorethem,thoughtheyoftendopreventyourprogressuntiltheyveplayedout. Thefinallevelofthenarrativeisallinthepast,anddetailsthestoryoftheunderwatercityofRapturein which the game is set. This story must be inferred and pieced together from the environment art, the character art, and especially the propaganda generously distributed throughout the levels. This falls squarelyintowhatJenkinsdescribesasembeddednarrativesastheplayermust"explorethegamespace andunlockitssecrets". BioShockthusseemslikeagamewithverybroadappeal:playerswhoarentinterestedinthenarrativecan safelyignoreitallandsimplyfollowthearrowpointingtotheirnextobjective,whileplayerswhodemand narrativecontextwillfindplentyofitmoreorlesssecretedawaythroughoutthegame.Thisevaluationis tosomeextendbasedonmyownpersonalexperienceofplayingthroughBioShockwithafriendwhodidnt even faintly care about the story of the game when I was controlling, he was constantly urging me towards the next objective, complaining about my slow and methodical play style, and when he was controlling,Iwasalwayshasslinghimtoslowdownandpayattentiontowhatwasgoingoninthefiction.
A game which uses embedded narrative in a similar but still distinct way to BioShock is Arkham Asylum. Beingagamebuiltonasuperherolicense,ithasastrongelementofwhatJenkinscallsEvocativeSpaces.As its title implies, the game takes place in and around Arkham Asylum, a location which is central to the Batmansetting,andmuchofthegamesnarrativecallsbacktotheextensivefictionofthefranchise. The Batman fiction informs every part of Arkham Asylums world. Much has been done to recreate the correct nearfuture gothic expression, for which the setting is well suited: a dark old estate erratically augmented with modern architecture and technology. More relevantly, every environment has been carefully constructed to encourage players to behave like Batman, using a multitude of equipment to accessunusualroutesthroughthelevels,stalkingthroughmaintenanceshaftsandairvents,andperching predatorilyonthemanyspuriousgargoylesundertheceilings. This evocation of a preexisting body of fiction is also evident in how the games developers have embedded certain narrative elements. Where BioShocks fiction wasselfcontained, and embedded clues couldbeconstructedintoareasonablycompletecontinuity,ArkhamAsylumscluesconstantlypointoutof thegame,tocharactersandeventsthathavenobearingontheplotandmakenoappearanceinthegame proper.Thishastheeffectofmakingthegameworldseemmuchlargerthanitactuallyis. Further,BioShockpresenteditsbackgroundfictionalmostlikeajigsawpuzzle,whereanyinvestigationon the players part would have no bearings on the development of the plot, whereas Arkhams embedded narrativeisstructuredasamuchmoreformalisedscavengerhunt.Eachcollectiblestorysnippetisgivena slotintheuserinterface,andsuccessfullyfindingand"photographing"everycluetriggersaproperending for a metaplot involving an established villain, as well as a series of achievements on the XBox 360 platform.Finally,thescavengedcluesunlocknewequipmentandabilitiesforBatmanthattheplayercan puttouseforadvancingthemainstoryline. Thisscavengerminigame involveslocating "patient interview tapes"verysimilartoBioShocksaudiologs andsearchingtheenvironmentforobjectsleftbehindormarkedbycharactersfromtheBatmanfranchise. A minigame such as this is quite an interesting way to imbue the embedded narrative with meaning for players who dont care about the story, since they may still want to find all the collectibles in order to unlocknewequipmentandabilitiesforBatman. LikeBioShock,ArkhamAsylumusesradiomessagestotransmityournextobjective(alongwithanamount ofmandatoryplotexposition),butunlikeBioShock,italsousescinematicswhichcouldnegativelyaffectthe experienceofplayerswhodontcareforthegamesnarrative.
An example of a recent game which doesnt use embedded narratives to anywhere near the extent of BioShock or Arkham Asylum is Dragon Age. Dragon Ages narrative is, using Ken Levines terminology, usually pushed towards the player. The game features lengthy exposition in the form of prerendered cinematics,ingamecutscenes,andinteractivedialogue.Thiscanusuallybeskipped,butatyourownperil youwillfrequentlyberequiredtochoosewhatyouravatarsays,whichmaychangeyourexperiencein unexpectedways.
Thisisnottosaythatthegamehasnopullnarrative,however.Mostnotably,thegamefeaturesa"codex", asortofencyclopaedicdatabasewitharticlesaboutthegamessetting,characters,andenemies,aswellas poems, book excerpts, and notes that you come across throughout the game. Articles are added to this database as you encounter the relevant characters, places, or information, and though a few optional puzzlesandsidequestsrequireyoutoreadandunderstandcertaincodexentries,mostofthecodexcan safelybeignoredwithoutmakingitdifficulttocompletethegame.Forexample,ifyouclickonabookin the game world which contains both lore about the setting and crucial information about a quest, the former is put in your codex and the latter is added to your quest log, making it easier to focus on your objectiveswithouthavingtoengagewiththenarrative. Toacertainextent,narrativehasbeenembeddedintheenvironmentandcharacterartaswell.Whenyou visit the elven district in the city, for example, its immediately clear that its a sort of slum area, which conveys the fact that the elves in Dragon Age are treated as an inferior species by the humans. This is distinguishable from how BioShock or Arkham Asylum treat their narratives in that those games have embeddedevidenceofspecificeventsintheirenvironments,whereasDragonAgesenvironmentstendto indicatebroadsituationsorlongtermhistoricaldevelopments. DragonAgedoesmoveclosertoamorespecificapplicationofembeddednarrativesonafewoccasions, however,suchaswhenyoufindcagesinacaveusedbyadragonculttotraintheirdraconicpets,orwhen theravagedmagestowerbeginstogrowfleshypustulesasyoumoveclosertothedemonattheheartof the catastrophe that befell the building. Compared especially to BioShock, however, Dragon Age seems moreeagertomakesureallplayersexperiencetheentirenarrative,includingthesesubtleenvironmental details.Forexample,inadditiontoshowingplayershowthedragoncultistshavestoredtheiranimals,the game later explicitly describes the symbiotic relationship between the cultists and the dragons both throughdialogueandincodexentries. More strikingly, several apartments in the elven slums which have been ransacked by human slavers containeffectiveandaffectingcluesabouttheelvesabductionsuchasanabandonedteddybearonthe floor,abrokenvase,orasetofchairsarrangedaroundatableasthoughtheresidentswerejustaboutto have dinner yet this evidence is rendered somewhat less subtle by explicit descriptive text appearing above the objects if they are clicked. Whereas Ken Levine was apparently perfectly accepting of the fact thatalotofplayersmaymissimportantdetailsinBioShock,DragonAgesdevelopersseemtoeithervalue theirstorytoohighlytorisklettingplayersmisssomeofit,orsimplynottrustthatplayerswillenjoythe storyiftheydontunderstandeverydetail.
Unlessagameisveryabstract,itwillinevitablyhavesomedegreeofnarrativeembedded initsenviron mentsandcharacters.Inmoderngames,wherethedetaillevelismuchhigherthangamesfromtheDOOM era,thepotentialforembeddingnarrativedetailsisenormous,andgamessuchasBioShockandArkham Asylummakefulluseofthesecapabilities.IagreewithKenLevine'sopinionsonthebenefitsofallowing playerstooptoutofpartsofthenarrative,andmyexperienceshowsthathesucceededinhisdesigngoal ofusingembedded narrativetoletBioShockappealbothtoplayerswhodevotethemselvestoexploring thegame'sfictionandplayerswhohaveothermotivationsforplaying. Inthispaper,Ihavefurthershownthatembeddednarrativesareeasilycompatiblewithmoretraditional storytelling techniques such as scripted sequences, dialogue systems, or even cutscenes. Arkham Asylum presentsaverypowerfulnarrativeexperiencebyusingmanyofthesetechniquestogether,withcutscenes tocarrytheplotforwardsupportedandextrapolatedbyembeddedstoryelements. Embedded narratives are by default optional, what Levine calls "pull"narrative, which accommodates players who don't wish to engage with the fiction of a game not merely by not being mandatory (as skippablecutscenesare)butbyrequiringanactivechoiceonthepartoftheplayertoseekoutandpiece togetherthestory.However,thisdoesn'tmeanthatembeddednarrativeshavetobehiddenordifficultto locate.Therearewaystocallextraattentiontonarrativedetailsintheenvironment,asdemonstratedby myanalysesofbothArkhamAsylumandDragonAge. Mypersonalopinionisthatembeddednarrativesareanexcellentwaytotellastoryinvideogames,and thoughthetechniqueclearlyhasthingsincommonwithhowreadersoraudiencesexperiencemorelinear media such as books or films, mentally constructing a story continuity from the plot they are presented with,theagencygiventoplayersinmostvideogamestocontrolthingslikepacingandcameramovement makes the technique very powerful by virtue of the extra participation it requires. Finally, at the risk of statingtheobvious,mainstreamvideogamesseemfarmorelikelythaneg.blockbusterfilmstogetaway with tellingveryvagueor obtusestoriesthatrequirealotofanalysisandimagination to piecetogether, sincetheprimarymotivationformanyplayersissimplytoplaythegame,interactingwithitsmechanicsin ordertoachieveitsgoals.
Aarseth,E.(2004).GenreTrouble.InWardripFruin&Harrigan(Ed.),FirstPerson.Massachusetts: TheMITPress. Carson,D.(2000,March1).EnvironmentalStorytelling:CreatingImmersive3DWorldsUsing LessonsLearnedFromtheThemeParkIndustry.RetrievedDecember15,2009,from http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20000301/carson_pfv.htm Frasca,G.(2001).Simulation101:SimulationversusRepresentation.RetrievedDecember15,2009, fromhttp://www.ludology.org/articles/sim1/simulation101.html Jenkins,H.(2004).GameDesignasNarrativeArchitecture.InWardripFruin&Harrigan(Ed.),First Person.Massachusetts:TheMITPress. Juul,J.(1998,November).AClashBetweenGamesandNarrative.PaperpresentedattheDigital ArtsandCultureConference,Bergen. Nutt,C.(2008,February20).KenLevineSpeaks:EmpoweringPlayerstoCareAboutYourStupid Story.RetrievedDecember15,2009,fromhttp://www.gamasutra.com/php bin/news_index.php?story=17531
Platform and publisher has been indicated for the version I've played and European release dates have beenusedwherethere'sadifference. Batman:ArkhamAsylum(Xbox360,2009),RocksteadyStudios,EidosInteractive. BioShock(Xbox360,2007),IrrationalGames,2KGames. CallofDuty(PC,2003),InfinityWard,Activision. DeusEx(PC,2000),IonStorm,EidosInteractive. DOOM(PC,1993),idSoftware,MidwayGames. DragonAge(PC,2009),BioWare,ElectronicArts. GrandTheftAuto4(Xbox360,2008),RockstarGames. HalfLife2(PC,2004),ValveCorporation,SierraEntertainment. Hitman:BloodMoney(PC,2006),IOInteractive,EidosInteractive. JaggedAlliance2(PC,2002),SirTech,TalonSoft. KnightsoftheOldRepublic(PC,2003),BioWare,LucasArts. MassEffect(Xbox360,2007),BioWare,MicrosoftGameStudios. MaxPayne(PC,2001),RemedyEntertainment,GatheringofDevelopers. Shadowgrounds(PC,2006),Frozenbyte,ValveSoftware. SilentHill2(PC,2002),Konami. SplinterCell:ChaosTheory(PC,2005),Ubisoft. StarCraft(PC,1998),BlizzardEntertainment,SierraEntertainment. SystemShock2(PC,1999),IrrationalGames,LookingGlassStudios,ElectronicArts. TheSims(PC,2001),Maxis,ElectronicArts. Thief:DeadlyShadows(PC,2004),IonStorm,EidosInteractive.
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