Matt Fournier ITGM 705 Professor Meyers.
Project B: Part 3
Proposal I am going to create an interactive narrative that is open ended and controlled by the visuals. The narrative will be driven by how the player interacts with the visuals. The player will be given a starting point to play from, then they will be given a scene that the they will interact with. How they interact with the scene will change the story as it progresses. Each scene will trigger a different set of decisions, most scenes will be driven from choices you make and can only be seen if you take a certain path. I will be using am open plot structure to give the player almost complete control with multiple endings. One of my goals for this project is to have a strong replay value, I will aim for the player want to play again to see what will happen if they made different decisions. The interaction will be limited to clicking on objects in the scene to move the story forward. For example, you walk into a room, there is a dead body in the corner, a gun on the floor, and a telephone on a table. If you click the telephone you call the police, if you pick up the gun you have the murder weapon in your possession and become a suspect. Each plot node will bring you to a new decision based on your previous choices. Below is the structure I am going for, at each decision node, you have several options that may land you at a farther down the story line. The same node can be gotten to from different decisions and several nodes can be skipped to the end depending on how the player chooses to play. My challenges for this project will be to keep the story moving in an interesting and fun way but still tell a story without the use of dialogue. Time will also be a large problem for me on this assignment.
Survey Please answer the following question to the best of your ability to improve the quality of this application. Name: Andrew Fournier Age: 27 Please describe your level of experience with Flash applications and interactive narratives. I have designed some Flash websites and use Flash applications on regular bases. I do not have much experience with interactive narratives beyond video games, of which I am a regular player.
After you have used the application, how do you find the interface? It is very simple after you get used to it, I was a little confused at first about what I could or could not click on.
Did you feel like you had control over what the character in the narrative did? Yes, I felt like I could do whatever I wanted. Though it very short.
Was the narrative easy to understand? Did the visuals tell a story? Yes, I understood what was happening. Sometimes I didn’t mean for something’s to happen, like when I tried to chase after the criminal but the police shot me. What did you enjoy about the narrative? I enjoyed the variety of endings. Played several games out of curiosity not sure how many endings there are.
What do you feel needs improvement? Needs to be longer to tell any kind of narrative, I played through several times in a couple of minutes. Also a little confusing on what you can click on.
Survey Please answer the following question to the best of your ability to improve the quality of this application. Name: Niki Fitzgerald Age: 27 Please describe your level of experience with Flash applications and interactive narratives. none
After you have used the application, how do you find the interface? I was not sure what to do, you had to tell me!
Did you feel like you had control over what the character in the narrative did? No, I felt puzzled over what was happening.
Was the narrative easy to understand? Did the visuals tell a story? I was confused; I thought this was more of a video game.
What did you enjoy about the narrative? The options to be the good guy or be the bad guy and run.
What do you feel needs improvement? Needs to be clearer.
Initial thoughts to fix problems. I am a little surprised at the confusion my testers had. Both testers confessed bewilderment how to control the narrative and the consequences of their actions. This tells me that my visuals are not strong enough to communicate with the user. My thoughts to fix this are to maybe create a tutorial option for first time users to show them how to interact with the scene. I also need to finish the ambient animations of what you can interact with. I have only the first few done; Andrew suggested making the ambient animations more obvious which I agree with him. I need to be careful with this, the more obvious the animation the more likely it will be chosen first. Niki was frustrated by the game play and had to ask me for help, she was confused by the interface. She wanted more of an introduction and was lost without narration or dialogue. I am not sure how to handle her confusion. Adding dialogue or narration would defeat part of the purpose of this project. She was frustrated when things did not turn out the way she thought they would, but understood after I explained. Again, this leads me back to making a tutorial to help users. In addition to this, I feel that I do need to make some change to the interface without compromising my proposal. I could add some sound effects or maybe some one-liner dialogue that would still fit my proposal. For example, maybe when the police confront you, they could say “Freeze”. I am disappointed with my test results; I felt this project was coming along better than this. Glad I got the feedback though.