Agency Centric Design and Engaging Game Art in VR
Abstract: This essay is a look into the future of games with new technology at hand, it serves as acloser look at new challenges and ways to overcome those challenges in VR game design.What new untapped way of acting on immersive storytelling can we convey with thisinteractive medium and how can we treat our players sense of agency within a VR world withthe necessary respect it deserves. This paper will dive into the idea of walking a mile insomeone else’s shoes and how to create a believable, narrative driven, non-restrictive gameexperience using aesthetic choices, world interactions and environmental storytelling as ourdesign tools. Aesthetic choices aren’t just a matter of achieving the highest realism thoughgraphical fidelity, instead it requires us to go deeper and look at a more traditional way ofdesigning our games art, to deeper convey immersion through minimalism and environmentaldesign to name a few. The goal is to understand how a world’s environments and the gameart in that environment could affect agency, all to support a more deeply focused, curious andin the end more immersive session of play.A virtual reality game called Norn have been produced alongside this paper to showcasethese features come into play. Norn is a narrative driven experience set in a stylistic old norsesetting where you play as a 18 year old girl named Thora and her sister Eira in a coming ofage story told in a different way.We have concluded that methods like the “Weenie”-method help to produce ways to guideplayers subconsciously but need carefully iterative improvements to work. We have also useddesign methods such as Bartle’s (1996) taxonomy of player types and Schell’s´(2008)“Pleasures” to build an inviting game environment and gameplay around to achieve personalagency. All while streamlining the games art both to overcome technical challenges but alsoto show how stylized environments can help accentuate the intended experiences compared toa realistic one.
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