Saturday, 18 July 2009

Bob Smith has died. Joe Smith is sad.

Half way through reading a #gamedesign tweet started by Soren Johnson, I came across this gem:

Harvey1966 @bbrathwaite: Another fave example: Sadness when a male X-com soldier died because another had the same last name. (Married?) #gamedesign
Thu Jul 16 22:35:00 +0000 2009
ClickNothing @Harvey1966 re X-Com soldiers... still reigning example of 'deeply moving dynmcly driven 'narr elements' - from >10yrs ago.. !!!
Does naming the procedurally generated content the player discover create more 'ownership' of that content?

(PS: Should I tweet? Could someone explain to me why this would be [insert positive adjective]?)


wlievens said...

Dwarf Fortress names just about everything. And that does often create a sense of ownership and relationship.

Jonathan Stickles Fox said...

"Does naming the procedurally generated content the player discover create more 'ownership' of that content?"

I think so. Even if the name is itself a pseudo-random pile of letters, you have assigned a unique label to this bit of content, in the player's mind. This helps it to stand out amongst the rest of the content created on behalf of other players. Additionally, naming of content can have auxiliary benefits, as the x-com example shows.

The Mad Tinkerer said...

Pretty much all of Peter Molyneux's games (I think from Powermonger onwards) have randomly generated names for the randomly generated little folks. It's usually not in-your-face (you have to click on characters in Dungeon Keeper and Theme Park to see their stats and it's listed there), but it's there.

It certainly gave me incentive to make my dungeons as safe for my minions as possible.

Cyranix said...

Yeah, DF is a great example, especially w.r.t. the relationships that may arise between dwarves and the naming of a masterpiece (which serves to commemorate the event in the player's mind, even if the object itself disappears into storage or gets sold). Furthermore, giving names to places before play even begins suggests a richer history to the player.

If you got a Twitter account, I would follow you. No lofty expectations or anything -- it's just a somewhat different method of communicating in a slightly different social context. You'd have lots of game designer company!

VRBones said...

Absolutely. Imagine instead of the townsfolk saying "the warrior killed one of us" they say " get im, he killed Kenny !". I'd also like to see a story of randarts when you legend lore them, but then again I want a consistent, coherent world too.