Narrative Project Outline

In an effort to keep as much of my research progress as transparent as possible, I am presenting you with an outline.   I have reasons for this beyond just showing off what I’m going to write about. My main reason for doing this is that I need a third game to use as an example in one section. I don’t know what it is yet, and I need suggestions.  If you want a little bit of background on this project then you can read about it here (this is the one about narrative).  I’m looking for games that force you to do things, or in which you can make a choice (and that choice affects the narrative of the game in some major way). I am trying to avoid Roleplaying Games for this third game. Dark Souls, my first game example, is an RPG. It’s easy to find narrative elements in RPGs. Less so in other kinds of games. As such, I want to show that my concept can be used for a game where the narrative isn’t so obvious.  BONUS POINTS are given if the game has a stated narrative and the actions of the player suggest a different narrative.  For a baseline, lets try for games from 2005 and forward (but if an older game has your attention for this, feel free to explain). So, without any further introduction, I present an outline.
  • Introduction
    • Dark Souls Narrative
      • Campfire blocked by NPC
      • Attack NPC to get to fire
      • Feel remorse for actions; permanent black mark
    • Point Suggestively at Ludic Narrative
    • Explain Paper Structure
  • Defining Ludic Narrative
    • What Ludic Narrative is not
      • Not exposition
      • Not cutscenes
      • Not Ludonarrative (Clint Hocking)
    • Define by parts
      • Define narrative
      • Define “ludic”
    • Combined Definition
      • Sum of the parts
      • Player actions
      • Forced actions
    • Transition to next part
      • Gloss to Dark Souls Narrative
      • Ask how do we use ludic narrative.
  • Using Ludic Narrative as a Tool
    • How do researchers use Ludic Narrative?
      • Explain by example
      • Example from Dark Souls
        • Brief intro of Dark Souls
        • NPC is in front of fire
        • NPC looks like enemy
        • NPC cries out in accusation when struck
        • Felt like slaughtering an innocent
      • Example from Flower
        • Brief intro of Flower
        • Describe Level 4
        • Player actions lead to bringing light back to the world
      • Example from TBD title
        • Brief intro of TBD title
        • Describe section of game
        • Describe how actions create narrative
  • How do designers use Ludic Narrative?
    • Design Example
      • Start with narrative goals
      • Discover actions for those goals
      • Design actions
      • Example
  • Conclusion
    • Do conclusion stuff
    • Closing remarks include “I should have let him kill me” and ensuing notes (related to Dark Souls narrative)
Some of you may be wondering, what happened to all that difficulty stuff you have been talking about?  Over the semester break, I created a game called Into the Dark for You.  This game featured no exposition and the most minimal of cutscenes (some setup, some transitioning).  Over the last few weeks, I have also been reading and redefining my meaning in a number of areas.  Difficulty itself has gone a bit out the window.  It may still make a return in the design example. For now, though, I want to focus on the core of what I really am saying (that actions can drive narrative in a video game).
That said, if you have any suggestions for a video game I should consider for the third example, by all means leave a comment.

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