Author Topic: Adventure Game Psychographics  (Read 489 times)

Adventure Game Psychographics
« on: 14 Apr 2018, 20:36 »
Disclaimer: this an article that I sketched long ago, but didn't knew if it was good enough, so I am throwing here to see if ideas can come up to make it better because I want to address this general idea in my blog.

I noticed recently that during the week I am more keen on games that have story depth, but I can get tired if a game is too demanding skill wise. On weekends, I am usually well rested, and like to be challenged.

Once I saw a tweet by @gritfish that said:

Quote
"I honestly believe we need to  change the way games do difficulty / game modes to something like:

I'm here for the story
I'm here for challenge
I'm here for a second & harder playthrough
I'm here to take photos
I want to play with the settings and I'm okay if that breaks things
"

Well, I like this idea. But I am also slightly lazy, I am not coding different game modes.

I've read Designing Virtual Worlds, from Richard Bartle, and he talks about the 4 types of players he discovered while analyzing MUD: Achievers, who like to achieve defined goals; Socializers, who gets greatest rewards interacting with other people; Explorers, who likes to learn more about the virtual world; Killers, who like to dominate others. He goes on to explain how to create a virtual world that attracts each subset of players.

Players of Magic The Gathering may be familiar with this idea, it's R&D and Mark Rosewater divide players in three categories: Timmy, a social person who wants to have fun winning big (the RTS equivalent would be having a big base before unleashing a final gigantic attack); Johnny, who wants to express himself through the game; and Spike, who plays for the winning and competition. Recently they also started considering hybrids of these players.

On with adventure games. They are mostly known by stories, puzzles, the exploring and the pace on the control of the player. Psychographics can be defined as a quantitative methodology used to describe consumers on psychological attributes. Psychographics has been applied to the study of personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.

I would like to propose here psychographics for Point and Click Adventure Games:

 - Stella, who plays for the Story;
 - Paula, who plays for the Puzzles;
 - Ezra, who plays to Explore;

So each time I create a room in a game, I try to look if I am leaving each of these players, something to play with, and also, I usually choose one of them to focus more on each room.

Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #1 on: 14 Apr 2018, 21:19 »
Don't forget Spencer the Speedrunner. Let the player skip text, skip animations, skip cutscenes, fast exit, etc. Minimize waiting.

Edit:
Maybe this goes along with story and exploration, but maybe some players play for setting, the fantastical or abnormal or otherworldly kind.
« Last Edit: 14 Apr 2018, 21:39 by Durq »

Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #2 on: 14 Apr 2018, 22:25 »
Right, playtesting is totally Spencer.:-D

Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #3 on: 15 Apr 2018, 00:02 »
Right, playtesting is totally Spencer.:-D
That's totally me when I playtest my games, but in my defense, I don't really need to read the dialogue when I'm the one who wrote it.
With games I didn't make myself however, I usually focus most on the story if it's an adventure game.

I'd also like to add the type of player goes "Bo-ring! When can I shoot something?" if the game goes five minutes without an explosion. (roll)

Mandle

  • NO PIXEL LEFT BEHIND!!!
    • Mandle worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #4 on: 15 Apr 2018, 00:26 »
if the game goes five minutes without an explosion. (roll)

Who you cater for also in your games!

eri0o, great article! I really wanted it to go on into slightly more depth. Maybe you could provide a picture of an example room with arrows and notes on how each player-type's needs are catered for?

Gurok

  • Rottwheelers
  • When life hands you lemons, combine them with the mop
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • Best Innovation Award Winner 2016, for improving and extending the AGS scripting language
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with scripting
    •  
    • Gurok worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Gurok worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #5 on: 15 Apr 2018, 05:47 »
Needs a weird Vorthos equivalent. Can I add Arthur, who plays for the art? Or is that just another Ezra?

I mostly cater for Stella. Can you really balance it? Puzzles and story seem to be at the expense of each other: the story flows and the puzzles are the roadblocks. The more you accommodate general puzzles, the more your story becomes like a premise (Myst, The Witness). On the other end, the tighter your puzzles are woven into the story, the less obtuse they have to become. e.g. You can't excuse solving towers of Hanoi to open the hero's front door if you want the world to be taken seriously.

Radiant

  • AGS Baker
  • Mittens Knight
  • Return once more to the Two Kingdoms!
    • I can help with publishing
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • Radiant worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      Radiant worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #6 on: 15 Apr 2018, 08:34 »
I do think Spencer is important. I'm a pretty fast reader, so I tend to turn off voice acting (if any) and click through the dialogue at my reading speed. If a game doesn't allow this, I probably won't play it.

I'd also like to add the type of player goes "Bo-ring! When can I shoot something?" if the game goes five minutes without an explosion. (roll)
This guy should be called Michael, obviously.

selmiak

  • ǝsıɔɹǝxǝ ʞɔǝu puɐ uıɐɹq
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • I can help with web design
    •  
    • selmiak worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #7 on: 15 Apr 2018, 08:38 »
that's an interesting read and approach to gamedesign.

what about chester, who plays for the comedic value, either the intentional, like funny things painted into the background, but also the unintentional, like whacky animations that look a bit dirty and the like.

cat

  • Local Moderator
  • AGS Baker
  • Now investigating MonoAGS
    • cat worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
      cat worked on a game that won an AGS Award!
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #8 on: 15 Apr 2018, 16:41 »
I'm probably a mix of Ezra and Paula, with focus on Ezra. Usually, story is not that important for me in games. If I want story, I'd rather watch a movie (or even better, a series). I really enjoy exploration which includes great art but also the possibility to inspect and interact with the environment (including NPC). I also like puzzles that integrate well with the environment. If this is well done, they can almost replace a story.
Some of the best adventure games don't really have much story. Just think of MI: The whole story of the first act is "I want to be a pirate", with the rest being only puzzles and interactions with the location and people there. Or think of DotT, where the game is driven by puzzles that make excellent use of the weird setting and bring it to life this way.
On the other end of the spectrum there is maybe Life is Strange, which is lots of story, some exploration and only a few mediocre alibi puzzles. I enjoyed the game, but was playing together with two other people. It actually felt more like watching a movie together than playing a game.

It could be fun to analyse a few games (AGS or other) and try to see how much emphasis they put in those three aspects.

Danvzare

  • The Man with No Name
    • I can help with AGS tutoring
    •  
    • I can help with play testing
    •  
    • I can help with proof reading
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with voice acting
    •  
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #9 on: 16 Apr 2018, 12:58 »
I mostly cater for Stella. Can you really balance it? Puzzles and story seem to be at the expense of each other: the story flows and the puzzles are the roadblocks. The more you accommodate general puzzles, the more your story becomes like a premise (Myst, The Witness). On the other end, the tighter your puzzles are woven into the story, the less obtuse they have to become. e.g. You can't excuse solving towers of Hanoi to open the hero's front door if you want the world to be taken seriously.
I disagree. While most adventure games do indeed treat puzzles like that, I find that the best puzzles don't act as roadblocks to the story, but instead compliment the story.
Through the use of puzzles, you can learn things about the characters, their likes and dislikes, and the world around them. Because you're having to observe and interact with everything to figure out the solution.
If the puzzle is simply about being given a task, and then solving that task so you can move on. Then yeah, the puzzles are at the expense of the story. But if the task for the puzzle is also a puzzle, you're participating in the story while solving the puzzle.
The only problem is, this is difficult to do, so everyone just chooses one or the other. Even the best and most popular adventure games do this. But surely you can think of a few puzzles here and there, that embody what I mean.

One example I can think of is on Chaos on Deponia, where Goal's personality is split into three. You have to make each personality fall in love with you, that's the task. But the way you do it, perfectly exemplifies what I mean. Thanks to this rather lengthy puzzle, you learn about each personality, and how they are all aspects of the same person, while at the same time learning about the world around you, and the people inside that world, and the history and relationships of those people. If you were to somehow turn that game into a movie, that puzzle would have to remain, since it's so integral to the plot. It's not a roadblock to the story, it is the story.

tzachs

  • AGS Baker
  • Mittens Vassal
  • Parking Goat- games that goats like!
    • I can help with translating
    •  
    • tzachs worked on a game that was nominated for an AGS Award!
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #10 on: 16 Apr 2018, 13:33 »
I'd also like to mention Chris, who would like to change the world. It's about making an impact, seeing how things you do in the world actually make a difference. If I steal a cake from a bakery, for example, maybe I can see the baker installing a home security system when I come back later.
A sub-set of this, is also about making choices that have consequences. Like which person do I save, as seen in "The Walking Dead" game. And I can mention The vacuum as an AGS game that did this superbly.

KyriakosCH

  • Alien spiral maker
    • I can help with backgrounds
    •  
    • I can help with story design
    •  
    • I can help with translating
    •  
Re: Adventure Game Psychographics
« Reply #11 on: 17 Apr 2018, 15:05 »
Hm, i like atmosphere, so the story has to be good. Also a bit ominous. :)

Most games either don't have much of a story, are trope-ridden, OR (when they do have a story) are more like interactive novels (despite typically being games).
It is an issue tied to the difference between a story and a game. In a story you can't go anywhere else. You follow, by reading. In the game you are supposed to experience the environment, and form the game by being there. What in a game is crucial (eg not be willing to do something, out of fear) in a story will be done for you as long as you keep reading.