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I think that if you look at the idea of a video game in a different light things like this can be avoided. For instance, why not write a book about your game. Or take the overall principal of the complete theme and write your own personal book. The reason for this is to have a total plausable backstory for everything in the game. So then the game is just a visual interpretation of perhaps just a character or events from the overall book.

This gives you acountablity for every aspect that is in the game and gives you the ammunition to explain everything. If the original idea is sound then everything fits.

Then you can take the time out and fix what is important in the game. The way it plays. Then you won't have points where your 3rd person perspective game, (that seems to be the rage now. I don't see why controls are often clunky and animations bungled) doesn't control like a digital version of C3PO.

I guess it's more of an issue with games set in a total fantasy world. Opposed to games that are grounded in reality. That's the cheap and easy way out to use reality to make things coherent. So if the game looses a step you can allow the player to make his own relations to it through his perception of reality. Where a fantasy setting you have to make the reality. When that happens I guess the only thing you can fall back on is basic human nature to help bandage your burps in the "plausablility".

Then again if your backstory is deep enough things can be explained. The players imagination will fill in the gaps. Or simply they won't care and the game just becoms another 20 hour quick hit.

Meh, designers often talk alot of nonsense and use words on made up theories to paint the illusion that they know what they are doing. When in reality they are just as lost as the consumer looking over a see of 15 titles to choose from. Ding, ding, ding, what is this, a bargain bin, yee-haw!


In addition to what I said. With the backstory when a semi problem in challenging the continuity thread of the game. Those pesky little threads that if you pull one on your sweater the entire arm drops off. Anyway, if a small burp arises simply have smart little backstory reinforcing things around the game world. Perhaps a billboard or a suttle little crumplep up letter. These small things really could help hash out idiosycryscities of stretches of inserted video game segment just to make it play better.

The key is as a designer then simply following murphy's law. Knowing a gamer will run into these burps just becuase they can and knowing when to place the little backstory tidbits and when not to. So assuming your story will be total crap from the start you'll be able to find more of these points.

That is extremely difficult by the way. Preparing for every possible flaw is very hard work. Factor in how big games are getting and it is even worse or almost, almost impossible.

Patrick Dugan

I won't comment on Adams' authority to coin new "laws", but I will comment that the idea is much more useful when you think in terms of agency instead of "credibility". Agency transcends "interactive story" and "game" as the one thing that is essential to the art form of interactivity, its also inherent in the design of a system, whether it be a system about fragging aliens or a marital breakdown. As you say, "credibility" is an interesting way of looking at game balance, but I think the meaning (measured in effects) of player choices is probably a better one.

Patrick Dugan

Oh yeah, and about freedom (the other guy posted twice, so what the hell), I think the conservation of credibility, when translated to agency, implies a porportion between local and global freedom. You can have constrained local agency and lots of global agency, visa versa, or something in between.

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