Crowd Feelings

I was making my new game last week, re-writing some code, re-making graphics, thinking about the game proportions, and one think comes to my mind – the game story.

The game is one of that critical games, they have some subjective messages, but i can’t simple put text to tell the story, and make any common gameplay – and then i realize how challenging will be this game.

It’s clearly necessary my game pass some feelings to the player. I wanna make the player feel some disgusting of itself, or angry of what they are making to the crowd. To make an example, imagine you seeing a bunch of people doing something that you think “ohh these people are so stupid” or “wow, they have balls to do such a thing”.

For that, the common recipe is: make a character, make the player identify itself with this character, kill it with your bare hands because your boss sent. But i’m using crowds, a bunch of people doing something. Probably one person will be three pixels very small.

I started studyng the movies for Neill Blomkamp, the author of District 9 – because he has a very good experience in make fictional stories that make you actually think something like “it’s our world” – but he abuse that recurse of explore one unique human, and not one crowd behavior.

Elysium (his new movie) have a story more like my game. But again, he uses one character to make the viewer feel the emotions that he want in the story.

As my game doesn’t have this realism, i have to think in another solution.
So, my solution come to something that is “normal” for developer, but normaly is not a solution for narrative: Artificial Inteligente.

As my characters will have just three/four color pixels, and i was not able to animate then (performance issues – i just test it) i have to make his movement behaviors transpass feelings to the player, like the crowd running from something, clearly demonstrates fear (the easiest feeling to show – many movies about apocalypse do that). There’s many other kinds of movement that make you think or feel something - Albert Michotte study this psicologycal pattern, we attribute causalities to simple object, depending of your size, speed, direction, etc.

It’s easy to do something like fear. Rampage and many other games do that.

But if i want to make the player like this crowd?
And if i want to make the player feel a strange feeling for doing what he are doing, like kiling the crowd?
And how i can achieve that if the player doesn’t play so much with the crowd, or don’t have to much contact with them?
If you played Papo y Yo, you have this perception at the end of the game because you walked all way to that end, and think “i know i have to do this, but it’s kind of strange”.

I have to identify the player with a character with three/four colorful pixels. Pass a series of stories, preferentially without text, short stories, but intense stories, and make the player feels like he’s making something wrong, or strange. I will try to combine some techniques from the movies, with the Michotte’s perception idea. Let’s see what i can do that.

Studyng some cases, i was remember of Loneliness, a game made for Necessary Games who pass the feeling of loneliness using points. Immediately i was remember of the Extra Credits video about Mechanics as Metaphor. Great time studying psycology has come.

Cheers.

Design & developer, Pirituban, drummer, hitchhiker and future master of the World. Love action, adventure and frenetic games.

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