Criteria for evaluating an idea in narrative design
Hi all! My name is Danila. For a long time I worked as a writer for commercial advertising, and about a year ago I plunged into narrative design. I came across a completely unique format of interaction with the audience, since the player is a direct participant in the process and can influence its outcome. I will tell you what methods of evaluating an idea I have transferred and modified from commercial advertising to game scripting.
Before you start developing one or another part of the narrative component of the game, it is useful to clearly understand what tasks you need to solve with your idea. To understand in which direction to move and what is needed, you can lead yourself through a funnel of questions. Here is an example of some of them:
What is the purpose of the narrative in this game? It is necessary to determine the main goal or intention of the narrative in the game. It could be delivering a specific message, creating an emotional connection with the player, providing a specific experience, or telling a compelling story.
What is the target audience of the game? It is important to understand for whom the narrative is being developed in order to meet the needs and interests of the target group of players. This will help determine the style, tone, and content of the story, as well as select appropriate narrative elements and mechanics.
What main themes or ideas should be included in the narrative? The narrative designer must determine the main themes that he would like to convey through the story of the game. It could be something to do with moral dilemmas, travel, justice, love, or any other concepts or values that play an important role in the narrative.
What specific characters and their dynamics are important to the narrative? The developer should think about what characters will participate in the story, what are their goals, motivations and conflicts. Character definition and character development will help create a more in-depth and immersive experience for the player.
What mechanics and interactions will support the narrative? It is important to consider what game mechanics and interactions can be used to enhance the narrative. For example, story branching, player choice, dialogue, visual effects, or gameplay elements can be included to create depth and immersion in the story.
I will omit the stage of direct creativity, since everyone has their own development methods. Next, after the narrative package is written, we proceed to evaluate what we managed to create.
Evaluating an idea helps determine its potential and effectiveness. Flexibility and adaptability in evaluating and selecting ideas will help you achieve the best results.
I have identified 11 points that I rely on when developing a narrative in a game:
Purpose and understanding of the story: The idea must be clearly connected to the main purpose of the narrative design and support the central story or intent of the project. It should complement or enhance the story, not detract from it.
Originality and Innovation: The idea should be a novel and interesting approach to storytelling or the use of narrative elements. It can be unique, unusual, or introduce new ideas into the realm of narrative design.
Audience Relevance: The idea must be relevant and appealing to the target audience. It should generate interest and engage the audience in the story or experience.
Comprehensibility and clarity: The idea should be understandable and easily perceived. It should not cause confusion or obscurity about what it offers or how it relates to history.
Emotional Appeal: The idea should evoke an emotional response from the audience. It may include elements that evoke surprise, joy, fear, empathy, or other emotions.
Level of complexity and feasibility: The idea must be appropriate to the level of complexity of the project and implementable within the available resources and capabilities. It can be tailored to suit budget, time constraints and technical capabilities.
Consistency and comparability: The idea should be consistent with the overall style, tone and aesthetic of the project. It should fit with the overall story and narrative structure, and be comparable to other design elements.
Potential to create memorable moments: The idea should offer the opportunity to create memorable and unique moments in a story or experience. It can include unexpected plot twists, amazing visuals, or unpredictable elements that leave a strong impression on the audience.
Meeting the needs of the audience: The idea should take into account the needs, interests and expectations of the target audience. She can solve problems, evoke empathy, or engage the audience in a story that matches their expectations and preferences.
Potential for long-term effectiveness: The idea must have the potential to remain effective and attractive in the long term. It must be resistant to changes in trends or changing interests of the audience in order to remain relevant and valuable.
Expansion and Development Opportunity: The idea should offer an opportunity for expansion and development in the future. It can stimulate the development of subsequent stories, the continuation of a project, or the creation of additional variations and platforms for the story.
Evaluating an idea in narrative game development is an iterative process, and the evaluation criteria may change or expand as the project progresses. Each project in narrative design can have its own unique evaluation criteria, which depend on its features and goals. It is important to consider the context and objectives of the project when evaluating and selecting ideas.