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Journal Articles Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction Year : 2021

Co-Designers Not Troublemakers: Enabling Player-Created Narratives in Persistent Game Worlds

Viktor Gustafsson
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  • PersonId : 1077458
Lilly Arstad Helmersen
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  • PersonId : 1113103
Wendy Mackay

Abstract

Players in Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) generate long-standing histories with their characters, but cannot express or see traces of their adventures in the game worlds. We are interested in designing game systems where players shape and contribute their own narratives as game content. Study one designed and playtested three Virtual Tabletop Role-Playing Game (VTTRPG) prototypes where we found that structured, graphical representations of players' traces support co-design and narrative analysis. We also identified four categories of traces: environment, build, memory and object. We introduce Play Traces, a novel analysis method for representing and co-designing with players and their narratives. A structured observation including Play Traces studied 17 players over 16 four-hour sessions in the third VTTRPG prototype. We found that players successfully (and enjoyably) co-designed novel narratives. We identified three themes for how traces can affect and support players in shaping new interactive narratives. We present four design implications describing how player-created narratives in MMORPGs should first Reveal & Pull Attention from other players, Invite & Push further exploration, Guide & Assist toward endings, and optionally Show & Hide traces. Finally, we discuss how treating players as co-designers offers a promising approach for developing the next generation of MMORPGs. CCS Concepts: • Human-centered computing → Human computer interaction (HCI); • Information systems → Massively multiplayer online games.
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Dates and versions

hal-03374587 , version 1 (12-10-2021)

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Viktor Gustafsson, Lilly Arstad Helmersen, Wendy Mackay. Co-Designers Not Troublemakers: Enabling Player-Created Narratives in Persistent Game Worlds. Proceedings of the ACM on Human-Computer Interaction , 2021, 5, pp.1 - 26. ⟨10.1145/3474700⟩. ⟨hal-03374587⟩
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