Master Thesis Summary

After a few month of silence, I am here to post and to share the summary of my Master  Thesis. I am sure you will appreciate the short version instead of the 70 pages ! The subject is “Narrative strategy in the video game industry” and more specifically “Muddle between real and virtual in the service of a marketing strategy” :


Given the growing weight of the video game industry and taking into consideration the increasing population concerned by video games, the question is to know whether there is an advantage for brands to provide significant services within video games (or simply new virtual services that would enrich the experience of the video game itself). In other words, in order to reach an even wider audience, what are the opportunities for marketing strategies to offer services through video games?

Within the two first parts we will show how, in the design of some games, everything is done to blur the line between real and virtual in order to ease gamers’ immersion. We have indeed identified some games where the blurring is due to the mix-up of three activities: learning the game’s mechanisms, discovering the game’s environment and the telling of the story take place simultaneously. All at once, the gamer learns how to play, explores the virtual world of the game and unfolds a story.

Lastly, we see that links have been created between brands and video games. In the third part, we point out how the gamer experience is moving towards the role of a service user. At this point, it is necessary to answer the following question: “what kind of services could we offer to gamers as they play?”
We will also point out the importance of collaboration between brands and game designers in order to offer services that do not affect the gamers’ experience….

I hope you enjoy my last post.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you are interested on it. I will give you all the details you need.

All best, ++

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Type:Rider. A French typographic game by ARTE

52 worldwide followers this week! 🙂 From France to the United States via Greece and Germany, you are awesome and I really appreciate your support!

To thank you folks, I can’t wait to share with you the most beautiful game, in my opinion, realised by Arte and several typographers.

As a graphic designer I am completely seduced by the game. I do not get tired of it.

In Type:Rider the player controls two points moving in a great puzzle game to discover the history and evolution of typography. The photos below give you a snapshot of the gameplay and its universe. The game is available on PC, iOS and Android. To be more specific, Type:Rider is a project that had already emerged in 2010 at the Arte Game Week. It is developed by Cosmografik and supported by the Franco-German cultural channel.

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I Love it!!

Game experience in GTA 5 and Narrative Design

Today it is time to talk about game experience in GTA 5 (Grand Theft Auto). It is a video game that blends action, adventure and driving. This game developed by a Scottish company named Rockstar North was released in September 2013. Established since 1997, the company has sold 150 million copies worldwide.

The actions of the player determines the following scenes of the game. One of the most important thing, considering the player’s delight, is that he feels he’s influencing the course of history. For example, in the case of an investigation, the character needs to collect many items to progress (silver, weapons, clues, meetings). In general, the player is involved in a quest where his character interacts with other characters, such as collaborators, opponents, through the story. All the different characters and places are opportunities for the player to interact with the environment of the game. Therefore, this lets the player build his own narration up to the conclusion.

GTA 5 is built on a narrative games system. The goal is to create a personal and unique scenario. This scenario is based on a large freedom of movement and action, thus they are maybe several ways of tracking. In GTA 5, the character is a criminal operating in the City. The player embodying the character is therefore the main actor in the story that gradually evolves the narration.

To conclude, I would say here that the player is free to create the story in his own image as far as the gameplay allows it.

Living the “Beyond: Two Souls” Experience (2)

Last week, I shared with you my experience of Beyond: two souls, a game that fits perfectly with my thesis. As you might have already read on my about me page, the topic of my reflection is about the narrative design in the video game industry, or more specifically « The interaction between gameplay and story (1): thinkings on a game that combines the learning process and the playful mediation (2) » (work in progress…)

This subject might be a big mystery for you? Here are few words to clarify it (hopefully):

(1) Gameplay and story are intimately connected. They can’t live without each other. For instance, the player learns step by step how to act or react (move, fight, answer or interact with the environment…) thanks to the rules that appear in both the dialogues and the gameplay.

(2) Games I am referring to, such as Beyond: Two souls, alternate learning and playing sequences throughout the story. The player is totally connected with the character he is embodying. He can live a better experience of the game.

On the picture bellow, the player using the joypad, can choose how to react in a dialogue, or to define the behaviour of the character. It creates a particular situation based on the player’s choice.

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Following my subject research, I recently tried other games like Far Cry 3 developed by Ubisoft, or GTA by Rockstar North, to live other games experience. And guess what? It will be the subject of other posts!­­­

See you next week!

Living the “Beyond : Two Souls” Experience (1)

I’m typing this from a café in Paris, but just 2 hours ago I was giving birth to a baby, after having rescued 3 homeless people from a fire by myself. Two hours before that, I attacked an entire army, fighting with my bare hands. So it’s certainly been an eventful day.

Jumping from a helicopter, tuning and playing the guitar in the street to earn money, playing pool in a bar, giving or avoiding kicks, punches and shots, etc… these are a few things you can do if you play Beyond : two souls. It is the type of game that makes me feel like I am really embodying the game character.

Beyond: Two Souls is an interactive drama action video game available on PlayStation 3 console, developed by Quantic Dream. It was released on October 2013 in Europe. Jodie Holmes is one of the two main characters. The other one is an entity named Aiden that seems to come from the afterlife. He has been linked to Jodie since birth. Jodie has been inspired by the young actress Ellen Page who provided voice, acting and motion capture performance for the role. Willem Dafoe is the co-stars as Nathan Dawkins, a researcher in the Department of Paranormal Activity. (See picture bellow)

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I began this game a few days ago and I found it very interesting and I am completely addicted to it now. Oh, I think I’m becoming a geek. Is that even a thing…?

I will tell you more about this game next time.

And you, what do you think of it? Did you test this game before? If so, please feel free to share it with me! But don’t tell me the end I haven’t finish to play yet!

From the game to the museum, from the museum to the book

In a previous post I talked about the Video Games exhibition “Jeux Video l’Expo” at the CCSTI* in Paris. A book has been published to prolong the experience of the exhibition.

The book is driven by 2 different authors: Olivier Lejade is a french game designer and director of Mekensleep, a Creative Studio of video games, and Mathieu Triclot, a french philosopher and lecturer.

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23 contributors summarize in this book of 4 chapters the all story of video games, from the beginning to nowadays. They reveal the video games manufacturing and open our eyes on the conception, realisation and graphics of video games. Moreover, they focus on 3 important stakes of the video game making process: learning, communication and creation.

Besides, in terms of graphic design, the page layout, the several typographies and the structure make this book deeply appealing. It is full of images that illustrate well the topic. Screenshots, drawings of game characters, sketches and diagrams decompose scenes, reveal with details how games are made and how they affect us.

After reading this book you won’t play in the same way…

 

(*) Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie

Talents in the video game Industry (2/2)

On the previous post, I told you about creative talents in video games. This time, let’s talk about, last but not least, the script and dialogue writers!

They are the ones in charge of the narrative design. As you may know or read in my about me page, this is my thesis subject. I will post about it later but today I would recommend you to read Kevin’s post untitled Ludic Narrative that I found interesting and that links to my topic through several points.

The script and dialogue writers write the story after a long research in historical,  geographical, cultural documentations among others. They draw a portrait with many details: personality, appearance, motivation or failures… They also chose what kind of voice the characters should have. They write the dialogues with one goal: help the gamer to progress through the story and provide him with enough clues to give him a chance to accomplish the game.

I sincerely hope that you enjoyed my last 2 articles about “talents in video games industry”. If so, please let me know!

Talents in the video game Industry (1/2)

Hi again!

First, I wanted to thank you all for following my blog, sharing and liking my posts! I really appreciate it. It boosts my motivation to post other articles 🙂

I would like to focus on the creative talents subject when we generally are used to admire the final work : video games. I learned a lot about this topic during my visit at the CCSTI (I wrote a few words about it on this post) and I want to share that with you.

Video game industry covers many creative professions including people who design the universe and people who write the gameplay. But what gather them is to conceive games. These are the few talents that held my attention:

  • the graphic designer creates the digital images in line with the indications of the artistic director while respecting the project’s constraints in terms of background scenery, game atmospheres, characters and staging.
  • the role of the game designer is to define the gameplay: what type of actions players can accomplish, which rules and with what kind of activity. He often is the author: he provides the game’s theme, characters and universe. He draws his inspiration in his own general culture, games knowledge, fashion, trends and techniques.
  • the artistic director is responsible for the game’s individual identity. He defines style, colour and typography while keeping track of the project from the initial sketches through to communication visuals. He always has a wide knowledge in art, history, architecture and anatomy! He organizes the graphic designers team and the planning.
  •  the aim of the creative director is to provide the global game. He is responsible for the reality of the product and he drives concept games from A to Z. He also makes the connection between the all team and the direction. He is of course responsible of the quality of the product.

My next post will deal with another part of the profession that requires writing skills more than creative talents (both are not incompatible with each other, though)!

Until next week, enjoy your games and the precious time you have to play!

7 good reasons to play games (for a graphic designer)

We hear a lot about video games, especially when it comes to debate about the good’s or bad’s of this entertainment. Some people feared TV when it first appeared. Others feared the “email technology” and the “internet”. The same people fear the video games and make them partially responsible of some of the worst evil things happening in the world…

Contrary to popular opinions, studies have shown that gaming could be good! I’m listing here a few reasons why I would recommend you to play your favorite games without feeling guilty:

1. GAMES INCREASE CREATIVITY

Video game industry is a creative media. It covers for instance creative directors or graphic designers. Gamers are plunged into the game’s identity: style, colours, fonts… Perfect source of inspiration for a creative person!

2. GAMES IMPROVE TEAM WORK ABILITY

Network gaming with real or virtual friends is a good way to learn how to work as a group. Besides, though people are most of the time behind their own screen, they are involved in some socializing process.

3. GAMES IMPROVE CONCENTRATION

When gaming, you are staring at details, searching for clues to find the good way to progress and win the level. You have to pay attention, sharpen your mind and think quickly. You are more attentive on what you do.

4. GAMES IMPROVE YOUR VISUAL ABILITIES

The most important effect concerned is the vision. When playing, eyes are wide open. Spending time on gaming, improve the visual sensibility, spatial and temporal resolutions of the vision. You are able to detect contrasts or light variations. It also increases your reflexes in driving for instance (so don’t be scared to drive unconsciously in real life like you would in GTA). You are a lynx.

5. GAMES IMPROVE SELF-CONFIDENCE

Gaming helps you to overcome a setback. Indeed, learning how to cope with a difficulty is very important in life. Besides, it forces you to manage an under performing action, to go over it and maybe surpass yourself. It is a really good way to feel proud, and after some success, games improve self-confidence. Feel free to do the victory dance every time you perform a boss kill (the game boss) !

6. GAMES HELP TO LET OFF STEAM

For all you guys working in design or advertising agencies, you need a break! Take 20 minutes and play video games: You forget about all your problems for a while! For all you guys working anywhere else, you can also use this tip!

7. GAMES GUIDE YOU THROUGH THE WAY OF THE GEEK 😉


Obviously, it is important to have a good enough knowledge about this subject, especially if you are a parent worried about your child playing too much. Here are some interesting articles to start your research :

http://www.raisesmartkid.com/3-to-6-years-old/4-articles/34-the-good-and-bad-effects-of-video-games

http://www.rootsofaction.com/video-games-for-kids-more-good-than-bad-for-development/

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jordanshapiro/2013/11/27/4-reasons-video-games-are-good-for-your-health-according-to-american-psychological-association/

Great signage at the Video Games Exhibition!

A few weeks ago I decided to visit an exhibition about video games at the Cultural Center of Science, Technology and Industry* (CCSTI), located in Parc de la Villette in Paris. Perfect trip to boost my lack of knowledge in that domain!

If you have never been there, I would highly recommend you to visit this place. It’s the biggest science museum in Europe. The goal of the CCSTI is to spread scientific and technical knowledge among the public, particularly for youth, and to raise public curiosity in science, research and industry.

But let’s get back to the topic in hand!

During the visit I’ve been deeply interested in the graphic signage system. Indeed, in addition to the originality and the efficiency of the system, the designers managed to integrate fonts, 
brands or images. The visitors are thus plunged into the video games universe : the signage system uses LED cube panels with blue and pink colours referring to game consoles (see picture below).

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Then, I focused on the typographical design. Based on a 3D cube aspect, all the letters have been created especially for the exhibition. Game codes are also used, for instance, Space Invaders laser cannon styled shape to emphasize titles. (For those of you who don’t know, Space Invaders is a famous “shoot’em up” game which aim is to kill a large number of enemies while dodging their attacks).

Last but not least, the exhibition gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself into real sized video games (see picture below). What’s better than feeling, physically, at the heart of the game with other people sharing the same passion !

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Not forgetting that a brilliant book has been published to accompany this Exhibition. “La Fabrique des Jeux Vidéo – au cœur du Gameplay” will be the topic of a next post…

(*) Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie