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Effective Use of Sound Andor Music to Communicate Info to Player

Effective Use of Sound Andor Music to Communicate Info to Player

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1 Effective Use of Sound and/or Music to Communicate Info to Player Computer games became interactive entertainment with substantially

greater number of opportunities than any other. On the other hand, our imagination and desire to see an interesting story have always been more important than interactivity of the story telling process. Thus, narrative and cinematic elements in game design are still present. As a matter of fact, modern games include more and more cinematic elements in order to make the story smoother and much more interesting. Is it a good or bad tendency in terms of computer games? In order to answer this question, we should consider the following first: the human brain is able to process information; however, it can create it as well. Imagination, creativity, and everything created by the human brain is the product of what? What are we trying to reach reading books? We imagine the scenes inside our head (Bateman 2005, 2008). Basically, we dream. We personalize characters; some of them we like others we do not. However we live in this book, in its world, if it is interesting, of course. So the story plays a vital role in the attractiveness of a book for reader. What are the movies then? Pictured books, are not they? While watching a movie, we can actually see something, created by the director, cameraman, etc. In this case, the picture could be so exciting that the story is not important. Is it really so? (Bateman 2005, 2008) Modern technologies in the world of movie making and computer making are very close and similar. In fact, these industries use the same technologies of motion capture, computer graphics, special effects, etc. in order to impress the viewer. We can see how budgets of the modern games are very close to the budgets of the most impressive blockbusters. Of course, producers spend their money differently but they want to achieve the same effect – impress us (Bateman 2005, 2008). Now, we should take a closer look at the overall gross of the AAA games

2 and movies. They are similar, considering the targeted audience, sales channels, etc. However, every successful product can be called interesting. Of course, it could be impressive, shocking, stunning, etc. but it is always interesting. It has the story that attracts people; it makes them spend money (Salen & Zimmerman 2004). The trick is that the story could be regular, with numerous stamps and cliché. Then why do people go to the movies or play games? The answer is simple. Each story of such kind is presented in the way people like the most. Therefore, a story has two-factor success’ dependence: it should be attractive, interesting, fascinating (but not necessarily) and it must be presented accordingly. These are the main principles of any movie success. Avatar, the most successful movie ever (according to the world gross) is just a love story (RottenTomatoes.com 2011). However, the way James Cameron presented it to the public was outstanding. The result is obvious (Bateman 2008). Let us get back to the games’ design process and the contribution of story part into the overall success (Salen & Zimmerman 2004). Games are not movies. They provide us with another experience that is rather different than movies do. However, it is in our nature to take everything seriously enough, get scared of horror movies, laugh at comedies, and cry watching dramas. We participate, we live in that world. Therefore, games are another dimension of our participation in the world of entertainments. Participation (passive during the movie watching and active during the game playing) is different for these two kinds of entertainment (FilmReference.com n.d.; Salen & Zimmerman 2004). We have evaluated the necessity of the appropriate storytelling to a player and came to the conclusion that it is utterly important part of the game’s success. Now, we should see what narrative elements are usually used in the game design process in order to evaluate their

3 importance for the successful game design (Salen & Zimmerman 2004). These elements are as follows: backstory, dialogues and voice-overs, cutscenes, and passive narrative elements (Sushil 2010). The usage of such elements creates the appropriate depth of the story. Suchil (2010) sates: “Story, when used correctly, serves three purposes in game design. First, it provides context. Second, it gives the game emotional relevance. Third, it is a strong marketing tool. If you understand the role of storytelling in games, the following narrative elements will certainly improve the quality of your projects.” Barwood (2000) explored the cinematic construction for games and came to the conclusion that these two industries are rather similar. Game designing and construction utilizes such cinematic methods as the shot, the cut, and film theory (fundamental ideas of cinematic construction of movies); actors and acting, images and staging, cinematic expression, the world of left and right (cinematic elements); visual exposition, economy, clarity, screen reality, melodrama (cinematic style). As we can see, games are similar to the movies, if we just apply simple analysis of the games we have played. Jenkins (n.d.) stands for the narrative nature of the games. The author states: “Environmental storytelling creates the preconditions for an immersive narrative experience in at least one of four ways: spatial stories can evoke pre-existing narrative associations; they can provide a staging ground where narrative events are enacted; they may embed narrative information within their mise-en-scene; or they provide resources for emergent narratives.” Juul (n.d.) supports him and provides the following rationale: “you clearly can't deduct the story of Star Wars from Star Wars the game”.

4 Works Cited Barwood, H 2000, Cutting to the Chase: Cinematic Construction for Gamers, 2 October 2012, <http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/3167/cutting_to_the_chase_cinematic_.php>. Bateman, C 2008, Why There Are No Great Game Stories, 2 October 2012, <http://onlyagame.typepad.com/only_a_game/2008/03/why-there-are-n.html>. Bateman, C 2010, Game Design as Make-Believe: Depiction Vs. Narration, 2 October 2012, <http://www.kotaku.com.au/2010/05/game-design-as-make-believe-depiction-vsnarration/>. Clarkson, S 2010, Values and Characteristics of the Cinematic Action Genre, 2 October 2012, <http://www.gamecritics.com/sparky-clarkson/values-and-characteristics-of-thecinematic-action-genre>. Gleason, W 2011, Design Motivations, 2 October 2012, <http://videogamenarratives.wetpaint.com/page/Design+Motivations>. Eskelinen, M n.d., The Gaming Situation, 2 October 2012, <http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/eskelinen/>. FilmReference.com n.d., Narrative and Participation, 2 October 2012, <http://www.filmreference.com/encyclopedia/Romantic-Comedy-Yugoslavia/VideoGames-NARRATIVE-AND-PARTICIPATION.html>. Jenkins, H n.d., Game Design as Narrative Architecture, 2 October 2012, <http://web.mit.edu/cms/People/henry3/games&narrative.html>. Juul, J n.d., Games Telling Stories? A Brief Note on Games and Narratives, <http://www.gamestudies.org/0101/juul-gts/>.

5 Lindley, CA 2005, Story and Narrative Structures in Computer Games, 2 October 2012, <http://www.designersnotebook.com/Lectures/Interactive_Narratives_Revisit/Story_and_ Narrative_Structures.doc>. LingualGamers.com n.d., Story in Video Games, 2 October 2012, <http://lingualgamers.com/thesis/story_video_games.html>. Locke 2008, Narrative In Games: Where Interactivity Meets Story - Uncharted Edition, 2 October 2012, http://www.ugo.com/games/narrative-in-games-where-interactivity-meetsstory Murray, J 2010, Digital Games and Narrative, 2 October 2012, <http://jackmurray.wordpress.com/2010/03/23/digital-games-and-narrative/>. RottenTomatoes.com 2011, Avatar (2009), 2 October 2012, http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/avatar/ Salen, K & Zimmerman, E 2004, Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, MIT Press, Cambridge. Sushil, D 2010, Narrative Elements in Game Design, 2 October 2012, <http://www.indiepubgames.com/news/narrative-elements-in-game-design>.

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