1. An area of interest you’ve identified.
I think Peggy hit the nail on the head last week in her analysis of my analysis. I’m interested in the process of telling stories. To refine that: I am especially interested in formal structures that allow users to have the freedom to construct their own narratives within larger stories I tell. I’ve said before that I believe there is no substitute for good writing and experience bears out that most people when given no guidelines construct somewhat uninteresting stories. Too much control over it kills the fun, though.
2. A couple of questions (stated in the form of a question) and opportunities suggested by your area of interest – what do you (or a potential viewer) want or need to know about this area?
What’s the best vehicle for this?
Is there something like this that already exists? How effective is it?
Is this a game? Or is a part of something else?
3. Identify a method or process that can be used to explore your question.
I need to take a critical look at a lot of things, not just electronic games, but storytelling games and structures of all types and start recording research about what I think makes them work or not work.
4. One to three actual topics or subjects that address your interests/questions. (Not ‘a game’ or ‘experience’ or ‘interactive film,’ find a subject/setting/character/narrative.
High school – our first chance as children/adults to really re-invent ourselves- we define our character class within a formal structure and then create our own mini narratives within the metanarrative of those four years. Also works for college, but I like high school better because I think in college we add another layer of story with a certain amount of revisionist fiction about those years.
There’s a TV series spec I developed last year- it’s a little too much for me to produce with my own meager resources, but obviously I’ve done a lot of world-building and tried to build it so there was a lot of room for stories within stories.
5. Pair your topics with a genre and an audience: Not just “a game” but the type of game and the type of player you envision.
I would have to say right now that it seems like a game reaches the audience I most care about- not really typical gamers, but the kind of people I believe would deeply enjoy the process of interacting with a game if only there was more there for them to find appealing. I don’t think it’s a question of subject matter so much as the method and rewards of the interaction that don’t currently engage them.
6. Commit to a term (participant, viewer, player, reader, user, audience) that you will use throughout the project.
We’ll say “player.��? I think it’s pompous to invent a new term.
EDIT: Here’s the madlib focusing statement…
I am designing a game because I want to demonstrate how to advance storytelling in order to help the player experience personal narrative in shared interactive experiences.