Sunday, February 5, 2017

Day 81: FotLC through the 113 lenses from The Art of Game Design

Day 81 - Lens 77: The Lens of the Weirdest Thing
Having weird things in your story can help give meaning to unusual game mechanics, capture the interest of the player, and make your world seem special.  Too much weirdness, though, will render your story puzzling and inaccessible. To make sure your story is the good kind of weird, ask yourself these questions:

What is the weirdest thing in my story?
The post-apocalyptic setting is pretty standard at this point. But maybe making the players the savage tribes trying to destroy the last bastion of civilization is weird.  Having the narrator be dead and communicating with the players through the notes he left behind is a little strange.

How can I make sure that wierdest thing doesn't confuse of alienate the player?
Establishing the communication between the player and the narrator (The Teller) has been a bit challenging. I tried being clever and labeling the first letter that is the tutorial for the game 'Read this 'iffin I'm dead.' And players were consistently confused and did not read that document first. I think I have to be super clear and just label it 'Read This First'. Things seem to largely go well once that connection is established.

If there are multiple weird things, should I maybe get rid of, or coalesce some of them?
I think story wise, all of the weird is closely tied together with the story. It's all part of the setting in a way that is mutually supporting and makes the game more interesting. How much detail to add has been an ongoing question. I think that I might want to have more setting materials be stretch goals, and maybe have a higher pledge level that includes them and an add on that collects them for other players.

If there is nothing weird in my story, is the story still interesting?
I think it's safe to say there are weird things. As to whether the story is interesting enough... I think it serves it's purpose as a frame for the game and the game rules. I think I can add more color for people who are interested, but that I should be careful to keep it from muddying the game and rules for people who are not.

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