Elements of Role Playing: Part 2 – David Simkins

GNS Triangle

The GNS Triangle is a way to describe what role players want in a game. The edges of the triangle are Gamist, Narrativist and Simulationist.

  • Narrative – Most of the narrative events in many games are pre-chosen. In a successful design, the narrative fragments will have an impact because of the choices that the player performed beforehand.
  • Simulation – Thought the simulation is set, it allows people to navigate though them in many different ways. This is the sandbox side of a game.
  • Games – The game system, the other side of the sandbox. Things to do, ways to do them and challenges to get in the way.

Example: Hearts of Iron – a WWII game. WWII has a set narrative. The designers are interested in the design of the game set in historical events. Triggers happen no matter what, for example, the break up of the western european nations, but many things are flexible.

Bartle’s Player Types

There are 4 main types (Barte had 8 actually): Explorers, Socializers, Achievers and Killers.

Take the test yourself: http://www.gamerdna.com/quizzes/bartle-test-of-gamer-psychology

RPG Triangle

Actors, Gamers and Role Players

  • For example, in a mock trial, the person that stands up and wants to bring the confounding piece of evidence, they are likely an actor.
  • The person that wants to win is more in the gamer camp.
  • The person who wants to be an accurate lawyer is more of a role player.

Between these two player taxonomies, we need to understand what our players are expecting. We can also design around the majorities. People self report these preferences inaccurately, but it sure would be nice to know.

Creating Role

  • Whatever the game is about, make them at the middle of the action. This could include subgames that highlight their specific roles.
  • Create an environment where something is really at stake and the players can understand it.
  • Consequences, Mirroring, Social Context and Freedom all lead to the investment in a role.
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