Rebekah Tumasus and Alon Kfir are graduates of the M.Des degree in Digital Game Design and Development at Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art In Ramat-Gan, Israel.
They are both also graduates of the Open University of Israel’s Video Game Design certificate program. Rebekah has a B.Sc in Biology from Tel-Aviv University and is currently employed at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Alon has a B.A. in Economic and East Asian Studies from Tel-Aviv University and currently works as a game designer in the mobile gaming industry.
Further Discussion on Companion NPC Design: Narrative Hierarchies, Ludic Affordances, their Evolutions and the In-Game Impact
FROG 2022 – Talk
Past works have been published about non-player characters in digital games, as well as specifically about companion characters that accompany the player throughout the majority of the game. Design characteristics that promote companion believability have been proposed and iterated upon. This work proposes two new design aspects that describe the dynamics between the companion and player characters and, thereby, with the players themselves. First is the Narrative Hierarchy describing the power balance and strength of the bond between the player character and the companion from a narrative perspective. Second are Ludic Affordances representing the level of control the player has over the companion. These two design aspects can change or remain static throughout the game. The level of intersection of these aspects, as defined by this work, is the Ludo-Narrative Co-Evolution. Upon examining the proposed aspects and their potential development throughout seven selected case studies of existing games, two additional design aspects relating to the Ludo-Narrative Co-Evolution have emerged. These aspects are Correlation and Synchronicity. Correlation determines whether or not the Narrative Hierarchy and the players’ Ludic Affordances over the CNPC evolve in a similar direction. Synchronicity examines the game moments when either the Narrative Hierarchy or Ludic Affordances change (or both together) and whether those moments of transformation are shared by the narrative and gameplay or not. Finally, a new case study was designed with two scenarios, positive and negative evolutions, where the Narrative Hierarchy and Ludic Affordances evolve in tandem. It presents a Ludo-Narrative Co-Evolution which is both positively Correlated and Synchronous.