Game Development Reference
For example, in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare , it is possible to desk-
jump. The player can refuse to complete objectives, refuse to fire, or try to
block allies or catch them spawning. Yet, this rarely happens in this game
because the high-energy combat is so fast-paced, insistent, and compel-
ling. When tanks are exploding, commanders are urging troops forward,
and enemies are swarming like flies, the player gets so keyed up that the
impulse to fight overrides the impulse to act like an idiot.
The player's motivation doesn't have to be the same in source as
their character—only in goal. In Call of Duty , the character is motivated
by honor, loyalty, and fear, while the player is motivated by energy and
entertainment. It doesn't matter that these motivations are very different,
though, since they lead to the same actions: fighting enemies as hard as
This kind of motivation alignment is very difficult to achieve consis-
tently because it crosses the bounds between fiction and narrative. Not
only do we have to instill in the player a burning desire to achieve some
goal, but that desire has to be mirrored in the character. It's one of the
key reasons we have to design fiction and mechanics as a unified whole,
instead of building them separately and duct-taping them together.
tHe Human inteRaCtion PRoBlem
Traditional stories are built from character interaction. Characters betray,
demand, suggest, declare, debate, and dialogue their way through a series
of emotional turns that constitute a story. This applies to nearly all stories,
not just dramas. Even the most pyrotechnic of action films and the bloodi-
est of horror stories fill most of their time with people talking.
This is a problem for game designers, since there is currently no way
to do rich human interaction with a computer. Buttons, joysticks, and
simple motion sensors aren't enough to allow people to express thoughts
and feelings to a machine. Furthermore, even if players could express
themselves to the machine, the machine would not be able to respond in
kind because we have no technology that can simulate a human mind.
To make human interaction work in games, we can use a set of tricks
that get around the limitations of the medium.
We can set up the fiction so that there is naturally no way to interact
directly with humanlike characters.
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