Game Development Reference
he does. Our emotional triggers can be so complex that we can't even un-
Emotion and Change
The bedrock principle behind all emotional triggers is change . To cause
emotion, an event must signal a meaningful change in the world. But not
just any change will create emotion.
To provoke emotion, an event must change some HUMAN VALUE.
For example, an asteroid crashing into a distant planet is an astronom-
ical curiosity. An asteroid crashing into Earth is the most wrenching event
that could occur. The difference is in the implications to human beings.
In one case, nothing human-relevant happened. The other represents a
massive shift from life to death.
[life/death] is an example of a human value .
A HUMAN VALUE is anything that is important to people that can shift
through multiple states.
Human values can be in positive, neutral, or negative states. Only
changes that shift human values between these states are emotionally
Some examples of human values are [life/death], [victory/defeat],
[friend/stranger/enemy], [wealth/poverty], [low status/high status],
[together/alone], [love/ambivalence/hatred], [freedom/slavery], [danger/
safety], [knowledge/ignorance], [skilled/unskilled], [healthy/sick], and
[follower/leader]. Events in games can shift all these values and more.
In Minecraft , players are assaulted by zombies every night. When they
finish constructing a fort to hide in, they feel relieved because their situa-
tion has shifted from danger to safety.
In Street Fighter II , a kid starts playing tournaments. At first, he is
easily defeated by the local experts. But he doesn't stop. He keeps practic-
ing, working his way up the ladder. Eventually he wins a regional tourna-
ment, then a national, then a world championship. These are life-changing
events because they represent huge shifts from ignorance to knowledge,
from low status to high status, and from defeat to victory.
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