[MUD-Dev] Protecting the Player's Suspension of Disbelief

GE ge at intelgames.com
Sat Feb 22 12:02:56 New Zealand Daylight Time 2003

From: Lee Sheldon

> For realism I'd substitute verisimilitude.  Realism is far too
> much an absolute, and it doesn't break down into multiple
> definitions or smidgens without a fight.  It really doesn't need
> to.  Realism doesn't exist in game worlds any more than it does in
> any other form of entertainment or art.  It's a straw dog and a
> distraction.  Verisimilitude on the other hand is what most
> entertainment creators strive for in other media.  It's a sliding
> scale that allows us to set our own borders, and establish our own
> balance.

> David Lynch in "Muholland Drive" draws his line in the sand at a
> very different spot from Arthur Miller in "A View from the Bridge"
> for example.  Miller's play is no more a "realistic" portrayal of
> life in an Italian-American family than is Lynch's portrayal of
> Hollywood.  But both carry enough verisimilitude to satisfy an
> audience's need for the grounding it gives us.

Perhaps the important issue here is perception. It's like the
difference between truth and honesty. One can be completely honest
and still not be truthful. Honesty is a perception of factualness
and does not inherently describe a factual element but is a view of
it. Reality is way to factual to be left to game designers. Instead
we must search for perceived reality, a reality that can be shared
by most observers and that serves as a backdrop to the action that
we want our viewer or player to concentrate on. I am involved in a
space opera game and we feel that it is very important to give the
feeling of a galactic star-spanning empire. On the other hand, we
don't want the player to be so involved in that art that the game
itself is lost.  In truth, the galaxy would be incredibly
awe-inspiring were we able to even represent 1% of it and our game
would see paltry and tiny. In talking to the Art Designer, I
mentioned that the first time you see the art, of a Nova or black
hole, or a really cool world, or better yet, an exploding one, you
should say, "Wow", but after that the art should serve the
gameplay. Like the words in a master novelist's hands, they and the
art should disappear into an accepted background, continuing a
player's suspension of disbelief and allowing them to enjoy their
first person game experience as the designer intended.

- Larry
The Galactic Effectuator
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