Professional Development Session 2 Reflection

This development seminar was focused around the concept of transmedia, specifically in reference to narrative within games.  As the professors defined it, transmedia is the taking of a world in one form of media, and adapting and expanding upon the existing experiences found therein.  A recent successful example of transmedia would be the world if the Walking Dead, which has expanded from a graphic novel to a television show, as well as a video game.  In each instance, the world and rules remain the same, yet interactions and experiences are radically different.  While a great advantage of transmedia is its ability to bring a world to a wider audience than might have been possible via a single form of media, perhaps most interesting is its ability to constantly breathe life into a world, as well as offer new experiences to explore.  A game, for example, might explore the fight to overthrow the aristocracy of a world, while a movie might explore the aristocracy itself, while a book might tell the tale of a merchant caught in the crossfire between the worlds of the game and the movie.

The professors also talked about new ways to look at narrative structure, specifically ways in which narrative can be evoked by more than the traditional linear narrative format.  One of the most interesting narrative topics discussed was emergent narratives.  As the professors explained, these are narratives that arise from open ended sandbox games.  This was perhaps the most interesting because the narrative evoked is most often incredibly organic, arising from a combination of player actions and developer defined rules.  In its best execution, narratives would arise entirely around the player, and would be constrained only if their immersion within the rules of the game world was broken.  This type of narrative could be further compounded if implemented in a multiplayer experience, as the narrative would be truly controlled by the community of players, centered around the world rules and systems created by the developers.


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