Camp Ellis : Et studie i environmental storytelling

Student thesis: Master Thesis and HD Thesis

  • Lasse Hjorth Rasmussen
4. term, Interactive Digital Media, Master (Master Programme)
This project will examine the possibilities of using environmental storytelling in a way that
allows for establishing a more meaningful relationship between the gameplay and the
narrative. This project is based on a concept called “Camp Ellis”, a semi open world zombie
survival horror game as well as a hermeneutic approach where a wide variety of theories
regarding both interactive storytelling and environmental storytelling was examined. In order
to have a good starting point, the broadest definition of environmental storytelling was
selected as a starting point. From this, the following problem statement was developed:
Using environmental storytelling, is it possible to create a zombie survival game which makes
the player able to interact with and affect the game world and narrative in a meaningful way?
To answer this problem statement, the following research questions were developed:
1. What is the difference between the four types of environmental storytelling that Henry
Jenkins defines?
2. How can the zombie genre best be expressed according to Don Carson’s
interpretation of the players expectations from the real world?
3. How can the narrative framework best be expressed through the player’s interaction
with the game world?
4. How do you create a meaningful link between the actions of the player and the
player’s influence on the game world?
To answer these questions, a variety of different theories regarding environmental storytelling
as well as interactive storytelling will be examined. Furthermore, the zombie genre will also be
examined with the purpose of defining certain themes. Based on these findings a narrative
framework will be developed, whereby a design will be developed in order to efficiently
express the narrative framework. There are differences between the different kinds of
environmental storytelling. Evocative storytelling is about being able to enhance the player’s
immersion in a certain setting or theme. Enacted storytelling is about facilitating the players
progress through the physical space, either through broadly defined goals or through micro
narratives. Embedded storytelling creates a memory palace in the game’s physical space
where the player can decipher the plot. Emergent narratives is about providing the player with
a set of tools, thereby allowing the player to create their own stories. The zombie genre is
defined by a social commentary on the relationship between social classes as well as the fear
of loss of being assimilated by the zombie horde. A central theme is chaos versus order,
where humanity desperately tries to maintain order in a chaotic and uncaring world. The best
tool for expressing a narrative framework is by utilizing the relationship between syuzhet and
fabula. Syuzhet elements are narrative information provided to the player and the fabula is the
player’s overall understanding of the narrative based on that information. It is also important to
let the players actions be bound to an ideological consideration, instead of just a gameplay
consideration, in order to create a more meaningful interaction with the game world.
Publication date1 Jun 2015
Number of pages95


ID: 213378255