Establishing a framework of Environmental Storytelling

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Sebastian Hurup Bevensee
4. term, Medialogy, Master (Master Programme)
During the past decades, the environment has become a widespread aspect of computer games. However, little effort has been given to research the environment and its potentialities in digital interactive narrative experiences. It was my intention with this work, to establish as full framework based on Carson and Jenkins’ notion of “Environmental Storytelling” [ES]. The framework will be evaluated and validated through two distinct computer game installations.
The preliminary investigation formed analytical aspects and general rules based on definitions, Interactive narrative theory, and user experience aspects. It was particular interesting to adopt Ryan’s view on narrative as a scale, making the framework easier to dissect and evaluate. This resulted in the final problem statement:
“To what extend is it possible to increase the user’s narrative engagement across three distinct experiences, designed by using the established framework of environmental storytelling, as a set of design guidelines.”
To establish the guidelines, the main analysis dissects components of ES, such as how to design objects, analogies, scenery, challenge fantasy etc. to aesthetically induce user enjoyment.
The methodology for evaluating the framework was inspired by Schønau-Fog, Louchart & Soto-Sanfiel’s list of quantitative narrative engagement items that I established as a range of 10-point scale questions with additional demographics and qualitative questions. Based on this, a general hypothesis was created
Ho – There is no significant difference between the user’s narrative engagement levels, across the three different stages of environmental storytelling
Two distinct computer game experience, Natura and Introspection was designed and implemented in Cryengine SDK, measuring the narrative engagement in two separate groups with a total of 40 participants with 20 in each group.
The results indicated an increase in almost all engagement aspects, but overall the difference was not statistically significant in order to reject the null hypothesis with an average p-value of 0,208. A, revision of the questionnaire, a larger amount of respondents or alternative approaches to the method, might give clearer results on the matter in order to completely validate the framework.
SpecialisationGames
LanguageEnglish
Publication date28 May 2014
Number of pages91

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