Eloquence at the Leftfield Collection (EGX 2019)

Eloquence was given the opportunity to exhibit at the EGX 2019’s Leftfield Collection. In this post, I want to share a few of the lessons we learned from letting EGX attendees play our prototype of Eloquence!

First, let’s start with some pictures!

So what have we learned from this experience? Good question!

  • Players love saying ‘hello’ to every and any Non-Player Character. They’ll say hello even before paying attention to what the NPC is actually trying to say to them.
  • Parents and children have a unique dynamic when playing Eloquence together. We believe this is due to the fact that both parent and child are at the same language level at the start of the game, so they are equal partners. At least, for a while.
  • In fact, some kids found the answers before their parents did! We suspect that kids are open to a wider range of possible symbol interpretations, whereas their parents may be limited by a lifetime of semantic assumptions and cultural patterns.  
  • Reinforcing what we already knew: people who think out loud and those who voice their theories or hypotheses can crack symbols at a much faster rate that those who remain silent throughout the play session.
  • We found it remarkable how many players were able to complete the demo on their own, without any instruction from either Thomas or Gerben, your friendly booth attendants. Some of these tenacious players requested to be given no introduction or guidance. Others were let loose on the demo without any support intentionally, just to see what happened. Even with our broken User Interface, we’re amazed that quite a large percentage of players found their way to the end screen. Well done to you!
  • Our custom wall art drew very little attention. But that’s fine! We’ll recycle the phrases we composed for the booth wall and will feed them to our audience in other forms further down the road – for your entertainment!

We think these insights are pretty cool, and we’ll design the proper game keeping these findings in mind.

Ready for more pictures?

Thomas and I had a blast connecting to the excellent attendees at EGX 2019. We were very surprised by the incredibly positive response from those who tried the game. Our current version of the game was originally built to be presented, not to be played hands-on – but we’re quite satisfied with its playability (after several tweaks).

But don’t just take our word for it. Here’s a couple of tweets that got us excited!

And that concludes our little wrap-up!

This was likely the last time we’re using the GDC Experimental Gameplay Workshop demo to showcase. The demo has served us well, in diverse ways. It’s been built and rebuilt to be fit for GDC, Casual Connect, Gamescom, and now EGX. But it’s time to look forward and anticipate the improved vertical slice we are currently building.

More on our progress in that regard will be shared soon!

Game-specific Story Structures

I sometimes get the feeling that we are on the verge of breaking into new kinds of narrative structures, specifically created for games. For a long time, we’ve borrowed literary, theatrical or cinematic structures, copying their story experiences and ways of progression. It’s not uncommon to find a game story script that looks exactly like a movie script. But more and more games seem to pursue narrative structures that create innovative story experiences that work best in games. As you can read elsewhere on my website, I’m a proponent of innovation in story creation, which is why I want to shed my views on this phenomenon.

order 1866

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Why should we interpret a game?

**SPOILERS!** This article is a discussion of plot elements in games, meaning that it contains many minor **SPOILERS!**

The title of this article is a question, with good reason. It may be a question some of you ask when confronted with someone who claims to know what a game is really about. Or maybe you ask the question when discussing what the value is of adding meaning to a game, or interpreting it. In any case, the word ‘game’ can easily be replaced by ‘film’, ‘book’ or ‘painting’. Why is adding meaning to a work of art needed? Can’t we all just keep our own interpretations to ourselves?

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Assassin’s Creed’s Storytelling Acrobatics

**SPOILERS!** This article is a discussion of plot elements in games, meaning that it contains many **SPOILERS!**

The Assassin’s Creed series is known for many things: its historical accuracy, the parkour movement system and yes, even its story. Yet few players concern themselves with the narratological finesses that Ubisoft filled their story with. I’m not just talking about the fact that all characters die at the same location and date that history dictates. No, I’m talking about some narratological techniques that cause the story structure itself to become all the more interesting.

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