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Lame Discussion: Immersion – Part 2

posted on June 28th, 2006 by jay

Stefan: Graphics probably play a role, I just don’t have that figured out yet.

Horatio: The idea is that if all of the graphics build a cohesive like universe then it allows us to make predictions. And if you go into a new room and the graphics look ‘right’ because they fit your concept.

Stefan: I think, Jay, you’re shifting to what makes art aesthetically pleasing instead of jarring. Which may actually be almost the same process as what makes plot or action pleasing.

Jay: But particularly aesthetically pleasing art adds to immersion I think.

Na na na na na na na na.

Stefan: But there’s probably a different set of criteria outside of the believability of actions. Things like consistency in shading, and style. Use of lines to help your eyes rest where they want to, etc.

Horatio: Jay, that depends. Sometimes simplicity is much more powerful at creating a universe. Like Katamari doesn’t have great graphics, but it has a peculiar style that’s everywhere, and it all emphasizes a universe and that makes it immersive. If it were more complex it might lose the consistency that makes it all flow.

Jay: You’re arguing style is immersive only in how it supports consistency. And I’m saying that it can be immersive independently of that criteria.

Horatio: Well style in how it creates a theme. Like Katamari’s style creates its own universe and that makes it immersive.

Stefan: It needs the consistency to create a framework for you to fit it into. Which is part of what makes quirky styles so fun to look at. Your mind takes what would normally make no sense, and enjoys finding out that it actually works given the framework of the style you’re seeing.

Jay: If you take the same design docs and give it to two different teams and they both make the same game with different graphics, one will be less immersive even if the graphics of each are consistent with the universe…the same Zelda game can make perfect sense in cell shaded graphics or darker looking 3d.

Horatio: And I’d argue they’re equally immersive given the person. Like some people will see cell shade, buy into that universe, and find it much more immersive than a game that just tries to be dark and some will have the opposite reaction. But what I’m saying is that it’s not objectively more immersive or less immersive. It’s dependent on the person.

Jay: OK, Christian, give us some closing thoughts.

I bet he’d like to immerse himself in her.

Christian: Some of the best games I’ve ever touched have been the most immersive. Yet I consider the goal of Immersion to be a crutch. The best 2d games I’ve played are not immersive. I’m not focusing on the entire world, but only on the singular gameplay mechanic that it excels at nevertheless, I’m still focused on the game at some level. This is step one. Too many games these days attempt immersion through polished visuals and high production values but if the game is not fun enough to hold your interest, there is no point in all that work. The most immersive games are not so on purpose. Rather it comes naturally when the developer makes something that is fun enough to hold our interest and when put together with a world that is natural and logical in the context of the game, and when they give consequence, however big or small, to the player’s actions (example, I consider something as simple as Yorda being jerked about by Ico to be a consequence of your hastiness) immersion will naturally follow from all of this to me it isn’t a goal, but a consequence

Stefan: Bravo.


On to Part 3

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