Sunday, September 16, 2012

March 2012: Immersion


So back in March 2012, there was a Poll and the topic selected was Immersion.

I was then asked, "Immersion in what sense?"  Usually, GDAM topics are fairly broad, which means you can bring your own interpretation to the topic.  If your article has anything to do with Immersion, then you should be fine.  The submission guidelines are here and feel free to suggest new Topics as well.

I used to stick to one topic per month so that we could have a conversation about it, but a few months back, that policy was changed.  So, you can look to the topics at right and send in anything that fits one of those.  In fact, I see that some topics like Cheats didn't get much love.

Most people think of Immersion in the storytelling sense.  Do you as a player believe in the world?  Are you enraptured by the play experience?  Or more importantly, does the story make sense?

However, someone else pointed out that Immersion could be about user interface.  Does the interface add or detract from the user experience?  Does it have to be exactly how it is in real life (or what you imagine it would be in real life)?

I remember there was once a somewhat noted (because it's funny) chatlog of a player trying out WWII Online for the first time and exclaiming that he had flown planes in real life and it wasn't as complicated.  Btw, if anyone has that link, please send it to me.

I also think about Assassin's Creed.  The interface was explained away in a sci-fi wrapper, but I really didn't like that.  I would rather be medieval assassin than a guy re-living ancestor memories.

What does Immersion mean to you?


Billy Cain said...

I see immersion as a removal of the game interface, where thought and action are one.

When you can forget about the interface, as in playing music on a mastered instrument, you become the instrument. The same holds true for gaming.

The measure of the game designer's skill at creating immersion is therefore the amount of time it takes to get past the interface. Creating a slick experience that trains the player to be an expert by using the interface, rather than requiring them to read a manual is fundamental to this experience, in my opinion.

By beginning with the core controls, and adding more over time, ideally by letting a player experience them rather than lecture them, game designers / developers are able to convey a sense of exploration and learning that bond players with the experience in a profound way.

Super Mario is a fundamentally beautiful experience, simply because you are "forced" to learn and master the base mechanics immediately and entertainingly. A thing of beauty upon your first try. I can remember it well.

The best games create these learning experiences in memorable ways, hopefully having a degree of leniency as well as challenge.

These are my thoughts. Love to hear more!

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