Apr 1, 2011

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Damion Schubert: A Player's Stories

For those that may not be familiar, BioWare Lead Systems Designer Damion Schubert pens a design column for Game Developer Magazine entitled, interestingly enough, Design Of The Times.

In the April 2011 issue, Damion picks up the torch for role-players, and speaks to designers about how important it is to embrace players’ stories. While the developer-created narratives in a game can serve as a foundation for players to branch off of, players may instead choose to ignore them completely as they craft their own.

Throughout the piece, he discusses ideals of this philosophy to fellow game designers… and makes statements that roleplayers should find interesting:

In the current state of things, the designer should help players who want to role-play find each other, and more importantly, find those with compatible shared fantasies.


Finding better ways to foster and encourage better role-play is an area of opportunity for the enterprising MMO designer.


One part of the magic of multiplayer is that other players are, in fact, content. The designer should encourage interactions between players…

While Damion doesn’t discuss Star Wars™: The Old Republic™, you can’t help but be excited by the ideas he’s expressing. Even if only some of the philosophies imparted in the article emerge in TOR, roleplayers may indeed have something great to look forward to:

Emergent stories can be as powerful as the handcrafted stories designers create – sometimes even more so. Even though they frequently lack the quality or polish that is wrapped around the designer’s narratives, the personal investment that the player has in these stories is difficult to compete with. The designer is well advised to ensure that these player-driven narratives have room to breathe, especially in multiplayer environments.

If you’re interested in taking a peek behind the curtain of the creation of video games, Game Developer Magazine is a good place to do it. You can subscribe or buy each monthly issue digitally here, or check your local newsstand or bookstore for a copy.

Note: At the time of this publishing, the April 2011 issue is not yet available for purchase.

Game Developer April 2011

Game Developer April 2011

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