Research Proposal

Now that we have excised the previous limp attempt at a thesis, let’s take a pot shot at a new one. Bearing in mind the previous criticisms of my initial proposal and the insights that came with the ‘puppetry’ definition, this:

“How can I induce players to interact dramatically with one another inside a virtual space?”

This one seems to cover most, if not all objectives I had vaguely formulated inside my head. The sentence assumes players don’t usually interact dramatically with one another inside most video games, playing usually as themselves or from the comfortable distance that the character they control is not really them. This is a sweeping and slightly bent statement, but thus far my research has not found a game that explicitly features dramatic interaction as a key feature, so we’ll let that be for the moment.

‘Dramatically’. What does it mean in this context. Can general correspondence not be dramatic? It probably can. But explicitly, intentionally so? Probably not, but this has to be substantiated and the term has to be more well-defined within the context of the project.

‘Virtual space’. For now, we’ll define this as ‘within the confines of the program that will result from this research’.

‘Induce’. It’s not as strong a word as ‘compel’ or ‘force’, but still, it suggests external guidance by either design or a directer influence, like another player. Is this necessary? Probably, otherwise there would be far more games featuring intrinsic performance.

‘One another’. What does the existing relationship between players mean for the relationship they establish through their characters. More importantly, can this be reliably synthesized and implemented inside a game?

From this short analysis, I believe we can glean the following sub-questions:

  1. How can a system induce without compelling?
  2. What does ‘drama’ entail within a game?
  3. What role does an existing relationship between players play inside a game?

Undoubtedly I am forgetting something here, but now it’s regarded for posterity, and more importantly, future me. I will now set about filleting these questions until I can produce a more pure, accurate form.