Requirements analysis and speculative design of support tools for TTRPG game masters

Acharya Devi Mateas Michael Wardrip-Fruin Noah
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

In running tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs), game masters (GMs) are tasked with helping create and facilitate the building of a shared story between players based on player choices. In this paper, we look at how we can inform the design of computational tools for GMs through the use of qualitative interviews. We interview GMs about their process in preparing for and running a beginner TTRPG module, "Lost Mine of Phandelver", and present to them a prototype of a computational tool built based on this module that has some of the features we believe would be useful in a GMing assistant, such as consolidating information for easier reference, serving as a brainstorming tool for GMs, and helping GMs keep track of what has happened in the game world. From these interviews, we collected insights into how the GMing process works within the context of a specific scenario and found which features GMs liked and what could be improved with our digital prototype. We also compare the results of these interviews to online advice for GMing the module. We use these insights in order to speculate about possible design directions for further development of a GM’s computational assistant.


Counter fictions from the margins

ARVERS Isabelle
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

In 2019, I embarked in an Art & Games World Tour in order to decentralize myself and my curatorial and artistic practices to promote voices and creations that have been placed on the margins of the hegemonic West. By choosing to travel, meet and interview game developers with a queer, feminist and decolonial focus, I wanted to go to the edge of the margins, to hear and make heard voices from the margins of their society in Global South countries. If marginalized populations are not looking for representations in the media according to Adrienne Shaw, it is often because when these representations are present, they are only caricatures and it is up to the content producers to take in charge the representation issue by offering more diversity. My Art & Games World Tour on the margins plans to focus on content producers who offer counter-fictions to elaborate a "counter-hegemony" in the face of the dominant powers.


An Exploitation Ecosystem Model for Fan-based Labour in the Games Industry

McCutcheon Chris Hitchens Michael McEwan Mitchell
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

This paper will introduce the Exploitation Ecosystem (ExEc) model, which is based upon the foundational work of Dyer-Witheford and de Peuter (2006), Crane (2013), and Barrientos et al. (2013). The ExEc model organises and synthesizes research in slavery, exploitation, and precarious work into a more focused structure that can be applied to understanding exploitation in affluent modern economies. The model re-categorises the work of previous researchers and integrates them in a holistic approach, represented across two layers in the proposed model. The basic architecture of the model is introduced, revealing three aspects to exploitation: organisational, societal and individual, and is illustrated via examples. The ExEc model is particularly relevant to domains that rely heavily on fan passion and third-party content creators for their success, such as the games industry.


Escape Game From observation to participatory research

Vacaflor Nayra Boudokhane-Lima Feirouz
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Our study raises the question of the representation of a new type of research. It consists in developing an escape game through a participative action research and a cooperative work between designers, researchers and players. This paper relies on the premises of a research matrix design. It suggests recommendations on different reading levels, analyses and quantifiable elements of escape games. The analysis is based on semistructured interviews carried out among researchers and innovative methods game designers. We focus on a possible answer to scientific issues at stake in a fast-changing social context, a various challenges in observational methods: a shift of focus on the one observed. The individual could be an active participant in the research. This paper will present an example in which a cognitive research permitted to use the escape game to unify methods. The aim is to move from a linear method to a more dynamic one via an escape game design.


Crash-N-Comedy: Slapstick Comedy in Crash Bandicoot N.Sane Trilogy and Crash Tag Team Racing

Jiwandono Haryo Pambuko
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Slapstick comedy is a key part of the "Crash Bandicoot" franchise. This article will explore how slapstick humour is used in the "Crash Bandicoot" franchise to mitigate and ameliorate the sense of failure that players may feel in avatar death. This argument is developed through a discussion of two games within the franchise: "Crash Bandicoot N Sane Trilogy" (Vicarious Visions, 2017) and "Crash Tag Team Racing" (Radical Entertainment, 2005). The discussion of failure in these two games builds on Juul’s (2013) prior work on failure in games, to illustrate the role that humour can play in maintaining players’ interest in cyclical gameplay that is designed to be played in ways which include repetition and failure.


Gaming for All: Discourse and Identity amongst Difabel Gamers in Indonesia

Jiwandono Haryo Pambuko Purwandi Edeliya Relanika
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

This article aims to study the use of digital games as interactive media among "difabel"; Indonesianized portmanteau of differently abled, gamers in Indonesia, including but not limited to the use of digital games as a platform for socialization, as sociotechnical artefacts to gain collective support and provide better access to community and social interaction, in addition to involvements in digital gaming competitions. This article aims to explain developments of "difabel" individuals’ discourse and their construction of identities during social interaction with digital games.


A Framework for Choice Hermeneutics

Focht Cyril Wardrip-Fruin Noah
2022 DiGRA ’22 – Proceedings of the 2022 DiGRA International Conference: Bringing Worlds Together

Choices in storygames do more than create narrative branches, and mean more than cause and effect. The structure of hypertext is similar to choice structures, and the way links add semantic meaning to the text they connect is similar to the way choices add semantic meaning to the events they connect. We apply research from hypertext theory to expand the framework of choice poetics presented by Mawhorter et al. (2014), outlining more detail in the choice structure they propose and reframing their discussion of choice idioms. We demonstrate this analytical framework by applying it to a reading of Sonder (Focht 2019)—a game in which choices are written to emphasize their semantic function—to show how our framework expands the vocabulary around choices to provide more descriptive ability, and in turn more analytical insight, for critics and scholars analyzing games with choice structures.