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Player Character Design Facilitating Emotional Depth in MMORPGs
Eladhari Mirjam Lindley Craig
2003 DiGRA '03 - Proceedings of the 2003 DiGRA International Conference: Level Up
How can we create computer games facilitating emotional depth in the playing experience? When entering into a persistent virtual game world the player leaves the body behind. It is up to the game designer to create a virtual body with skills, needs and drives necessary for survival and pleasure in the game world. Would it be sensible also to create a virtual mind for the player to possess and evolve? Can models like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and ‘being-values’, or the personality trait model popularly called ‘the big five’ be used for character design in a way that suits massive multi-player game form? Based upon a view of the player character as the concentrated mirror of the functionality of an RPG game and adding features inspired from psychology, cognitive science and behavior science, this paper presents the high-level system design of a virtual mind for the player to possess in a MMORPG. The mind model is being implemented in a research demonstration game in which game play emphasizes emotional engagement and dramatic interaction. This research is conducted in the Zero-Game Studio within the frame of the open research MMORPG Ouroboros.