Observations and Reflections from In-Class Playtests


During the in-class playtests of my AI-driven narrative game, several areas for improvement became evident:

  1. Narrative Engagement: Players expressed that the conversations within the game seemed directionless and lacked a compelling story arc.
  2. Emotional Investment: There was a notable lack of emotional attachment to the characters or the unfolding events.
  3. Interface Limitations: Players felt confined by the chatbot interface and struggled to see beyond it as a medium for storytelling.
  4. Lack of Stakes: The game did not sufficiently motivate players to care about their choices or the potential outcomes.

Points of Focus and Changes

Based on these observations, I have identified several changes to implement:

  1. Narrative Focus: I will concentrate on developing a more focused and compelling narrative, tentatively titled “The Girl at the Bus Stop.”
  2. Emotional Engagement: To address the lack of investment in the story, I aim to encourage players to build deep and meaningful relationships with the characters.
    • This involves providing constructive feedback on the player’s conversational style to promote empathy with the protagonist.
    • The ultimate goal is to teach players how to engage in more meaningful text-based conversations.
  3. AI Design Contextualization: I plan to employ generative AI to create dynamic scenarios within the game’s finite state machine. This will make the narrative more engaging and less predictable.
  4. Conversation Depth: To facilitate more engaging dialogues, I will implement a cap on the number of conversational turns and design nudges to guide the player toward more meaningful exchanges.
  5. Incentives and Consequences: To add stakes to the game, I will introduce a system of rewards and penalties that correlate with the player’s choices.
    • For example, making certain choices could unlock additional acts or segments of the story.
    • Players will also receive more nuanced feedback based on their decisions, enriching the gameplay experience.

By addressing these concerns, I hope to create a more engaging and emotionally resonant experience for players. My primary objective is to utilize the game as a tool for promoting deeper, more empathetic interactions in our increasingly digital world.

Citations for ChatGPT disclosure: Assistance in ideation and writing refinement provided by ChatGPT, a machine learning model by OpenAI. https://chat.openai.com/share/5aabf602-1dc5-484b-9a17-847a6c7d2856

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