An exercise timeline might approximate to the diagram below:
- first the player sees published content that signals a key event or a change in the state of the world
- then the player takes action/makes a decision.
Although the timeline above is what happens at execution, when we design participatory experiences, we must design around player choices. That is, we think first about what the player should do and then we provide the content to allow him to make informed decisions about his course of action.
In a training scenario, the design process is:
- what do we want the player to learn/ demonstrate?
- how will they do that? (i.e. what are the mechanics and the environment)
- what information do we need to provide for them to make informed choices?
- how will we feedback the consequences of their choices?
It can be helpful to think of an exercise in terms of a series of sequences of Event-Action pairs.
The diagram below takes a more detailed look at the content we might publish around a key event in order to setup the player's need to take action.
Sequences can be chained to create an unfolding narrative either in a straightforward linear way, or branching - either branching automatically based on the scenario script or branching via adjudication based on decisions made by exercise control.
Note that with Pattern of Life, a branching scenario might not be necessary since the Pattern of Life content can be enough to provide feedback to players about the consequences of their actions.
Adding Life to a Scenario
The illustration below shows how the pattern of life content should orbit around the key events - communicating the world of the story.
After the player takes action, the facilitator publishes new content to reflect the consequences of the action. Or... if the player is inactive after a given period of time then the Pattern of Life content reflects the player's inactivity.
Although the Pattern of Life content is designed to orbit the key events, the experience of the player is one of a continual flow of information and hence a dynamically changing world.
When designing an exercise to work with Pattern of Life, the facilitator (or adjudicator) is more actively involved - remember to factor this into the exercise.
The illustration below shows loop for each sequence or for each player action.