Games Make the Difference
One of the major differences between transmedia storytelling and traditional storytelling is the nature of participation.
In the trad story, the creator unfolds the tale, while the audience listens, reads or watches, depending on the medium. The reader / audience is essentially guided by the writer / creator’s choices.
In the transmedia storyteller, the audience are replaced by participants. Essentially, the big difference is that with transmedia the story-maker creates a story world with particular events and activities within it, with which the participants interact. The participants thus create their own experiences and their own narratives within the design of the story world.
Gamification in Transmedia
In this way, the narrative is much less micro-managed than say a film or a novel. There are waypoints in the narrative that participants must hit to get to the next stage of the story with all the necessary information to make the story make sense – but also to influence the outcome. Part of the satisfaction is thus not only about understanding and identifying with characters, but also becoming characters within the narrative and solving and revealing the narrative through one’s activity. Thus, a central part of transmedia storytelling is found in inclusion of gaming elements within the story.
Cue our third expert.
Mark Eyles has a long history of game design and storytelling. He has been prominent in the UK games industry from early 80s onwards. As well as designing games and working as a freelance writer, game designer, holographer and entrepreneur, he wrote series for ‘2000 AD’, ‘Sonic the Comic’ and was published in Fear magazine.
Mark also set up and ran undergraduate and postgraduate games courses at the University of Portsmouth, where he completed a PhD in game design, and more recently has focused on writing science fiction and fantasy. He was eminently qualified for the job.
Final Piece of the Puzzle
In many ways, Mark was the final piece of the gamification puzzle. Mark took us through the theories needed to shape a pathway through games, showing us how to think about the design of the experience. With his expertise we completed the main requirements the team needed to develop the story world…
So, now we had to design the story and experience for our participants.