View Full Version : Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives

PnP News Bot
12-01-2007, 01:40 PM
<table><tr><td valign="top">http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/21PKEsX%2B9mL.jpg</td><td>Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives (http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html%3FASIN=1568813473%26tag=penandpaperg a-20%26lcode=xm2%26cID=2025%26ccmID=165953%26locatio n=/o/ASIN/1568813473%253FSubscriptionId=09CQH6MK86KXT0YR73G2 ) [A K Peters Ltd]
by Jeffrey Howard
Release Date: 2008-02-26
Amazon Price: <strike>$45.00</strike> $39.45 as of 03/07/2008 09:45:03 AM PST
http://www.penandpapergames.com/images/amazon_buy.gif (http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html%3FASIN=1568813473%26tag=penandpaperg a-20%26lcode=xm2%26cID=2025%26ccmID=165953%26locatio n=/o/ASIN/1568813473%253FSubscriptionId=09CQH6MK86KXT0YR73G2 )
This unique take on quests, incorporating literary and digital theory, provides an excellent resource for game developers. Focused on both the theory and practice of the four main aspects of quests (spaces, objects, actors, and challenges), each theoretical section is followed by a practical section that contains exercises using the Neverwinter Nights Aurora Toolset.</td/</tr></table>

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12-03-2007, 01:44 PM
Hmm... No description on this one, but it sounded interesting, so I did a little search. I found an article that seems to be posted by the author. From what I read, this is a book about quest systems in computer RPGs. Nonetheless, it might be a good read, particularly if you do any NWN(2) module creation.

My own book in progress, <cite class="italic">Quests: Design, Theory, and History in Games and Narratives</cite>, discusses ways that a literary technique of symbolic correspondences derived from medieval romance and Renaissance allegory can help designers to construct games in which meaning emerges from gameplay. Four components of a theory of quests (a quest system of journal updates and conversations with non-player characters, spaces, objects, challenges) can themselves "correspond" to another set of design skills (journal management and dialogue construction, level design, creation of quest items, and programming within game engines or “scripting”). If we treat the quest in its etymological sense as a kind of “inquest” or “inquiry” in which players and designers produce meaning rather than passively consuming it, then the next step in this inquiry may be to ask how we can actively create meaning through our design decisions.

Link to the article (warning, dry reading): http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/001/1/000002.html

12-04-2007, 02:44 AM
Coming from the video game industry, I can say that there are a great number of books on design, and many of them can be relevant to adventure design even for the paper world. To be honest, I think this is a very unexplored area for paper gaming, which is sad considering how long it's been around.

Nobody really puts out books that talk about game design theory and ideas for GM's; or I've missed it when they did. I've seen books to help (World Builder's Guidebook for instance), but they really don't teach people game theory ideas and core understandings of narrative and what makes something 'work' from the buy in level.

It's usually another book of charts to help you make random decisions instead of an exploration of how to use game theory for your game, or a breakdown of adventure design into the core storytelling concepts that actually drive it.

I'd think that there is money in such things, but I'm crazy eh?

Digital Arcanist
12-04-2007, 09:52 AM
I've read a couple books on how to write books that have helped my more than anything about designing RPG worlds or adventures.

Game Theory is kinda fad right now started by Bungie Studios to perfect their Halo 3 product. Who knows if it will stick around...

You are right Farcaster...the excerpt is very dry and I nearly didn't finish it.