• Announcements

    • khawk

      Download the Game Design and Indie Game Marketing Freebook   07/19/17

      GameDev.net and CRC Press have teamed up to bring a free ebook of content curated from top titles published by CRC Press. The freebook, Practices of Game Design & Indie Game Marketing, includes chapters from The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, and An Architectural Approach to Level Design. The GameDev.net FreeBook is relevant to game designers, developers, and those interested in learning more about the challenges in game development. We know game development can be a tough discipline and business, so we picked several chapters from CRC Press titles that we thought would be of interest to you, the GameDev.net audience, in your journey to design, develop, and market your next game. The free ebook is available through CRC Press by clicking here. The Curated Books The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses, Second Edition, by Jesse Schell Presents 100+ sets of questions, or different lenses, for viewing a game’s design, encompassing diverse fields such as psychology, architecture, music, film, software engineering, theme park design, mathematics, anthropology, and more. Written by one of the world's top game designers, this book describes the deepest and most fundamental principles of game design, demonstrating how tactics used in board, card, and athletic games also work in video games. It provides practical instruction on creating world-class games that will be played again and again. View it here. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing, by Joel Dreskin Marketing is an essential but too frequently overlooked or minimized component of the release plan for indie games. A Practical Guide to Indie Game Marketing provides you with the tools needed to build visibility and sell your indie games. With special focus on those developers with small budgets and limited staff and resources, this book is packed with tangible recommendations and techniques that you can put to use immediately. As a seasoned professional of the indie game arena, author Joel Dreskin gives you insight into practical, real-world experiences of marketing numerous successful games and also provides stories of the failures. View it here. An Architectural Approach to Level Design This is one of the first books to integrate architectural and spatial design theory with the field of level design. The book presents architectural techniques and theories for level designers to use in their own work. It connects architecture and level design in different ways that address the practical elements of how designers construct space and the experiential elements of how and why humans interact with this space. Throughout the text, readers learn skills for spatial layout, evoking emotion through gamespaces, and creating better levels through architectural theory. View it here. Learn more and download the ebook by clicking here. Did you know? GameDev.net and CRC Press also recently teamed up to bring GDNet+ Members up to a 20% discount on all CRC Press books. Learn more about this and other benefits here.
  • entries
  • comments
  • views

Suspension of disbelief

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


Suspension of disbelief is always an interesting topic, I always catch myself trying to explain everything in my game world, a bad and not always necessary habit :wink:

So, what is suspension of disbelief in games ? In my own words, suspension of disbelief is the ability of a gamer to accept something unrealistic or unbelievable in a game world and still immerge into it. Take a look at wiki for more details.

The tricky part for us game designers is, that you need to take care to not destroy this illusion. It is not as simple as just to say 'hey, he starts playing my game and he suspends his disbelief, so I've done everything right ! '. But more on this topic later.

Ok, there are two important things to remember:
1. Suspension of disbelief is a personal thing.
2. You need to ground your game world in realism !

The personal thing is simple. Make whatever you want and you will find enough people who can sink into your game without any problems. The second option is more important and will be your tool to control your audience. Everything, even high fantasy and sci-fi is grounded in realism. This is like a slider, on the left a purely abstract world, on the other side reality. A purely abstract world will alienate almost everybody.

Think about roguelike games, where an 'E' attacks the player, just an abstract letter. But on the other hand the description, actions, items etc. are taken from known fantasy worlds. There're many people who find it too abstract, still the roguelike community is huge.

An other good example are toons. Take a standard toon with animals in it. The animals talk like humans, movement and posture contains human features, they equip and use tools like humans, have human emotions and habits etc.
The designer wanted to create a world in which animals are the main characters, but the most important feature is, that almost only this fact is unrealistic. Almost everything else has a human touch, therefor it is grounded in realism we know and accept.

One of the best game ever contains one of the biggest misstakes in taking care of suspension of disbelief: Half-Life
Well, suspension of disbelief is a personal thing, but I belief that many gamers think in a similar way. Half-Life is about aliens, conspiration,experimental weapons,zombies etc. all about unrealistic and unbelievable things, still it was just a matter of
seconds to dive into this world. But, once you enter the alien world at the end of the game my suspension of disbelief broke. It was like a fist hitting you in the stomach. For me the game designers have gone too far, infact they stole my end-game experience.

So, what was the misstake, when suspension of disbelief is a personal thing ? Consistency ! They started in a realistic world, introduced the unrealistic part quite fast and hold this level for almost the whole game. But near the end they introduced the soldiers (in fact this is my remembered end-game), which is grounded in realism and then they throw you into ice-cold water, the alien world which needed a much higher level of suspension of disbelief then anything before.

If you want to address as many people as possible you need to went as far as possible to realism while keeping your game design, but never go too far with realism. Many genre already have some kind of template suspension of disbelief.
That is, the audience which chooses a certain genre accepts a core world, you could ground your game world in this genre world template. I.e. a vampire world , you don't need to explain the existience of vampires to draw your audience into your game, they most likely accepted this fact about your world after reading a title like 'vampire worlds'. Still you can explain it, but only for sake of storytelling and not so much to hold up the suspension of disbelief.

Finally you should prepare the expected level of suspension of disbelief quite early in the game and keep it on this level, as already said, a genre world could help a lot.

Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0


There are no comments to display.

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now