In the next version… Motives and tags

Today about the most advanced mechanics that will be introduced in the Edition 2019 of Movie Business - something that I've named during working: motives and tag.

The game world of Movie Business operates on a certain level of abstraction. Scenarios and films created in the game are based on inevitable convention (which is the most intentional). The player can choose a particular genre, and by manipulating the parameters and cast, create a certain number of sub genres. The game, however, does not offer the possibility to select a specific theme of production. Although in the scenario there is an option to enter your own story, however, it is not significant in the context of the game mechanics.

Motives and Tags will change that. Well, in the next version during a script creation player will have the opportunity to determine in more details the topics of the film, and most importantly it will have its consequences in the world of the game.

The idea of motives existed on my TODO list for quite a long time. On the one hand, it appeared in your ideas, on the other it was proposed by Jacek Wesołowski (the author of the book Level Design for beginners) (it was not a suggestion directly but one of the ideas that require such mechanics).

Personally, however, for a long time I considered this mechanics quite robust to be implemented with my rather limited man / hour capabilities. I decided, however, to take up this challenge and start designing this idea. And here came up with a question on how to approach to this problem?

The easiest way to do it was to give the player a predetermined list of themes that the player can use in his production. Such a solution is quite easy to implement, and at the same time gives full control over the semantics (meaning) of specific motives. Thanks to this, you can create certain assumptions and more complex algorithms based on them. However, as you know, I personally value creativity and freedom, hence I wanted the player to be able to define the topic of the film regardless of what I would suggest (you certainly have ideas that did not come to me or anyone else mind). Unfortunately, such complete freedom, makes a problem with a total lack of control over the meaning of what a given player will enter, and also the possibility of creating some more complicated semantic relationships.

That is why I was thinking for a long time which of the above methods of implementation should be chosen and ultimately I decided to… a hybrid of these two ideas. Here's what the motives will look like in the first attempt of implementation.

When creating your own scenario, the player will have a list of motives that he will be able to use. In addition to built-in motives, the player will have the option of entering his own, if he does not find one that would satisfy his needs. However, for such motifs entered by the player to have some semantics, each of them has been assigned to one of the more general types. Here are some example types of themes that the player will be able to use when creating the script.

  • time – defining the time when the action takes place (e.g. XV century, romanticism, 40's of the 20th century, one day)
  • place – location, where the action happens (Poland, New York, Office, Island)
  • general – General theme of the film, which can be used in every genre
  • genre – motife of the movie available only for a particular genre
  • sport – sport-related themes
  • art – art-related themes

The player can use any number of tags from a given type. So, for example, to define the present and the nineteenth century. Does it make sense? Of course, this means that the action happens in different periods (an example of such a movie is e.g. Back to the future).

The total number of motifs that the player can add to his scenario is limited. At the beginning it is 4. This number can be increased during the game when the player gains experience. For example, he will create 3 scenarios at level A from genre X. Or it will produce 5 films with a rating of at least 3.

I do not know yet what will be the maximum number of motifs that the player will be able to unlock to use in the scenario, but it will probably be a number around 10-12.

Popular and trendy motives

Of course, some motives may be more desirable by the audience and others less. Therefore, I plan to make a distinction between popular and trendy themes.

Popular themes are those that currently most frequently appear in productions in Box Office. In contrast, trendy themes are those that the audience would like to go to the cinema. You will learn about both types of these motifs from gossips. I guess you would like to create a movie with trendy motifs. The problem is that trends as trends changes quickly, hence the entire production process from the creation of the script to the end of film production can be so long that the given motives will cease to be trendy.

However, if you manage to aim in such a trendy motif, you can count on additional profits.

This mechanism may also well reflect the flood of fake films similar to the Titanic near his premiere. Often, the less ambitious producers create a hasty film of low quality but for the layman easy to confuse with some great hit. Such a film must be made quickly so that trend does not pass, so it is usually of poor quality.

Motives and creators

Of course, creators can also have their favorite motives, that is, productions in which they would like to take part, as long as they touch specific themes. About the fact that some creator would like to play in a movie about a particular theme you will learn ... as usually from gossip.

If you will have a script with a motif interesting for a specific artist, he can apply to you with a proposal for cooperation. Then you can pre-promise him this role (for his part, the creator will then promise to decrease his salary), and additionally will not have objections to appear in a given movie due to an inappropriate script or an inexperienced producer (that is, it may happen that creator will come to you, who you would not normally employ because of his lack of willingness to cooperate or too high price).

Such a creator may also apply to you at the start of production and propose your participation in a given film instead of the already chosen creator.

Of course, the favorite motives of creators will change over time.

Motives and events during production

New mechanics is the opportunity to introduce new events that will appear in during the production. One of them will be, for example, the request of a creator to add / change a motif in a film (most likely to a favorite of a given artist).

Motives and festivals

I do not plan to motives have a large impact on awards. However, they will be included in two categories: the best script, as well as the best film. In addition, I am considering the option that if a movie win an Oscar (in the category of the best film) then one of the themes of the film may become trendy.

Statistical information about the motives

Probably the first set of themes delivered with the game will receive a lot of comments. That's why I plan to implement a simple telemetry in the game, to send statistics on the use of individual motifs. This applies to built-in themes (how often you have used a particular one), as well as new ones that you will add yourself during the game. Through this I will have the opportunity to check what motivations you expect and expand the game with the most interesting ones.

Tags

You know what motives are, but what are the tags in such a case? I admit that tags were the working name for motives. However, I decided to distinguish the motives chosen by the player from the tags that the film can be described. Because in addition to the motifs in the script, the film can also be tagged. Tagging is done automatically by the game and can occur at different moments in the life of the movie. During the beginning or the end of production, at the time of release and even after it.

What would apply? Well, let's assume that the player during the production of the film met with the producer event, where a company suggested to him to put their product in the movie (product placement). If the player agreed to this then the film will receive an additional tag "product placement".

This gives an additional possibility, for example movies with tag product placement decrease the hype production or make me go to a movie. This is just an example, because thanks to this mechanism you will be able to add tags like e.g. (not necessarily just these will be in the game).

  • winning (If the film won a prize)
  • 3D (If such technology will be used in it – This is just an example for the time being there are no plans for 3D;))
  • guilty pleasures (Eg. Movies with poor rating, which brought profits because the audience likes it)
  • black and white (The name of the filter used by the player)
  • post-production (Used post-production)
  • cult movie (you have to find a definition for it – as you have some ideas I are willing to listen)

W pierwszej wersji mechanika ta nie będzie zbyt intensywnie używana ale być może pojawi się kilka przykładowych tagów dla zilustrowania konceptu. A później to już liczę na Wasze pomysły i inwencję… 😉

Summary

Motives and tags on the one hand are an idea with a huge potential, on the other there is a great danger that the whole mechanics will become overcomplicated or unreadable to the player. Therefore, what will appear in the premiere edition of 2019 will be the base implementation of a concept, which probably will be further developed in the next updates. I have some ideas for using motifs and tags mechanics myself. How much and in which direction this development will go depends to a large extent on you, and more specifically on how much you like the idea and what comments I receive from you. I admit that I am impatiently looking forward to how it will work in practice and your reactions.

I hope that you are as excited as I am!

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