A few years ago, I read an interesting article on the BBC website about psychology and testing. I emailed the author, a university professor and suggested creating a few maps for testing purposes. I can’t remember the exact details, but video games seemed an ideal medium for the tests. Unfortunately, I never heard back from him which was a little disappointing, but there you go.
And then yesterday I read this BBC article called Why are people so gullible? and it got me thinking again.
I’m not actually proposing this Ville but I would like us to talk about potential ideas. There must be plenty of ways of introducing specific psychological concepts into maps.
Every video game starts with ideas that are communicated to the player – either visually, textually or audibly. For example, once we learn that exploding barrels explode, we use this knowledge in-game to our advantage. We learn pretty quickly that the Combine forces attack us and the rebels attack them. We learn that we have an HEV suit that protects us etc etc etc. If we tried to list everything we have learnt about Half-Life it would take you hours and then you would probably forget things.
What if you were to make a map that threw all those ideas out of the window and started again? Exploding barrels gave you health, water gave you grenades, touching walls took health away. Just like the list of things we learnt from Half-Life, the possibilities here are endless.
At first, the player would explore and try to learn as much as quickly as possible. You would be like a new born baby testing the world around you. The difference is that you are observant and intelligent and the consequences might be way more complicated than the ones I just mentioned.
What if we played a map and were given verbal directions from a number of NPCs, but one of them was lying? What would or could happen? Would we trust the others or doubt them? This idea might require much more faithful facial rendition to work but it wouldn’t be about trying to guess who is lying and who is telling the truth because that would become obvious quickly. It would be more about how you reacted to knowing that one character lied and therefore other could have too.
Think back to the games, you trusted everybody except the Gman and Dr. Breen, didn’t you?
I might have talked about this before because I am kinda obsessed with the idea. It’s often called the Trolley Problem and seeing something like this in a map would be absolutely fascinating. There are some many possibilities for inclusion within the Half-Life universe.
A rebel leader has been captured and the resistance are worried that if tortured he or she would reveal important information which would severely compromise the fight against the Combine. There is no time to evactate all the bases or changes the plans and you have been sent to kill he or her. Unfortunately, there is absolutely now chance of rescue. I’m pretty sure we would all happily play this scenario and kill the leader. But what if you had to kill other rebels to get to him? What if you had to destroy a train full of rebels or a town?
Have far would you go to complete the mission? How many lives you you take to save an unknown number?
My suggestions above are just the tip of the iceberg and I am sure there could be so many interesting psychology tests we could run within maps.
Do you have any ideas? Why not share them?
I no longer link to external articles within my articles (not map and mods posts though). The reason is that when reading an article, each time you see a hyper-link your brain has to decide whether to continue reading or visit the link for more information and this process, whilst fast and subconscious, affects your comprehension and thoughts on that article.