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Character Development and Storytelling for Games, Second Edition by Lee Sheldon

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WILLING SUSPENSION OF DISBELIEF

Water, water every where

And all the boards did shrink;

Water, water every where,

Nor any drop to drink.”

—Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

There’s no better place to start respecting story than respecting the audience we tell it to. The player who hits the ESC key to skip the story in a game may be able to sit for hours watching a movie in a theatre. He’s a captive audience. He’s paid money, and unless the film in his opinion is excruciatingly unworthy of his time, he’s liable to forgive quite a few lapses in entertainment.

Watching TV, on the other hand, he may hit the channel buttons (a remote control’s escape key) just as much, and he’s doing it for the same reason he does in a game. ...

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