In the second of today's Gamasutra main features, Rensselaer Associate Professor Katherine Isbister provides an extract from her latest book, 'Better Game Characters By Design
,' officially described as giving "game design professionals and other interactive media designers a framework for understanding how social roles and perceptions affect players' reactions to characters, helping produce stronger designs and better results."
In the following extract, Isbister discusses how the body language of protagonists Ico and Yorda in Sony Computer Entertainment's Ico
reflect a heightened sense of vulnerability:
"Neither has nearly the coordination and smooth grace of the athletes. The player-character uses rapid, sometimes clumsy movements. Yorda is more flowing but also clumsy. Both characters create a sense of vulnerability and dependence through their movements, heightening the tension for the player and perhaps increasing the urge toward teamwork for survival. By manipulating body movements, the designers have subtly pressured the player’s game-play strategy and emotions."
You can read the full provided extract
, which contains the entirety of the book's sixth chapter, subtitled 'The Body' (no registration required).