Morwenna Griffin

Morwenna Griffin

Unity Technologies

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Morwenna is an Engineering Manager at Unity Technologies in the Multiplayer Technology Team. Formerly COO of Educational Technology startup MakerClub, Morwenna has led teams building playful products and experiences for over ten years.

Morwenna’s passion for game development lies in creating immersive worlds to explore.

They have just completed an MA in Indie Game Development at Falmouth University’s Games Academy, culminating with a thesis exploring the impact of surprise in storytelling and how it may be most effectively designed to enhance the player experience.

Alongside her work at Unity, Morwenna now leads a small indie team developing a first studio title.

When they aren’t working, you’ll find Morwenna making things and playing games of all kinds - video games, sports, D&D, boardgames, essentially anything they can get their hands on.

Morwenna Griffin is speaking at the following session/s

Designing Surprise: Treading The Fine Line Between Delighting and Infuriating Players

Surprise is a crucial part of what it is to be entertained. It can elicit a range of human emotions, from amusement and joy to confusion and fear.

In games, surprise in storytelling is both a powerful and hazardous tool with the potential for a high positive or negative impact on the player experience. Conditions, intensity, delivery, and the players themselves are all factors that influence the outcome of the surprise and must be carefully considered to ensure the desired reaction is achieved.

As part of a Master’s Degree in Indie Game Development at Falmouth Games Academy, Morwenna carried out a research thesis into creating effective surprise and its effects on players, drawing on influences and theories across the sciences and arts, including biology, psychology, narrative, music and game design. The study tested a theoretical framework through a mixed methodology of practice-based and practice-led research and produced some thought-provoking results.

This session provides a fun and accessible overview of the research findings. It proposes a new theory to explain the study findings and a practical model for the intentional design of surprise to understand, identify and minimise the risks that high surprise events can create.

Session Takeaway

  • Some of the key physiological, neurological, and behavioural impacts of surprise.
  • Some of the ways the human brain interprets sensory data to create assumptions.
  • How 1 and 2 may affect and be leveraged in creating engaging experiences.
  • The effects of high surprise in contexts of high uncertainty.
  • Identifying potential areas of risk in your game.
  • Ideas for how mitigate these risks.

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