How Bungie plans to counter trolls through design in Destiny

Bungie wants to kickstart a new, more social era of online play in Destiny through what the Seattle studio calls ‘sloping the floor’ internally.

The term is shorthand for how Bungie will gently encourage Destiny’s players to collaborate by rewarding positive interactions. In-game gestures are mapped to the D-pad: Up to wave, Down to dance, Left to salute, Right to point – and they reflect Bungie’s desire to change the tone of online play for the better – to “make sure the social experience is one where if the players aren’t co-operating or communicating effectively it doesn’t ruin anyone’s experience,” says Bungie technical director Chris Butcher.

“If you look back at online multiplayer gaming for the last ten years I think the dominant thread has been adolescent males shooting each other in the face and squatting on each other’s corpses,” he continues. “And that emerges from design decisions which… some of which were intentional, some of which were not, but the community gets attracted towards that, and that is popular to a lot of other people and so it kind of tends to exclude others.”

Bungie appreciates that some players might find sport in trying to disrupt play, but Butcher says that Destiny’s public events and co-op is designed so that deliberate – or even accidental – sedition won’t spoil the game for everyone.

“I don’t think you can ever design toxic behaviour out, you can’t ever stop players from being toxic but what you can do is prevent them being able to ruin other players’ experiences,” adds Butcher. “You give people these tools that encourage them to interact positively with each other and then if someone is interacting negatively with you, well, they can’t ruin your experience.”

You can read more about Destiny in Edge 257. On the site, we’ve also recently reported on how Paul McCartney is approaching work on the Destiny soundtrack, what Bungie learned from making Halo and how it fed into the creation of Destiny plus what the forthcoming shooter does better than Borderlands.