Category Archives: story in games

Player Freedom vs. Railroading, Revisited

Although I’m still implementing material for Act 2 in Vespers, I’ve been working with NR on creating some of the new material for Act 3. In Act 3, there is considerably more action, and the story branches out in a couple of potential directions. There are a set of interactions and events that occur inside the monastery, and others that occur outside the monastery, where the player had not been able to venture before in Acts 1 and 2.

In reviewing the interactions and events for Act 3, I referred back to the design document I made, which I discussed a while back in another post. In so doing, I began to think about storyline issues I hadn’t considered before.

Be warned, spoilers [More...] Read the rest

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Question: Can high drama be produced from a wide-open simulation?

Creating a game that tells a story is one thing. Creating a game that tells a dramatic, moving story is quite another.

Can you really get a dramatic, moving experience from a game that is not tightly scripted or linear? Can high drama truly emerge from an open, unbounded simulation-style game?

Everyday life is a wide-open sandbox. Clearly, there is high drama in real life. But, as mentioned a while back on, “Most people’s lives are not filled with high drama all the time. Some events will be dramatic, but creating a dramatic story from those requires editing out all the mundane parts.” (greg)

That editing, in game terms, is what I imagine [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in game design, interactive fiction | 3 Responses

Umberto or Geraldine?

One of the interesting things about working on Vespers is that I’ve become so intimate with the original text and code that I probably know more about the game at this point than even the author, Jason Devlin. Often, I’ll come across an issue or question about the text game, and I’ll pop off an e-mail to Jason to see what he thinks we should do. The irony is that I’ve been so engrossed in every detail of the story for so long that I’m probably better able to address these things than Jason, who likely hasn’t even thought about the game in 3 or 4 years. (Mental note: really have to finish game soon.)

Throughout development, but particularly when Jason released the text [More...] Read the rest

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Write from the Start

So pretty much one of the most challenging parts of making games for the small indie or hobbyist developer is getting the extra help you need. The developer who can do it all on his or her own — programming, artwork, writing, modeling, animation, web design, yada yada — is a rare breed with far too much talent and disposable time. When I made Missions of the Reliant way back when, in (gulp) 1994, I could handle most of it myself because things were just…simpler. I didn’t have to worry about modeling or animation, and web design meant little more than plain text and a few animated GIFs (mostly I just focused on BBS’s and AOL — and, sadly enough, eWorld). Life, as they [More...] Read the rest

Also posted in 3D/if, game design, interactive fiction | 6 Responses

Day Three (at the AGDC), Part Two

As I mentioned last time, there were some really intriguing presentations on the third day of the conference. One in particular was a technology demonstration given by representatives of two companies, Emotiv Systems and 3DV Systems, which are developing innovative ways for players to interface with computers or other entertainment devices.

Randy Breen from Emotiv Systems demonstrated what he called their “Brain-Computer Interface”, a device that fits on the head and is based on EEG machines. It basically translates brain waves into actions after a period of training. It’s compact (I didn’t even notice him wearing it during his talk), lightweight, and wireless, and includes a gyro to detect head movements. It can also detect facial expressions (blinking, smiling, eyebrow movement) and can essentially monitor [More...] Read the rest

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