The last day of AGDC was an excellent day, with two talks in particular that led to a good deal of spirited, academic discussion about storytelling and a third lecture that demonstrated some very slick next-gen controllers that could have a significant impact in the future on game design and interface.
The first talk of the day was given by Andrew Stern, he of Façade fame, although he did not focus specifically on the accomplishments of that project. Instead, his talk, provocatively titled “Linearity is Hell: Achieving Truly Dynamic Stories in Games,” explored the possibility of truly dynamic storytelling in games and how a system like that might be designed. Stern did acknowledge that this was more of a theoretical talk and that he [More...] Read the rest
It was an entertaining first day at the AGDC. It’s certainly more fun listening to talks about interactive storytelling, cinematic design, and writing characters in games than it is listening to talks about pharmaceuticals and obscure research findings.
As expected, Chris Crawford’s talk was, to a large extent, a rehash of material that I believe he has presented previously. Still, seeing it in person, particularly with his entertaining delivery, was worth it. His talk was titled “15 Conceptual Shifts: Moving From Games to Interactive Storytelling,” and it reviewed many of the points he has tried to make over the years — among other things: stories are about people, not things; the importance of interactivity; and the role of verbs as opposed to nouns. And, of [More...] Read the rest
A blog entry and discussion over at Corvus Elrod’s Man Bytes Blog about character and plot got me thinking about that tricky relationship between the player and protagonist, and the expectations (and allowances) game authors often place on their players.
In some games — typically non-first person games — the player is asked to play the role of a particular character. In Dreamfall, the player starts out playing the role of Zoe; in Tomb Raider, Lara Croft; in Deus Ex, J.C. Denton. In many interactive fiction games, the same applies, such as the Abbot in Vespers. In many instances, the protagonist has a history, and in some cases a personality, but inserting the player into that role can produce a frustrating [More...] Read the rest
Yesterday was a birthday, of sorts; it was the birthday of The Grumpy Gamer, the blog site belonging to Ron Gilbert (of Monkey Island fame) for his “often incoherent and bitter ramblings about the Game Industry.” Four years ago yesterday he posted his first blog, a reprint of an article he wrote in 1989 which, he says, became the foundation for the design of Monkey Island. And at the time of its reprint, in 2004, Gilbert made the proclamation that “Adventure Games are officially dead.”
What I find fascinating is that the article, titled “Why Adventure Games Suck (And What We Can Do About It)”, discusses so many of the ongoing issues surrounding storytelling in games that people like me continue to blather [More...] Read the rest
It was a quiet Saturday evening, and since you had no plans, you decided to spend it with a good book on the sofa and a little classical music on the radio. You had just settled in when you heard a knock on the front door. It was your friend Stan. You hadn’t seen him in a while, so it was nice to have him drop by without notice. You invited him in, and he obliged.
Oddly, Stan started scanning the foyer, taking it all in like he had never seen it before. He seemed to take particular notice of all the things there — the ficus tree, the impressionist painting on the wall, the coat closet. That seemed a little strange to you, but [More...] Read the rest