Sunday, December 19, 2010
I tossed this out on Twitter last week: "I am now imagining a text-conversation game in which you don't choose what to say -- but you have a sarcasm dial that you can turn up and down."
That thought was inspired by a card game that I found on the Web, but am now unable to re-locate. (Comment if you know it.) (EDIT-ADD: Relationship by Zach Weiner, thank you Baf.) It was a card game with a satire-romance theme. Each card had a numeric value, and some cliched romantic sentiment ("8: you complete me", etc). Then there was a "Sarcasm" card you could play, which negated the value of the card (8 to -8).
This amused me, naturally, but then the idea got mixed in with game conversation engines. We've seen games where your choices are limited to "friendly" and "hostile", or "positive" and "negative", or some such. But of course the game then spits out a complete response on your behalf. You don't have any control of what positive or negative thing you say.
Sarcasm is a nifty compromise. Imagine the conversation is running along in real time, but you can see your upcoming line displayed as a subtitle. You can slide your controller anywhere from "sincere" to "brutal sneering sarcasm". As your lines come out, the words are predetermined, but the tone shifts.
(Tweetfriends immediately commented "That's just like screenwriting!" and "That's just like business meetings!" Message received: it's just like life.)
Thursday, December 9, 2010
Aaron Reed's recent book Creating Interactive Fiction with Inform 7 opens with this quote:
All around him, the Machines' fleet and orbital stations are blasting away at his tree ships, burning the mighty trunks like firewood.
(-- from The Duel That Spanned the Ages by Oliver Ullmann)
Aaron goes on to describe the development work that this scene would require in a triple-A, commercial, graphical game. Concept artists, modellers, texture artists, animators, sound designers, probably a musician, and programmers to pull it all together. You know the drill.
"As IF, all the author had to do was write those twenty-two words," Aaron notes.
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
(Note: Cuba is metaphorical. I am not going to Cuba. Brush up on your famous movie quotes.)
There we have it; just over $31,000 dollars. (I won't say exactly how much over, but I know who you are.)
Thank you all. To those of you who thanked me, you're welcome. To the rest of you, happy holidays, and if you don't celebrate any near-term holidays -- go invent one. We'll wait. We're not proud. ("Or tired.")
In one sense, the hard part is now over. I can put aside my fundraiser's hat, which (trust me) doesn't fit my head at all. I can go back to designing games and writing code. That's all I've ever wanted, mostly.
In another sense, the easy part is now over. I'm no longer watching money roll in with the tide; now I have to row out and earn it. I owe you people thirty-one thousand dollars' worth of game. Time to get crunching.
And now, some questions from the audience!