Saturday, June 6, 2009

So the story is that I'm negligent

Well, this is going to be somewhat of a lame post. The reason why is because I've been sucked in a very hardcore bad way into this game called The Way. It's phenomenally well written (bar occasional grammar and spelling), and it's amazing. Everybody should play this game.

By the way (barump chshhhh), I should probably compensate this post with some sort of meaty juicy gamey stuffs. So I'll talk about lofty ideas concerning the game story.

So apart from me being negligent and not doing work on the game because I've been obsessively playing a different one, I also have been considering the implications of how story will impact this one. My previous completed short games have had either no dialog, or a plot that was there simply so I can say that the game had a story. To say that much of what I've done in the past dialog-wise is shallow is an understatement. It will hopefully be different with this game.

I can confidently say that The Way provided further inspiration for me to go through with a strongly embedded and pertinent plot element. Actually, it got me thinking about what goes into a strong plot. Furthermore, I'm looking to flex my dialog writing abilities, and as a result, I've another bunch of considerations to make.

One consideration may seem to be insignificant, but it's a crucial element that can be overlooked when creating dialog between characters in the game world - portraits. Obviously, working in the restrictions that I've set myself for my games, I would never actually be able to really express a wide palette of emotions with just the sprites by themselves, but portraits open up a very powerful channel of communication with the player, allowing for some very subtle messages to be delivered without the need for loads of character scaffolding and such. The interpretation of portraits arguably says more than the text could say - in the transition from writing and speech to motion pictures with sound, the inclusion of imagery has given film-makers the ability to bypass the need for severe amounts of dialog. Portraits also gives players an idea of the inflection of the voice, which is also key to what phrases end up meaning. My conclusion is that working with flat text in a dialog-filled game is simply not working with the medium.

In tandem with portraits should be body language and, a rather subtle point, timing. Timing is awesome. It keeps players from glazing over important moments and is one of the few alleys you can take for emphasis of points/emotions/etc. in dialog boxes. Then, there's action that occurs during speech, either obscured, obscuring, or supplementing.

All of this means that speech implementation is much trickier than one may suspect at first.

As for the actual meat and taters, the plot, the action, the story, the Big Kahuna burger and the Macguffins, I've had plenty of ideas about theme and its expression, some of them are deeply personal. I'm way into the exploitation and, dare I say, subversion of common run and gun game elements for thematic benefit, and I'm also wishing to develop characters that players can connect with. I'm sure that will be a load of fun, but I'm currently way influenced by this game called The Way which you should all play even though you will probably either hate it because a lot of the graphics and music are ripped and the music is in MIDI and there are some spelling errors sometimes, or love it because of how awesome awesome awesome it is anyways.

Anyways, perhaps this wall o' text post will hold you (imaginary people?) over until the next update, in which I will compensate for my lameness with 2 things of awesome new screencaps.


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