Loop Raccord (2010)

April 28, 2011 / 1 comment

“I see storytelling as a game: whenever I am making a film, a book or a comic, I set a series of rules for myself and I try to play with them to reach their limits. Watching a movie or reading a book is not a passive experience. The viewer/reader can perceive those rules if…

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Frames, Objects, and Such

April 17, 2011 / 1 comment

I don’t much like talking about myself, but in the spirit of getting this blog going again, I’m gonna try to get out of my comfort zone a bit. This is a tangent following on an interesting conversation on adventure games I’ve been having with K. Cox of Your Critic is in Another Castle. In…

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Words as Actions

April 4, 2011 / 0 comments

Shortly before my blog’s hiatus, I wrote this post, in which I talk about the kind of conversation systems you see in games.  I was particularly concerned with the lack of variety as compared to, say, combat systems.  Everything seems to be some combination of response triggering and branching paths. People sometimes blame the blandness…

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Unprecedented Month of Blogging

April 1, 2011 / 1 comment

So Andy of Onefinemess was down at Ta-Nehisi Coates’s place calling for an Unofficial Month of Blogging.  The idea is that participating bloggers post at least one thing per day for the month of April.  I figured I’d jump in since I’m trying to get this blog restarted.   That’s an awful lot of close…

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Loved (2010)

March 18, 2011 / 0 comments

The hostile guide has become a common trope in art and indie games (not to mention some bigger games like Portal).  Designers can’t get enough of having a disembodied voice berate you and lead you astray.  In Seven Minutes (review), a furious floating head tries to convince you that you can only win the game…

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Haha, what happened?

March 16, 2011 / 0 comments

What happened is that I got way too excited about the previous post on conversation systems, and ran off to make the game Diego and I were talking about in comments.  A year later I’m still working on data structures.  But they’re totally rad data structures!  Anyway, I got all worked up about this post…

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Conversation in Games: Trigger, Branch, Repeat

April 23, 2010 / 11 comments

Bento Smile’s Air Pressure Why is there so little variety in conversation systems in games?  Conversation is one of the most essential and frequent things humans do.  It is a common source of interest, drama, and comedy in both real life and fiction.  It reveals character, it advances plotlines, and it uncovers information.  It’s hugely…

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Less Flicks More Bits

April 5, 2010 / 3 comments

The indie developer Craig “Superbrothers” Adams recently published a manifesto called “Less Talk More Rock,” based on a talk he gave at the Game Developer’s Conference.  It is a good and glorious thing that we have finally reached the “artistic manifesto” phase in the development of the videogame medium; let us rejoice and hope for…

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Darkfate (2009)

April 3, 2010 / 0 comments

Kévin Soulas’s Darkfate is a quiet little exploration game.  You move your avatar, Chris Freeman, around a series of large atmospheric pixel environments, and at certain locations you trigger a bit of story text that is presented as notes in Freeman’s journal.  Pretty standard stuff with some nice music and mood.  The help text, however,…

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Daniel Benmergui and the Gulf of Execution

July 12, 2009 / 0 comments

In the study of human-computer interaction, a user’s uncertainty about how a system will respond to her actions is sometimes referred to as the “gulf of execution,” in Donald Norman’s phrase. In useful software, of course, a designer tries to narrow this knowledge gap as much as possible, and the same is true of many…

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