Tuesday, March 31, 2009

On revealing Aduna's character

Protagonists in video games have often been cut from three cloths. Representative extreme examples are an AFGNCAAP, a Dialog Tree climber, and, well, "normal" characters - lads who have prebuilt personalities and everything, and the most choice who have about what they say and do revolves around their purchasing habits.

jRPGs often mix all three to a weak tea - offering silent protagonists who sometimes maybe get plot significant nods or shakings of the head, while all their constant companions do your talking for you. Frankly, that's combining the worst bits of all three in my book. Bioware is frighteningly infatuated with dialogue trees. Most games place your character in one of these molds, or fail to do something interesting outside of them.

Well, I think we oughta try to assault the status quo a bit with Aduna. What I'm almost certain I want is to allow the player choice in who Aduna is, while maintaining in the narrative that her personality is static. That is to say, the player decides how Aduna's always been, not how she developes as an entity in Ganeden.

What I'm not so sure about is what form this choice should take. I've had three ideas:

1) Direct player choice. Ask at various junctures: what does Aduna think about her potential to control people in Rith? How does she respond to her source's eventual birth and her corresponding termination? How does she view Rith as a whole?

2) Choice by player action. Take some data about how the player's been playing Aduna and Co. and calculate her choices based off of that. On the one hand, that'll allow the aforementioned goal to be implemented all the more invisibly and (possibly) successfully, but on the other hand players may feel robbed of direct control of their avatar - and they may not know how to explore other branches of the plot.

3) Random choice at each juncture, favoring paths as yet unexplored. Not liking this one, as it seems to be just a worse version of 2) - but it's one which resolves my second complaint about it.

What do you guys think about all this? It's 1:00 AM and my sleep cycles a little screwy, so I'm not even sure I'm making sense right now. Anyway!


Monday, March 23, 2009

Random programming idea

RSS feed that uploads data (like a random wikipedia page) every second. Whenever you check your feeds, you have something to read!


Sunday, March 8, 2009

Simple Harmonics

On the job - I'll make this quick!

Simple Harmonics
February 14th, 2009

A curious glow overtakes the edges
Of every surface beyond my sight.
A hummingbird sings over a whale's dirge,
And the gulf of their waves forms the perfect harmony.
It leaves me reeling in wonder,
And writhing beyond the horizon.
Fast, high, a bewildering fractal
Spiralling in asymptotic convergence
The hummingbird's contortions
Leap like petals on a pond
Twirling and unfolding with blooming radiance.
And underneath, a vacuum-borne glacier
Drives irresistably onward,
Shattering the walls of my mind
With unmatched clarity and purpose,
Slow, deep, and oscillating in
The whale's repurposed agony.
Alone, each is an idle numbness -
Glee and sadness apart are transient -
But as the winding, chemical staircases
Of unreadable genetic masterpiece,
Together they wreak havoc on my natural form,
And illuminate my essential humanity.


Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Hey, I know what you kids want! A list of names for the nebulous game we're coming up with, tentatively titled Prenatal. Extraordinarily tentatively, because that part's supposed to be less than immediately obvious. Character traits will be filled in as I come up with them.

Aduna: Protagonist. While the player's actions determine what her personality is, I want to convey that that's what her personality has been the whole time.

Baram: An early companion, he sees leaving the paradise of Ganeden as both natural and necessary, not to mention exciting. As preparation for living in Rith, the next world, he tries to distance himself as much as possible from the wonders of the environment he is soon to leave.

Caliva: In love with the other residents of Ganeden, Caliva will only be willing to let it go once she's convinced all her friends are coming with her.

Devinor: Fascinated by locations. The mere notion of being somewhere new inspires him to express himself in action, dialog, violence, and creation.

Eth: She trusts the White Hooks (the entities which urge personalities to the physical realm) far more than she ought to. Sumarily, she wants to be born into Rith before she's ready - it beckons her - and is loathe to be in the more abstract layers of Ganeden.

Fatarn: Extremely loquacious. He doesn't care about the Hooks at all, really, he just wants to have a good time wherever he goes.

Galyut: She's affluent, capable, and polite - to everyone but Aduna. Her ill will is mostly born of the difference in effort they exert to make friends; Aduna does so effortlessly, and Galyut compromises so much of herself to exchange trust.

Halmir: He believes in some world previous to Ganeden, as Ganeden is previous to Rith. He thinks there is an infinite regression of worlds. Metaphysically speaking, he isn't necessarily wrong, but there is no evidence that he's right.

Isa: She is convinced (and accurately so!) that Ganeden isn't real as real as Rith. She searches for hints of the true nature of her experiences in this illusory realm.


There's at least three patterns to these names. Can you guess them?