futurelegend: (bryan)
[personal profile] futurelegend
Stuff for me, where it will get less lost than in the dark corners of my harddrive.


Obviously emotional/intellectual impact and gameplay are infinitely more important than quality of graphics.

Swish graphics carry their own high appeal; let us not discount the acid-flashback effect.

Loom managed to be pretty (i.e. stuff sparkled) in 16 colours, so it can be done.

But for now, no graphics (thus giving the player the power to create them with all the swishness they desire) is preferable to half-arsed graphics; I have more important things to spend my time creating. For now.

Player Preferences

My ideal is for a game to be a dialogue between it and me; no one else involved. This allows me to fill in the blanks in areas in which the game is not satisfying me completely on its own. (Hence each character in my hideously minmaxxed SSI "RPG" parties had backstory, relationships with other characters, emotional motivations for their minmaxxed fighting tactics, etc. Ah those happy, hazy, teenaged days. Ha!)

Emotional depth and intensity and truth (and let's face it: complexity) are what I want from art (and equivalently, from life). So much the better if the aesthetic is stimulating and it artfully integrates diverse intellectual and cultural elements (yknow, in a good way). (The medium and style are as much the important substance of what is being communicated as the content. Style and substance; form and function are inseparable.) Something that speaks to me and does it so well that it alters my state of consciousness in a worthwhile way while I am interacting with it. When people speak of being "taken to another place," that's what I am seeking (both to experience and create). For all journeys transform the journeyman. (I always thought that word was so good that it is wasted on its conventional meaning and should instead mean what it evokes in my mind. Context provides this definition.)

So the thing I would most like to create/experience is a variant of the Mind Game from Ender's Game.



It occurs that perhaps I should just put the work into lucid dreaming instead. Dreaming, computer games and animation all evoke similar responses in my mind. Similarities? In each, conventional reality is sublimated to hyperreality, surreality, the fantastic, the ability for the inner world to be reflected and represented in the outer world. In each, imagery is more intense and significant; more important than in conventional reality. One becomes subconsciously aware of the symbolism of objects, compositions, aspects, events, words, foci because one is not distracted by the demands of conventional reality. When one is working with images of conventionally real things, one has the power to re-create the thing in one's own reality: from the perspective, with the aesthetic stylings and interpretation, and with the place in and interactions with the rest of one's own reality. And significance. In effect, conventional reality becomes a metaworld for each person's individual reality in which they exist. (I'm sure this works equally well the other way too, reality, paradox and duality being what they are.)

I am spending my life making the world as bright and intense and powerful and significant and epic (down to the last detail) and beautiful and terrible as the world inside my head. This is not how it is in the dominant paradigm. Every path and tool and technique and talisman and doorway I find that lead and aid me in this is exciting and is to be explored and pursued. This is the outer expression of starting to find out who I am.


But now, this. http://www.parksassociates.com/press/press_releases/2006/gaming_pr4.html People like the social interaction of games. Oh! Well, so do I. That is my other ideal: an RPG in which everyone gets into the same zone and it is stimulating and satisfying for all; true teamwork in pursuit and attainment of the ultimate goal. (That's what I like about theatre: the whole is created from the interactions of parts each made by an individual person communicating and overcoming the inherent barriers between people - and the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. In the spaces between and around the thresholds something is created seemingly out of nothing. But I digress. Again.)

Then the game takes a less active role and becomes background and environment in which the players interact. Of course it is a strong and demanding environment, the rules and events of which cannot be ignored. That is why the players are there in the first place. Player-player interaction refracted through character and game becomes the focus of the intensity of experience; player-game interaction will always be secondary to that. (Which is probably why WoW et al can get away with being so shite stand-alone; it is the players who bring all the intensity (or lack of, as the case may be) to the experience that they require. This begins to compromise the "art" aspect of games. If players can only get out what they put in, that requires prior knowledge and expectation of what they want. It is a very safe medium; no one will go anywhere further than they want because they themselves implicitly set the boundaries on their experience. This negates any potential for being taken further, for having new ideas and concepts communicated by playing the game. Phatic gaming? (see http://rosemaryedghill.livejournal.com/1487.html found via morgan303 last night)

Ok, so now I have written myself into a phatic vs art corner. I think this is inaccurate; everything created has the potential to be art; it depends on the beholder (who is a temporal creature). Art is a highly subjective phenomenon. Art is not the thing on the wall; art is what happens between something created and someone experiencing it (in the non-wanky interpretation of that statement, please).

Perhaps in one's multiplayer computer game, there are more potential sources for art: as well as the game itself, there are one's fellow player-artists - and it's all live, completely interactive performance art.

O.o Hmm. So many issues, so little time. (wry)

Suffice to say that for now, the single beholder-single created artistic endeavour is what interests me. Far less sticky. *nod*

Date: 2008-03-24 02:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tarleon.livejournal.com
o_0 buh?

Date: 2008-03-24 02:42 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] sly-girl.livejournal.com
And here I was, just this morning, thinking "I never see [livejournal.com profile] futurelegend on LJ anymore. I should do that more often. I evidently have summ0ningz powah! Come to think of it - I was also pondering on computer games around the same time. I hereby declare myself queen of the solipsists!

The thing I find with graphics is that el-super-swisho prettiness can not only replace playability, but interfere with it. Simplicity of graphics makes components within the game easier to recognise. The real world often isn't that easy to navigate, visually. Emulations of the real world inherit that same difficulty. While that may certainly be a goal in certain types of games, for most games the ability to distinguish foreground from background, usable objects from non-usable is essential. Not being able to do so detracts from the enjoyment of the game.

Date: 2008-03-24 03:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] parakleta.livejournal.com
That article on phatic novels was interesting. I'd often wondered what exactly it was that made me feel some novels were particularly unsatisfying, and that about sums it up.

If you're interested in good games where graphics is irrelevant, you should take a browse through the collection at http://www.the-underdogs.info/


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