Everything I want to do

One problem I have in writing IF is that I try to stuff I think too many ideas into the same game. I don’t mean plot or character but things like, ‘what is agency’, or ‘what is the meaning of performance’. I think part of this problem is that I’m still trying to figure out the major things or the main form that I want my IF to take, its style so to speak. I feel that my IF should express something. Perhaps this is the problem.

The game I’m working now is in the thick of this problem. Its main theme is the agency of the player in the context of performance. Given that any IF game at least written with a language like TADS or Inform cannot be fully interactive, I feel it is important to define a mechanic of interaction that is central to the work (I’ve drawn a lot from the well of Victor Gijsbers and Emily Short for this principle). So what you end up with is a work that is interactive in a particular way, but a particular way that is central to the story you are trying to tell; I feel this is important, more important than creating some limited though general vocabulary such as Chris Crawford’s Deitko to contain the world-space.

So back to the agency of the player. What I want the game to do is explore what the player can do within a performance. This builds on what I’ve been thinking about in terms of two levels of immersion in IF. Since I think it might get old for the player to be in the world-space by themself, there is another actor. To take it out of the sand box there is a story (though I admit not much of one). Furthermore there is a set of mechanics, specific mechanics, by which the player will interact with the work. In turn the ‘work’ will comment on the player’s performance.

A key method of the mechanic will be to define abilities and disabilities within the interaction, to highlight the agency the player does have by reduction.

At first I sketched a fantasy or fairy tale setting for the game, but then in a fit of modernity I jacked the game into the present. However I wish to retain the sense of the fantastical, to make it an imaginative but not surreal game. I think it’s possible to capture the imagination of the player and use the strengths of the IF medium (to go from a grain of sand to the Milky Way in a blink of the eye), without resorting to real fantasy or fairy land. This is (almost) everything I want to do in this game.

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1 comment so far

  1. Victor Gijsbers on

    It sounds like you’re trying to do something interesting, even if I have a hard time understanding what is it exactly from just reading this post. 🙂 I’m looking forward to seeing your game.


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