It’s been…what a month and a day since my last blog post? Goodness. I’ve been really neglectful with my blogging duties. I suppose I’ll just have to make an effort to blog a bit more, whether that be about ideas for my big game (which will be more likely considering our playtesting sessions are coming to a close). However, I guess it would be best to summarize what has happened in the past month since the Gamification challenge (which could have been a lot more successful than it was). From here on out, I’m going to be doing bi-daily or daily blogging posts about whatever needs to get blogged about. It shall be done.
So what have we done? To be honest it’s hard to backtrack four or so weeks, but I will do my best.
The first thing that comes to my head is the Bridging Assignment which was meant to simply connect the dots for our big game. Dr. Kayler seemed to like mine, though quite frankly it was so rushed and thrown together in such a mess that I’m surprised it received such high praise. Either way, I’m not complaining. So now I have an idea to express in my game. I still am very unsure as to how I’m going to put this across in my gaming pitch, but I have some creative ideas up my sleeve. Aaron has stated interest in this creative endeavor and so hopefully I’ll be able to pull this off. I think the big idea I want to portray is some kind of story with branching storylines. I wanted to make something a lot more overarching but in the time since this I have realized this idea is impossible. Why? Well because stories are meant to be linear. If I want to tell a specific story, then I will make sure that it reaches one point. As long as the end point is reached in some way, it will be okay. So the journey can be dynamic, however the end will not be. It’s simply impossible. It’s why Until Dawn was so successful; the dynamic journey to the dynamic endpoint. The end point, despite being determined by choices, was the same throughout. The only thing that changed was how many characters were alive.
The next thing that I did was play test my Challenge 3, which was also somewhat connected to this idea. In my game, “Last Light,” players take on the role of several characters trapped in a house with a murderer. This murderer is giving them a limited amount of time to explore the house and find a weapon to defend themselves (for some reason that I never really figured out), but they can also discover clues that they can use to their advantage (such as finding clues to use to their defense if they are ambushed in one of the rooms). I play tested both in and outside of class, and both were successful in terms of what I was looking for, and pretty much proved the point I discovered in my last paragraph; stories are linear and are meant to be linear. With the constructive criticism I received, the game was turning into a “Dungeons and Dragons” type game, which wasn’t what I was looking for. I have a story I wanted to tell, and I want one outcome.
Today, we did our Iron Challenge, and lost. But that was okay! We learned that we need to work on our presentation a bit in terms of pitching to non-gamers and the Sharks during Shark Tank. Other than that I had fun. And this blog post was fun. Maybe I’ll write more. I hope so.
And here I thought I was going to be getting bored of this little app. Although I still have not been able to add any active friend (*cue the sad music*), I’ve found it entertaining to dethrone everyone around me and hold several mayor positions and gain a lot of coins. I’m close to 200 coins now in 8 days which is remarkable. Probably because I end up going to so many places every day. It really shouldn’t be a surprise to me at this point, but hey, I like it! I’m excited to check into some new places in the next couple of days considering I’m branching out and meeting new people and going to new places with said people. It’s exciting!
Day 4 with the Swarm app! So far it’s been going pretty well. I still have no active friends using this app so it’s pointless to fight for leadership when I’m the only one up there. And I have easily usurped mayorship of several different places including the University as a whole and my residence hall. I’m pretty sure I’m close to gaining control over the Klein Theatre and DuPont Hall considering how much time I’ve spent there this past weekend and upcoming weekend as well. Besides that though there isn’t much else for me to do with the app other than check in every time I move somewhere new. Hmm. However I’ve been doing pretty well in terms of keeping up with it. Only forgot to check in a couple times yesterday and this morning but that was about it!
Today I begin the gamification of my life. I’m going to attempt to bi-daily blog posts about my experiences with the “Swarm” app. However, I have become increasingly busy in the past couple days so I will try and remember to do these. Or I’ll just do them when I can. Besides, I probably won’t have much to say for the next two weeks. Maybe this won’t work. Who knows.
So my initial thoughts: the app is pretty adorable. The design and the sticker-like graphics are very appealing. However the fact that only one out of all of my Facebook friends has the app (or has at least used it at some point) is a bit sad. I mean it’s not too big of a deal in hindsight…just a little disappointing. However the premise is kinda cute. Just checking in to various places and seeing what happens. First check-in: my residence hall. As lame as that sounds it’s where I do my homework so of course it’s where I would check in while working on an assignment for this class. Well, it’s rather lonely (and some guy named Tony is the mayor of Custis Hall for some odd reason. Might be because it used to be co-ed but that was still odd).
I’ll check back in tomorrow with an update. Or in the next week or something.
All has been quiet on the western front for the past couple days, mainly because I’ve been debating on what to actually do. I know what I want to do. Obviously. The Butterfly Effect. But what do I want to do with it. I know the basic mechanics of my story and how it is going to play out, but that’s about it. I don’t know what type of setting I would want or what kind of world I would want to set it in. Fantasy? Sci-Fi? Real life? I don’t know, and I know it’s going to take me a bit to figure that all out. But at least I have my basic idea. I really really want to show what the butterfly effect can do. Not only in real life (which I might do as some kind of “hey look what I want to focus on with my game” type of thing) but also in the virtual world. After all, virtual worlds are like sandboxes for gamers to shape and mold to their liking…most of the time.
So I suppose I need to educate myself more in what the butterfly effect actually is. I know the basics, but what more could I learn to implement in my game to drive the narrative forward. The mechanics of everything isn’t important. It’s really all about the story for me that I want to put across through this game. A narrative driven by your choices. Needless to say this has and is being done currently thanks to developers like Telltale and games like Life is Strange and Until Dawn. But I need to know more. I want to get deep with this idea that even the smallest choice you make in terms of dialogue or action could shape the world around you and the journey that you will take. Needless to say, I am passionate about deep storytelling. I’m a writer, and so I love making up stories in my head and (sometimes) putting them on paper and storing them away for later use. And so that’s what I will be using to help me create this game, this story. I’ve been needing to exercise my creative writing skills for a while now, and this is the perfect opportunity for me to do that.
But why am I so excited about this idea. This…philosophy in a way. Like…what is it about the butterfly effect that gets my gears grinding? And the honest answer to this question is that I have no idea. I mean, I suppose the idea of your choices shaping the world around you and creating an interactive experience like never before is all fine and dandy. But what else about it? That can’t be the whole story. That can’t be the reason why. So I guess the answer is indeed “I don’t know”. At least for now.
And as for interviewing and seeking people out… Well. Hmm. I suppose my first guess would be going to developers who have developed games in the past such as this, like Supermassive (Until Dawn) and Telltale (The Walking Dead, The Wolf Among Us, Tales from the Borderlands, Game of Thrones, etc.). But what about local people? I don’t know. I do know I’ll need some more research from people who have studied the butterfly effect a lot longer than I have…but I’m not too sure as to where I should go looking for that.
This is just the skeleton. Soon (hopefully) I’ll be putting the finishing touches on my plans for this “Butterfly Effect Game” with a better understanding of both what I want to get out of it and who I can go looking to for more help. Until then, friends!
Well this is my blog for my Part Play, Part Game FSEM for the Fall 2019 Semester at the University of Mary Washington. I’ll just be updating this with progress on…whatever we’re working on. Whether it be the game or another assignment I’ll try and post something here. This is a huge work-in-progress so don’t expect much for the first few weeks/months or so.