Saturday, November 3, 2012

What I Am Doing Is Not New In Theory; But In Practice, It Makes All The Difference In The World

"Theory" is the wrong word to use, but I think it approaches the idea I am trying to convey. I am not proposing any radically different systems as part of my method of implementing character and narrative into a game. Instead, my intentions are to simply change the way designers think about the problem and how far they go to deal with it. Based upon my current thoughts regarding my solution to this, I see that I am taking an element that is rarely thought through and complicated, and extending it into something far more meaningful and sophisticated. I have already mentioned that there are games that do make considerable progress in portraying characters tied into the game itself, and even some of those games allow their pieces to change (though not by the characters development, but rather the player's whim of "free will").

I like to think of what I am developing as analogous to "RPG Elements." What does it mean when it is said that a game has RPG elements? It is a fairly new term and it says that a game uses a complex, dynamically changing and growing statistical/computational number system to determine the outcomes of certain moves. For the layperson, it means that the player levels up with experience and when they shoot things numbers come out of them. But in all honesty, RPG elements in this spirit have in many ways always existed in games. The Legend of Zelda does not count numbers or give the player experience points, but the code still defines enemies as having a certain amount of health, Link's sword as doing a certain amount of damage, and heart containers giving Link more and more power. The Legend of Zelda is has basic RPG elements and does not even know it. The same realizations can be had when observing the code of many shooters and action games.

Just as "RPG elements" can bring out a certain depth in a game's mechanics, what I would think of as "Character elements" can bring out a certain depth in a game's narrative. In that sense, what I propose is not new; it is an extrapolation of what already exists in the most simplest form. Because of this nature, it can be applied to pretty much any game imaginable. I believe that this quality makes this development far more useful and revolutionary than what would simply be a simulation engine for story-telling.

Hopefully I can develop better rhetorical devices to describe the ideas I am reaching at.