Monday, 21 May 2007

The Designated Illogical Documentary - Three Stories High

Back again after a spell of disease and strange phobia-tic charms, I have been forced into giving an analysis to you all today.
For sake of understanding and focus, this will be directed only toward that which I have been told to summarise - of which are those which we have received grades for.

They are:

- Story
- Logic & Puzzles
- Design Document

Ok so here we go.

Story my dear story. I like the story. It is relatively concise and needs not much outside thinking. It touches on the 'parallel universe' thing to appear to be different rather than really exploring the possibilities of this concept/theory. I think this could have been exploited a lot further... however it is for simplicity that we have kept this linear - most probably to keep within the constraints of time we have. The parallel universe thing serves only to satisfy the imagination for a few moments at the beginning of the story. The way we have utilized it is not at all dissimilar [on closer inspection] to a culture shift, or to any story where the character/s leave their comfort zone.
I feel there is not much depth to our story. It feels like the sort of story you'd read on the back of a cereal box or something. However that is just me. Time will tell whether the story is pushed through dialogue, art andambiance/immersion towards an experience that is truly evocative and powerful.
At the moment I feel like much of the cliche story techniques (love story, horror, emotional backlash, quests etc) are superficial, perhaps because there seems to be a huge push to keep things simple so we can finish it. I think this is our pitfall. It is usually easier to summarise than to elaborate upon. If the story fails to transport the person to another world, where the reader feels a deep emotional tugging at each turn in the stream of events, then they would probably be better off not bothering to make the game at all. For it is a well known fact that for a game to be memorable in years to come, it is not the graphics, not the audio, not the complicated puzzles, it comes down to fundamental emotions. That is my critique of the story.

Now to discuss the logic. Well that's something to say. Logic. Exactly! Well done. We fulfilled the name of the brief. As for the 'tree' aspect of the logic... I can hardly say it's an oak tree, the only thing it really comes close to is a pine tree - and in many places a palm tree - one which has died and left its fronds behind.
The logic makes some very minor drop-offs. Kind of like the events that occur when I walk to university each weekday - I will look at a different car maybe. Or cars. Perhaps I'll cross the road to the other side for a change. Or I could drop into the petrol station and grab a pie. Or walk through the carpark and a parachutist jumping from the sky tower decides to land on me and offers me his blanket and then proceeds to pull out his notepad and give me a ticket for leaving footprints in the gravel behind which resemble a crook he was trying to catch who wears shoes on his huge dumbo ears that act as legs. Well luckily that's completely illogical and stuff don't happen like that no more. Remember!!! Nothing wierd I was told. It has to be congruent with "steam-punk" well thanks very much whoever thought that steampunk was suddenly cornered into a tiny genre where everything had to be using steam and the aesthetic was ONLY Victorian. 'Oh SURE' we say, 'we stepped outside these boundaries all the time'. Yeah Right. Lateral thinking ladies & gentleman. People aren't going to remember some game which just skims the edges of a genre. Which looks more linear than my backside. People are going to remember a game that makes the beholder go "what the hell was that![?]"
Everyone was very precious about the story. Nothing that changes the story guys! Only within the puzzles can you change this. Ok cool. Fine. Then I discover that I can barely change what's inside the puzzles as well. Anything that was remotely strange was frowned upon. Even if I justified it. Oh well. I enjoyed brainstorming for the puzzles. It was a challenging process.

Design Document. I think this was the most successful one of the three. Perhaps I am biased because I was not as closely involved in the Design Document writing as I was with the Story & Logic. So less emotional factors for me. Not as close to the bone. So from a property buyers view, with an open home pass, here I come.
I think we did well with the overall writing of the Design Document. The parts that niggle me are the character/location descriptions and back history - naturally this is because I have been more intimate in these processes. I feel these should have been (still can be) changed so as the reader can literally imagine the character / location in its entirety. The creepers hanging from the ceiling, maybe some spiders eating away at the furniture (evolved woodlice, from eating too much contaminated wood); the colours; the general mood; the smell of the clothing; the thickness of the hairs on a characters' legs; personality traits and habits. This is just my opinion - perhaps this amount of detail is not necessary. It just feel as if something is lacking from these areas.
The rest of the document seems to be sufficient. I don't feel a piercing need to hassle any other areas really. I feel as a whole the design document has been quite well written. Maybe this is because we were given a template from which to fill in gaps and remove any titles that weren't congruent with our vision of the game. Either way, a lot of effort and time has gone into the Design Document, and it definitely reflects this.

Well done team! Lets zoom into alpha and beta!!!


Lincoln said...

Interesting post Joe Blow!, hehe amusing. Seriously. lol

jdex24 said...

glad to see I'm not the only one reading the blogs. love your description on trees and how ours is not the epitome of an oak but merely a palm with no fronds.

I really enjoy the blogs. its giving me a better understanding and I've noticed things that id only guessed are turning to a reality.