Posted by jeanne
it’s the first time that the plot has probed problematic. i knew it would, because i’ve just got placeholder chapters until i figure out what really has to go where. but this is the first time when i’ve seen a real gap in the flow. the way it goes now, they design the game at dragoncon 1, then kurt creates the kernel, and then all their designs are for naught because of the way the quantum kernel, and especially the quantum tablet, change the way the game is created. and kurt only creates the antarctica level at dragoncon 2, at which time he’s almost done making the game architecture. and they go live close to dragoncon 3. so there’s almost a year where they design the game and adjust to creating the game, and almost a year of finishing and testing the game. but it won’t take all that much time. and i’m not sure the chapters i have set out aren’t way too long for what’s happening.
do we spend an entire year tweaking the intro, carnival, and cloud levels? because we can’t touch antarctica (because once we do then the other players all appear on that level too, so it’s got to be live). does snake fuck things up so it takes a year? or do we have to change chapters around – do they take a year to design the game, and then meet kurt at dragoncon 2? and the kernel takes awhile, and the cre8tion takes awhile, and they’re only testing at dragoncon 3 when kurt dies? and snake finishes it and they test and go live at dragoncon 4? more than halfway thru the story? i don’t think so. i’ve been watching movies latery with an eye on the clock. the significant event or person doesn’t tend to happen until around 35-40 minutes in, at i guess the beginning of the second act, and way before the 2-hour end.
antarctica is only built once they start playing. it’s an empty antarctica without ice archipelago of rocks, inaccessible, with carnival overlain on top of the ice sheet. so what takes all the time to build once kurt’s finished with the kernel? the quantum tablet makes actually creating and finishing the game a snap, so why would they wait to create antarctica? because even with the quantum kernel it’s not right until kurt gets there the night he dies at dragoncon 2 and makes it all over the right way.
so when they do a demo at dragoncon 2 and it’s less than stellar, it takes them a moment to recover, after thinking they should get real jobs and give it up. but then kurt goes off and thinks about it, and does some tinkering, and finally completely wipes antarctica and starts over from the kernel out.
and then he dies the next day. because snake has to take over between the completion of antarctica and go-live so he can plant all his bombs. snake already has a minor role, and has wormed his way into the administrative meetings. and this process takes a year? half a year? we take half a year to tinker and test everything but antarctica? i can see taking most of a year to design a game and then have to start all over again when the technology changes, but how can it take even six months when things happen so much more quickly thanks to the quantum tablet and kernel and now ex-kurt. and he’s already built antarctica and it still takes them half a year?
can’t they figure out how to get to antarctica in the game? did kurt leave it unattached altogether? and nobody can create a link because that’s architecture in the game engine which is locked inside the kernel.
so they vastly scale down the scope of the game and turn the carnival level into the violent corrupt social parody of modern consumerism that it ends up as, the girl fighting it all the way, in order to make up for the drastically reduced functionality of a locked-down kernel. snake and fairy develop a great antipathy to each other, and the boy and girl show distinctly different styles in testing and applying the essence.
the special feature of dragoncon 3 is the final candidate and go-live right there at the show. the boy and girl are in the game watching from the cloud level as beta testers work on the final candidate when ex-kurt shows up and creates a portal to the antarctica under the ice (essentially encasing the carnival levels in clouds, melting the ice sheet, and finally shoving them thru the portal. suddenly they’re falling into ice-cold water only yards from the stony shore of a barren and mountainous land.
go-live, some hours later, sees first a trickle then a flood of players washing up on the shoreline. players aren’t expecting this and are surprised and pleased at the additional playability. the game is a sensation overnight. players appear as dopplegangers in the marriott/midway hub.
i think that’s a much nicer flow, with a few more twists than i had before. tomorrow i’ll have to go back into my document and alter the chapters between designing the game, which i’ve been working on for a few days now, and go-live, which is the rest of act 1. i’ve been revising act 1 for a few days, concentrating on trimming the reference material into a comments document and putting various things that have to go in the chapter into some sort of order, moving some things to other chapters, making collections of things to discuss and expound upon.
in all this i’m trying to visualize how it will play out, and the visuals race between cartoonish splash pages to whole cinematic scenes. my mental conception is like a still picture that becomes sharper and more detailed and more involved the longer i think about it, like the photos in blade runner only moreso. it’s like i’m the director wading thru the filming of these scenes, moving actors and props around, showing them how i want to see them do it. that’s more like what i see in my mental images. with narration, like a documentary. the making of.
which i guess is what this is. not that anybody wants to know the agonizing details, but sometimes i put them in, and sometimes i polish it a bit. i was reading some videogame designer’s page today, god knows which one, and i really loved how he would ramble and discuss his thought processes. because this is what he does, and i could watch him do it, and learn how he thinks about what he’s doing. it was very helpful.
i’ve been doing such good work the last few days. even with all the shit happening. today it was mostly research about videogames, and the day before. all in the name of fleshing out the designing and creating chapters in act 1. my working document has all sorts of hyperlinks to the reference documents. some of it i pots here, but most of it goes into the comments document.
anyway, it’s getting late, and i tend to get out of bed in the morning anxious to get down here and work. it’s actually exhausting, but i’m really productive and very happy in my work.