immediate repercussions

in this same chapter as i was revising last night – designing the game – they’re discussing the details of the various economies and population centers and historical technology details that need to be in each ring of the antarctica level of teh gema.

we’re talking about an economic and technological progression from stone age to current time, and beyond into quantum future, in 7 rings.

perhaps it’s something they plan for and it ends up really clunky as a prototype level before kurt wipes it clean and starts over.  or maybe it actually works that way once they’re playing the gema – like they’re in the lowlands and there’s a problem getting the technology to work and they have to bring in a kluge from the hinterlands, or there are too many people to support on medieval fields and they have to import a tractor and gasoline.

7 periods for 7 rings:
isles          neolithic
mountains          hunter/gatherer
lowlands           medieval
wilderness          nomadic horde/wild west
hinterlands          20th
hell city         2012
gamburtsevs          cloud of future choices

***

so how clunky is it when they build the antarctica level before kurt’s epiphany changes everything?

nothing works right.  the quantum kernel is there, the bugs are being fixed before their eyes while the boy and girl test, fairy’s going nuts trying to deal with all the bug reports because she’s afraid of the kernel – she has funny thoughts when she gets on the cloud level and prefers not to go as far as antarctica, so she spends all her time tweaking the carnival levels.

they’ve got all this elaborate stuff in the 7 levels of antarctica, with cities lovingly laid out because this is someone’s specialty, the girl’s background details gorgeous, but (whosie’s) foreground slapped down in repetitive chunks with cracks in them.  (is their architecture grid or hexagonal block?)  they want it to be the perfect social world, but it’s easy to get lost, the missions are unclear, there are no gameworld-typical landmarks, and they would have to be fascists to get the players to learn their lessons, because people will just want to run around and shoot things.

the big problem is how to get the players to learn the 3×7 quantum lessons voluntarily, to leave the wild action for a reclusive life of study and solitary practice.  or do they turn the game into hogwarts and force them all to wave their hands in the air as if they were actually doing magic, when it’s all just scripted, no better than learning to shoot an assault rifle at anything that moves?

remember, when kurt rebuilds the antarctica level right before he dies, it’s sealed off, and it takes them until the next dragoncon to unlock it.  plus snake’s sabotage.  they will abandon the antarctica level and concentrate on the carnival levels as the new, and greatly reduced, scope of the game.  and when they finally unlock the antarctica level, it’s real.

so the problems in this first part are all technical.  bugs.  and the boy and girl and fairy and kurt are the only testers.  they build the prototype level, that’s the cloud level where everything is quantum.  and that works fine.  they build the carnival levels on themepark areas made to look like the east and west antarctic ice sheets.  they build the antarctic level with its 7 rings.

first there are endless problems getting the games and rides to work on the carnival levels, not just adjustments in the variables, but when their own fuzzy understanding of physics results in unconvincing gameplay.  the girl is continually looking for ways to put the quantum lessons in, and finding it really hard to do because it never seems relevant and the others grow resistant in their concentration on the minutiae. they spend all their time getting the carnival levels to work, months longer than they expected.

so they are running out of time when they turn their attention to antarctica, which is 7 rings that might as well be levels in their own right.  they take up as much space and more in the world diagram, and are the whole point of what the angel showed them.  the carnival levels, which they’ve spent so much time on, are just remedial, as basic and irrelevant to the true gema that they’re really just advanced tutorials.

they’ve been working on antarctica the whole time, and it’s fine in a basic placeholder way.  it’s got photoshopped backgrounds and rough edges and missing objects, the npcs are little leprechauns who stutter and speak in over-the-top brogue, a parody of a badly made, cheaped out videogame someone made in their bedroom.  the cities are impeccable, but empty.  there are no skills to develop because the boy and girl have already developed their skills and aren’t really concerned about that, figuring people will pick it up.  there’s nothing to do there without players.  all they can do is test objects and task npcs to test things, meaning they run around managing a small army of droids who work all the technology and try all the doors and tend practice farms.

the problem isn’t with kurt or the kernel; it’s that the level they’ve designed is clunky, inelegant, and stupid.  it’s boring.  there’s no quantum anything on this level because they don’t know what they’re looking for and don’t know how to get there from ordinary reality.  the boy and girl have made the breakthru personally, but they’ve lost an important piece and can’t quite get back there again so they can teach it from the inside.  it’s all mumbo jumbo.  they can still talk to each other in their heads and all that; they’re entangled in themselves, but can’t transmit quantum anything to anybody else except physically, and while the boy thinks setting up shop as a newage sex coach would be fun, the girl isn’t having any of it.

so the big problem is that no matter how they try, they can’t think of a good way to teach the quantum lessons.  are they arguing about it?  because the lessons are there to be learned, all laid out and accessible, whether couched in math and physics, which i can hardly do, or hidden in occult teachings that can be transliterated for the masses. and they know how to make the quantum thing work on the cloud level, because it’s energy produced by concentration in the player’s body that is them directed to manifesting things inside teh game.  simple enough for a good program and sensitive inputs even now, without a quantum computer.  and so what it’s just a simulation?  if you put your feet in those footprint thingies in time with the music long enough, you WILL learn to dance.

so what’s the problem?  it’s not coming clear to me.  what’s wrong with the antarctica level as they have built it?

okay, i went and asked jim.  he nailed it for me.

the boy and girl are working against each other, like me and my ex when we tried to work together.  each thinks they know what something needs and so they both do things unilaterally, mainly without telling the other one about it.  and then, right or wrong, they defend their actions when confronted.  the boy doesn’t like confrontation so always expresses his displeasure with passive aggression, and the girl was raised with conflict and gets in his face to point out the obvious.  that’s one thing.  the other is that they’re way too focused on the details of this overbearingly complicated game and have totally lost sight of their mission, which is to raise the consciousness of the player to quantum levels.

so, a lot of time is wasted in pointless arguments, and in redoing each other’s work, and not talking to each other.  their relationship cools some, they ignore each other in their heads at times.  and at dragoncon 2 when he soaks up the attention and she only feels drained, they begin to sour on each other.  after kurt’s death they come back to a good working relationship, and they repress growing irritation with the game and each other as it becomes a burden, but by dragoncon 3 they’re hostile toward each other, and feeling trapped. they have a big fight and split at dragoncon 4, teh gema is banned for dragoncon 5 and they’re working on opposite sides, a big protest and brutal repression at dragoncon 6, when he is forced to betray her, and a miracle happens for dragoncon 7 and all you need is love.

so, i’ve got that.  cool.

okay, to sum up, what have i written today (this is the part i’ll cut and paste back into my document)…

7 periods for 7 rings:
isles          neolithic
mountains          hunter/gatherer
lowlands           medieval
wilderness          nomadic horde/wild west
hinterlands          20th
hell city         2012
gamburtsevs          cloud of future choices

fairy’s afraid of the kernel – funny thoughts on the cloud level, tweaking the carnival levels.

their own fuzzy understanding of physics results in unconvincing gameplay.  the girl is continually looking for ways to put the quantum lessons in, and finding it really hard to do because it never seems relevant and the others grow resistant in their concentration on the minutiae. they spend all their time getting the carnival levels to work, months longer than they expected.

antarctica basic placeholder.  npcs are little leprechauns who stutter and speak in over-the-top brogue, a parody  videogame.   cities impeccable, but empty.  boy and girl have already developed their skills and aren’t really concerned about that, figuring people will pick it up.  there’s nothing to do there without players.  they run around managing a small army of droids who work all the technology and try all the doors and tend practice farms.

me and my ex.  unilaterally, without telling.  defensive. passive aggression, in his face.  forest for the trees.

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About jeanne

artist, grandma, alien

Posted on February 2, 2012, in author's note, game, plot. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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