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Author Topic: The Dragon Speech  (Read 11643 times)
Thomas

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« on: February 21, 2011, 09:52:01 AM »

I have to admit that I have not seen this speech until a stumbled upon it this weekend. It is really good and brings up many notgamey points:

Part1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_04PLBdhqZ4
Part2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ymu4A9861Ck
Part3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GpW0fZ0390M
Part4: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7N_Ju1L_Mg
Part5: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqMwmdvf8v0

It seems like this had zero affect on the industry at the time and that Chris have not had much of an impact over the years. I am unfortunly a bit ignorant on these issues, so if anybody has any info, please share! Would be interested if any developers, excepect Chris, took on his challenge or if it was basically just ignored like the ravings of a madman.

Also, has anybody tried out his latest project, Storytron?
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Thomas

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« Reply #1 on: February 21, 2011, 06:34:18 PM »

Dunno how interested anybody is, but found this link:
http://www.storytron.com/ipb/index.php?showtopic=953

That discusses whether storytron should be implemented in a game or not. It acts as a nice overview of Storytron and also gives thoughts on the gaming world that are a bit notgamey but more negative Smiley
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2011, 08:03:30 PM »

I was looking at Storytron when development was starting. I believe I even participated in some of the early discussions. I agree with a lot of things that Chris Crawford has said over the years, but I don't like how he rejects the sensory aspects of the video game medium in favour of pure text (and very stylized facial expressions). I remember having a mini-argument with him at some symposium where we criticized his insistence on having many verbs by saying that we'd rather have many adjectives. He disapproved of our preference for poetry over prose.
(we made up afterwards Wink )

But he does feel like something of a Godfather to the Notgames initiative, indeed. I have never seen the Dragon Speech either -will do so now- but I have read his book "Chris Crawford on Interactive Storytelling". I wrote a little review of it at the time, in which I quote his wonderful, useful and inspiration yet simple definition of interactivity:

Quote from: Chris Crawford
[Interactivity is a] cyclic process between two or more active agents in which each agent alternately listen, thinks and speaks.

The importance of this definition for me is that it considers the game and the player equal participants in the process. This is very helpful as it helps us understand that most video games are barely interactive. That we need to put a lot more soul in our software before we can consider it interactive. Very inspiring stuff. Highly recommended!
« Last Edit: February 21, 2011, 08:13:31 PM by Michaël Samyn » Logged
Thomas

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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2011, 09:41:59 PM »

Very nice quote indeed!

His two latest books are on my list! Smiley Think I am gonna pick up the "game design" book as well while I am it.

The "many verbs" vs the "many adjectives" is very interesting. Reading the thread I linked to above and some other parts of the forum, he has really set up the task for him. In a way he is basically trying to do natural language interpretation (albeit with a simplified language). My thought is that even if he pulls this off perfectly (which I doubt) then there is the problem of making an interesting experience for the player in a world where the possibilities are endless. I am having enough trouble with simple physics! Smiley I am more towards a very limited sets of inputs and then making the player feel part of a world where only these inputs are needed. Which sounds like what you are saying too?

While I really like that he has put as much energy into this, I wonder if he would not have been better of just iterating what he had already done with game such as Trust and Betrayal. I have not played it, so it might be a dead end, but I still feel there are tons of interesting things about it and that with todays improved graphics and general cpu power, a lot could have been accomplished (or even with tech 10 years ago!).
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Thomas

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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2011, 10:18:48 PM »

Michael, came upon this post of yours and it just got to me how long you have been thinking of this stuff. That one was dated 2005 which feels like ages ago Smiley Yet it is no time at compared to Chris Crawford. This made me wonder a few things:

1) Are there any other notgamey people that are lost in history? I could imagine the IF community might have them, but while I play IF now and then and read some stuff I have never encountered it. Where there people before Chris? Or after him perhaps? I am wondering this partly out of pure curiosity and partly because it would be interested to see what kind of stuff was made with this in mind. (I know there where CD-rom artists in the past, but I am unsure if they truly fit as they did not really thread into game-territory, or am I wrong?)

2) Is this the time for notgames to really break through? Or will all of us just fade into the history? While we are quite more people now than ever (I guess), perhaps it is not critical mass yet and that our movement will slowly die out? What makes me optimistic is not that we are many people (well at least not alone) and that there is no need to convince anyone. With digital distribution the only problem is reaching out to the media, which also has turned out to not be that hard.

And oh found this quote from you michael:
Quote
Adding a story on top of the explicit display of characters, environments, motions and time would make the total far too saturated. In other words, it would leave no room for the imagination of the viewer. And it is precisely in this imagination that the power of art resides.
That sums up The Path very nicely I think! Did you ever speak about stuff like this to the media?
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Michaël Samyn

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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2011, 12:44:09 AM »

Michael, came upon this post of yours and it just got to me how long you have been thinking of this stuff.

And how pathetic that I never changed in all this time!
In fact, Tale of Tales was sort of founded on these ideas. They were still embryonic at the time, but there was a strong desire to make video games for people who don't play video games. Because we really believed in the potential of the medium while we also understood how conventional game design prevented this potential from being developed.

1) Are there any other notgamey people that are lost in history?
(...)
(I know there where CD-rom artists in the past, but I am unsure if they truly fit as they did not really thread into game-territory, or am I wrong?)

I would not discount CD-Roms. It's true that their authors didn't seem to be thinking much in game terms. But that just makes their ideas more pure, doesn't it?

Another group of people would be the demo scene, I guess. Though those projects often have a very technical bias.

2) Is this the time for notgames to really break through? Or will all of us just fade into the history?

Well, even if we fade, we will have tried, won't we?
And even if notgames break through, there's no guarantee that we will receive any of the credit.

I believe we are closer than ever, because the representational capacity of computer technology keeps improving, especially in the domain of realtime 3D. Every time I play one of these modern AAA games, I can't help but feel how close they are, how close they are to breaking through "the game barrier". The simulations become increasingly more interesting and elaborate while the gameplay becomes increasingly formulaic and dull (in an attempt to make their expensive productions accessible to a broad audience). At some point, somebody will realize that they might as well remove the dull gameplay and have people directly interact with the simulation instead.

I think this would have happened if it wasn't for lack of ideas on how to design interactivity that is not a game. And design it in such a way that it is equally stimulating and entertaining (even if, perhaps in part for a different group of people, though not necessarily a smaller one). That's where we come in, I guess: independent developers with a passion and a vision and a willingness to risk making complete fools of ourselves by attempting to do something that many people desire but that most of our colleagues claim is impossible.

With digital distribution the only problem is reaching out to the media, which also has turned out to not be that hard.

I think we have a good story that is fairly easy to explain to games press.
We'll probably need a few more (and more widely accessible) examples before we can be attractive to the larger entertainment press. Maybe we'll need to go through the art press first (but considering the hard time that new media arts are having in the fine art world, this may not be very useful; perhaps the film press or even the literature press might be more realistic).

And oh found this quote from you michael:
Quote
Adding a story on top of the explicit display of characters, environments, motions and time would make the total far too saturated. In other words, it would leave no room for the imagination of the viewer. And it is precisely in this imagination that the power of art resides.
That sums up The Path very nicely I think! Did you ever speak about stuff like this to the media?

I think we mention these things often in interviews. Perhaps not always equally eloquently.

Again, I think we'll need more examples to make these things clear. More and clearer examples. Amnesia is a great example for me. But I notice that a lot of people who are not looking for the same things that I'm looking for, get stuck in its game layer and can't see further. So I feel we may need to be a bit more radical than would ordinarily be necessary, in order to make a point.

I think we're all working on projects that fit this, though. You at Frictional are working on a new, more radical game. So is Jeroen. I'm really curious about the remake of Dan's Dear Esther and how it will be received. Krystian's Trauma is practically done. Have you seen Erik Loyer's Strange Rain? Quite interesting as well, especially since it's coming from a literature angle, not games. We're only a small group of people, but we're all very serious about our work and will continue to release games in this vein, one after the other. This is not a hobby for any of us. I don't see how we could fail now. We've already succeeded.

And must say, it's really great to feel us all being so supportive of each other. I had thought that I would have been jealous. But I'm not at all. I'm so happy every time I read an interview with one of you, see your games mentioned or hear how well Amnesia is selling. The time sure feels ripe!
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Jeroen D. Stout

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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2011, 10:22:20 AM »

Unless I am incapacitated or do a speech and depart (which is unlikely, I am not fully sure whereto, nothing is as interesting) I doubt I personally will disappear.

I must say, Michael, your post is heart-warming to read while waiting at my gate because of the context and prospects.

I am very happy to be part of this community and have a larger sense of solidity every day. The reactions I have gotten to Dinner Date and expect things like the sampler may get are the shape of things to come.

The new Dear Esther may make quite a splash - it has great visuals to draw everybody in and may bring this type of play to another community. I think essays and blogs that are related to this type of games are increasing in quality as well. We may indeed be at some tipping point and what we need is a few more games and to develop further our artistic and academic knowledge and language. And to find more ways of drawing people in - do the obvious artistic thing and get a city as a capital.

It is quite an exciting time, is it not?
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Thomas

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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2011, 03:02:31 PM »

Quote
Have you seen Erik Loyer's Strange Rain?
Have not, and now I am intrigued! Smiley
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Måns

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« Reply #8 on: April 17, 2011, 03:43:46 PM »

First of all, what a fantastic lecture. The energy and the commitment really got me. Good thing I finally took the time to watch it.
I very much enjoy how several of the things Chris is talking about not only has to do with art and games but also such things as teaching practise. The part when he is comparing the lecture with the interactive discussion, i.e. talking, is something I find quite interesting. I do believe that this idea should be much more discussed when it comes to school systems.

I'm also happy to see that my current university (game design at BTH in Sweden) is utilizing the discussion more that the lecture.

I believe we are closer than ever, because the representational capacity of computer technology keeps improving, especially in the domain of realtime 3D. Every time I play one of these modern AAA games, I can't help but feel how close they are, how close they are to breaking through "the game barrier". The simulations become increasingly more interesting and elaborate while the gameplay becomes increasingly formulaic and dull (in an attempt to make their expensive productions accessible to a broad audience). At some point, somebody will realize that they might as well remove the dull gameplay and have people directly interact with the simulation instead.

I completely agree with you. Whenever I play a new AAA game I can't stop thinking about what fantastic experiences these games could be, would they only remove the formulaic gameplay and use their technology and knowledge to build worlds with emotions and "real content".
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Oh, jewels and binoculars hang from the head of the mule.
But these visions of Johanna, they make it all seem so cruel.
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