Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Poetry Challenge

March the third!

Okay, one-and-a-half days remaining 'til we submit for vigorous and rigorous testing.
I'm just about on top of it all now.

You can imagine the workflow: everyone sits staring at me, waiting for sketches and designs and lines of dialogue and puzzles to manifest at my fingertips; then environment concepts go over to Ben and puzzle designs go over to 3D Raul; then illustrations radiate to Reb whilst Mr Chant uses placeholder graphics to build the puzzle code and Biggsy wrestles to make music based on my impossible descriptions - make it sad but happy and airy, like wind, but more pathos and mossy, make it mossy and old like Tomb Raider, with a bit of weirdness, but not such that it suffocates the pathos, and echoes like in an endless cavern, if endless caverns have echoes, if not then like a wooden space vessel whooshing through a bit of space that facilities whooshing.
And when everyone's busy, the headphones go on and I settle into bits and pieces of dialogue and misc stuff. (I'm currently listening to Seetyca's Nekton Falls!)

Here's a good 'un for you:
One challenge I set myself was to write a poem.
First, it had to be very short, as there is little tolerance for lengthy dialogue. I figured thirty words or less.
Second, it needed to include the words soul, heart, rain, shadow, and fire. These words are necessary for the dream cards puzzle.
The poem would have been composed by a lonely blacksmith, lamenting the loss of his wife, destined to live for hundreds of years all alone. So it needed to be soused in longing and sadness.
If you're so inclined, give it a shot.
If not, consider the nature of self-imposed frameworks, and consider the person who claims that writing is easy and recognise that it probably is in their undisciplined and sprawling vision. :o)
I'll stick my solution at the bottom.

I love Reb's pic (at top of post)!
She's really captured something special!
For me, puzzles and mini games are as much opportunities for subliminal impressioning as they are means of generating 'fun'. (There's a good few blog posts in that single word; know that I'm using shorthand here :o) After all, we're considering the player's experience as a whole!
When adding extra material, my first question is Where?
(Imagine that you need to slot a specific scene into your ms. It's the same thing: its positioning is crucial not just to its impact, but also to any damage it might do to the established narrative.)
For our extra Hidden Object Scene, I chose to develop (and, by proxy, postpone) the meeting with the lonely blacksmith, Oban.
Next, I needed to find a Where?
We had suggested a wooded area, and it was easy to open the trees a little and create a clearing with a shrine. Super! Hidden Object Scene in shrine!
And central in that HO, I wanted a photo of Oban's family, surrounded by candles and pebbles and other shrine-y things, all of which lend themselves characteristically to the HO mechanic.
HO's are wonderful places to hold a player - ours usually play out for between three and five minutes, but often substantially longer. There aren't many other places in the game where it's possible to root the player for such a measure of time. So player searches for hidden objects, all the while absorbing Oban's sadness, spending time in the company of his lost family, feeling his heartache. So by the time she actually meets the chap, there's already a preconditioned response.

Better crack on. Need to finish the dialogue for voice-overs, amend hints and strategy guide, and keep an eye on the clock!

Grant me peace
In the shadow of death
Where our hearts beat like rain.
Grant me sleep
And the fire of your breath
'Pon my soul once again.


esruel said...

winter's shadow drifts
like snow upon my dreams,
haunting the chasm that is now my soul,
so dims the fire within my heart,
flickering in the frost of mourning rain

solv said...

I am genuinely impressed!
Some great verbs in there!