Fiction is a Three-Edged Sword

Fiction, interactive fiction and narrative


Choices in the context of context

I’ve written a few times already about my new, novelette-length choice-based story built in Undum. The project began life as technical experiment – a quick attempt (a bit like this one) to “do” a text-game as a multiple choice adventure. The concept was simple: the game would have locations, and objects, but streamline the usual breadth of Interactive Fiction’s parser down to just the choices that mattered for the story.

It didn’t work and I had to change the design. But I learnt a lot in the process.

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LA Noire: Just One Doubt

I’m in the early stages of playing LA Noire, the new Rockstar game that takes their open-world approach and balances on top of it a tight, linear story-game about finding evidence and questioning suspects. It has the highest high-tech facial animation ever seen in real-time and makes this into a core mechanic: watching the character talking, the player is asked are they telling the truth or are they lying?

It’s a great idea for a game; the animation technology is actually up to the job; and the writing, art-direction, music all support the world to make the various suspect believable. So what a shame that the game design itself then comes and stomps on it all to turn a great game into an okay one.

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