Next week I’m defending my applied project for my MA in English. It’s a really casual applied project, talking about how I made my masters education work for me, and how I conducted a large research project over the course of my five graduate semesters at ASU. Basically, my applied project is just about how I, as a masters student, developed PGDI through redesigning my classes to fit the project’s needs. I’ll put up my slides once I’m finished with it. If you aren’t sure what PGDI is, it’s a method of describing games and their players that attempts to do a better job than genre does in this respect. You can find out more here.
It’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I have been busy with a lot of things, such as graduating, writing papers, gathering data, writing chapters, freaking out, etc. But in the interim, somehow I found time to make a game. The game is called The House at the End of Rosewood Street, and I’m finally able to talk about it publicly. I actually finished the first version of the game in May, and finished the first release of the game in September, but I was unable to talk about it due to the fact that I had wanted to submit the game to the 19th Annual Interactive Fiction Competition. Today, the voting is over (I placed 16th out of 35), so I can finally talk about the game without any worry of violating any of the competition rules about releasing the game publicly beforehand or pandering for votes.
Rosewood is an interactive fiction game that puts you through a week in the life of a handyperson for a quirky street where a mysterious figure has just moved in at the old, abandoned manor house for which the street is named. The game was an experiment in exploring the dense notions of the uncanny, the fantastic, and the abject, which are used to evoke horror to great effect in the cinema of the Weimar period of Germany. I’m not going to say too much about the game here, as I’ve given it its own page where you can also play the game.
The game was written in Inform 7, a natural programming language for text-based games. A long time ago, I mentioned using Inform 7 for experimenting with design, and this was the first game I completed using it. I rather like my experience with Inform 7, and I’m already planning out my next game with it. It’s really easy to make something substantial in the system. It’s also good for making random text-generators to run on my phone (I made a random tabletop adventure generator in about three hours the other day). I recommend trying it out, though people who are used to programming in a symbolic language (like C++) might have a hard time adjusting to Inform 7′s natural language style.
Two weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about describing the mechanics of Catherine based on the descriptions of the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). I had decided to split it up into two parts, the first post looking at the Customization, Progression, and Social categories. There was supposed to be a follow-up post last week that described Catherine via the Immersion, Mastery and Participation categories, but as you may or may not have noticed, that did not happen. Without going into too many details, I decided that I had written enough for the first month of the semester and met with some professors to greatly adjust what I am doing this semester for their class. Basically, the goals for what I was going to do this semester were inadvertently already met within the first month, and we decided that the rest of my work was unnecessary. So I proposed a new semester’s work and now I will be aiming towards something I wasn’t going to touch this early. There will be more details about that in a separate post. For now, let’s just get down to describing the Immersion, Mastery, and Participation categories of Catherine.
In today’s post I will be describing the game Catherine through the framework of my model, the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). Earlier this month, I described the mechanics present in Catherine, based upon a playthrough I completed. To describe the game, I will be using the descriptions provided by my recent posts on PGDI. This will be the first of two parts, and it will be focused on describing the Social, Customization, and Progression components of Catherine. I will do so based upon my field notes and recorded gameplay. The scale I will be using for components is: none < weak < fair < medium < strong <total. A score of none means that the game does not exhibit the component in any way, while a score of total means that every aspect of the game exhibits the component. Few components will be none or total.
In a previous post, I described the general categories of the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). In this post, I will be explaining the components in the immersion category: Embodiment, Emotion, Excitement, Instinct.
The immersion category houses components that deal with making the player feel or experience something in tandem with the game. It is this situation of shared experience, of transferred affect.
In a previous post, I described the general categories of the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). In this post, I will be explaining the components in the customization category: Building, Experimentation, Replay, Uniqueness, Variety.
The components in the orange customization category deal largely with a player’s effect on their play experience. These components examine the player’s ability to tailor their gaming experience to what they want by offering pieces of the game that can be customized or reconfigured. This can happen on both an aesthetic and a cerebral level. Continue reading
In a previous post, I described the general categories of the Player-Game Descriptive Index (PGDI). In this post, I will be explaining the components in the mastery category: Achievement, Collecting, Discovery, Process, Skill.
These components each have to do with some sort of control or knowledge of something in a game. They are tied to the ideas of completion, beating the game, and being the best at something. Continue reading