Disseminating the Fantastic

Like with my posts on the uncanny and the abject, I am here providing the raw text of my description of the fantastic, a literary genre described by Tzvetan Todorov in The Fantastic: A Structural Approach to a Literary Genre. The fantastic (and Todorov) is extremely straightforward, but this particular theory is actually key to the work that I’ve been doing. As such, I may have spent a bit more time describing it than needs be, but I want to make sure everything is clear (something you can help me with). In any event, here is the text of the final theory being described by my thesis.

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Disseminating Abjection

As in my last post, I am trying to make sure that my thesis writing is accessible to a wider audience. Since psychoanalytic theories are difficult to grasp without a psychoanalytic background, I am doing my best to distill texts down to meaning. This time, it is for Julia Kristeva’s concept of the abject, as described inĀ Powers of Horror. Kristeva can be more difficult to understand than Freud, so I have tried to be redundant in my description of the abject. Although it is not required, the following text will have expected you to have read the previous passage on the uncanny.

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Trash: A Story of Uncertainty – Postmortem

Last week, I participated in Mini Ludume Dare 53. A mini Ludum Dare is a much more relaxed version of the full version, and it usually has some specialized rules. The number of entrants are usually much reduced (this one spawned 63 entries). In the case of Mini Ludum Dare 53, the rules were quite the same as a regular Ludum Dare (make a game in 48 hours with readily available tools). I chose to participate in the mini LD mostly because I’m moving next month right after the full Ludum Dare event, and I wouldn’t have the time to participate then.

For this mini LD, I made a game called Trash: A Story of Uncertainty [download link]. What follows is my postmortem, a look at how I made the game and what I was trying to portray with the game. As with all of my postmortems, if you haven’t played the game, then reading further will completely spoil everything that the game offers, so if you haven’t played the game, read on at your own risk.

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Coversations With Game: Abdication of Design

The following is a conversation that I witnessed happening on Twitter and I thought that it would be a shame to have it lost to the fleetingness of the way Twitter works. These kinds of conversations go on all the time, but usually they disappear after a few hours and aren’t able to be located again. So I checked with everyone to see if they would be alright with me putting it together into a readable form, and then throwing it up on my blog. I received no objections.

The conversation started when Naomi Clark (@metasynthie) asked the question “Is the “abdication of design” phenomenon really a problem, or just a series of missed expectations sprouting from design idealism?” and many people joined in to help tackle the question. The participants included: Naomi Clark, Mattie Brice, Raph Koster, Harvey Smith, Liz Ryerson, Ben Johnson, Lex Johnson, Brendan Vance, Todd Harper, and Stephen Winson.

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Follow the Sun – Competition Version Postmortem

Over the past weekend I made a little game called Follow the Sun, for Ludum Dare 28. I want to take some time to go through the process of making the game, talking about what I learned and how I approached making a game in 48 hours.

For those of you who do not know what Ludum Dare is, it is a “competition” where you make a game from scratch in 48 hours, based on a theme that is determined by voting (the theme is released when the competition starts). This also means that you have to make all the assets yourself in that time frame, and code it from the ground up. I say “competition” because it’s more about actually making the game, than it is about winning. It’s a difficult thing to make a complete game in 48 hours!

In this postmortem, there are a bunch of things that I want to hit upon. First I’ll give a description of the game. Then I’m going to talk about the theme of the game vs. the theme of the competition. Then I’m going to go into what I couldn’t do due to time running out, and what I couldn’t do due to lack of skill. Finally, I’ll talk about my general experience making Follow the Sun. Suffice it to say this postmortem will ruin part of the game for you if you haven’t played it. If you don’t want to get story-spoiled, play it first before reading on!

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Making the Epic of Sadko: Skills (Part 1)

Hello all. This post I’m going to discuss skills in The Epic of Sadko, which I said I would in the last post. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about skills for this game, and I’m still not done thinking about it yet. It is for this reason that this is Skills (Part 1), as I will need to update this later. Additionally, the skills for the game are one of the largest parts of the game, so there will be many updates down the road as skills become implemented. Before I get right into the skills, though, I’m going to give a brief update on the status of the game overall.

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Making the Epic of Sadko: Using Mindmaps and Making Changes

This is an overall update on the work I’ve done for the Epic of Sadko over the last week. This one will be a bit less technical than usual, as I’m still mostly in the planning phase and haven’t started really writing any code specifically for the game. Instead, I’ve been spending a lot of time getting all the details worked out, and changing some things that weren’t quite working when I was designing the game the last time. I’ll detail all of those changes here today, and explain my overall planning process. I’m going to start with the process first, and then go onto the more specifics. Future posts might focus on one of the topics discussed below.

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