Saturday, June 25, 2016

New Project: Gameplay

What I have planned may not be as thrilling, but it is more educational... so, yeah.

Part of the difficulty in developing an adventure game when you yourself is not a developer, is how to make the game feel believable.

Previously, I remarked how part of the manner in which I would resolve this dilemma of mine is to rework a blog format into a pseudo-interactive design (part of this entailed removing most of the blog's signs which denoted a blog and to minimize my own inclusion as an author). But, reworking a pre-designed format into something of your choosing is one thing, it is another thing entirely to make the experience enjoyable and something more than a mere linear adventure; I am trying to give the illusion of interaction, not mere [click-click-the end]. So, obviously, I needed to figure out a way to make this work, that would keep people entertained and coming back for more, even probe the depths of my creation for the hidden content you know I intend on inserting.

So I brainstormed different game-play modes.I figured that even if, at the end of the day, the only thing the player was doing was reading, making decisions, and clicking, I could at least determine why and how they click.

So as of right now, I have envisioned several modes of game-play which will alter how the player clicks.The first is Adventure Mode; the second is Combat Mode; while the Third is Mystery Mode.

To offer some preliminary thoughts on each mode...

Adventure Mode: Obviously the largest part of the game, as would be any Arthurian adaptation, adventuring as I am seeing it, will take place around the traversal of an environment. The objective will be to successfully navigate a dangerous environs without succumbing to death (which, in this game, I am hoping to connect, in some manner, to literary theory by encouraging an anti-literal readings). This mode will allow the player to pay close attention to signs-- hints and clues-- which will help them surmount the dangers; sometimes the player will need to locate a protected item, other times they may need to simply overcome a 'test,' a series of challenges beaten by close readings as well as the occasional combat encounter. So, although there is overlap with combat and mystery in adventure mode, it is meant more of a stand-alone experience in the sense that the environments presented to the player are stage-pieces with great intrinsic worth to the narrative and provide a great deal of educational benefit when successfully overcome; navigating set-pieces, therefore, is not the same as wandering around a village or castle, talking with the non-playable characters.

Combat Mode: part of any game, obviously, is combat. Provided, the difficulty here is finding a way to include violence without it becoming overbearing. My focus here is not to make a M-rated video game knock-off, but something that could, reasonably, be used as a companion in schools. Since I have slatted this adaption project to be a Sci-Fi endeavor, this will be especially hard due to the relative intensity of gun violence. In order for this aspect to function smoothly, I will need to figure out a simple, yet deep, combat system which does not overemphasize the bloody while still giving the player strategic satisfaction. As of now, I am think of a rock-paper-scissors routine, but altered in some manner. Before I go more in-depth here, however, I will need to get deeper into the narrative of the adaptation and figure out how preeminent armed encounters are going to be in the game. At this point, however, I can already confirm that I want 'boss encounters' as a feature of the game; not only to lure in a more youthful audience, since they will be expecting epic encounters, but also to add additional narratological weight to certain encounters within the plot, and to add a new dimension to how a narrative is told.

Mystery Mode: this is a mode I have been toying with and as such, do not have a whole lot to remark upon, only that, I feel it is something to pontificate more upon since it would offer the player a more intimate connection to the game's characters. Mystery here means not only locating fabled items or solving riddles, but also experiencing the existential drama of uncovering motivations and inspirations for why certain characters and events have unfolded as they have. Since the text I am adapting is a medieval Arthurian narrative, mystery mode could be the equivalent of a sort of divine revelation upon completion, a sort of godly quest into the interior minds of the heathen or non-knightly (this would at least be the narrative rationale, anyways). As a gameplay mode which stands-in as a form of reading (which specifically, however, I have not yet decided upon but would likely be Reader-Response Criticism), I think it would be worthy to include since it has potential.

The basic idea behind each is that the player will be forced to critically think, to critically shift their gears. With each game play mode emphasizing a different style, and by extension a different manner of textual engagement and reading, one which, I am thinking, I will try and connect to literary theory in some educational fashion, the shifting of modes should help orient players and keep them interested.

Is there more? Of course! This is going to be an in-depth engagement, so there will, of course, be secret locations and quests and even bosses, but more on those later, as I better delineate what and what function those ideas would serve.