Game Writing Game
Work continues on Kicker. I continue to do battle with Inform 7, chiefly because I continue to treat it like a “normal” programming language. But one thing I do not continue to do is tweak and work on the football simulation. Because that bit is finally actually done. About a week and a half later than I’d thought it would be, but done. Well, there are a few bit to change in terms of the writing style itself, but basically that’s that. Which leaves the weird possibility of actually starting work on the game’s fiction itself.
Which means actually writing some fiction at some point. Before which I kind of need to work out how the fiction part of the game should actually work. I don’t want it to be like the terrible vision of IF as a kind of “hunt for the command” affair, so it’s important to defend against that. I also don’t much want it to be just a hypertext or a choose your own adventure, with links you click or don’t click. So I need some middle ground, and I should probably play a bunch of other IF to see if there are any good examples of what to do. Chances are high that I will actually just think about it for a while and then come up with a flawed idea and then struggle to implement it in writing, instead.
And as to the writing, well I haven’t written any fiction for a really long time. Not for at least two years, say. Not since I had the very last of my existential despairs about “being a writer” and decided, at last, that I wasn’t one. Now that’s a decision that has really paid off and freed me up to do all kinds of other things, such as focusing on comics for a while, and then finding my way to making games. And making games does seem, existentially speaking, like what I “should be doing”. Still, for now I need to be a writer again for a while.
I have written exactly one interactive fiction kind of thing in my life, a horror story set in Amsterdam for a locative media system. It was okay and relied pretty heavily on a bunch of formal rules I set up with a friend. I’m not sure I want to go the formal method with Kicker though, as the mood needs to be a bit more contemplative and easy-going. That said, formal approaches can be quite good in this sort of situation of writing distinct blocks of text that may appear in different orders, so it’s hard to say.
The question of whether any of this will actually be good is entirely open. It’s an experiment. The fundamental idea, of a game in which you’re playing a game, but in which you aren’t the central figure (except sometimes), is one that’s always appealed. For a long time I wanted to make a more “standard” game with physics and guns and all that to perform a similar experiment, but I think that IF is both a lot easier (not so much AI needed) and perhaps a more accepting medium to try this sort of thing.
So anyway, I’ll put my writer “hat” on.
Then take it off and burn it. Because I’m just not into that “hat” business.