Archive for the ‘dramagames’ Category

Graphic Novels
June 4, 2007

My brother Richard (a.k.a. Liniers) is a very succesful cartoonist. His particular sense of humor and sensibility are expressed in a daily comic strip named Macanudo. Maybe because he’s 10 years older than me, he was more prone to draw with pencils than with computers. And for me, as the son of a digital era, coding games felt better.

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But his influence as an older brother, you might guess, was quite big. From him I learned a lot about the history of Comics: A modern art form that became widely popular in the last century thanks to newspapers and mass media. And if there is a thing nerds have in common is comics and videogames. (fact: both of us use black-framed glasses, what a cliché…)

During the last years, the latest trend in the publishing industry is Graphic Novels. Unlike the traditional notion about comics (quite similar to the mainstream notion of games), these stories portray more literary experiences for readers avid of art and good stories. Maus by Art Spiegelman, Blankets by Craig Thompson, Persépolis by Marjane Satrapi and Buddha by the great Osamu Tezuka are some of the recommendations of this genre I can make.

The term Graphics Novels feels as nice as Drama Games to me. I would love to see more approaches on this direction in our industry…

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Drama AI
May 17, 2007

robot chat

A brief intro first: Chatbots are software programs capable of chatting with a human being and make some sense in the answers, questions and comments they do to people. They use simple techniques such as recollecting all the provided information they had on their previous chatting experiences and hence improving its intelligence. One of their purposes is to overcome AI obstacles and obtain a good result in Turing’s test.

In an issue about the brain from Discover magazine, the two most famous chatbot technologies, ALICE and Jabberwacky, had a conversation. The outcome is quite impressive. Words speak by themselves:

Jabberwacky: How do you define life?

Alice: Life is the opposite of death.

J: So death is the absence of life?

A: Take it easy. I try not to think about such things.

J: Why not?

A: Ambiguous.

J: Yes!

Thanks Leo for the very interesting link about this.

Probably, when we speak about Drama Games, it will not only matter what the player character speaks with the digital characters, but also what kind of conversations the digital characters have between them and how can that affect the outcome of a story…

Story + Game… + Music
May 3, 2007

Exceptional filmmakers of this era such as Wes Anderson, Sophia Coppola or Spike Jonze -just to name a few- have a very interesting thing in common: They use extraordinary musical scores in their films to spice up their stories. The ambientation and personality of their works owes significant credit to the list of songs they end up arranging in their original soundtracks.

And thinking about Drama Games, I’ve been wondering how music could be incorporated to the core of story playing.

 

Essentially, stories are about people. And when you play a role, when you act as someone else, you might want to have a deep understanding about how that character feels. A couple of years ago, I had an innocent approach to this issue: What if you could hear the thoughts of the character? Just like James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses, where through its narrative style it expresses a stream-of-consciousness from its main character.

Of course, constantly hearing voices as you play could be disturbing for the player after a while. Not to mention the design limitations of using large amounts of recorded voices or the technical imperfections of using voice synthesis. The solution, as you might have guessed, its simple and elegant: Music!

Music is not only capable of giving an atmosphere to a particular scene, but it can express precise feelings and moods. Electronic music in particular has a very interesting format for it to be applied to games: unlike traditional songs, its recordings are usually 1 hour sets that take the listener to a particular mindset. And of course, the digital nature also makes this kind of music very permeable to be remixed and modified in real time.

I wonder what kind of Drama Game is Sebastien Tellier inspiring me right now…