Re: [-empyre-] Tangled threads

Just a few tangled comments

1) The openning chapter in Bordwell & Co's tome:
Classical Hollywood Cinema is titled "Torwards an
Excessively Obvious Cinema" Immediately the connection
with the current development of the video game medium
became clear to me and through-out the book wherever I
saw the words "cinema" or "film" I did a double-take
as the word "video game" equally seemed to fit. If you
are interested in technology, means of production,
politics, economics and how they impact the kinds of
entertainment media that gets commercially produced
this is a good starting point.

2) Gameplay vs artistry... Years ago I did a little
something on Kosovo. It couldn't really be called a
game. It was a web3D gallery site with a central
interactive installation that attacked the
visitor/player? (Flying Nato emblems & roving a
Serbian flag shot lasers) 

You could shoot back but what you hit was often
collateral damage. In the upper level gallery a ring
of bloody images was shown. In the middle of this 3d
video game looking space was a spinning bit of text.
"...not a game." The real question posed was not of
gameplay - but asking whether virtual space is merely
a fantasy escape from reality or could it possible be
used to remind of the issues in this world, to in
fact, make reality more real. 

It wasn't fun to play - but as art installation, I
feel it was very successful.

3) Shooter games do tend to follow the "Excessively
Obvious" path of male machismo, but the underlying
ludology, seperate from the violent visual & written
narrative is surprisingly open and small games. As
Iraq war protest piece - I(in a weekend built) Code
Blue. You shoot the word "Love" at Blue Meanies who
after being hit turn into flowers. In the end the
battlefield becomes a garden. Having borrowed audio
and a video clip from the movie "Yellow Submarine"
(the Love, Love, Love, sequence) It won't be accepted
to any conferences...(still, its online at my site  also it's not really Mac
compatible (no text or audio))

Currently I'm doing a shooter as an educational game.
A player roams a virtual reef shooting question marks
at fish/etc. A fun, surprisingly non-violent learning
activity seems to be shaping up...

4) Jeff Sonstein's mention of that Society and
Literature Conference brought back memories. Jeff I've
changed my position, now it's: Web3D is exposed to the
problem of multiform narrative. That's to say that the
core problem in creating successful multiform
narratives isn't a three dimensional one. Creating
freeform dramatic action requires intelligent agents.
Michael Mateas, (Dr. Murray's new GameLab Director ay
Georgia Tech) is working on a 3D version of Facade,
the underlying narrative is produced via Mateas's
Drama Engine. (Hope he has better luck than others
have had)

As for a shortcut to dramatic action I've been
wondering about the tricks improv comics use. Value
can be generated via repetition, key words(golden,
magical etc), scale etc. Drama occurs with loss /
return of value... 

apologies for the tangle of commentary, I don't get to
check my email often.

Steve G


    The reality of the building does not 
    consist in the four walls and roof but
    in the space within to be lived.

    - Laotzu

      well, Laotzu said it but I did it.

    - Frank Lloyd Wright, after learning
      his philosophy behind the Unity Temple
      had been expressed 5,000 years earlier.

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