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January 2015

Narrative Gameplay: Why everyone is wrong (except you?)

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Submitted by AHasvers on Sat, 01/31/2015 - 02:16

The pitch: In my humble* opinion, almost everything you have ever read about how to do narrative in games is either far too optimistic about emergence, or far too pessimistic/conservative about what games can be. Narrative gameplay - playing with the story, altering it beyond scripted choices - is a very real possibility, but I'm quite sure it will spawn neither from the sandboxes, nor from the cinematic storytellers. In this post you will find, if not the solution, at least a strong conjecture on where to look for it.

* Citation needed.

[Gameplay concept] Pathos

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Submitted by AHasvers on Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:22

Pathos is the use of affect to persuade your audience to take a certain stance. It can work by appealing

  • to emotion ("Think of the children!")
  • to ego ("Any intelligent person knows that the result in 47." or in implication "Obviously, the result is 47. ")

As such, it may seem antithetical to Logos - it seems to be there to override reason and create arbitrary biases in people (even if you deem like me, perhaps after reading the previous posts, that logic is not a God-given web of intrinsically true relationships).

[Gameplay concept] Ethos

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Submitted by AHasvers on Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:21

Ethos is originally meant to represent the trustworthiness of the orator - how willing the audience is to believe them on principle. It is the core of arguments from authority - which are considered a fallacy by modern cognitive psychology, but are an absolute necessity in real life: you cannot go on checking every single fact by yourself before accepting what someone else says. You will generally trust that this quantum chemist has an informed opinion on atomic orbitals. The fallacy is placing argument by authority above experience...

[Gameplay concept] Logos

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Submitted by AHasvers on Wed, 01/28/2015 - 15:21

Logos is the core of the gameplay: it is the web of topics and arguments on which the conversation is played.

Topics are nodes, connected by links called Arguments. Here, characters in the game differ primarily by: which topics and arguments they know at the start of the conversation, and what are their opinions on various topics.

[Gameplay concept] Where to look for a solution

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Submitted by AHasvers on Tue, 01/06/2015 - 03:51

Where to look for a solution

The first problem is simply one of building a system rather than designing a series of puzzles and clues. The second is a problem of gameplay-narrative divide. We want there to be an actual content to the conversation, and that requires it to be written down in advance, because AI just isn't good enough. The trick is to find rules that fit the content.

[Gameplay concept] First Problem

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Submitted by AHasvers on Tue, 01/06/2015 - 03:49

First problem: the guessing game

In some cases, dialogue trees can be really complex (indeed, more conditional graphs than trees) and exploring them becomes a real puzzle, see e.g. Galatea by Emily Short.

In other cases, as in Deus Ex: Human Revolution, you can see some trappings of a dialog-specific gameplay. But it is still largely a mix of skill checks and guess-the-right-answer with a magnificent paint job.

[Gameplay concept] Introduction

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Submitted by AHasvers on Sun, 01/04/2015 - 23:48

The topic of this series of devlogs is the very reason for Lilavati's existence: an idea for dialogue as the main course of our gameplay, rather than a mere digestive (or, at best, a delicious entremet). The basic concept - showing the dialogue tree instead of hiding it, and turning it into an actual strategy game - is simple enough and has been approached from various directions by various other games, yet none seem to have gone all the way. But hey, that means we have a niche, which we are glad to share if you feel inspired.

Origins and Influences

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Submitted by AHasvers on Sat, 01/03/2015 - 07:13
As a first non-trivial devlog, it feels appropriate to share some thoughts on the main influences behind this site and our projects.

What's in a Rose

Līlāvatī means the Playful One.

As Wikipedia would tell you, it is the name of a mathematical treatise written nine centuries ago in Karnataka. It was authored by a certain Prof. Bhāskara, ostensibly for the benefit of his daughter Līlāvatī, who was adequately named, and seemed to enjoy arithmetic and geometric games (as long as they were framed as stories about monkeys).

Metascholarship Reviews vol. 3 pp 212-215

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Submitted by AHasvers on Fri, 01/02/2015 - 18:39

On the hunt and trade of wild Truth in cryptoacademia

Authors: Sand, A. et al. (1973)




Few accounts remain of scholarly behaviour and interactions in their ancestral environment. A sharp decrease in the availability of niche nootopes in modern society has proved efficient in containing, then exhausting the original population, thanks to the ongoing effort of public health authorities [1,2].