[MUD-Dev] Geometric content generation

Lee Sheldon linearno at gte.net
Mon Sep 24 01:38:05 New Zealand Standard Time 2001


-----Original Message-----
From: Paul Schwanz

> In thinking about the tension between wanting to allow players to
> generate content while still maintaining a semblance of control, I
> was suddenly reminded of Chris Crawford's "Process Intensive
> Designer."  I read an essay of his a number of years ago which
> addressed a different tension, but one that I think has much in
> common.  I'll post the entire essay here, because I think it is
> such an interesting piece.  It seems to me that if process
> intensive designers are able to tell interactive stories, they
> might also be able to ensure some level of quality in
> player-generated (interactive?) content.

<SNIPPED MOST OF THE ESSAY>

One of Chris' more lucid and comprehensible essays, and I'm going to
quote from it in my GDC tutorial next year.  Thanks for bringing it
to my attention!

Chris' last line:

>> Now, if some schmuck of an amateur storytelling Grandpa can pull
>> that off, why can't we bigshot professionals do the same?

The storytelling example Chris gives or similar ones have been
stated by a number of people over the years.  Being the Hollywood
type that I am, I quote from "The Wind and the Lion" scene where
Sean Connery attempts to tell Candace Bergen the story of his
confinement in prison and his men keep interrupting him.  He goes
with the flow dictated by the audience, and the tale is more
involving as a result.

The fact is that story and interactivity/game play have co-existed
in the same experience quite happily for centuries.  Yet now people
have decided there must be some new magical paradigm.  It's a new
medium.  All the rules have changed.  No.  Sorry.  The rules haven't
changed any more than economics changed the moment dot.coms hit the
stock market.  The rules are reinterpreted through the new medium,
but if you think they're outdated, or you never bothered to learn
them, no wonder they are so readily swept under the rug.  It reminds
me of my days at the California Institute of the Arts where some of
the more misguided painters decided that you could tackle
abstraction or surrealism without first learning to paint a pear
that looks like a pear.  No.  Picasso could tell you that is wrong.
Salvador Dali would sadly pluck at his moustaches.  But the question
remains: if we don't realize we've missed something along the way,
how can we question our conclusions?  And if we don't question our
conclusions... well we'll never pull it off, Chris, sorry.

T.S. Eliot is approriate here: "We must never cease from
exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive
where we began and to know the place for the first time."

Lee

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