not a beautiful or unique snowflake (nothings) wrote,
not a beautiful or unique snowflake
nothings

interview meme

from pbmath:

  1. how likely do you think it is that text IF, and/or graphical games with a text-IFfy interface, might become commercially viable someday?
  2. regardless of your answer to #1: describe some features of a game
    having a text-IFfy interface that would tend to make it more likely to succeed commercially.
  3. i have no lisa germano cd's. which one should i start with?
  4. what exactly is "gamer's angst"?
  5. my Question #5 for everyone -- answer there, here, wherever

1. how likely do you think it is that text IF, and/or graphical games with a text-IFfy interface, might become commercially viable someday?

Well, someday is a long way out. But barring that, no, a zero-percent chance. When we've solved hard AI, we have high quality voice recognition so people don't have to type? I can picture something. Look at Facade for something vaguely IF-fy that could show one direction things could go in the future.

2. regardless of your answer to #1: describe some features of a game having a text-IFfy interface that would tend to make it more likely to succeed commercially.

Well, this perhaps makes things un-IFfy, but I think the parser is a huge barrier to entry. You need a way to allow people to express things without getting stuck; ideally, without the parser saying "no" or "you can't do that". This is an idea that I first learned from the development bible Chris Crawford co-wrote for the Atari 8-bit, observing that the joystick UI was far more effective than a keyboard UI, because the joystick UI had no "failure" inputs; you move the stick left, the character moves left; you move the stick right, the character moves right. Sure, the character may run into a wall and stop moving left, but it's all very immediate and obvious. (Facade tries to do it, but it's clumsy, and it involves that classic problem, "the parser doesn't understand you but pretends it does".) Making it so you simply can't express the things you can't do seems to me fairly important to opening up the audience.

And I think to reach a broader audience you also need to do away with the puzzleyness. Yes, there's a market for crossword puzzles (or Chromatron), but it's not a big one. You need people to be able to keep moving forward, to always make progress. (This is typical of mass-market successful games like Tetris and Bejeweled--the game may run out, but up 'til then, you're always adding pieces/match pieces "successfully".) As long as there's a narrative involved, people don't really like restarting and going through the narrative again, so I don't think you can do Bejeweled-esque puzzly behavior (you can always make progress but eventually fail), so I think you have to largely scrap the puzzles, or make them really simple. I just don't think there are many people who want that experience of going through a narrative and getting periodically stuck until they solve the challenge. Branching, or rather, experiencing-different-stories-depending-upon-interaction, is probably the way to go. (Which is also characteristic of Facade, but don't get me wrong, I don't actually have high hopes for Facade. I think Facade is a good tiny step in a new direction worth exploring.)

3. i have no lisa germano cd's. which one should i start with?

I have gotten many people to listen to Happiness, and they never get it. I don't know if you just have to be the right person, or you just have to hear it in the right place at the right time. So, yeah, I recommend Happiness (4AD, not the obscure Capitol version). I started with Geek the Girl, which took me a long time to get into, but once I did I was sunk.

She didn't become my favorite artist for another three or four years, though. It wasn't her newer albums that won me over--I like them all less--it just was a matter of time.

Hmm, looking over your mudmix to try to possibly tailor the suggestion to you, I mostly don't know the bands, don't know the specific songs on the rest, leaving me only one familiar track... so I'll leave it at that.

4. what exactly is "gamer's angst"?

(Aside to the reader: this is something I have listed as an interest.)

I got in on Old Man Murray, the wacky cruel-videogame-review site, very early. Then they started up forums, which I didn't participate in. The forum "regulars" became the forum oldbies ("old guard")--in an application of Sjoberg's Law of Public Cliquishness--and then they eventually moved off the forums to their own site--which hosted a bunch of moderately funny content but has never been fixed since it went down--and which also has an IRC forum I used to hang out on. I've also gone to two gatherings of those people, but these days I'm pretty disconnected from them.

5. my Question #5 for everyone -- answer there, here, wherever

Do I think about global catastrophes? Not really of the sort you talk about. I worry about nuclear armaggedon a little, and I do think about us burning out of fossil fuels, but I'm not sure the latter would be a catastrophe; regardless, I largely feel like this is so out of my control it's not really worth investing mental energy in, any more than the starving children in Africa my parents wouldn't send my dinner leftovers to.

(P.S. post a comment requesting interview questions--but warning, I may favor selfish-interest questions rather than questions of general interest.)

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