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Ryan Wiancko at IndustryBroadcast has started putting up some of my posts here in audio form. Check it out, he’s got a bunch of collected wisdom from various industry contributors, via podcast, for those of us who find ourselves too busy to keep up with it all.

Also, GDC is about two months away, and those two months will no doubt fly quickly. I’m helping out in the AI Summit. I’m on a panel called Characters Welcome: Next Steps Towards Human AI, and I’m moderating another panel, The Photoshop of AI: Debating the Structure vs Style Decomposition of Game AI. That one ought to be a good ol’ juicy argument. Hope you check ’em out!

If you set out to make a game that really uses choice to both immerse the player and make them come to a better understanding of themselves through those choices, there’s an underlying problem that we have barely hit our heads against.

Fallout 3 pushes on those boundaries, unrelenting in its empowerment of the player to change the storyworld. Now, it’s not like this has gone unnoticed, but it’s worth thinking about the design problem, and how to deal with it.

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(Pic from Boomblox).

Regardless, I still hold by what I said about competition. Albeit perhaps restricted to competition while navigating characters around a 2D or 3D environments using a dual thumbstick controller…

So, granted, this will seem a little less insightful since Jason Rohrer’s latest game Between, but I wanted to write about the lack of a certain type of coop game – a romantic coop game.

Given that game developers do generally pontificate on creating a game “love story” (ala the GDC 2004 Game Design Challenge), why don’t we even have the simplest experience you can play, in a romantic fashion, with your loved one?

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At AIIDE a few weeks ago, I was impressed with the number of interactive storytelling presentations. Granted some still occasionally fell into the vein of “and here the AI will calculate how to tell an amazing story”, which seems like an at least partially flawed approach.

There’s been a number of games in past year or so that have dipped their toes in the simplest water of this sort, giving us simple good and evil choices, letting us decide which end of the spectrum we want to progress towards. There’s one word that comes up pretty frequently in conversation with story-minded folks to describe their dramatic pacing – muddy.

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