author’s note: beginning to write chapter 4
Posted by jeanne
i’m going thru the document looking for things to start on. down at the bottom, under work: is a bunch of research and musing that is relevant to the beginning of the chapter, so i’m moving it to the top. it looks like i’ve already done a lot of interactions and arguments (as in discussions), and maybe this chapter will move as quickly as the last one. it’ll be interesting.
later – i’ve moved up all the things about what they do in designing the game, and all the character sketch material.
the chapter opens with them hard at work designing the game. it’s josh, anomia and fairy, each in their separate workspaces, working on different things but keeping in touch via webcam and mic (else that or in each other’s heads aided by…), hashing out details of the next piece of hte enormous puzzle that is the game. they set out the seven levels they remembered from their game/vision/dream/hallucination, and what era each level seemed to be, and knew about their worldviews.
but where do they learn how to use their powers? we need a tutorial level. how about that cloud we were on? yeah, they can practice on cloud fluff.
go thru levels, roughly linking skills to the levels, like in neolithic/island they had to figure out how to make food grow, and in viking/mountains they had to learn how to control waters, and in medieval/lowlands they invent machines and commerce, and in enlightenment/wilderness they harness nature and invent science, and in revolution/hinterlands they organize society, and in totalitarian/hell they reach all the limits and have to rethink everything, and in quantum/gamburtsevs they take babysteps in new reality.
except at this point they don’t see it that way. their experience in the game was that they had all the powers right away, but it took them all these levels to figure out how to make them work in subtle ways. fine tuning. just thinking aloud here, or rather with my fingertips. so they have to kluge the fit between what the ring was actually like for them, and how to translate that into game experience while teaching quantum skills in easy to master increments. and they have no idea how to do this, because i have no idea how to do this.
they figure they can work a lot of the discipline aspect (body and mind exercises) into ingame rituals. and the metaskills – create/name/nurture/guide/share/preserve/pass on – can be embedded in the theme of each level. (at this point they’re not considering the tutorials, where you learn basic skills, or the remedial skills they will realize they need later in the chapter.) they still don’t know what they’re doing, and their ideas are vague, training mind and training body being about as specific as it gets. but they point to mystery school curricula and the fact that all the major scifi systems agree on how to train for special powers, and these are equally vague.
the most important part about having superhero powers is the entanglement issue, where they draw a complete blank. the pixie dust. this is where the process breaks down for them. snake comes in and fills them full of doubts, josh loses faith, fairy disses radhu, anomia buries herself and lets josh and snake develop ideas, but they pay more attention to gameplay than purpose.
is this where nathan and kurt and caroline come in for a visit? is this where fairy has sex? i notice that last night’s plan to go thru the material three times is now down to twice, and this is the first break, and now the only break.
fairy brings up a remedial level about physics and snake encourages it. so they decide to add on levels before the actual 7-ringed game they played in their vision. they need to tack on a basic classical physics level, and teach the basics. they can do this by putting the players in an amusement park, with various rides teaching various principles. then they need a level for relativity, where all the classical rules are bent to the breaking point. this can be behind the scenes at the amusement park, where players run the rides and tweak the conditions. the cloud level, which was the hold-all for teaching quantum basics, remains the same, but the goal is to hold a workshop where players practice creating their own objects. then they can go play the game the angel told them to make.
there is disagreement about the true purpose of making a videogame, and whether it should be the place for teaching serious magic/science. but finally they end up with a clunky but workable plan, with a large design document and world diagram and game bible. they still have a lot of design things that will remain fuzzy until kurt comes up with a game engine and they can actually create the game.
and we have to see what josh and anomia are like when they’re not struggling with the game’s design. and we have to go home to nathan’s house and catch up on the rest of the world.