writing chapter 4.3
starting with notes developed in the course of writing chapter, then ranting, wherever something sets me off and i can hear the voices. builds up paragraphs of oneliners, speeches and rants, back and forth that i will then sort and edit, completely rewriting most of it, saving the good bits only to sacrifice them once i’ve found a way to make my point more concisely. this is wht i ended up with at the end of the day’s work. next time i come back to it i’ll do something strange with the material, else fine tune it and post.
not in the mood at all, feeling sickish and distracted, shaky. but slept the night thru for the first time in months and did not come down to the studio for a midnight session as i typically do. plus it’s coming on full moon. otoh saw all sorts of obvious edits in the stuff i just posted, and spend 20 minutes repairing the section. so i guess on to today’s hundred words.
Over a beer, Snake wanted to know why they were bothering with a point system, and Josh explained.
“Points reflect your mastery of quantum skills,” he said. “Leveling up depends on how well you adjust to the level you’re on, how much of the level you’ve explored, how many quests you’ve gone on and how difficult, and your karma.” He drained his glass. “Health points, skill points, experience points, adventure points. They all roll in to an overall karma score that influences your passage thru the game.”
Snake fiddled with his phone and didn’t say anything.
“It’s sort of a feedback loop,” Josh continued. “Everything you do affects your karma, and your karma affects everything you do. There’s instant karma and judgment day karma. So, like, you can build good karma by practicing your quantum exercises, or playing the game every day, or going out of your way to help other players.”
Snake rolled his eyes. “And if you’re a good boy you get to unlock special areas and get prizes, right? How predictable.” He waved at the bartender for another round, clearly bored. “Tell me it gets all touchy feely newage, please. I want to hear that your relationships with others count toward karma points, I want to hear that every time I crush a blade of grass I’m mounting up my punishment points in hell.” He motioned again to the bartender, trying to hurry him up.
“The whole idea is what goes around comes around,” Josh said, feeling defensive. “The game gets harder or easier, depending on your karma.” None of this was actually his idea, and he felt foolish explaining it. “It’s supposed to show in your avatar, too, just like wealth and social status would.”
“What, like halos and horns? Pinnochio noses? How fucking stupid,” Snake huffed.
Josh shrugged. “There’ll be some sort of complex algorithm, I suppose. The girls were talking about karma as a commentary on the quality of gameplay as well as the player’s spiritual development.”
“Did she say spiritual? In a shooter?”
Then and there the boys decided to turn the game into a traditional videogame, the first step being to take NPC design away from Fairy. So Snake made a big thing out of the too-fucking-PC ethnic design of Fairy’s (Radhu’s) avatars, and Josh insisted he was crazy busy with the specs for the animations, and Fairy reluctantly handed Snake the NPCs. Snake proceeded to ignore all the guidelines and implement his own designs.
And continued to torment Fairy about points.
SNK: in trad vgame u get pts 4 kills, xtra pts 4 hedshts, pts 4 surviving wav, xtra pts 4 defeat boss. y reduce it 2 arcade game?
FER: angel = no violenc
SNK: no fun. y bother target practice then?
FER: learn 2 use force luke
SNK: so u can move pixels w/mind? cuz its not like ur using real wepns (+ u banned wepns rmrbr). just illusn
FER: not illusion. pwrs real
Anomia found them arguing again. Don’t make me come down there, she thought.
GRL: angel said no violenc
SNK: fuk angel. vgame not bk of spells, not drug inducd visn.
“They’re doing this ass backward,” Snake bitched to Josh over another round. “They’ve been concentrating on the details – the environment, the terrain – and they haven’t even designed the geometry. They have no idea what the flow is going to be and they’re fucking around with the idealism level of the fucking NPCs, shit that’s bound to change.”
“Maybe they should have blocked everything in first,” Josh agreed.
“And why hasn’t anybody playtested the map yet?”
“I can answer that,” Josh becoming a little offended by Snake’s accusations. “It’s because we don’t have enough people to sit there and play with something we’re still trying to figure out. We’ll know what it looks like when we see it,” he said, looking into his beer glass. “When we get it right.”
Snake looked impatient. “What’s your focal point on the first level, then? Just off the top of your head. From your vision.”
Josh thought for a moment. “The rocks?”
Snake rolled his eyes. You’re not getting the idea of focal points. Usually it’s a big object in the middle of the level that’s there so you know where you are.”
“But there are no objects on the first level, just rocks, water, and the sky. Would the sun be the focal point?”
Snake pounded his mostly empty glass on the table. “The skuas,” he said as if anybody would know. “They hold the keys to your survival and you have to defeat them to move on.”
“What? The skuas are the bosses and we have to fight and kill them, is that what you’re saying? Anomia’s not going to like that idea. The skuas were our friends. Even tho they weren’t very nice, and we had to bribe them.”