Sunday, July 22, 2007

It Seems Builders Aren't Players

I noticed this little exchange on Berliad's blog the other day and it got me thinking again about an old topic I've considered in the past (read the comments section). In the days after I completed the NWN1 campaign, I played tons of modules. Then, once I started building and actually got to the point where I began to complete modules, I virtually stopped playing. Honestly, playing games doesn't really do a lot for me anymore. Even the NWN2 OC, though well-done in many respects, failed to captivate me. And the funny thing is, I'm not the only one. Very few authors that I know of spend any amount of serious time playing other modules.

I think there are two main reasons for this. First, I guess I play through modules now, and I see exactly how things were done. I now find myself less interested in the story and more interested in the artistic decisions that have been made, the way the modules were put together, the quality of the writing (or lack thereof), and - art being as it is (i.e. subjective) - I inevitably start thinking, "I would have done it this way" or "why'd they make that decision?" It really kills the immersion. This isn't to say that other authors don't do good jobs, and I'm not trying to sound snobby; I guess I'm just saying that, unlike when I was "just" a player, I know too much about the nuts and bolts behind the scenes to be wowed anymore.

Second, it only takes a few short hours of living through another person's story before I inevitably start wanting to tell my story. I literally have more stories in my head than I have time to tell / make them, and going through other adventures feels like I'm wasting what little time I have.

All I know is that, generally speaking, I find less satisfaction in playing than I do in building. I will say that I tend to build, build, build before testing at all, and so the first time I walk through a module I built, it's fairly complete. I inevitably think, "Wow! Here's the world and characters I envisioned brought to life!" And, well, let's just say that's a pretty big high. It's a much bigger high than I've ever felt actually playing a game.

Maimed God's Saga Update
A lot got done this week. I began work on the male PC love interest, Verona, in earnest this week. I ended up fleshing out her past and her characterization, and as a result, certain changes had to be made. A quick rundown topic by topic:

I wrapped up two more major conversations including one that will be a major encounter. Also, because of Verona, I needed to add in another conversation to Act I. That conversation I knocked out quickly. Finally, I polished off Tancred; all his dialog is now written. That means that 20 of the 21 conversations I need are done, leaving only Verona's. That's a big one, though, so I'm still only 71% done with all the writing I need to do for Act I. None of the scripting has been finished for any of the newly-written dialogs though.

All done. Not a huge amount of journals are necessary for Act I, but what I do need has been completed. Again, the scripting has not been finished.

I finished off every creature and item blueprint I need for Act I except for the mountain lions I spoke of a few posts ago. For that, I will need to wait for Mask of the Betrayer.

World Map
As indicated in my previous post, this is 100% done as of this week. An in-game screenshot is now included. Obviously, I still need to implement the scripting that turns off the travel point icons until they should be available, but I'm counting that as scripting. The actual map is done.

I began to look into software packages that will allow me to make realistic-sounding tracks. Hopefully, I'll have more to report next time.

I added a line for the blueprints, as that is really a separate function from any of the other classifications I had previously. The new matrix now looks like the following. Things are starting to shape up nicely.

TMGS Progress Report (in %)

Act I Act II Act III
Area Design 100 0 0
Dialog 71 0 0
Blueprints 100 0 0
Scripting 35 0 0
Journals 100 0 0
World Map
Intro Movie

1 comment:

Berliad said...

I find less satisfaction in playing than I do in building.

What's interesting about this is that I'm generally the opposite. I get a kick out of dabbling in the toolset now and then, but when it comes down to it, I'm in this community to play games and revel in the imagination of the builders of our community.

Fortunately, there are people like you who get off on the building. Thank goodness, for my sake! -B