Friday with(out) Means - July 29th, 2011: Time Keeps On Tickin'
With the last week of vacation time coming to a close things are still rather quiet here at the office, but Kintaii still has news and shinies in this week's Friday with(out) Means!
Time Keeps On Tickin' ... tickin', tickin', into the future...
With the last week of vacation time coming to a close things are still rather quiet here at the office - Most of the team has returned now, with MstrBstrd and Means both taking a few days (and myself grabbing a couple at the start of the week - finally got myself moved into an apartment \o/), and it'll soon be business as usual yet again. =)
Both Genele and I have been making some additional tweaks/adjustments to our respective instances which should be on Testlive fairly soon - Initial feedback so far has been really great, and with the refinements & polish incoming it shouldn't be long before the new content is ready for the live dimensions. More feedback is always welcome, though, so we encourage you guys to head over to Test to check 'em out. Lindelu has a new batch of Daily Missions incoming as well that are available for testing which I think you guys will enjoy - Always fun stuff from Linde. =D
In the shinies department this week, intern extraordinaire cube has been putting in some time working on really awesome new social gear headed to the Anarchy Online item store, including new shoulder pads, hoverbots, helmets and much more - You can check out a sneak preview of some of the goodies down below. =)
Lastly, I want to pose you guys a question. We've been doing some impromptu storyline Q&A over in the Fourth Wall forum this week, and it's gotten me to thinking about story *structure* in games, and how different writers can approach the same project in vastly different fashions. AO in particular is a game that's been under the storyline direction of many people over the years (first with Ragnar, Gaute, and Tommy Strand up to launch, then Runar & Jon Thorainsson joined Gaute for Shadowlands, Marius for AI and Znore/Sil/Bacchante for LE, with Aythem after that, and now myself, Linde and Genele) and you can see each person's individual influences and styles showing through in their work and methods of writing.
Story and setting in a game, regardless of how you may feel about things such as roleplaying, *are* elements that help tie the player into the 'concept' of what they're playing, even if they're not something that's directly prevalent in the player's view. Take a game like Minecraft which, while not having a running narrative of any fashion, still has a unified setting and 'feel' - A deliberately low-tech environment, a sense of logic behind even some of the game's stranger mechanics; the game and its world make sense in its presentation, even without having a story directly presented to the player. Conversely you have games such as the incoming Deus Ex II, which focus very heavily on their story and writing, making it one of the main attractions and selling points behind the game. Both styles of game are still giving a form of 'story' to the player, even if one is only the story that we ourselves make up due to the presentation we're given.
My question to you guys is this: What makes a good story in a game to you? Is it the writing? Is it the *style* of writing? Is it the atmosphere, or the immersion? What is it that ultimately makes you feel a game's story is worth investing in or not? Does the lack of a written narrative bother you when playing, or do you prefer a completely open-ended world without any background or setting at all? Answer if you want. Or, y'know, don't. 'scool either way. ;) Meantime, I'm out - Hope you guys have a great weekend, and we'll see you back here next week. Later!
Brad L. McAtee / Kintaii
Senior Designer, Anarchy Online