Re: [-empyre-] Writing and Pattern Flows

Dear Angela and John,

I am learning a lot from your exchange, thanks for the posts.

Reading about the current state of the games narrative, it occured to
me that there are also some games that explore coding as language in
itself. One example is JODI´s compilation "Untitled Game"
( These games (or meta-games?)
programatically move away both from structured narratives and pattern
generation; instead, they "manipulate the surface of the system",
assuming that an "interface is a translation of code and your
understanding is what you believe and that's all there is to a
computer, it's a language" (cf. Interview with Jodi, Given that JODI
uses coding to desconstruct, instead of using it in a constructive
way, this is probably a bit far away from your interests, but it might
be worth taking a look at this material, since, by moving away from
expected solutions, it broadens the perspectives of game development.

btw, here we are facing once again a definition that relies on the
concept of interface to describe the mediation of programmed code.
(I wonder if Bill could explain a little more why he does not consider
the concept to be useful and if Giselle could talk a bit about her
statment that, on digital media, "the interface is the message")


ps. There´s a nice review of JODI´s "Untitled Game" @

On 10/6/05, angela ferraiolo <> wrote:
> yes, this is exactly the case with games, they follow the "string of
> pearls" model, ignoring the idea of a pattern of fields, or a pattern of
> states -- possibly because many game designers are projecting the idea
> of an epic story pattern, a rigidly sequential construction, on to what
> could be a dynamic grouping of patterns in a constant state of
> construction and reconstruction. so their initial conception of story as
> a sequence of events rather than an exploration of patterns has led the
> game form to a really narrow set of AI tools. games move the player
> through terrains very well, but do not have good ways of dealing with
> the issues of character you're describing, which is one reason they can
> all feel more or less the same. essentially, we're experiencing the same
> fields and patterns over and over again, and only the wallpaper changes.
> games provided an initial toolset, but now it's up to artists to
> overwhelm that, move away from games, and create dynamic fields that
> allow people to experience patterns that are self-navigated in the hopes
> of taking the first step towards emergent narrative. it would be
> interesting, for instance, to put a beckett character into a simulator,
> rather than an rpg, one backed by a really smart database, give this
> creation some method rules, and see what happens to the field when
> players interact with this "person". can their interaction change the
> field? will that affect surrounding fields? will that affect the pattern
> overall? and so on ... of course, there are other ways to go about it as
> well ...
> John Klima wrote:
> >
> > good points all. my personal dissatisfaction with the current state of
> > game narrative (other than it's general subject matter) is a result of
> > it's implementation as a "string of pearls" where story is not
> > significantly modified by the player's actions in-game. sure, if you
> > kill or don't kill a certain character, the play changes, but basically
> > the narrative vector remains the same, just some parameters have
> > changed. the good guys become bad, the bad good.
> >
> > a second major problem is a lack of "character" in the characters.
> > characters tend to be generic with no significant variation in their
> > behavior. again, you may have good guys or bad guys, but when was the
> > last time anyone had a bad day? or had a bad burrito for lunch? complex
> > behavior requires more than a few dozen character traits and some random
> > number evaluation.
> >
> > for complex narrative and characters, what is required is a constant
> > modification of field effects from the moment you install the game, to
> > the very end of the story. but also what can not be "coded out" from the
> > game is the author's voice.  the author needs to maintain control of the
> > parameters of the narrative vector, so that a story with meaning can
> > emerge, rather than a chain of basically insignificant events, no matter
> > how dynamicaly they may have been produced.
> >
> > j
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > angela ferraiolo wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> Wow is right ... what an amazing exchange. I'm sort of a lurker on
> >> this list, so hello, my background is some digital writing for games.
> >> While doing that, I soon realized that the idea of pattern flows and
> >> an awareness of them is critical. In a game, narrative can be a
> >> traditional pipeline of information or series of events, but feels
> >> more exciting as an exploration of modes and/or fields of persuasion.
> >> On some level, the nature of a given pattern flow, how it updates
> >> itself, the feel of its evolution, how it alters its methods, can
> >> become the meaning of the story, a model of experience, even a form of
> >> cognition. For me, the question is how can these modes be combined in
> >> ways that first, feel responsive thereby creating expectation and
> >> second, create dynamic meanings? Writing can't be separated out from
> >> pattern flow acquisition or a multi-modal pattern production because
> >> in a fundamental sense the writing that needs to be done in these
> >> narratives is the creation of those arrangements or the construction
> >> of environments that lead to the creation of those arrangements. That
> >> way we should be able to encourage meaning that is emergent due to the
> >> interplay of fields or modes and their response to
> >> audiences/readers/players/etc . . .
> >>
> >> -- Angela
> >>
> >>
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> >>
> >>
> >>
> >
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> >
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