The Building Is… Design Blog #6

13 June 2012 | 0 comments

Today’s blog post  - and tomorrow’s, and probably the day after’s – are about narrative frameworks. One of the many things that frustrates me about the ‘games v story’ debate is that it’s presented as a binary – narratologists over here, ludologists over here – with debate revolving around ‘action’ vs ‘cut scenes’. It’s absurdly reductive. A good narrative envelops and intertwines the game design, kindling moments of meaning throughout the system. And that’s what we’re making.

I’m very lucky to be working with two brilliant writers – Neil Bennun and David Calvo – to shape this narrative system. Our game is presented simultaneously in both English and French, and writing game narrative is such a delicate task, you can’t just write it in one language and hand it over to a translator – it’s a simultaneous writing job. We’ve been talking on Skype and writing in Google Docs, bouncing phrases and translations back and forth.

Our game proceeds from the idea that this building is sentient; and from the physical, mechanical and aesthetic realities of the games that we have created. The idea came first, then the games, and now the narrative stitches their experiential meanings together, while also providing the springboard for play. It’s immediately apparent that this building wants you to play with it, but how? and to what end? what happens if you take up the Building’s offer?

To answer these questions, we’ve delved into the Building’s history. The Building Is… Emotional. Moody. It’s been knocked about, displaced, renamed, remodelled, gutted, and filled with wires. You’d be moody too.

That’s today’s 250 words – more on this topic tomorrow.

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