Apparently Syfy's been working on this for quite some time, but it's the first I've heard of it. so pardon me if I'm going over any old information here.
Syfy has a show coming out in the near future called Defiance
, which will be set in post-apocalyptic St. Louis, Missouri. This is where the cool part kicks in: a MMO shooter of the same name will be launched with it, this one set in San Francisco, and the events that the players of the game participate in will have an effect on the events of the television show, and vice versa. This is really neat, and it reinforces a belief I've held for a long time that the telling of stories, whether it's a book or a movie or a game or anything else, is at its best when it becomes a communal experience.
When the final Harry Potter
book came out, I went with my family to a midnight launch event in Mount Holly. The storekeepers on a market street in town had transformed the whole avenue into the book's magical Diagon Alley, and every store was open late with some sort of theme event for everyone to come and participate in while waiting for midnight. It was awesome: books are generally thought of as solitary experiences, but before my eyes it was an entire community. Without that electricity that, really, permeated the whole series, I don't think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much. Just like how a baseball game is more about the thousands of people in the stands than the eighteen on the field, the best stories are the ones that transcend the pages and screens and become a part of the fabric of a group.
One spring break when I was still in high school, my brothers and I played a game called Tales of Symphonia
from start to finish. We were hooked: even when the game was off, we talked about it when we were having dinner and before we went to bed. It wasn't a game played with Gamecube controllers anymore, it was a living, breathing thing that we experienced as much by spoken word.
I think that medium-transcending experiences like these are going to get much bigger in the near future, and I'm trying to capture similar emotions with a few of my projects. Knights of the Broken Table
is hopefully going to become a multi-genre, multi-platform affair. As players of the Android adventure game free characters from imprisonment, they'll become playable in the PC-based strategy game, and those same characters can be powered up by using them in a text adventure. Each story can tell a slice of a larger narrative, and in doing so it can become a story larger than the game, I hope.
When working with Magic Circle, the game design club at the College of New Jersey, I helped design a project titled Aurora 4
, some of my 3D modelling work for which can be seen here
. The idea behind this game was to, again, see if genres could be crossed. One player, playing from a top-down arcade perspective, would steer the ship. Three other players would have control of the guns of the ship, and they would have a first-person shooter type game experience. To succeed, players needed to talk to each other, build a common language between genres, and, in essence, make a community. On my to-do list is porting Aurora 4
to a platform that I can use to share with all of you. I'll keep you posted as that comes.
What I'm most proud of with Aurora
, though, is a single sentence one of the programmers on the team said as we finally sat down to test the software.
"Wow, this is actually pretty fun!"
To someone like me, that felt like being a superhero.