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Tycho / on Mon, Jul 14 2014 at 11:27 am

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Winston Smith

I was reading an interview with one of the producers on the new Transformers movie, and the thing that really got to me is that both the person asking the question and the person answering it thought they were communicating information.

This has gotten more common, or I’ve gotten better at noticing it.  Most public communication now sounds like the Teletubbies to me.  It’s nontent from hell to breakfast: shibboleths sandwiched between gesticulations which are bookended by secret handshakes.  It’s probably best to let them in; maintaining a stable self is strongly contraindicated at this point.  What’s the win condition, your own tombstone?  Jesus Fucking Christ.

I have a couple “tics” when it comes to playing complex games; I think I’ve talked about the one where I just play the beginning of something over and over again until I perfect it.  That’s what is happening now with Divinity: Original Sin.

I understand the idea of the strategy: I know why I’m doing it, or why I think I am, except it never actually liones up.  If the idea is that I’m going to take those learnings forward, it rarely happens: after I’ve played a game this way for twelve or fifteen hours, I’m ready for something else.  Or, and this happens too, I start playing the second “chapter” the same way I played the first.  Don’t get me started on games that let you design your own spaceships, Jesus Christ.

  Divinity: Original Sin has the kind of complexity you can lose yourself in prior to the world even loading.  Character Creation, just by itself.  You don’t have enough points to get crazy, but it’s the ramifications of the choices you can see ahead of the ones you’re making.  It’s not paralysis, but it’s also not progress.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  “D:OS” is like if you tried to build a serious, technical RPG out of the madcap inventiveness of Magicka.  I can’t tell you how pleased I am to be in the position to say this at least once a week: “This is the sort of game I thought they didn’t make anymore.”

There is one extra piece that jams a stick in the spokes: the game is cooperative.  Characters talk to each other when they’re deciding how to branch certain choices, they play rock-paper-scissors to determine outcomes.  I’m not going to feel like I have played the game “correctly” if I don’t go this route.  It’s not quite D&D Group levels of scheduling complexity, but there’s still complexity, in a life which is already made primarily of chaos whorls.

That’s when I figured it out: Between San Diego Comic Con and Australia - fifteen hours both ways, on that last one by the way - the mystic resource appeared in volume.  That’s something we can start next week, and my labors have tuned me for it.  The entirety of my mind feels like the hauled-back string of a bow.

(CW)TB out.


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