February 26, 2008

EP Meta: Chapter Five

by Noah Wardrip-Fruin · , 6:45 am

Last week was pretty quiet around Grand Text Auto. I was at the Game Developers Conference (or with friends who’d flown out for it) much of the week — and so, apparently, were many of our readers. The good thing about this is that it allowed me to experience a new facet of the blog-based review form: people who haven’t been commenting, but have been reading, telling me what they think in person.

Most of the in-person GDC comments were quite positive. Though one reader told me that it was not just the content presented here, but also the form, that made him anxious to buy the final book!

Since the end of GDC, yesterday saw the completion of chapter five: “The Tale-Spin Effect.” Today kicks off the next chapter: “Character and Author Intelligence.”

Chapter five is an interesting one, to me. On one level, it’s a detailed look at a particular system: Tale-Spin. On another level, it’s also this book’s first examination of a system for flexible story structures — which is fitting, given its foundational place in the field. On yet another level, it’s the book’s clearest treatment of an idea I’ve been kicking around for a few years: “operational logics.” While chapter one described what I mean by the term abstractly, I hope chapter five showed why it’s useful to me in practice, especially at the point when planbox-based planning is identified as Tale-Spin‘s core operational logic, and the further development from there.

As usual, I welcome any larger thoughts about the chapter, or meta-comments on the project so far.