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Thread: My website. Be nice.

  1. #1

    My website. Be nice.


    In a few moments of boredom, I wrote up a website about what I'm doing.

    Comments appreciated.


  2. #2

    I See Text!

    Eschew obfuscation.

  3. #3


    Yeah - but - man - aren't - y'know - words - like - *beautiful*.


  4. #4
    Guest that you mention it, the small "a"s *did* have a rather seductive curve...

    Whoa, what am I say?!

    Despot smacks his forhead<pre>[forehead! forehead!!]</pre>

    Um, ignore that, wouldja?

    Eschew obfuscation.

    [This message has been edited by Despot (edited September 29, 2000).]

  5. #5

    It's ART!

    Poor Cassandra - she needs a little excitement in her life

    Loved this line: "It feels like I’ve handed my life over to a fourth-rate B-movie writer. " especially after that article online on game writing.

    Tracer Tong has me keeping an eye on your web page for world domination activity...

  6. #6


    Well, I'm about to add this - it's a semi design doc for a few of my ideas I'm sending off to anyone who expresses a basic interest and wants to know more details. Will stick it up here for now, as I have a birthday to celebrate.



    So - what's the Cassandra Project all about.

    Basics first: It's a single player expansion for Deus Ex, set in a
    day-after-tomorrow scenario. Minor use of original textures, including
    re-skinning a number of the models. Since all the characters are planned
    to be humanoid, in relatively standard Deus Ex dress, I don't imagine
    much original modelling will be required.

    Now it gets a little tricky.

    I'm sitting at my desk, at work, on my birthday. On my right hand side
    I've got a cup of tea. On my left hand side I have a toy model of the
    big baddy from Diablo II. Bringing the two together is basically what I
    hope Cassandra will do.

    (And a little aside before I go any further. While lots of this will be
    written in the accusative, and trying to present the ideas strongly,
    this isn't a meglomaniac thing. Basically, I just want to work in a team
    with ideas flowing organically and such malarkey - I recommend everyone
    read Gamasutra's article about how they created Half-life for an idea.
    It just helps to have a starting place.)

    Assumptions first: Deus Ex is essentially about 2 things. One is
    freedom. The other is a re-setting of the narrative-lead adventure
    approach in a first person perspective. The aim is to make a level(s)
    with the same philosophy, just twisted at a different angle.

    First thing: This is generally an overview of the ideas rather than
    specific characters, etc.

    Right - now Theory. Game plots have always had a central flaw - they
    take too long to reach a conclusion. Due to a game taking between 10-40
    hours to complete on average, the narrative is stretched over that
    amount of time. This means that, in terms of story, they're closer to a
    novel than a film.

    Now this creates problems for the user-level based level community.
    Basically, they copy the storytelling methods of the full-price games.
    If the levels are released episodically - like most of the Thief levels,
    for example - then it creates a disjointed narrative. Each mission is
    such a small part of the emotional plot, making it impossible to
    connect. If you wait until the entire giant storyline is complete, you
    miss the chance to learn in public, experiment with what people make of
    it and so on.

    The only real original idea in the Cassandra project is to wave two-big
    fingers at the idea of a ten-hour continual narrative. Each episode will
    take between 1-2 hours to complete, and tell a tale internally. A story
    idea is introduced at the start, it's investigated and developed, before
    ending with emotional satisfaction. While there's threads between the
    adventures, the basic plot is resolved before the time is up. Think of a
    good weekly TV serial.

    (A side advantage of this is that it makes a game more approachable by
    an average person. Most people don't have thirty hours to play a game.
    They do have two hours free to watch a movie. If you break your game up
    into segments that are easily digestable and closed, you make it more
    likely they'll play it. Equally, the hard-core (i.e. Us) can play a
    whole lot in a row if we demand a more sustained experience)

    So - how will one of these missions play?

    Taking the central Deus Ex tenant of Conspiracies, your character is the
    only (as far as you know, anyway) agent of an organisation. The
    organisation's mission is to attempt to uncover the /real/ stories
    behind the twentieth century. Why are they doing this? Well that's
    something you're going to have to find out…

    (An introduction to the main character has been stuck up on the web at: )

    A basic mission template would be starting with a lead that needs to be
    investigated, going there, finding stuff out, and returning back to base
    for a little closure of the story.

    The key word is: WONDER. While lots of the stories I want to tell might
    be familiar to you, eventually they're twisted into a new, shocking
    shape. It just pushes things further, slaps you around the face, trying
    to break your nose. The general denouement should be enough, at least,
    to make jaws drop, preferably shattering on the floor.

    The aim is to take people somewhere special for a couple of hours, and
    when they leave they genuinely feel affected. The aim's to - y'know - be
    really, really good.

    Other elements to include?

    Well, the major repeating NPCs are your staff at the base, and it's the
    interactions within the group which are one of the major threads that'll
    run between episodes. This will be almost soap-opera material, with it
    being possible to alienate and befriend people depending on you actions.
    This worked brilliantly in Deus Ex, and to expand it in a more limited
    framework would be relatively easy with the tools. Well… relatively.
    It's just flowsheets and logic gates.

    Oh - and it'll deal with issues which have rarely be seen in games
    before at a real level due to the cowardice of games publishers and the
    complicity of games developers in pandering to them. Mature intelligent
    stuff -romance will rub shoulders with sexual harasment. Generally rude
    jokes and high-brow philosophy. You know - all the stuff which every
    other artform handles, which games just choose to ignore. However - and
    this is important - if a gamer just wants to throw themselves into the
    mission, they should be able to ignore all the inter-office stuff. This
    is Deus Ex, and nobody should be forced to do something they don't
    enjoy… but - as a personal prediction - I believe most people will find
    it fascinating. Look at the voyeuristic pleasure and mass success of the

    Dialogue requires to be leagues above the average level of hack-work in
    games. While I'm not sure of my abilities as a level designer, I know I
    can do that. If anyone else can write, even better. Expect lots of
    characters trading wise-cracks in character. The idea is for the
    characters to be, in one way or another, inspirational and aspirational.

    Oh yes. A biggie. The lead character's to be female, and genuinely
    well-rounded character. The anti-Lara-Croft, this is to be a sneer at
    every time someones tried to sell their sub-standard game by adding
    extra breasts. Which isn't to say she'll be a soulless early-feminist
    text character - if she's written well enough she should be more
    attractive to the male mind because of the strength of personality.
    Equally, since Deus was originally planned to offer the choice of sex of
    JC Denton, making her a woman is a cheery nod towards that.

    The characters all should have brilliant names. I still haven't got one
    for the lead, so suggestions welcome. I'm trying to find something
    suitably english lower middle class (Justine? Emily? Juliet) with a
    suitably interesting second name.

    Also, you team isn't a mere conversational set-piece. Taking directly
    from Metal gear Solid, your team is able to contact you during the
    missions with advice. There's already lots of bits of this in Deus Ex
    with Alex, but expanding it should work well. Equally, doing the "Speak
    to me? SPEAK TO ME, SNAKE!"" melodrama when your character dies should
    be as funny/tragic as it is in MGS.

    Set, basically, in the UK. If only because most of our voice-actors will
    be British. Besides - won't it be fun to make the good guys have English
    accents for a change?

    While basic philosophy is nabbed straight from Deus Ex (Multiple
    solutions, violent vs. Non-violent being equally viable, Generally
    real-world environments), there's a few places where we should
    1) A rigorous attempt at consistency within a game. Wooden doors are
    always breakable. Metal Doors can been blown off with explosives. Glass
    - not bulletproof - breaks. It's hard, but I believe it'll be worth the
    effort in terms of creating a believable world.
    2) No Unkillable characters. If someone can't be killed for plot reasons
    there has to be something stopping you - or at least dissuading you. For
    example, to stop you wanting to gun down your own support team you have
    a robo-cop style character limitation, if a little more fatal. Your
    internal computers will release toxins into your blood if you open fire
    at someone who's a member of your group. So you can go on a killing
    spree around your base, but the toxins will eventually kill you. Yes,
    it's an obvious McGuffin for plot reasons - but at least it doesn't
    break the rules of the gameworld, thus breaking the illusion of life.
    Besides - it also leads to interesting possible plots later on.
    3) No crates with weapons as a central aspect of game design. I think
    Old Man Murray's discussion about the matter should make everyone think
    twice about it
    ( for those
    unlucky enough not have read it. Weapons are generally picked up from
    the armoury at the start of your mission, or picked up from the bodies
    of your enemies. Due to the missions being shorter, I think we can
    entirely abandon the "Gradually accumulate weapons" model used by games
    throughout the world. Besides - Arsenals are intrinsically cool things.
    4) Perhaps a slightly heavier leaning on puzzles as an option. For
    example, make it possible to work out passcode through clues previous in
    the adventure. Obviously, being Deus Ex, this is an addition. There's
    always a more direct route if the player desires. It's about freedom,
    after all.

    So - how to go about this? Well, I already have the plot for the first
    one written out, which I can forward to you if you want to. I didn't
    want to include details of this in the post in case you choose not to be
    involved, and don't want to ruin the story in case you ever play it. But
    if you want it, ask, and it shall be yours.

    Other than that, it's just a case in doing it. Perhaps the best thing
    about the episodal structure means that we can stop at any time and
    still have an appreciable piece of work. Obvious suggestions might be,
    if a level designer doesn't want to fiddle with all the actual AI/level
    design stuff, we separate into architects who make the general shape and
    other people who actually populate them. Or make the role fluids - after
    all, in game design Form does dictate function to a degree.

    Basically, I think it could be fun for us and fun for anyone who
    actually plays the thing.

    Bremstrahlung X Jones,


    Metal Gear Solid
    Floor 13
    The Sims
    Deus Ex, natch.

    Fight Club
    The Iliad/Odyssey

    The usual Tarintino gubbins

    Planetary (And this is a /massive/ influence)
    V for Vendetta
    The Invisibles

    Shot by both Sides, Magazine
    Mogwai Fears Satan, Mogwai
    Most of Angelica's stuff
    Kenickie's Robot Song
    Nick Cave, From Her to Eternity
    Sonic Youth, Cool Thing
    The Manics' "Ifwhiteamericatoldthetruthitsworldwouldfallapart".

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