Category Archives: Stories

Expanding story time

Yes, this happens. Sometimes we get more to a story, but when was that when it was expanded on the main system and not a DLC or expansion? When was the last time that you were confronted with an additional story in the main game? I reckon that most of us cannot clearly give an example. And when someone pushed a demo of the Unreal Engine v5 to YouTube showing us a broken down version of Riverwood, my mind went 145% on the body and thoughts came to mind. Now in this case it will not apply, because Riverwood is decently fresh in the mind of all gamers, but when they see the new (older looking) Riverwood they should catch on.

What happens when we add a few villages, not unlike Riverwood, off the beaten track, off the caught setting and all storylines by themselves. A setting that some might recognise in Spinalonga Island on Crete. It had its own story, but remains a ghost town even now. So what happens when we find the story, evolve the story in the now, solve the story, the riddles and the curse (or other reason for abandonment) and when we find refugees, traders and other people we could direct them to the empty village. Riverwood had a trader, a smith and an inn. There is no stopping us from adding shops, and it would fit the equation towards building the local economy as well. As I wrote earlier. Too many RPG’s are depending on US to build the economy. Yet what happens when the NPC’s are in a secondary stage that they too become drivers of an economy? What happens when traders build economies, adventurers do, mercenaries do and as such, some places will grow even larger, grow more and grow distinctive. In this we can set markers like you need to have certain ranks in the main quest, and side quests as well as levels of fame before your word is accepted, but at that stage your influence grows too. We need to realise that in RPG games we are NOT the machine, we are a mere cog that fuels the machine, but we are one in many cogs and that has never taken a larger stand in RPG games and that has been overlooked for too long. I do understand that some might state that this was not possible until the PS4pro. I believe that this is not merely that case. Game makers are too often in an iterative mode, we get more of the same (Far Cry, Assassins Creed), there are leaps forward (Fallout and Elder Scrolls), yet I believe that more could be done and I also believe that the PS5 now shows that more is possible. And it will not take long for the streamers to show that they are capable of more. And until these players consider that the main quest is nothing more than an outspoken side quest we will not see the leaps forward that RPG’s are capable of. The fact that I came up with TESVII: Restoration and the fact that I am still finding new ways to grease the system into other directions, directions that TESVI:unknown place might not even touch on is speculative, but not entirely impossible. A stage where we see that RPG makers are for a lot about more of the same (not their fault) is a little troublesome and When I wrote about a new RPG, a generation one that I summarised in ‘Recap to the intro’ (at which I wrote last September and even now I am still gaining more ideas that could grow that IP to larger stations is interesting to say the least. The side quests are merely one setting. Growing a virtual economy is another one, but it all sets the station where we have an RPG game where there are two stations. The station of you the player and you the influencer, both important, yet influencer we can become through skills, through power and through achievement and they all interact to some degree, and it is those influencer sides that give a much larger unknown to the game and how it shapes. We need to do it in that way, so that the system is free to evolve, if we merely have two settings with a clean and a deprived location (A Fable II event) we lose the plot, we will not see the impact of flourishing villages.

I believe that this is the expansive side of gaming, it fuels replayability and optionally dampens grinding. The last part is not a given or a real event, but could be the impact of influencers, it is merely a thought. So when did you see your last creativity on the sliding scale of something you haven’t figured out yet? A station that keeps me busy, why? I can tell you that I can, but for some reason I feel more comfortable with the thought “Because I have to”, and I am not sure why at present.

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When figments take over

Yes, that is a question, I am not sure if I have an answer because my mind is all over the place. It is like the scent I am picking up is taking charge on whatever comes next. It is a little weird, a little unsettling and even weirdly more, a path into the unknown.

First all, I have no idea where I am. My mind had taken me to some gritty (but clean) food place. It looks nothing like a restaurant, from the inside it seems like I am in a wooden shack that is set on top of concrete slabs. Not a place I have ever been, as far as I can tell. The prices are in Euro’s so I reckon I am somewhere in Europe. The staff looks at me awaiting my order. I order the triple carapace for €20. I get a large pewter plate, the plate is set in three areas almost like the old US eating trays. I get three parts of lobster, one is deed fried, covered with cheese it was a few small potatoes on the side. One is (I think) broiled and comes with steamed carrots and cauliflower, the last part is fried with butter, it has fried capsicum, mushrooms and a thick gravy with small pieces of lobster. It smells terrific and the weird thing is that I never had this before in my life, not even any of the individual parts as it is shown to me. I sit down and every bite is heavenly, I buy a bottle of water and drink it the part with the mushrooms is a little salty but still awesome. I get up and walk out of the shack, I am back in my living room. I have no idea where I was, I have (to the best of my knowledge) never been to this place and even now the scent of fried lobster, capsicum and mushrooms are filling my nose. I cannot explain it. The slightly delusional side of me is thinking back, over two years my mind created a little over $10,000,000,000 of IP, the delusional side is as I haven’t sold any of it, it might amount to a mere $10. The mind takes over at times. I cannot explain it and for now my brain is getting drunk on the smell of prepared lobster, which is weird as my last lobster is about 9 years ago and it was served Japanese style with fresh Wasabi, so I have no idea where the smells are coming from and I do not smell that good, not ever (thank god), I would take up cannibalism in a heartbeat, even my own heartbeat.  

Yet the situation remains, what was the vision, a mere scene for one of the scripts? Nothing happened, there was no hint, no clue no nothing, merely me eating and enjoying lobsters in three ways. So why write it down? Well for me writing down is keeping me busy, it brings clarity and in the back of my mind at times other things happen, it is not the first wave, it is the second wave that gives additional insights and I have had it on a few parts, for now I merely wonder if I can fit additional parts of the stage of ‘Residuam Vitam’, it also might b the third time I altered that title. I have parts in place, but I need a deeper need towards the parts that Meng Po plays in the story, her side it too one-sided, to facilitating and that does not work for me. You see some stories are ‘decently’ articulate in giving us “Lady Meng took the initiative to create a bowl of soup that would allow spirits to forget the suffering of their material life.” I believe that is merely half a story, you see facilitation only gets you so far, no matter how selfless a person is, when you are on a bridge handing out soup for 1000 generations, 10,000 moons there is a nourishing factor, I just haven’t figured out what it is, and the soup is important, smell is important. What if she hopes to meet the lost love in his next reincarnation? It matters as the soup is important for the story, it also matters as Hades and Anubis have alternate needs and a larger hunger, so what gives? 

It is hard for the figments to take control, but it helps setting a stage to the story and I for one still haven’t figured out all the cogs. The main lines are there and the players are known, but it needs to fit, not like a glove but like the cogs of a Swiss timepiece. The players have been around for millennia, so their stage of timing perfection matters. We go into any story, any interaction of divinity with small tokens, but the divine are timeless, so they think in centuries, not years and to make that story work requires a different brush. This is not a Winslow Homer aquarel, it is the Nightwatch by Rembrandt van Rijn, two different styles, two different approaches. In the first the player was The Shooting Company of Frans Banning Cocq and Willem van Ruytenburch. A little element too often overlooked, there was a 9 year gap between to commissioning and the delivery. There are all kinds of reasons and we can guess, let the critics set the tone, but time is the element that plays here. A photo in that identical stage would be taken in 1/125 seconds, the painting took months if not years. To set that time in different parallels we need to see that that any of the divine players can see any scene, any second like a Hasselblad H6D-400C, even whilst we are mere Kodak instamatics, scent is part of that Kodak but the camera does not record scent. So the stage needs to be altered and it is now I see the alternate scene, the part the lobsters never told me (they were getting eaten). So what if the soup does more than the players realised? What if the scent of the soup also captures the scents once forgotten? The spirit bathes in forgetfulness on the road to reincarnation, but what if Meng Po captures every scent experienced? What if she needs one specific memory and consider that in ancient China a little over 10% was blind, the beggars in the streets, ignored by all as they went on their business, but the blind still register scents, what if Meng Po was seeking a specific scent? It might work. All due to a lobster dish I never ate (poor poor me).

So at times let the figments take over, you never know where they are headed and in my case, I was clueless until the story was completed.

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Epic moments

We see some moments as epic, but what makes them epic? You see Epic is subjective, it is constrained and defined by what we have experienced. This is not a negative thing, this is an almost liquid setting, what is epic for one is mundane for the other, this is merely how it is. And for me the setting starts with a daydream. This happened this morning as I was enjoying a cup of coffee. I was sitting on a couch in a shopping mall, enjoying a lovely cuppa. My mind wandered away. So enjoy the story for what it is, a mere story to keep thy bones warm this Christmas winter.

I was in some tech corporate place north of Oslo, no idea why. It was the midsommar weekend and some woman in the firm invited me to experience midsommar in her town of Floro, a town 500 km WNW of Oslo. I accepted the invitation, only learning a few hours later that it was an 8 hour drive, actually it was more like 6, she embraced formula one standards of driving and I gained three years of grey hairs in 6 hours, nature does seem to find a balance. Of course being invited I went shopping that afternoon, as we were off next morning. I got a kilo of smart food (lollies), some ice coffees a few bottles of red wine and white wine for the party and I loaded up the car. Apart for her amazing looks and her amazing thrill of speed limits the trip was pretty uneventful. It was Floro that grabbed me more. It as alike a huge village. Every building pristine, every building outspoken traditional and every street clean, lovely and inviting. It one of the loveliest villages I have ever seen in my life. We got to the house and of course she had relatives. They all surrounded her, hugging her and speaking fast in Norwegian, My Swedish allowed for some parts to pick up and they came to me shaking my hand and then they realised that my Norwegian is almost non-existent, many switched to English, a nice surprise too. It had a thick nordic accent, but it was a lot better then some English you hear in London, so I was good. I introduced myself and I introduced myself to the host and hostess (parents of Lotte). I handed over the two boxes of wine, one white and one red. I saw the loud cheers going on, I reckon that French wine is not something they usually had there and I was greeted like an old fashioned hero. 

We all had some coffee with something called krumkakes and something called school bread. We sat and I listened for most of the times. Some of the men asked me questions and I answered as best as I could. Yet the corner of my mind was screaming and I did not understand why. Everyone was so nice, but it seems that Lotte had the goods on me. She shushed everyone and told me to take a nice walk, she haded me a thin raincoat to wear over my clothes and she gave me a small direction finder. She pushed a button and it pointed to the house. She pointed to the roof, the direction finder would always point to the house, it seems she had seen this before. I took a nice walk, I saw part of Floro, I walked past shops, I noticed people looking at me, but I was at a loss why, perhaps all foreigners and tourists stand out in this place. I walked on, watching the water and seeing the tranquil waters seemed to quiet the screaming in my head. 

As I walked I seem to wonder about the openness of this place and the natural beauty it has. It was about a hour later when I realised I had been walking in one direction, I wanted to turn around when the screaming intensified, I looked up the road, a dirt-road I noticed but it seemed almost invisible. I walked up it only to see a cave. I really did not want to walk into that cave, it screamed bear. And bears are not too uncommon in Norway. I just walked in and with my flashlight I went down the cave. A cave that felt colder with every step I took, it was less then two dozen steps later when the shivering was slightly too uncomfortable for me. I saw the show and the ice and I stopped, but the brakes were suddenly slammed from underfoot, I stepped in ice and slid down a lot further than I was happy with. I slid down a ramp that would make any bobsledder jealous and it was almost two whole minutes until I came to a halt. I saw two men frown in ice. Men, statues, it could be either. The ice was pointing behind them like it was blown over them. Then I noticed two objects. Objects that were covered in ice, I kicked one and it did not break, the ice was tough as steel. I looked around and I saw a stone, a sharp stone, I covered my hands and started hitting the one object, first the ice broke and that took some doing, I continued hitting the object only to see it as some kind of axe, it did not look like a woodcutters axe, it was slightly smaller, more outspoken and a little longer where the cutting part of the axe was. It took almost 5 minutes to get the ice from the axe. Then I looked to the two men, they were still in ice, but I could not tell whether they were men or statues. I used the axe on the other object and ice went flying everywhere with every hit, this axe was nice. That also gave me ideas on how to get out of here. With an axe like that I could chisel steps in the ice in no time, yet that was when I realised that the axe was warming me to some degree. It could have been the exercise, but the cold was gone and a few hits later I saw that the object was a hammer, but not some hammer I had ever seen before. Almost like an oversized blacksmith hammer, actually it was nothing like the hammer of the movie Thor (that maroon man from Queensland) but it resembled those upside down hammers that people wear as jewellery. Like the axe, the hammer felt warm and I decided to hit the ice closest to the man that was next to the hammer. The ice broke like it was nothing. I hit again and ice started to chip from everywhere. Then I saw the ice break off from his arm and the hand looked massively human, very meaty and not a statue at all, was it my imagination? Did the hand move? It seemed to grab towards the hammer and I pushed the hammer into his hand.

The ice broke everywhere. And within a minute he was free. He had a cold demeanour, he looked at me and I looked back, I did not know what to do and then he looked at the axe. I pointed at the other figure, he looked and spoke to me in some nordic language I could not make out. I merely stared. He made a drinking gesture and I pointed at my body and shook my head. It seems he understood me, he was still unable to move too much, but he pointed towards deeper into the cave, he made some reference with his hand that could have been a flask or a bottle. I grabbed the axe and went that way, the ice was all snow covered and not that slippery anymore. I saw a pedestal with a flask, I reckon that this was what he wanted. I looked around and there was nothing else. I cautiously grabbed the flask with my hands covered in jacket. I picked up the flask that as surprisingly heavy and moved back. I handed the flask to the man, he drank a whole heap of it and gestured me to take a sip, I was a little apprehensive but he gestured again, it was seemingly important. I took one small sip and it was like my body was on fire, one sip was like a whole bottle of aquavit (Nordic Gin), I started to sweat. He took a piece of cloth from his top and drenched it, then he put the cloth into the mouth of the other figure. He poured more liquid on the cloth and moved away. H took some leather string, tied the knots around the neck of the bottle and hung the bottle around the neck of the other person. He then gestured me up the hill, I started to cut out the steps. I laughed grabbed my back jumper and coat and before I knew what hit me we went up and a whole lot faster then I originally went down. We were up and at the entrance in less than 30 seconds. He looked at me and I remembered my direction finder. We walked back to the house, even as it seems darker, but with white nights you can never tell, we got back almost 30 minutes later and everyone was staring at me and Lotte looked surprised. The others then noticed the hammer in the man and they all looked star struck, the man stated something in what I can only assumed was some deep Norwegian, he slapped my back and took off, the man walked away. Everyone was cheering and slapping me and I was at a loss what had happened. Lotte merely looked at me like I was an actual alien. It was then that I saw in the distance a chariot with goats? Man, that was some alcohol, let me tell you. So when you get to Floro, be careful what you drink, that stuff they call aquavit is massively hard on the senses.

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