bumble bumble

I've been bumbling through dev on this for a couple of weeks. Its gone through a few different version as its run parallel to some PhD research which is basically sum-upable as "what is the difference for a player between getting a reading through something like tarot, and playing an adventure game where there are forked paths to the narrative.  In this game, I used a deck of 10 narrative prompts I wrote in autumn 2017 when coming off antidepressants and having all these very bodily sensations which triggered some memories which i had not accessed since the other side of the medicated period of my life.  

I've done a lot of things before which use basic divination methods to write narratives for performances, from using card reading systems, to whole home made decks, to diagram interpretation, to cut-ups, and so on.  While making this game, I started by making that reading live using the Tarokka deck from D&D (because i thought it would be funny, and my  Rider-Waite deck is in my studio and im working at home),  doing a draw while making the game and having the characters explain the cards dealt and what they meant and how this was being done in real time while i drew the rooms and planned the next room. 

I worried though, that this was essentially like a "canned reading", because to really do something with those readings, to generate a meaningful character/plot based on the draw was going to either be walls of text (which i dont think Bitsy suits with its tiny speech boxes) or a lot more drawing and exploding the coding side than I have time or energy for at the moment. 

So I next considered using one-way exits and a forking path system which are common to adventure/visual novel games with real choices, and have this function as a "reading" for the playing (if i requested they play the game only once  rather than repeated times{a real risk, lol}).

I went out to walk my dog at this point, and realized that instead of the "canned reading",  or the "robotic reading" of the forking paths you only play once, I would do this once, and do it not just as the card reading but as The-Thing-The-Card-REading-Leads-To which is the story.  So I pulled out the 10 card deck I made last year, re-wrote the intro , and then drew three of those cards in turn write the narrative for the 3 doors at the core of the story.  The epilogue is entirely devised by the Tarokka Deck, but the actual cards drawn and how I read them, and even the system i used to make the draw are no longer included in the game itself. FYI, its the system from Everway, though I have packed away the cards now so can't tell you exactly what they were to make that reading. 

I'm going to be thinking about this process for a while i think. I'm doing a 6 min seminar presentation tomorrow at a university on divination, diagrams, and TRPG mechanics as ways of not just generating forking narratives, but as ways of creating a context in which the audience gets comfortable with things being uncertain, unreliable, and incomplete. I think it comes down to experiencing something, and being aware that you have not experienced *all* of its outcomes, and your speculation on these potential other outcomes becomes part of the experience, rather than something which is neatly wound up and resolved. 


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May 15, 2019

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