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One Step Forward, All The Steps Back

On the heels of yesterday's blog entry, I put some thought into how to marry my high concept (of a compelling narrative engine) with the low concept (the game/interface).  I came up with an idea that would work for Game Maker, a development platform that is highly graphical (and consequently must obscure some of the logic beneath the graphics).
On the bottom of this Nintendo DS Nintendo game is
an example of what status interface might look like.

What I have decided to do is to start with a "status screen."  Of course, games are full of all kinds of status screens, and traditionally what they will do is display data about what's going on in the game so it's understandable to the player.  However, this status screen will go a bit further.

Understand that, in Game Maker, all the logic of the game must be attached to a GUI element of some sort.  The actual dynamic content generation mechanisms will actually be built into this status screen, which will be treated as a "room" to Game Maker.  (Different "rooms" in Game Maker can be more than virtual geography: they can be games in and of themselves.)

Thus, this special "status room" need not stop at being a tracker and displayer of the dynamic narrative engine, it can actually be the engine in itself.  The various elements of the room will interact with one another in order to generate the content of the game, as well as be points of reference for the code that drives the game.  I'll try to keep the routines of the objects in this room in scope at all times, so content is generated even while the player is playing the game (away from the status screen).

Taking a few steps from that, I realized that what I'm ultimately looking to create here is organic computing mechanism within Game Maker, and I have a pretty good sense that it could actually work.  In fact, this makes Game Maker a rather interesting platform in that they've successfully extrapolated enough computing logic to the user's view that it makes organic computing significantly more accessible than if I were simply starting in C++ or any other language that I know of.  You could say that, properly wielded to the appropriate ends, graphical development IDEs are have advanced analog features because they significantly reduce the binary/digital responsibilities on the end user.

Well, I'm not surprised, if any computer scientist was going to pull it off, it would be a game developer, whose vary focus is in human:computer interaction.

Incoming Disaster

Sensing that I was making progress at last, the powers that be have decided it's time to make my life miserable once again.  I'm not entirely sure why that keeps happening.  It's probably superstition; maybe I'm just using selection bias to support that this seems to be happening.

I probably can't talk about it because it's problematic to do so, professionally.  Suffice to say, I was terrified at work today.  It is an ongoing issue that I hope to extricate myself from while keeping my job, but we will see.   Given the situation I had to endure for five hours today, my nerves are shot, I won't be able to work on my game today.  I am booked solid with work hours for the rest of the week, I probably won't have a chance until Sunday.

If this were the norm, it would be unacceptable for my needs.  Fortunately, August is almost over, and after this week is done I think I will try to drastically cut my substitute hours.  This will hopefully give me a little more time to get my bearings, but that's not the only reason I'm doing it: I am getting perilously close to a certain hour limitation I am allowed to work in my current position, and so I feel it would be a good idea to leave a buffer.


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