Derik Badman's Journal

2019-12-13 08:13

Returned to the Star Wars Jedi Fallen Order game yesterday hoping the latest update had fixed the bug that was keeping me from advancing. It did not, but then in searching around online again, I found a quick post that revealed to me that it is not a bug! It turns out in this scene there is a aspect of the control that was not at all explained or obvious. The scene involves you hijacking an AT-AT, so you are in different than usual controls (it's the first time in the game you drive a vehicle) and without explanation there was a second weapon I could fire by pressing a different button than the one I had been using. Pretty annoying that the game fails to provide any visual indicator about the changed controls to know what I was supposed to be doing.

Starting reading Robin Laws Hamlet's Hit Points that I picked up at PAX. I read the beginning and ending chapters around the analysis of three narratives that the book focuses on and I am underwhelmed. The beginning briefly writes off using literary criticism for its purposes, saying that it's all about words or theme or politics. Laws is either ignoring or ignorant (more likely) of the wide range of narratological lit crit that exists and would be suited for his purposes. I'm thinking of things like Russian Formalism, or the works of Gerard Genette, and in particular Barthes' S/Z which seems quite likely to be useful in the context.

Laws makes up a classification of "beats" to the narrative: procedural and dramatic being the primary ones, attached to a rising and falling motion that seems based on some audience reaction element. It's a bit squishy, but allows him to create diagrams (with icons and arrows!) of his analysis.

What, in reading the ending, he seems to fail at, is clearly applying this analysis to gaming. There's a brief comment about how of course in a game you have to allow for player choice, so it's not the same as plotting out a consistent narrative, but there's nothing practical about how to deal with that. In general, I'm lost as to how any of the "beats" are supposed to help me run a game, at least one that is not some sort of predetermined story path adventure.