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Lithic Walkthrough Part 12<------------> Lithic Walkthrough Part 1

Lithic Explanatory Note

When I consider the form of a story, the first thing I ask myself is does the form support the story rather than hinder it?

This is always harder to answer when the form is experimental and untested. I’ve noticed, for instance, that odd form can freeze a reader or audience member out of a work of art. For example, the Blair Witch Project has many, many detractors and most of the complaints center around the camera. I think the movie is a fine, but very simple horror story, told through an innovative method. However, that shaky cam isn’t for everyone and I understand why people might not like it.

Lithic is a good deal worse than the Blair Witch Project and my primary purpose for writing it is entirely experimental. Before beginning I Googled “made up videogame walkthrough” and “fictional video game walkthrough” and every other combination I could think of. I found nothing. Lithic might be the first fictional videogame with a walkthrough ever. I’m skeptical, but I couldn’t find anything.

It wasn’t easy to write either. Writing in the imperative all the time is unnatural and doesn’t come easy. You have to tell the reader to GO HERE, DO THAT.

The other really weird disconnect from normal writing is the difference between the Player and the Player Character. I got myself into trouble early on because I’d not fully realized how the two differed. I mean, I knew they differed, but I didn’t know. Like riding a bike, there’s a difference between understanding the theory and sitting on a seat and turning the pedals. If you only understand the theory, you’re going to fall off the first time.

Game mechanics have to be considered too. It’s not enough to write a story in this format, something has to make it more videogamey (videogame-esk?). One problem is that the player character is immortal. That makes it very hard to give them a game over. But upon thinking about it, I realized that all videogame characters are immortal. You can die over and over again and still come back. I decided it be easy to tie the character’s immortality into the save system.

(Incidentally, having an immortal protagonist is hard even in regular fiction because the stakes are so much lower with an immortal that the conflict doesn’t “catch”. A basic idea in storytelling is that something must be at stake and be worth the audience's time. Superman is a good example of a bad protagonist because he is invulnerable, perfectly moral, and has a suite of powers making him impossible to defeat. Likewise, an immortal can either wait out any problem or wander into the middle of a battle never fearing to lose. In Lithic I got around the problem by making failure horrible for my protagonist. If Imi gets caught, the moreans drag her off to be tortured for however long it takes them to figure out how to kill an immortal. They may or may not figure out how to do it, but there’s massive trauma waiting in either case.)

The immortal bosses are also interesting in that they can’t be killed. They’re trick bosses, or your character is almost incidental in the fight. I’m not sure how that’d play out in an actual game, but it solves several other problems for me which brings me to my last point.

Copying powers have always been a favorite of mine since Kirby (I always though Rogue had the best X-Men power. Sure she can’t touch anybody, but that’s only because she’s not realized that she should just absorb everybody and become the hive-mind she was always meant to be). So, I added that into a fairly basic leveling system.

Because Lithic is not a videogame, it can’t function as a realistic walkthrough. There are some artifacts such as describing scenes or characters that would not need to be described in a walkthrough. Fetching keys and sidequests are also greatly reduced as that’s really boring to read about.

All of this is a roundabout way of saying I have no idea if the form helps it or not. It was untested, but I have a better idea now and I learned a good deal about writing commands out in various ways so that it wasn’t all just “Head to the mill, head to the ferry, head to the monsters you want to bury.”

Next thing multi-post story node I’m going to do will be more standard, less weird, but far, far more depressing.


Lithic Walkthrough Part 12<------------> Lithic Walkthrough Part 1