Homework for next week
<imbri> First: Think about one of your favorite stories. It can be from books or movies or a tv show or, even, song lyrics. Doesn't really matter.
<imbri> Second: Now, think about how the author and/or director chose to tell it and try to tell it in another way. Think about the way that changes the storytelling.
<imbri> Third: Make an arg (well, don't make one) but think about how an ARG would tell those stories. Would there be a lot of websites or just a few? Would it be highly interactive or not so much? Would it be riddled with puzzles or would it be more simple? Would it include a lot of live interaction or very litte? You have no budget constraints, you can do whatever you want with it.
<imbri> It'd be really cool if you all wanted to post your ideas on UF (I'll put a thread up there just for that purpose). Inspire each other, look at the other ideas presented and add to them or change them or whatever. If you don't want to post, you don't need to, but do try to think about this a bit.
Post Chat Discussion
A decent discussion on “agency” and args
More on lurkers
(and I deleted a long bit on television/interactive television and how cool my dream tv show would be)
<RungeKutta> well I guess this is pretty much dead
<RungeKutta> and I attribute it all to imbri for saying its done
<imbri> keep talking peoples!
<Ofiuco> I would talk but I came in very, very late!
<imbri> i just wanted to post that before it was done
<CrustyBottom> I have lost brain function... time to reboot.
* imbri tosses out random question
<imbri> to arg or not to arg
<imbri> that is the question
<CrustyBottom> "To 'Alternate Reality Game' or not to 'Alternate Reality Game'"?
<CrustyBottom> Hmmmmm.... missing a few words.
<imbri> ok, to hit a uf audience or to hit a non-uf audience - which is easier
<CrustyBottom> Easier or better?
<guy_p> UF = easy
<Ofiuco> Unfiction is like Instant Audience, just add ARG.
<guy_p> easier, but not necessarily better
<imbri> but if they don't like the arg, they're bastards about it
<Ofiuco> and yet a crapload of people will play anything if it has a puzzle in it *cough*ilb2*cough*
<catherwood> what about the mixed skill sets? on WiBS we have people who are not used to cipher puzzles, mixed with "old pros"
<catherwood> if i solve something which i think is easy, should I hold back and let other people have a shot at a puzzle?
<CrustyBottom> Does that ever happen? Holding back?
<catherwood> well, i did
<catherwood> i posted "hints", as if i were still thinking up possibilities
<catherwood> in the chat room, i had already given the answer, but on the forums I posted a possible method, and let a newbie figure it out and post the solution
<CrustyBottom> Hmmm... that's not a bad idea.
* dm[a]x has always relied on the kindness of strangers
<Ofiuco> w/rt non-uf, I have a lot of friends who listen to me blather on and on and then say, 'well, that ARG stuff sounds cool but I could never solve x puzzle'
<CrustyBottom> I can only imagine the frustration on your end.
<catherwood> wasn't there a game recently where their forum complained about ARGN people taking over?
<dm[a]x> well, i never solve a puzzle. but character interrelationships is what fascinates me.
<CrustyBottom> I'm a story person. I've never been one for puzzles.
<varin> cather: yeah, there was, but for the life of me I can't remember what it was
<Ofiuco> that's what I tell them.
<Ofiuco> puzzles =/= arg
<catherwood> this is good for next week's homework: take the same game storyline, but design two (or more) ways to present it as an ARG, one with puzzles, one without, different character viewpoints and access, etc
<catherwood> if an ARG launched with zero puzzles, the UF people might complain, but it just might be a great game
<guy_p> if there aren't puzzles, how is it a game?
<catherwood> that's the challenge
<CrustyBottom> You don't need puzzles to qualify as a "game".
<catherwood> if dmax and others say they can't solve puzzle but enjoy the immersion in story, what are they "playing" exactly?
<guy_p> i'd argue that they aren't
<CrustyBottom> Monopoly doesn't have a puzzle, UNO doesn't, etc.
<CrustyBottom> But they are still games.
<Ofiuco> maybe we should define 'puzzle'.
<guy_p> yes, but you still have *agency*
<imbri> you can have agency in args without having puzzles
<guy_p> although i suppose, like i've argued before, the story itself can be a puzzle
<CrustyBottom> Hence, "spec"
<guy_p> which is interesting, because it implies that something like Lost is a game
<CrustyBottom> Like any good 'who done it' movie.
<catherwood> define "agency"
<guy_p> the state of being in action or exerting power; "the agency of providence"; "she has free agency"
<imbri> better than what i was typing up, thanks guy
<catherwood> story spec, there's something that I've missed lately. Give a lot of "clues" in the character background, then the "puzzle" is just in figuring out their past relationships and secrets -- no ciphers!
<CrustyBottom> Be patient catherwood.
<catherwood> whose baby is Melody carrying!
<CrustyBottom> One will come along, I'm sure.
<catherwood> OMG, you mean Chuck lied about what school he attended!
<catherwood> that kind of discovery is almost more satisfying that solving a grid cipher
<guy_p> So it depends if "your own understanding" is a sufficient outcome to have "agency" toward (if that makes sense)
* CrustyBottom is still grasping "agency"
<RungeKutta> by agency, do you mean an agent performing something or doing an action?
<guy_p> "You do something = something happens"
<catherwood> is agency in the illusion that players have, thinking they control the outcome of the game, whether or not they actually can?
<CrustyBottom> forward motion?
<guy_p> True, given that all games are on rails, is it a bit of a myth?
<Ofiuco> I would agree with CB and say agency is moving through the story
<guy_p> But in Halo: I shoot someone, they die. If I don't shoot, they live. = Agency.
<Ofiuco> discovering more and more of the plot
<dm[a]x> Lost is a puzzle, but not like a grumpyboy sort of puzzle
<CrustyBottom> cause and effect vs. forward motion.
<RungeKutta> guy_p : so agency=an event
<catherwood> dmax, exactly.
<RungeKutta> oh ok
<Ofiuco> in a way, the story happens because they players find it.
* dm[a]x faints when catherwood agrees
<Ofiuco> if they sat there and did nothing, would it still play out?
* CrustyBottom rolls down the hill of implosion
<catherwood> did Stella have it, that sable&shuck game? if puzzle sat unsolved, there was no plot?
<catherwood> but S&S was a contest, so that's a special case
<guy_p> It was more the case that even if a puzzle *was* solved, there was no plot
<CrustyBottom> I think that was the whole discussion we had last week about including puzzles just to have them, etc.
<imbri> runge: agency doesn't have to be an event
<imbri> but it's typically an action
<imbri> and because, in most args, actions are precipitated by puzzles
<guy_p> On a pedantic level, you could say that the action is "reading a site" and the outcome is "gaining knowledge"
<imbri> there's an illusion that puzzles create agency
<CrustyBottom> I feel so "GED" right now.
<crouchosarus> does anyone have a transcript of the whole chat
<CrustyBottom> Imbri will put one up.
<CrustyBottom> Has done so in the past.
<imbri> um, yeah. i'll put one up
<guy_p> Well, take Lost - people are like "argh, will our questions never be answered?" They don't have any 'agency' to discover more. In an ARG, you *can* discover more, at your own pace, possibly by defeating obstacles such as puzzles
<crouchosarus> thx imbri
<imbri> it might be a bit cause i'm dealing with making dinner and stuff
<imbri> but it'll be up tonight sometime
<CrustyBottom> So, in other words, you create "agency".
<CrustyBottom> "Agency" doesn't exist on it's own?
<CrustyBottom> Or is "agency" simply perceived?
<guy_p> Agency is having the ball in your court
<CrustyBottom> got it.
<guy_p> Waiting for ILB to update: you aren't really playing
<guy_p> Going out to answer the phone is an action, and getting new files is an outcome, so I'd argue that's "playing" (even if it's not exactly a puzzle)
<crouchosarus> but only people in one area can "play"
<catherwood> but with ILB phones, the people at home were tasked with putting the sound clips in order
<guy_p> Indeed, indeed
<crouchosarus> you need to make something where everyone anywhere can "play" which is where puzzles come in
<imbri> but not really
<CrustyBottom> Well, my brain needs to relax before going on with my day. See you next week.
<catherwood> others gave themselves tasks such as writing transcripts
<RungeKutta> that's one aspect
<imbri> because the vast majority of puzzles, i couldn't play with
<Ofiuco> crouch, not everyone can do puzzles
<crouchosarus> no, but more people can
<guy_p> I agree, I don't think an ARG needs puzzles. But it needs "something to do".
<crouchosarus> it needs something everyone can do
<catherwood> playing Push,NV i felt compelled to list every name mentioned in the course of the story -- a character list -- but the game didn't assign me that task
<guy_p> And some of those tasks are generated by the community - writing guides, etc
<guy_p> yeah, what catherwood said!
<Ustice-Mobile> but not everyone doing everything
<catherwood> not "something everyone can do" but some THINGS a variety of people can do
<catherwood> multiple tasks are better than a single puzzle
<guy_p> and i'm not arguing that there's anything wrong with just watching things unfold and so on, i'd just argue that it isn't really "playing" so to speak
<catherwood> but then again, it's nice when you get a diverse audience, with players willing to dole out those mundane tasks to themselves
<guy_p> yes, absolutely
<crouchosarus> real life stuff is good when micxed with other stuff
<Ustice-Mobile> just about everyone likes those elements, though they can be the most costly. balance is needed
<catherwood> but aren't you back to the default ARGN audience mix? Don't talk yourself back into doing puzzles and tasks in the same ratio as we've always seen.
<guy_p> as opposed to... (?)
<catherwood> that's the homework for next week
<catherwood> design the same ARG in two or more different ways
<crouchosarus> that ratio has always worked fine
<catherwood> "always worked fine" for the same limited audience
<guy_p> Lurkers are good. Having lots of active players is good. But sometimes I wonder if trying to encourage lurkers to participate is like watching an ice hockey match and saying "you know, if we made the goals bigger, we could get some of those spectators out onto the ice!"
<crouchosarus> so does D&D and it slowly expands
<imbri> the "lurker problem" is an interesting one because i don't know that it's really a problem
<guy_p> i agree - i think it's more of an active choice than people realise
<spj_afk> why are lurkers a problem? i was afk and missed everything
<crouchosarus> ha ha ha
<imbri> cause i need to edit it a bit (take out parts/joins, timestamps, etc)
<crouchosarus> i just farted reallly load
<guy_p> not a problem, but i think some PMs have Lurker Guilt - "if they really loved the game, they'd post more!"
<imbri> it'll be up probably in about an hour, an hour and a half
<guy_p> thanks, crouch, have a medal
<crouchosarus> i will guy
<silentpyjamas> lurker guilt eh?
<catherwood> yeah, PMs, don't tell me how to enjoy your game
<silentpyjamas> that just seems more like a sort of insecurity. every group has its fringe members
* imbri tells catherwood to spend less time looking through stock photo sites and to post more spec
* crouchosarus is trying to pay attention osoooooo tired
<catherwood> perhaps those PMs need a better way to measure my enjoyment
<crouchosarus> a clap-o-meter!
<catherwood> lurkers don't flat out tell you they're having fun just lurking
<silentpyjamas> but if they keep lurking, they must be getting something out of it, yes?
<crouchosarus> or they are just bored
<guy_p> did you read adrian's stats post of hugeness?
<catherwood> how do you know they are lurking? there's that lack of measurement tools
<silentpyjamas> well, it's on them if they're lurking somewhere they're not interested
<silentpyjamas> but i'd think if they are staying around, they're doing something. maybe they're new and afraid to offer any ideas
<silentpyjamas> maybe they don't feel they have anything to contribute
<crouchosarus> or they, rather than post crap spec, only post stuff they KNOW is right
<crouchosarus> and are waiting til they hav a full theory
<silentpyjamas> i enjoyed findingaraya but i didn't participate much because i felt i dind't have anything to add to the group's efforts.
<catherwood> you really want me to post more spec? make a game that revolves around spec and not puzzles.
<imbri> guy, have you seen christy's as well?
<guy_p> yeah, on the ARGSIG list?
<guy_p> aye, it's top dollar
<silentpyjamas> it seems like as long as someone is lingering, there is some interest and they may have something to contribute. but if you make a game lurker-unfriendly, then people who just may want to observe or learn ho to play, or get their bearings, will feel unwelcomed
<imbri> yeah, it really is