Friday, July 30, 2010

Back from the Black

I know it has been some time since my last post. In fact, it has been far too long. Whenever I have a spare moment from the busies of life and work on my side projects I see 2 options: I can either blog about what I am doing or I can get more of what I am doing done. Unfortunately, I typically see the latter as being the more productive action.

That said, Robot is still going strong. Justin is diligently working on the script and hopes to have it completed within the next couple weeks. I am attempting to channel all of the mothers of the world and guilt Trevor into sketching the concepts for the characters. I recruited 3D artist to build those fantastic sketches and turn them into a virtual reality. ...And as for me, well...I still need to get a computer that can handle the new Chat Mapper. It doesn't completely freeze my computer. No. I just can't open the application. But of course, and I just realized this, I don't need to open the Chat Mapper to update the exporter. Just to test it.

Ghost is going along quite well. I have yet another buddy of mine, Karl, working on 2D images of the various ghosts. It was crazy. I asked him to create a set of ghosts for the game. I gave him the their various powers and toughnesses (Yes, I play Magic: The Gathering) and the next day he came back with names for all of them and several drafts of the first ghost. It's hard not to love this guy's passion.

(I really do have a lot of really creative and talented friends.)

And with all my various trips back and forth between Chicago and Minneapolis in the past few months, I have had plenty of time to think. And because I am thinking without the specific implementation of either of these 2 games, I came up with yet another game. I call it Martyr. It's based off of a thought experiment in recalled from my "Moral Theory and Practice" course in college. Nearly ten years later, one would think that I would eventually forget those lectures.

Initial iterations would be a zero-player "game" that plays as such:

Initially, a set of characters are created. Each character is defined by a personality. A personality is defined by the Five Factor Model. Each of the five factors is either POSITIVE, NEUTRAL, or NEGATIVE. For each factor, one of its dimensions is randomly selected. This dimension has the same value as its factor. This defines the character's personality. Each dimension carries with it positive and negative weights toward 8 basic emotions. The greatest 2 values in the character's emotional dyad, such as "Love" or "Morbidness". This dyad determines what action the character will perform towards another character. If the dyad is composed of 2 opposing emotions, then cognitive dissonance occurs resulting in no action.

Each character has 3 POSITIVE, NEUTRAL, or NEGATIVE "feelings" toward each character (including himself). This relationship is defined using the Triangular Theory of Love. Now whenever a character acts upon by another character, he has the possibility of influencing the target character's emotional dyad. The intensity and longevity is determined by the target character's relationship toward the acting character. For example, if Character A has an emotional dyad is "Love" and Character B has a consummate love relation toward A, then B's JOY and TRUST values increase permanently and SADNESS and DISGUST values decrease. However, if B were to have a consummate hate relation toward A, the opposite would occur. If B were to have a NEUTRAL commitment toward A, then the influence would last for 1 round. If B were to have a NEGATIVE commitment toward A, then the influence would last for 1 turn.

Each basic emotion has an opposite and resulting emotion. JOY results in more JOY. However, SURPRISE results in ANTICIPATION. This allows for "Dominate" personalities to create "Submissive" personalities, and "Curious" personalities to create "Fatalistic" personalities.

This would be the simulation. The "game" portion returns to the Trolley Problem and also why I call it Martyr. There would be X number of dying characters in play. The player would have Y amount of health (Y is less than X). The player can walk up to the various characters and few their personalities and relationships. Now the player can heal a character and return him to life. Doing so, causes the player to lose 1 point of life. Once the player has expended all of his life, he dies and the simulation occurs for a set number of rounds.

While this "game" may appear evil, we (you and me) as individuals do this sort of thing everyday of our lives. We chose to interact and influence certain people, while ignoring others. This project just brings that unpleasant reality to surface. It begs the question, or at least I hope it does: "How do you spend your life?"

Alright. Back to work on either Robot or Ghost.

Note: There is a certain emotional dyad that will heal other characters. And of course, there is also a dyad that will kill others.