"We fail each other, in ways both small and meaningful…" - Maid Marian
I’ve been thinking lately about an issue that is common in tabletop games, but sometimes overlooked when talking about video games: mindfulness. It’s an issue that runs both ways – between the game designer and the player, but also between the player and the game designer.
With a game like Nocked, mindfulness means that the designer needs to allow for the ramifications of the options presented to the player. In other words, if you’re given a choice that says “yes, I do”, the game needs to not turn around and say “no, you don’t”, or worse, simply ignore you. Now, the savvy game designer will look at this assertion and say “But that would lead to an infinite amount of work.” Potentially true, and while there are tricks to get around that rule without blocking the player, the real solution is to never offer an option without the intent to follow through.
On the player’s side, mindfulness means understanding the limitations imposed by the medium of the videogame, and accepting that sometimes options you would like to see won’t be there. If the designer is doing their job, they’re only offering options they can commit to given the context of the shared experience that is, in essence, both of your stories.
I’ve touched on this topic in previous blog posts, notably You Ruined my Robin and For Love of the Game, but it’s worth re-examining what that means from this different perspective. While I can’t promise that every set of options in Nocked will hold the freedom and potential you’re looking for, I’ve tried to stay true to what Robin, in his or her various incarnations, might consider. On the other hand, I promise no false hooks; no story is begun in Nocked that is not seen through the end.
Will you join me on this journey?
The Continuing Adventures of Development Robin
Your choices will decide Robin's fate each week.
Results from last week's adventure:
From Bad to Worse
Part 7 - Everybody Loves Cake!
The bake sale is a huge success! You make more than enough money to make up your budget shortfalls this year. As to the archery tournament, you find yourself neck and neck in the finals with a mysterious hunchbacked woodsman.
Let Them Eat Cake!
- That’s no woodsman, it’s the Sheriff in disguise! Arrest him!
- That’s no woodsman, it’s Dark Marian in disguise! Arrest her!
- That’s no woodsman, it’s King Richard in disguise! He’s here to save the day!
- I’m better than any woodsman. I dismiss him, and win the archery tournament.
The Adventures of Development Robin are complete. Follow the story in subsequent blogs, or read the most recent blog to take part in our new adventure, Marian and the Sheriff, beginning July 26th!
This is the Nocked! True Tales of Robin Hood development blog. Every week I’ll discuss some aspect of the game’s development, show off some art, and give you the opportunity to create an entirely new Robin Hood story. And be sure to check out the butler's take on the Sheriff of Nottingham, every weekday @ManOfNottingham.