thread: 2011-04-08 : Freeform

On 2011-04-09, Emily wrote:

The importance of content in traditional games (ie setting, character, genre conventions) is huge. All fictional games, really.

I'd argue that procedural really doesn't capture the structure in structured freeform. Many mechanics that are mechanics free still mediate the fiction. (Drinking from the bottle in Drunk to see what next event happens, taking the hand of the angel or devil in Under my Skin).

Like you said, indie games are all about procedure beyond mediation. It may be a dividing line between trad and nar indie, since the things it deals with are things that traditional games don't have to deal with (narration rights, scene framing, content creation) because who does them is clearly defined and doesn't vary. When you have more variation, that kind of mechanic is more important. You need tools that help you not only form the fiction (like the mediating cues in trad), but to form the flow of who says whatness for creating the fiction.

This is also not so useful in immersive flow games like jeep or larp. You don't want to drop out in order to talk about who gets to say what.

Improv exercises seem like low initial content principled freeform. Ex. Base your scene on the positions you're in, one person acts out what another person says, play the scene but one person must always sit, another stand, etc).  I find low content games like that hard! It's much easier when you've got a meaty situation to help you all pull together. Improv'ers are like decathlon athletes.


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