White Flag

I’ve knocked up another little micro-game for mini Ludum Dare #27: “All Talk”. My effort is called “White Flag”. It’s just a dialogue tree with a measly 3 or 4 branch points, but I’m quite pleased with the implementation as it’s my first go at writing ActionScript within the StencylWorks Flash dev tool.

It needs a few extra bits before I could make anything worthwhile with it though – I didn’t have time to write line-wrapping code, so I had to place every line break manually. This was a nightmare, because the only way to know where the break should go was to see it ingame…a slow process even with so little text.

I need to read the text in from a file, rather than typing it into the script directly. Not sure if StencylWorks will allow that, though.

And finally, I wanted to have internal vars so that choices could accumulate over time or set flags for later in the dialogue. Ran out of time for those too.

But with those tweaks in place I’ll have a neat little dialogue engine which could easily be ported to Unity. Not bad for a couple of evenings’ tinkering!

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FMV Has Risen From The Grave

I’ve finally played L.A. Noire, for a few hours. The city is vast, the facial capture is great, but the level of interaction with suspects is disappointing. You get to pick a question, watch their answer and pick one of three reactions (truth/doubt/lie). If you think they’re lying you have to present the right evidence, otherwise they smugly stick to their story. If you debunk a certain percentage of their claims they break and confess.

I’m going to persevere with it, as it may get better later, particularly when I start on the serial killer suspects. These scenes will stand or fall on the writing. But I can’t help thinking that this is a game mechanic that exists only as an attempt to justify the technology. Because if the mechanics came first, Team Bondi could have saved themselves a lot of effort by using good old fashioned FMV. Despite the performance capture, the interrogations are still just a string of multiple choice cutscenes.

However, if they HAD done that, they would have had a jarring transition between the game characters and the FMV actors. The importance of the performance capture is not the interrogation scenes that showcase it – it’s the way it extends throughout the game, even to people you pass on the street. By making it universal, they’ve created a world where the canned interrogation cutscenes fit seamlessly. No other game could pull it off.

But what an effort just to make the audience accept what is basically FMV in a game…