April 22-23 I attended Narr@tive: Digital Storytelling, a UC Digital Cultures Graduate Conference at the UCLA Hammer Museum. Everyone was so nice. Too nice. Too damn nice.
The University of California system has a solid graduate program and provides excellent resources for cross-campus events. By excellent resources I mean that they are exceedingly generous in picking up the tab when the conference heads en masse to the local pub.
The organizers were likewise generous with their time, in that they spread out 19 presentations, two keynotes, and one roundtable over two days. (Two days on chairs I wouldn’t put in even the most despised Sim household. This chair provides: comfort 0.) Two days which could have accommodated another dozen presentations, the addition of which would perhaps have offered some high points to an otherwise middling assembly.
There are two ways to design a conference: leave everyone yearning for more, so that they furiously exchange business cards before catching a taxi to the airport, or give everyone a solid 20-30 minutes so they can practice their public speaking skills. If you choose the latter design, a good way to spice things up is to run concurrent sessions, so that attendees are forced to choose between “Diegetics and the Other: Uncovering Narrative in Hypermedia” and “Narrative and the Other: Dude, where’s my diegetic?” But that didn’t happen here. As I said, everything was nice.
The rules of surface are motivated by considerations on the lower levels. Craft puts pressure on surface through the mastery of tools; a master of craft will be seen as someone who uses the “correct” tools, and so their surface will be defined by the tools of craft. Structure determines the relative importance of certain relationships, so it determines which of the elements would best be served in the surface presentation. Idiom affects surface through its influences on structure and craft, and also, as I discussed with the anime RPG, idiom often pulls in certain rules of surface by referring to idioms which are specific to certain elements.
Rules of idiom
The rules of idiom are rules about the genre of a game. A game falls into a genre when it satisfies the idiomatic characteristics of that genre.
A Real Time Strategy (RTS) game might be described idiomatically in this way:
|1) Activity takes place in “real time”.|
|2) The playfield is preexisting according to some set of parameters.|
|3) The production of units (the pieces which the player or a computer can manipulate) requires the consumption of playfield resources.|
|4) There is a set of direct dependancies which determine which units may be produced based on the current state.|
|5) There is conflict between opposing sides.|
|6) Combat between units of different types is non-symmetric.|
Found on Bryan-Mitchell Young Popular Culture Gaming: EA University!
Conversational comment spam. Three guys, “Paul”, “Steeveguy”, and “Kidrock” have a content-free exchange in an oh-so-subtle attempt to promote some websites.
I’ve pasted the fakey conversation below.