(Or from Wilt to a composable story engine.)

I had this narrative design problem: how could I define my game’s “slapstick” scenes that mix movements, actions, barks and dialogues without hard-coding behaviour in something linked but not organic to the narrative content?

In the past, I have used dialogues and configurations (in Unity, Scriptable Objects) in order to somehow keep the narrative and plot separate from code (so not hard-coded LOL) but for a “slapstick” game I need a more dynamic and integrated solution.

In memoriam Ennio Morricone (1928–2020).

(Images from the movie The Good, the Bad and the Ugly)

Four strained shapes slowly swinging in the hot wind, like clothing hanging to dry, where it probably never rained. A little swing, hiding the rising sun, a little swing, a crown of rays exploding from the edges.

The smell of petroleum puddles on the path, horse carefully avoiding them. Silhouette of the wooden houses.

Closer. Main road, covered in horse, cattle and human shit, hard and dry.

Saloon, sheriff, jail.

The four shapes now had filled their shape-ness, turned into fully dead bodies, hanging, with the faces stuck in their last frame. Two of the…

From https://maggese.itch.io/dont-make-love/devlog/3412/showcase-at-game-happens

I remember well when I first met Dario. We were in Genoa, June 2017, at the wonderful Game Happens game festival. I saw this interesting looking game where you could interact by simply writing questions and answers simply in natural language. Parsing natural language was my first research love at the university, and of course it was a failed project (deterministic parsing of natural language is simply impossible), so I was very intrigued by this game. Playing it with it still worked though; and someone was watching me play behind my back. It was the developer, Dario, smiling.

“So you…


The empty chair on centre stage was feeling uncomfortable, as it received the director’s thoughts in waves, thoughts that had been focused on it again and again with increasing carrier rage. The chair missed its bony actor, who was more than two hours late.

The table between the two chairs was stable, as most tables do. The other chair was quite happy, embracing the warm, bored bottom of the actress. Silvia was thin, so no strain on the structure. The actress was increasingly uncomfortable, but it was good that she was constantly generating heat.

She was alone on the stage…

The tourists referred to in this short story written for the “secret game writers club” are the mutinuous members of the club themselves, @VerenaKyratzes iamleyeti @demigiant.

- I will be your guide. I am Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, here to serve you.

- …

- You don’t look impressed. Didn’t you notice my exquisite mastery of the sweet German idiom? I am a so-called “universal” genius. I can solve open problems in any field!

- Examples? Well, what better than my Theory of Colours, Zur Farbenlehre! You must have heard of that.

- “Widely ridiculed by scientists?” “Fails to explain…

I play games as I discover them, sometimes decades after they were released (by the way now you can get Blade Runner on GOG) so as usual I’ll do Games I Played This Year That I Loved But May Actually Be Ancient).

Blade Runner — the videogame.

Usually, I do this with @demigiant but he didn’t find masterpieces this year so he is keeping silent & grumpy in his polyphemic freezing cave, where he is creating a new humongous, massive & beautiful game, e.g. see this:

My GOTYs in my sense are:

  1. Do Not Feed The Monkeys by @Fictiorama
    Well, this is exactly the kind…

Sports in videogames are represented either through simulators or as management games. In what follows I explore an alternative “anthropological” path using narrative and strategy to represent football’s universe and its paradoxical epic.

This content has been / will be presented in various forms at Internet Festival (Pisa), Indiecade Europe (Paris), Game Happens (Genoa).

Football in videogames

Going live with Football Drama was our first time in publishing a commercial game, so it was also very important.

Football Drama went live on September 18, in 8 languages (EN IT DE FR ES PT ZH RU) on these platforms:

Google Play (Android), App Store (iOS) (also Mac App Store), Steam.

Football Drama has been built by these guys:

Following the research done for “Videogame Dialogues: Writing Tools And Design Ideas” (a quite popular Gamasutra post on game dialogue’s user interfaces written by Daniele Giardini and myself) when I had the chance to get back to developing the narrative part of Football Drama I decided to create further layout tools for the writer, building upon the research done then.

One of the observations of the linked post was how mature and feature rich are dialogues in contemporary comics with respect to today’s games, as in the examples below.

31 December 2018 By Pietro Polsinelli

In this video, we bring you on a journey through football and its surrounding universe and stories. In a trip through novels, poems, movies we meditate and wonder about football’s nature.

This exploration is a way to explain why we believe that football is an interesting subject for a narrative game, which we are indeed developing (Football Drama).

Originally published at designagame.eu on December 31, 2018.

Pietro Polsinelli

I design/develop/teach HTML5 & game design & unity3d in 2D :-) http://t.co/gblGNJrSLQ - ppolsinelli@gmail.com

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