EDIT: the game is now done, and available here -- http://radiatoryang.itch.io/intimate-infinite
"The original is unfaithful to the translation." -- Jorge Luis Borges
I am going to attempt to adapt a single Borges story, "The Garden of Forking Paths," multiple times. Probably at least three times. We'll see how far I get.
The interface to access each variant in the series will be obfuscated and obtuse. I will also probably post screenshots of variants that don't exist in the executable.
Any plans for how you're going to explore the theme of Translations other than obfuscating the interface?
Well.. any adaptation of the text is a translation, right?
I think I'm going to translate some things very directly (e.g. sometimes the exact text from the story) but also be indirect about other things? I'm trying to just spend a few hours on each section. I'm not going to have time to work on this for a while so I thought I'd put some work in while I can... here's two prototypes from this weekend --
"hedges" -- something about drawing a path / forking garden in a ruined abbey... I'm thinking there'll be a character down there to interact with, and this character will always turn left when encountering an obstacle? right now, just have the environment and an interface http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19887116/borges/hedge01/hedge01.html
"road" -- from a part in the story about a road:
... and started down the solitary road. It went downhill, slowly. It was of elemental earth; overhead the branches were tangled; the low, full moon seemed to accompany me. http://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/19887116/borges/road01/road01.html
Of Borges, I've only read* his short story Shakespeare's Memory, but I remember it being pretty great! This is a really cool idea, and I really like what you've got going on so far visually.
* Actually, listened to.
Oh, you should definitely read "Ficcones"... at least that's the Borges stuff that spoke most to me.
Okay here's a 3rd prototype I started in this series: something about chess. There's a part of the story that goes like this:
He does not even use the word that signifies time. How do you explain this voluntary omission?
I proposed several solutions—all unsatisfactory. We discussed them. Finally, Stephen Albert said to me:
“In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only prohibited word?”
I thought a moment and replied, “The word chess.”
... so I started looking up chess in art, etc. and I remembered Yoko Ono's sculpture "Play It By Trust", where all the pieces are the same color. I've made a simple chess interface now, but there are still a few bugs / it's a little reckless...
There's something about forking paths / permutations here. I think I'll have random setups, and chess setups actually seem kind of arbitrary? Maybe sometimes the pawns will be on one team vs. everyone else, etc. or maybe sometimes it'll be in Yoko Ono mode... and you can use the mouse and play "real chess" with it if you like, or choose to just tumble the pieces around, etc. inspired a bit by Wolfire's digital board game "Desperate Gods" where it's reliant on players to execute and interpret the game logic.
I reread the story yesterday and I'm curious if you will be addressing the infinitely splitting timelines in some way. To me that's what the story's really about—the reality where they are enemies parallel to the reality where they are friends—and you could maybe do that with the chess game (have a set of ghost chess pieces taking moves as if alternate realities? I'm not sure). The atmosphere of the first two in the series is already very nice, though!
Borges stories are really really cool. Is it the one with Tarot cards on the side of each pages ? We did a workshop on Borges's Aleph at my school, but I don't remember if that's The garden of Forking paths or not.
I remember i tried to conceptualize a story that is read simultaneously by multiple participants that "fixes" what they read in reality so if they choose a path where a character die, he dies for everyone.
Your 3 prototypes really have a very cool ambiance, the second one made me think of the path the main protag of Simetierre take to go to the old indian cemetery in King's book. Something really uncanny where the darkness seems to old moving shapes.
Noooo, I was mistaken, the book with the tarot card was "The castle of crossed destinies" by Italo Calvino.
BTW, i found the workshop doc we were handled, and especially a nice analysis of The garden http://www.borges.pitt.edu/sites/default/files/1808.pdf
Really glad to see that you're tackling this! Garden of Forking Paths is my favorite Borges story!
I'd also highly recommend Ficciones for those that haven't read any Borges yet.
Renamed the project after a quote from the story:
The afternoon was intimate, infinite.
I don't like the English translation here. In the Spanish, it's "la tarde" -- and the narrator talks about how it's getting dark and he can see the moon starting to rise and he's walking through all these darkening places and it feels really peaceful like that. I feel like the intended mood here is more like "evening" or "twilight" or "dusk" or simply, "the late"...
Trying to finish this by the end of the week. I think I know how it's going to start and how it's going to end now.
Here's Albert's study. The picture in the back is an 1888 illustration of the Summer Palace.
Also re-using some textures I did for @vectorpoem's "DECK" project since they are, after all, public domain.
The glass geospheres were originally paper geospheres, but they didn't feel "infinite" enough, so I replaced it with a glass shader I had laying around. I think this works better, they're like heavenly spheres floating around or something, but abstracted in this angular mathematical way. (in-game, you can see they're held up by strings, they're not actually floating)
That is good. Is this a 2D image or a unity render ?
Edit : that seems to be 3D, It really looks super nice.
I don't think I'm going to make the deadline, but I'll definitely be done by next week... :\
Where do you get your animations ? you do them by hand ?
Animations are from random Asset Store things. Mecanim makes retargeting trivial.
AAAA Robert..! This is looking so good. Haven't read any Borges, excited to do so now.
Ahhhhhhhh, I only just saw this after posting my own (much shabbier) Borges Series Pageant. This looks lovely!
Almost done with this! Please reply here or private mesage me if you'd like to test it and help me with feedback and stuff.
I liked it! Lovely composition in the title+road scene and the visual chaos of the story-faithful ending.
Making the player character run automatically when the train timer ticks down is a very cheeky way to enforce linearity in a game adapting a story about multiple timelines!
I liked the garden puzzle. Simple, but satisfying.
Both the garden and the chess scenes ask the player to hit grid spaces at an angle, often occluded by tall objects in more foreground tiles. I kinda appreciate this in the chess scene, where unforced execution error helps to quickly reveal the exoludic lack of enforcement of chess rules, but it's a little irritating in the garden.
The use of the word "riddle," visual inclusion of chess puzzles and the mechanical importance of the garden scene to progression sets up an expectation that the chess scene affects the others somehow, that there's something to solve. It works narratively to show a version of the protagonist on friendly terms with Albert, but it feels less playful with the implications of a goal, since there are so many permutations the player can't be entirely sure if they're just missing something. (Going out on an analytic limb... the original story answers the riddle with the word "chess," as a way to show how a work can be defined by what the artist chooses to leave conspicuously out. So it is in this scene, where everything hints towards a strictly-defined puzzle but lacks any mechanics beyond moving pieces, placing pieces and allowing any piece to capture another. It's in thematic opposition to the idea of outside goals, and becomes irrevocably changed, broken after the player achieves an end state. Albert "[says] the same words, but [is] an error, a ghost.")
Love the ending, how it links the three scenes geographically, how the after-effects bleed through time and space.
re: garden occlusion, yeah, but I couldn't come up with a more elegant solution because then it interferes with your intent to delete hedges... if you hold down left mouse in paint mode, you can "paint through" existing hedges. I decided consistent, even if it's inconvenient, is better. :\
When I was making it, I saw it a little in a formal sense -- Road is about a linear thing, Hedge is a puzzle thing, Chess is a toy thing... in that sense, yeah, you're right. But I also have a different reading of that riddle:
In a riddle whose answer is chess, what is the only prohibited word?
The answer is "chess" but it's also a paradox because this is a riddle that contains the word "chess"... you can't refer to something without referring to it. It ties a bit into my general reading of the story. It's nice to think that we exist across all these dimensions / quantum mechanics, but the truth is that Tsun will always shoot Albert, and human experience is always linear. That's why the story ends the way it does. Philosophy is fun, but you still have to go home at the end of the day.
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