Monday, December 15, 2008

... restarting the revision?

Lately I have been thinking about restarting the revision, because I think there's things I am taking for granted. A recent discussion in Thief Gen started me thinking about the way the thief-game tools should be treated in a different medium. I realised that we, the authors of Thief fiction and those aspiring to create short Thief films often take things far too literally. I am no exception. Consider the differences between how a game set in the 'real world' compares to the actual real world. Everything exists as a cartoon version of itself rendered as either an obstacle or a powerup. I think that most Thief fans would be offended if a speed potion were called a powerup, since powerups are for mario, but that's what LGS called them in their development journals.

Some reverse engineering is needed, I think. I know that iff A then B, and I have D, and must find C. We know what the cartoon/game version of the Thief world is like. How do I backtrack from there and find the reality it could have been based on? What exactly are water and fire arrows when freed from the constraints of balanced gameplay? What about rope arrows, which many players and authors themselves have often scratched their heads over?

I'm not talking about throwing that all out. Jyre shouldn't suddenly use a different way to climb Nightfall's tower. Ghost shouldn't have to wrap an oil-soaked wick around an arrowhead and light it if he wants a fire arrow. These game items should have a 'real Thief world' counterpart that they are based on - not a mundane 'our real world' un-imagining.

2 comments:

ehcmier said...

Yes! The term "reverse-engineering" came to mind as I tried to understand where my fellow taffers were coming from, so I could better share how I had arrived at my conclusions and preferences. This is also related to why I sift through the materials that were left behind, cut out to avoid over-saturation, or outright rejected from the canon. I let it all flavor my perspective, or correct it when I've gone too far.

Anarchic Fox said...

The elemental crystals are fairly easy, as the canon established their nature. In a place where one of the four fantasy elements predominates, some of that element may spontaneously form a static (but unstable), highly compressed crystalline form. When that form is agitated (by impact, generally) it reverts the element to its natural state, i.e. a mass of water, fire, air (which knocks people out because as pure air it would be just one gas, perhaps pure nitrogen), and earth (except in the Thief universe "earth" refers to organic material, and what we think of as earth is not a pure element.

As for rope arrows, there's no way you can make those plausible without adding too much back information. I would stick with an entirely operational description. Here's how it works, here's how it affects the user, here's where it fails the user, but the user has no clue how it actually works.