Pageant "entry"-- this is basically an engine demo, the engine and UI work but there's no game there. The intent was that you lay out three cards on the first pane, and which cards you picked alter the "story" that appears on the next pane.Mac versionWindows versionSource code
I thought about this at the beginning of the month, but decided not to do it. Then I decided to do it.Reverse Tarot
In tarot, you lay down a series of cards in a particular pattern. The pattern is predetermined; the cards are randomly pulled from a deck. You then use your knowledge of what the positions mean in your particular spread and what the different cards represent to predict a supposed future for the tarot reading's subject.
In this game, you will perform reverse tarot: rather than pulling random cards and then deciphering a predicted fate, you will pick
cards to arrange into a tarot spread, and the cards you pick will actually determine the fate of a character within the game.
The game will be split up into seven "days", a single week in the life of the subject. For each "day", you will be given the outline of a tarot spread and allowed to arrange cards from a standard deck into the spread positions. When you have finished the spread, the game will present you with a brief story, describing what happened to the main character that day. There will be some implication, or maybe it will be stated outright, that the character does a tarot reading for herself every morning and the spread you arranged for her just happened to be the spread she pulled that morning. The game will use some kind of internal markup and a bag of story fragments to build the "story" for that day by selecting events to happen or not happen based on what fits the spread and what events happened earlier in the week.
So basically you are playing a text adventure, but rather than controlling the character outright you are simply influencing events as the "hand of fate". The game will not tell you in the end if you have hit an explicit "win" or "lose" condition; however, the main character's outcome by the end of the week will vary potentially quite a lot depending on how you influenced things, and it will be up to the player to decide how satisfactory they find that end outcome.
The game will completely assume from the beginning that interpreting tarot spreads is a skillset all players have, and the game does not need to explain how it is done or what cards mean, similar to how a video game about baseball would not consider it necessary to explain the concept of an "out".
Places I could take this:
- (Kevin's suggestion) Marginally different variations on events triggered by the cards could show different aspects of the character's personality, i.e. how she reacts to different situations.
- One idea I like, but I think would be very
hard to pull off, is maybe if you play through carefully you eventually notice that what you select for the tarot spread doesn't actually change
anything. Maybe if you play the Tower on Monday the main character receives a notice in the mail that she owes someone a great deal of money, but if you don't play the Tower the notice shows up in the story anyway on Thursday-- something happens like, if the character sees the Tower in her deck she treats it as a "warning" and therefore thinks to check her mail, otherwise she leaves the envelope unopened for a few days before finally finding it Thursday. Likewise other events are mentioned in the daily story or not in the story, but it's implied that they happened anyway, just the main character didn't notice them or reacted to them differently such that they were non-events. With this approach the authorial intent would be that within the game world tarot "doesn't work", the tarot cards pulled each morning actually are random and have no influence on or predictive value for what is going to happen; but having performed the tarot reading changes how the main character perceives what happens to her, and how she perceives the world each day as colored by her morning tarot exercise changes her behavior and these changes in behavior eventually have a real effect on events.
- It's been a while since I've done a long-form writing project
- Having trouble deciding "setting", I.E., who is the main character and what does she do with her life. My original plan was for this to be "slice of life" stuff happening to an average nobody, but if I go that route it might be hard to find a week's worth of interesting occurrences to write about or hard to make the "stakes" of the different outcomes high enough to justify caring that you've influenced things one way or another.
I feel good about my chances of completing this though (even with half the month gone) since this project idea "scales down", if I implement even a simplified version of this idea it can still be potentially interesting.Day 0
, what I have so far: An hg clone of the repository for my drum machine program, and a complete set of images for the public domain version of the Rider-Waite tarot.