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Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot [PROTOTYPE DONE]

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Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot [PROTOTYPE DONE]

Postby mcc » Mon Sep 12, 2011 10:40 am

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 version
Windows version
Source code

Image

----

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.

Concerns:

- 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.
Last edited by mcc on Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:09 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby sevi_ » Mon Sep 12, 2011 4:26 pm

Sounds nice! Good luck :D
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby mcc » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:37 am

I can now load and display JPEGs.

Image

It's uh... probably pretty difficult to tell what's happening in this image. But I assure you it is correct.

Now I just need to convert about 77 images to non-progressive...
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby mcc » Mon Sep 19, 2011 12:57 am

Interface is getting somewhere! Maybe I'll be able to start writing tomorrow...

Image
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby Stephen L (inactive) » Mon Sep 19, 2011 10:12 pm

Oh, cool idea. :]
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby mcc » Tue Sep 20, 2011 8:20 am

Project status: So I made a bunch of progress on the UI, and the "tarot card" part of the game now functions more or less exactly the way I want it! Things are drawn the right way, and move around the right way, and I can specify arbitrary spreads (board layouts) with SVG files.

Which would be great except, for no reason I can discern the entire board is now drawn about 1/4-ways outside of the window.

Image

...I'm going to go to sleep and see whether I wake up able to do math correctly.

EDIT: Oh, forgot to mention, here's my working source repository.

https://bitbucket.org/runhello/rtarot
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby mcc » Wed Sep 28, 2011 7:37 am

This definitely won't be done in time.

Looks like I'll have an interesting engine prototype with a highly polished interface though!
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot

Postby bushmango » Thu Sep 29, 2011 2:57 pm

Sounds like a lot of fun, I encourage you to finish it anyways, or at least release the prototype.

I love that card set too, used it in my game :)
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot [PROTOTYPE DONE]

Postby mcc » Fri Sep 30, 2011 8:35 am

I'm going to be up in the city tomorrow, so this is my "entry" for the pageant. Here's what I've got.

Mac version
Windows version (UNTESTED)
Source code

Image

What I have here is basically an engine/interface demo-- this is "what the game will look like when it's done". You can lay out the card spread, and then it gives you a little page of story. I haven't written one word of the game story yet so what it displays here is just some random canned text that does not change depending on what card you laid out. Most of what's here is data driven so when I am ready t "actually" finish this I should be able to just start writing XMLs and SVGs and mostly just tweak the code (although I think I want to make the visuals more arresting one way or another).

When I say the Windows version is untested, btw, I mean I literally have not run it. For all I know it crashes on startup.

I think I am happy with this for two weeks of progress. I may attempt to take a pass this weekend at something a little closer toward a game, either way, I definitely plan to finish this at some point.
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot [PROTOTYPE DONE]

Postby jabbyjim » Fri Sep 30, 2011 1:37 pm

I tested it in Windows7, and it works just fine. I'm totally lost playing it (its very interesting!), but it runs very smooth!!
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot [PROTOTYPE DONE]

Postby mcc » Sun Oct 02, 2011 7:08 pm

Thanks Jabby!

In post-pageant screwing around, I experimented with simple shader based color effects last night. I am not sure I like any of the results.

Anyone have opinions on which of these look good/acceptable?

#1 (no filtering)

Image

#2

Image

#5

Image

#6

Image

My goal was to make the colors look washed out and posterized and crappy, like you're playing this on an ancient computer terminal. (Well my original goal was to have everything be drawn to Apple //c graphical limitations, but the Apple //c graphics system turns out to be SO weird that this was more complicated than expected. I will try again later.) Unfortunately I suspect I succeeded and it just looks... like the colors look crappy. Like it doesn't look like it was on purpose, it looks like I used poor quality source images.

I feel like I like the first one and the last one best; I want to go with the last one but the little images at the bottom look so awful there, I'd have to do something about that. On purpose or no I feel like the color-adjusted ones look sort of more evocative where the top version looks sort of dull. But. Maybe I can find a way to make things look interesting without looking unintentional and ugly :/

On a similar note I am quite enamored with how this looks but I don't think I could actually force players to look at this for 7 screens.

Image
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Re: Mysticism Pageant: Reverse Tarot [PROTOTYPE DONE]

Postby angrygeometry » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:18 pm

this looks like a really interesting concept man, i'm looking forward to trying this out later.
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