No Time To Play
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Weekly Links #31

I've no idea when my browser started supporting WebGL. It wasn't last time I checked, but when was that? Possibly months ago... before the last OS upgrade. Oh well, that must be it.

Anyway, since it's now working, I again tried playing with Three.js a little. Even without accelerated drivers, Mesa is a lot faster than a rendering engine in pure Javascript, and WebGL allows for some neat tricks such as fog and proper lighting. Not that it helps much.

You can use the good old WASD keys to move around. I was going for a Sentinel vibe, but failed, and cheap tricks couldn't fill the gap. (Amusingly, using the software renderer comes closer to what I had in mind.) To top it all, I worked just as much on figuring out Three.js as I had previously on setting up various 2.5D engines from scratch. And at least this one had style.

Oh well, on to the real news.

The Monk's Brew, a gamedev blog I first mentioned last week (despite knowing about it for 8 years), posts some musings about player freedom in story games. I wrote about this myself, obliquely, and I agree that interactive storytelling is hard, hard, hard. (I already ran into problems with the 5 minutes of gameplay in the Before the Faire demo.) But the problem is hardly intractable. It's just that you must be willing to question the meaning of the words "interactive" and "story"...

In other news, Kotaku asks what was the first game that truly disturbed you. I could only think of one: a French text adventure called Les lettres volĂ©es. What about you? And Rocket News 24 writes about a literal ghost in the machine — a very emotional story.

Last but not least, via Jean-Marc Liotier, here's a game that redefines both playing and learning: Erase All Kittens, in which you learn HTML from the very basics by playing a game... that consists of changing the source code of each level to make it winnable. And I thought originality was overrated.