22 April, 2010

Vector Theory #11: Filters

I just put this post up on The Forge, it's one of those things I've been trying to get towards with Vector Theory, but losing my lobe in mid-March has caused there to be a general disruption in services for the blog. (Most of my attention has been focused on activities that have a slightly better chance of earning me some money...eg. Building my suit of Iron Man armour, illustration, and actually doing the legwork and looking for jobs).

But anyway, here's a cut down version of the post (I've cut out a few of the points referencing this very blog, to avoid a post-modernist perspective loop).

If you leave it alone, a story/beam will continue traveling in a straight line. If you put mirrors in the way of the story/beam, you deflect it in a premeditated way. If you focus the beam through a series of lenses, you have a tendency to divert it to a specific point (this might be a climax, or a specific scene along the story).

Colour theory emerges with some of the deeper concepts in the thory. If you pass the story/beam through a coloured filter, then the sory becomes tinted by that form of experience.

Let's work with a hypothetical situation where combat equals red, puzzles equal blue and social play equals green.

  • Party 1: A bunch of players makes a balanced party...their starting beam of light is a balanced mix of the RGB colours...therefore white, but not very bright because of the mixture.
  • Party 2: A bunch of players just want to solve puzzles...their starting beam of light is purely blue, and very bright for this colour.
  • Party 3: A bunch of players make up their characters, mostly social types and some combatants. In additive colours, this makes their starting beam of light somewhere between red and green, but closer to red...therefore orange (and reasonably bright).

Challenge put forward to the characters cause the story to pass through correspondingly coloured filters.

Test 1: A complex puzzle (blue filter).
  • Party 1: Starting with a dull white beam, pass fairly easily through the situation (it might take them a bit of effort because their party isn't specifically tailored to this type of play). But their perception of the game will probably shift...they've encountered a puzzle so they'll expect more puzzles to arise. Their beam of light might take on a more bluish colour as they adjust their characters for puzzle solving obstacles.
  • Party 2: With a purely blue beam they pass through the situation as though it isn't even there. They are already optimised for puzzle solving play, so no changes for their beam.
  • Party 3: With no blue in their beam, they perceive the colour filter to be an impassable obstacle. Either their beam is reflected in a completely different direction, or their story ends here.

Test 2: A tense negotiation between two factions on the brink of a fight (Yellow Filter with 2 possible outcomes).
  • Party 1: There are a few options available to this group. Because they start with a white beam, they can see that there is a social (green) way through, or a combative (red) path. Depending on the path they take,
  • Party 2: Being purely intellectual (blue), this situation leaves them dumbfounded. Let's hope they have kept a way open to back out.
  • Party 3: This party sees the options available. For them, the violent red path would present no real obstacle, and it would probably cement their status within the game as warriors. They don't have as much power when pursuing the diplomatic green path, so this would be a bit more complicated for them (but still possible).

This is just an example of how colour theory would work with respect to game design theory. I would tailor the colours to the specific types of play that a game claims to produce, the types of situation potentially encountered through the game. The more focused a character is toward a specific play type, the more their beam of light is colour focused to that wavelength. The group as a whole is defined by the addition of all the character wavelengths. The obstacles met along the path of a story are similarly defined by colour combinations...the easier an obstacle is to pass through, the clearer it's filter...and if an obstacle is easier to pass with a specific strategy or play type, it starts to be coloured according to that wavelength.

I hope to expand this a bit more shortly.
Post a Comment