Posts tagged Narrative

Elaboration ’bout Overwatch cohesiveness

So what is it about this whole “cohesive world” thing that I get so excited about with Overwatch? To answer that I need to explain why I consider Overwatch to be a cohesive world whilst I scoff at the mere notion of calling LOL or DOTA2 cohesive worlds.

What makes my glue cohesive?

DOTA2 is a world filled with heroes from many walks of life, it is a magical world reminiscent of a high fantasy landscape. There are wizards and warriors and spiders and maniacs with dendrophobia. DOTA2, or just DOTA, is a mod of Warcraft 3, which is why DOTAs’ heroes looks like they could have been Blizzard made. Someone thought of a cool mod/custom map to make and poof, we had DOTA. It did get some cohesiveness just from the fact that the assets used to build it had a innate cohesiveness with each other. But it is mostly a “superficial” cohesiveness. It is true that some heroes have connections with each other outside the one you create in-game during a match, but often it is very loose. Also, regarding the fact that the heroes comes from many walks of life, it is a mess. We have a Greek god, manifestations of high concepts/cosmic energies, a spider that want everyone to leave her kids alone, wizards, warriors etc. etc. It is a big mish-mash of colors and ideas. Here is where I say that we see that the glue isn’t strong enough, everyone is so different and their narrative power levels are super unbalanced. Also, no one seems to have a reason for fighting in during the match, why would they fight for either the Radiant or the Dire? (To be fair, this last complaint is overly nitpicky, since the game would suffer if you could only use some heroes with either team or if some heroes couldn’t be used in the same team. Gameplay should in these kinds of games always come first)

So I picked out 3 reasons why I think DOTA2’s glue isn’t as sticky as it should be.

  1. The games world wasn’t thought out from the beginning and is just a throw together.
  2. The “lore”, the info about the heroes, isn’t connected, some of it is but most isn’t.
  3. How can the more humble heroes stand up against literal gods? The power differences aren’t explained.

LOL also suffer from these points, although in a lesser extent. LOL’s world isn’t in the same way a party mix, since the world the fighting takes place in is thought out. The story of LOL, if I don’t remember wrong, is that lords in a kingdom is struggling for control off the throne, which is done by summoning champions from different worlds to fight and represent them in a alternate dimension. This little bit of story gives a “logical” explanation to why the heroes are so different, and why they are fighting. Thought to be honest, I think this is a lazy way to explain everything and it feels more like an excuse than a actual reason, but it works, which they should get some credit for.

The power differences still aren’t explained though.

Sticky, gluey Overwatch.

Overwatch doesn’t have these problems, since their lore is cohesive from the get go (and it is better and more interesting than LOL’s lore). The world of Overwatch is our own but a alternate version of it. In the Overwatch world, technology has come a long way, so long a way that it almost destroyed mankind. Mankind created self supplying factories that started spewing out death robots. This is called the Omnic crisis, and it is very important for the Overwatch universe, since it explains everything! (Not everything but many of the things)

To fight of the machine onslaught humanity created counter measures, and people from all walks of life had to take up the fight against the machines, or else they would perish. This explains why we have a former professional athlete running around with a lazor spewing gun, this explains why we have two psychotic killers equipped weapons made of scraps. Because they were just like everyone else in this world effected by the Omnic crisis.

Why do the heroes have such awesome, superhuman abilities, because it is only technology, just the very advanced sort.

How can they fight on an even playing field, because no one is a god, they are all just humans (except Zenyatta and Bastion) and they have been fighting the same kind of things. And they are all connected due to the fact that they are all earthlings, and they have all experienced the Omnic crisis.

What does this world consistency mean?

The good thing about a consistent/cohesive (maybe I should have used consistent instead of cohesive) is that if done right, nothing in it will feel out of place. Overwatch have a talking gorilla that have lived on the moon, but it doesn’t feel out of place nor random, it feels like something that truly belongs to this world (will get to that in another post). What it also means is that the game and the world can evolve alongside each other. When a new hero is introduced in Overwatch, we will learn more about this world and this characters relation to the other heroes. When a new hero is introduced in LOL, we learn about that hero.

I am not saying that LOL or DOTA2 are bad games because their worlds aren’t as consistent as Overwatch’s , because both of are wonderful games and they can do things story wise/narratively that Overwatch can’t, but as I wrote in the last post, I want to see what Blizzard will do with this.

Advertisements

Leave a comment »

Sumtjin ’bout Overwatch

This game is super nice and in some aspects all I wished for. Not only because it is very fun to play and looks amazing (even with my crappy graphics card). No, it is because it is cohesive, so incredibly cohesive. One glance and you can see that there is a unified vision behind its presentation.

As some of you who reads this might know, I have complained about DOTA 2 and LOL not having a cohesive style. Not that their art style is a scrambled mess, cause it isn’t, both their art styles and visual presentation are very cohesive. But the worlds they present aren’t. DOTA 2 just began as a mod of Warcraft 3 and later on they decided to create a story to it so it isn’t weird that they have everything from Greek gods, to internet trolls. LOL opts to use the little more cohesive world idea of having the heroes/champions being pulled from different dimensions to fight. Which to me is a bit cheap, but I can buy in to, it also allows the creators to make whatever they want, so kudos to them for that.

maxresdefault

However, with Overwatch I am seeing for almost the first time a Hero/Champion based game with a cohesive world vision that bleeds in to all the facets of the game. (Yes I am sure some other games have done this before (Tannhäuser for example) but I use this as an example because it’s big, popular and won’t be discontinued any time soon).

Why this excites me is because I am really looking forward to see what Blizzard will do with it. Will it they further the metaplot of the world later on? Maybe rework some of the old Heroes or give them new skins that reflect the story?

The story progression will probably mostly be delivered through comics and CG-trailers as they have up to this point, but even in game we get snippets of information about the cast. Will they down the road ad more “fluff/lore”-voice lines to heroes? I have no idea what Blizzard will do with this new amazing IP so I’m just giddy to be along for the ride.

Pic found here.

Leave a comment »

Impressions of: Gardens of the Moon

Friends are people you trust, people that try to be nice to you. Friends are not people that make you read a book that gives you a headache.

55399

Doesn’t it need a few more plants to be a garden?

A friend of mine told me to read this book, he said it was awesome, better than food, that I would either love or hate it (take note here dear readers, this last piece of information is a good indication that something might be iffy with what you are being “sold”).

But he was wrong, oh, so very wrong. I didn’t hate or love it; I just liked it, a 6/10. Now I don’t think it was a bad book, it had moments of brilliance, especially a character introduced later on, called Kruppe, he was fantastic. In fact, many of the characters in this book are interesting and fun to read about, even if we don’t get to know them enough to call them acquaintances. Then where is the problems/lack of excellence that makes it into a 6/10 instead of a 10/10?

There are four main problems in this book, according to me, the first is: What the heck is even happening?!

I am able to find the thread which is this book’s main plot (even though it took a while) fairly easily, but at the same time we get to know about 3-4 other bigger plots, that are on a world level, while the main plot of Gardens of the Moon is on a group/country level. Mostly group. Furthermore, there is the problem of characters acting all “YOLO” and doing whatever they please for seemingly no reason, but to be fair it isn’t very common.

The second problem: Where did that come from and stop pulling things from Uranus!?

When I read this book one of my most common thoughts was “where the hell did that/this come from?”. If I had a dollar for every time I thought that I would have at least 50$, which wouldn’t get me a ticket to the Bahamas, but the next town over and a change of scenery is always nice. However unserious that was this is a real problem I believe. The reader shouldn’t constantly feel like almost anything could jump out behind the next corner, at least not in this kind of book. Had it taken place in a surreal dream world, than by all means, throw crazy at me all the time, but this is a serious, albeit fictional, world with what I guess are strict rules.

Problem number three: Who was that again?

Okay, this one is also one of the strengths of the book and the world but when you are first introduced to this universe it is annoying beyond belief. What am I talking about, I’m talking about names. Everybody and their grandma have about 20+ names which the author decides to switch between now and then. Sometimes it’s used to great effect when you think it is a completely new character we’ve been following but is actually someone we know just going by a different alias. Alas, it can be cool and the world is kind of sort of built around this practice but it is irritating when you have to learn over 9000 names just to follow the basic happenings from one page to the next.

Fourth of the problems: I know nothing about this place!

Right from the outset I understood that this is a grand and complex world that the story will take place in. A bit too grand and complex one might say. This is the mother of all the problems, at least all the ones I have called out. As you read the book, the grandeur of the world slowly dawns on you and you see that there are bigger things at stake and far from every card has touched the table. Big and complex worlds are not bad in and of themselves, but when you as the reader are thrown right into them with little to no explanation it makes your brain fry. It’s overwhelming. Normally you as the reader have a mug that can be filled with new information. This mug can hold about 10-11 ounces of new information, and then you need to drink it and contemplate over it during a sunset in a rocking chair. Sometimes Gardens of the Moon gives you the right amount of information, sometimes it gives you a tsunami.

Even though I have problems with the book I still feel like I should give the next one a chance. However, if that one doesn’t get a good grip on me then I’m out here.

Leave a comment »

Something about a movie #01 Jurassic World

This post will spoil some parts of Jurassic World (2015). If you haven’t seen it yet and don’t want to have anything spoiled than please stop reading. If you haven’t seen it and doesn’t care about some spoilage than don’t be afraid, keep reading, just know that parts of the ending will be discussed.

-SPOILERS AHEAD-

There are dinosaurs in this movie, of many different shapes and sizes, but the one I will concentrate on is the big aquatic one (Mosasaurus), the one shown in all the trailers. I think it is given a too big of a role in the movie. I understand that if they put so much time on rendering it, they would want it to do some cool stuff, but it doesn’t. So let’s look at the three times it is in the movie.

  1. The shot from the trailer + a little more

The first time Mr.Mosasaurus is shown in the movie, it is part of an attraction, a show. It is shown for us and the characters as a spectacle, which it is. Worth noting (if I don’t remember wrong that is) is that they say how many teeth it has, because it will be important later on in the movie (foreshadowing (though honestly, they could have skipped telling us its “dental number”)). As I said, it is shown as a spectacle, which it is. It is cool and fun to see this big creature.

  1. The torture death

This mainly the reason why I don’t like Mr.Mosasaurus, however, I do see the reason why this scene exists in the final product. The reason I don’t like the scene is because it is what I would like to call a torture death-scene. What I mean by that is that the inevitable death is prolonged just so we can see the soon to be dead person suffer. It doesn’t have to include torture, so maybe I should call it something else… but back on topic!

In this scene, the assistant, tasked to take care of the kids is taken by a flying dinosaur, dragged to the water area, dropped into the water, reputedly shoved under water by the flying lizard which tries to take her. Only to both be eaten by the mosasaurus. So why is this scene in the movie? I can think of three reasons.

One, to kill of a semi important character AKA someone we have seen more than one time during the film. Included in this is the fact that we as an audience are probably supposed to feel like she got what she deserved. Since she is shown as a “bitchy” assistant that can’t do her job/doesn’t care about the kids (read heroes), is “bitching” to her fiancé on the phone and is trying to control their wedding plans, also because she is British. Seriously, that is a valid reason; if you are not homogenous enough with the rest of the crew you will probably be on the list of dead people by the end of the movie.

Two, to give Mr.Mosasaurus a kill and three, to remind us of Mr.Mosasaurus so he won’t feel as random in the final act.

  1. The anticlimactic villain death

Most of the people I have talked to agree with me on this on. It was very anticlimactic to see the villain, Indomnitus Rex killed by the Mosasaurs, just because she stood to close to the water. It was the T.rex and raptor that was supposed to triumph over the baddie. The villan shouldn’t die by a swim by.

As I said before, the second appearance of the Mosasaurus is the one which bothers me the most, the reason being that we are shown a “torture death”. ‘Cause if you look back at almost all the other deaths in the whole franchise, this one doesn’t fit. Yes, there have been gruesome deaths, and deaths that aren’t super quick or in which the camera lingered on the killing. But in all of those instances there was something obstructing the view or the camera was zoomed out. Here we see the victim fighting for her life, nothing covering the happening, and having close up shots of her. Just too truly show us her agony and terror before her ultimate demise. It doesn’t fit into the franchise or the rest of the movie. Also, as I stated before, she had to be killed because she didn’t do her job, classic reason to die for in a movie. But if we think about it, she actually tried to do her job, though not as enthusiastically as she should, but the kids just run away. Plus, the one supposed to take care of them, the kids’ aunt, isn’t doing that. She is only shown to be interested in business and money (but don’t worry, she redeems herself by wanting to have a family of her own by the end of the movie. Unexpected message yo).

PS. Don’t claim that the first death in the original Jurassic Park, the one with the blue collar worker, is a “torture death”. The focus is not the one dying, yes he is in focus but not the main spotlight, also his face shows pain, not terror or dread. The dinosaur killing him isn’t shown and the focus is more on trying to rescue the dying one.

In the first “point” I said that the number of teeth of the Mosasaurus was important, well I forgot about while writing this post and that is how important it is. It is important because “the one with the most teeth wins”… It’s stupid…

Leave a comment »

Semi random blurt #03

There is a saying that goes: “There is nothing new under the sun” which is more or less true depending on how harsh you are with defining what’s new. This saying will have importance to this SRB.

I think it was back in 08-09 it all happened. I was going to create one of my first original characters (don’t steal ‘kay!(will use the term OC from now on, to be more like the cool kids)). You might already now where this story is going but please keep reading anyway. The reason this was going to be a big deal, at least for me at the time was the fact that it was for a RPG forum. I think it was called “Desert world” or something along those lines. It was going to be my first “public” OC and not only that, I would have to role-play it.

From the start I was suffering from illusions of grandeur, my ambition was to create a totally original OC that was going to become famous on the forum, a main protagonist of sorts. A Wolverine to the X-MEN/Marvel universe. Even if Wolverine isn’t the protagonist of everything or even a main player, everybody knows of him. I wanted to create my own Wolverine. So as I said, my ambitions were high. But as with all great tales (not really) it was doomed to fail from the very start.

My character was going to have the ability to cancel out other peoples abilities, he was going to be an orphan due to murdered family but survived by luck, be happy go-lucky but with a dark past (see what was written before the last comma) and he was going to have a evil creature bound to his body. See, only original traits… at least I thought I was original while creating him.

As I was making the most groundbreaking OC ever seen by this cruel, cruel world I looked through characters that other people had made, to see my “competition” and get inspiration. Whilst going through some characters I stumbled up on a character which had almost the exact same background story, though powerless and whiteout an evil entity tied to his body. But this shattered my innocent mind. I was a rip-off! I was not the creator of a superbly unique OC. I was at most mediocre. This made me sad, very sad and ashamed. So ashamed that I quite the forum without even finishing my character.

So what is the point of this story? For me it was to realize that I ain’t unique and special even though my mother says so. It was also when I realized that no matter what I make, there will be similarities with other things, that came before or which will be created at the same time. And it is something we just have to accept. ‘Cause even if something isn’t completely 100% original, that doesn’t mean it’s bad. If you are making a stereotype, just make sure to make it in to YOUR stereotype and be proud and happy that you made something. Originality comes with practice and time, we need to stumble and fall a few times before we can create the real OC’s.

Leave a comment »

Metaphors?

Why do we use metaphors? We could just plainly state what we want to say or write. “He kissed the girl”

See, that wasn’t so hard. Now there is no confusion. But seriously, why do we use them. A metaphor could just become waste of space and ink in story, the bad ones at least. A good metaphor enhances events, or rather the description of them. If we take the example, “He kissed the girl” and add “like a mother kisses her child”, the kiss will be totally different.

We use metaphors to enhance a event/description/thingymajingy by calling upon a “common” source of knowledge. Another example: “His eyes, brown as a young doe’s, sparkled in the light”. So here I used a metaphor (or maybe it is a simile, not totally sure, English is hard sometimes) to describe the color of a person eyes. I could have written, light brown instead, but because I used “[…] as a young doe’s […]” I call upon a common source of knowledge. By common I mean knowledge that most people should know, just to clarify. A person who reads this will probably think that his eyes are very beautiful and maybe innocent looking, because of what we associate does with, now for another example, but this time of a “bad” metaphor.

“His eyes, brown as a cesspool, sparkled in the light”. If this was used to describe beautiful eyes… it failed miserably. It would probably be a bad metaphor to use in most situations when describing the color brown, unless of course you want a disgusting brown. Than it would be a good metaphor.

Why do I ask why we use metaphors? Because I think that you should question how things work, even if they are the right way to do something. ‘Cause if you do you might just learn something, like how metaphors work. Also I do it because I’m interested in storytelling and narrative and such fancy stuffs.

Enough of a detour, if we go back to the first example: “He kissed the girl”, this might seem like very plain thing to write. You could spice it up a notch or two by writing “He made love to her face with his orifice” or “He tasted her lips, warm with blood and sweet from cotton candy”. These two ways of writing “He kissed the girl” spice things up, creates some dynamic to the event and also sets a certain tone to the whole thing… and it is also the reason why “He kissed the girl” can be a very good way to describe the event. If for example, the story is from the “He’s” perspective and it just says: “He kissed the girl” and nothing more is added. It can give us readers something to think about and some smart depth. Was it so that he actually didn’t think the kiss was anything special, maybe he doesn’t love this girl that he kissed. That is the problem with writing, there is no right way to do things, how bothersome… well not really, but since no real “right or wrong” exist, how will you know that what you write is “right”? (Dunno, don’t care, give me more chocolate)

Leave a comment »

Distortion for narrative’s sake: Darwin’s theory of evolution

Darwin’s theory of evolution says that the fittest will survive, triumph, and spread his or her genes. That is the short version, that is the simplified version, which is the version which becomes misused time and time again.

What it actually says, Darwin’s theory of evolution, is that those who are the fittest, most adapted, for its environment that will survive and spread their genes. This is also a simplification, since I don’t mention luck and many other factors that need to be take into account.

So how is it misused than? Well most often it all hinges on the word fittest, at least in my opinion. Fittest can be synonymous with strong/strongest and I guess it is also often translated to strongest. This would mean that the strongest ”by the law of nature” is supossed to win. An even worse interpretation of it is that not only will the strongest survive, only the strongest should survive and also rule the weak, since the weak are unfit to rule (pun intended). Side note: This train of thought, interpretation of evolution, has been used by way to many extremist groups, because it would be so nice if nature/God was supporting what you did.

But as I said earlier, that interpretation is wrong, strength has nothing to do with evolution/natural selection (technically it can have but bear with me). Adaptation does however. If you are good at adapting to a new environment, you are more likely to survive. To exemplify: A mouse is not strong or cleaver, it is placed very low in the food chain. But mice are good at finding food and they reproduce like rabbits. An eagle is strong and among the top in the food chain. But which of them are declining in numbers?

Many villains say that the strongest will survive and rule over the weak to justify their actions. Sometimes they also say something along the lines of “it’s a eat or be eaten world we live in”.

Though that only applies to the “thinking”/”talking” villains. We also have to monster villains that are said to be the pinnacle to evolution, the “perfect” predator, the predator to make everything its prey… yeah, well how about no.

Yes the predator might be extremely dangerous and be able to hunt almost everything. But it won’t be perfect. Because it will be adapted to the environment it came from, not every environment. So to call an apex predator perfect is silly, because it isn’t perfect. If it was it wouldn’t have any flaws, which most monster villains in fact have even though they are “perfect by evolution”.

Leave a comment »