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# Chris Crawford kickstarts something else

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After 20 years of working on "the generalized interactive fiction problem" (my choice of words for it), Chris Crawford had the gut-wrenching realization that he's been on the wrong track, and that his Storytron technology is a failure. Picking up the pieces, he took some helpful advice from other game developers. Namely, that he should try to write some other, easier game to postpone his financial death. Something more like the games he used to make, or even a modern revisitation of one of his previous works. He took heed and now has a Kickstarter project for Balance of the Planet. Although more tractable than his Storytron effort, it seems he'll be going up a learning curve rejoining the modern world of game development as well. I can't speak for all readers on the internet but I've started web searching reactions to this new project of his, and some are, uh, rather negative. Some of it I'm sure doesn't take into account the pain this man is going through, to change his tune like this. Some of it is surely generational: if you're old enough to have played a Crawford game in the original, you are probably more sympathetic than someone who has merely heard of him, or maybe hasn't heard of him at all. But some matters will be settled as a matter of game design, which is why I'm posting this here. What are your thoughts on his concept and pre-alpha demo? Edited by bvanevery

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I did notice that he made it neutral by not only researching both sides, but letting the player change the settings, which I believe could work. However, otherwise, although this man deserves more than a penny for his efforts, I'm not too interested.

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That's very, very nice conceptually. I have difficulty understanding how this could be the result of so many years of work.
It's... interesting for sure. But I'm afraid the steep learning curve won't attract much success. It's a complex, controversial topic.
And I really cannot draw a line between the interactive storytelling and this. I'm a bit confused. Edited by Krohm

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Balance of the Planet is not the result of so many years of work. Chris did so many years of work on the Storytron and finally admitted that it was a failure. He took some advice from people that he should rehash one of his previous game efforts, to make some short-term money so he can afford to get back to the Storytron R&D someday.

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This sentence makes me afraid:

"But if inclination scripts go by the wayside, how are all the Actors controlled? Simple: we make it an online game and use real people to provide the decisions otherwise made by inclination scripts."

That looks like more expenses and more problems... I might be wrong but I do not see this to be a solid new plane for the future. Servers, huge broadband connections and more network programming work...

Hmm...

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It would make me nervous too... but perhaps I shouldn't have included the background info about the Storytron failure. It's confusing the present issue. Chris is working on Balance of the Planet, which has a Kickstarter page. Just looking at that, what do you think of it?

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It would make me nervous too... but perhaps I shouldn't have included the background info about the Storytron failure. It's confusing the present issue. Chris is working on Balance of the Planet, which has a Kickstarter page. Just looking at that, what do you think of it?

I think that the game has an interesting approach, but the this idea of "free" for all by donating I find rather vague. Also making games should at least earn him some revenue or else five years of work is wasted. I have not played the game but if the game play is all windows and turn based with nothing moving then I think the game will be hard to "sell".

I might be wrong but this idea seems forget about all the "free" games out there. A game has like 10-30 seconds to decide whether people decides to try it or not. It has like 20 minutes at most to hook people up(means they enjoy it and keep on playing it). The idea did not hook me up at least and the save the planet idea could be great with a better game play and more eye candy(just a little at least).

If he aims for the educational sector with this game I think it has a chance(in case he cooperates with economists of different schools in order to implement their ideas and concepts).

Well that was my thoughts on that

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This sentence makes me afraid:

"But if inclination scripts go by the wayside, how are all the Actors controlled? Simple: we make it an online game and use real people to provide the decisions otherwise made by inclination scripts."

That looks like more expenses and more problems... I might be wrong but I do not see this to be a solid new plane for the future. Servers, huge broadband connections and more network programming work...

Hmm...

Multiplayer?

http://sleepisdeath.net/

Sleep is Death is somewhat similar. Edited by aattss

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Also making games should at least earn him some revenue or else five years of work is wasted.

Balance of the Planet is not a 5 year project. It seems he started in late April 2011. On the Kickstarter page he says, "I expect we'll need several months to finish the game; I'm planning on a release in January of next year."

I might be wrong but this idea seems forget about all the "free" games out there. A game has like 10-30 seconds to decide whether people decides to try it or not.[/quote]