Luc’s Suggestion

150 years ago, a famous British scientist, after reading the newly-published Origin of Species by Charles Darwin, exclaimed “How very stupid of me not to have thought of that!” Well, Luc has done the same thing to me, proposing an excellent solution to the problems cited in the previous essay. I have taken his idea and run with it, adding a great many extensions and embellishments, but the central idea is his. Herewith my reasoning:

Encounter Editor
The Encounter Editor has failed to attract enough attention. The Facebook post reached some 1,500 people. The page on this website attracted a total of 2,000 hits. About 150 people downloaded the Encounter Editor. Of these only three people responded with bug reports, complaints, or suggestions. It turns out that a critical portion of the package (the novel) was in a format that only Macintosh users could read, yet it took two weeks before anybody reported that.

It’s pretty clear that there are a lot of people who are interested in my work, but are unable to actually use the Encounter Editor. It has therefore failed in both of its missions to generate a supply of Encounters and to train a cadre of users for the Storytron technology.

Siboot will also fail its mission to generate interest in the Storytron technology. Most users will reject it because of its poor cosmetics. They will dismiss the 2D faces as primitive, the graphics style as unlike conventional games, and the gameplay as slow. The current generation defines the concept of game based on the existing range of games, and Siboot lies so far outside that range that they will inevitably find it ungamelike. Even those few who approach it as a technology demonstration will have difficulty perceiving its merits, because the relationship changes that are crucial to the story are never explicitly presented to the play. As in all drama, those relationship changes only show up as changes in behavior — and the relationship between cause and effect is so diffuse that most people, trained in the instant gratification of games, will never see the cause-effect relationships.

Storytron Technology
This has already failed to attract any significant interest. It’s simply too complicated for anybody to plunge into. There is no reason to believe that this will change.

Luc’s Idea
Luc’s brilliant suggestion can be paraphrased as “translate the technology into English”. That is, write up a long explanation of the technology and put it on the web. Done properly, this would allow people to pick and choose which portions of the technology to include into their own designs. 

One huge benefit of this approach would be to let it rise above the implementation details and the Java language. We all know that Java will become obsolete someday; it would be a shame for the Storytron technology to die with it. 

Fortunately, we already have an excellent foundation on which to build: It includes both a tutorial and an overview; between them, they cover almost everything. I would still need to add a considerable amount of material describing some of the technical material, adding graphs and diagrams, discussing the various strengths and weaknesses of different options, and potential points of expansion. 

For example, the text system used in the original Storytron has a number of ideas that could be used in many other products. Moreover, I could preface the material with the book I want to write about process intensity. 

I intend to develop these ideas further into a plan of action