Update 3: Learning a Language

I have nothing to report on that project I was working on. It’ll be ready when it’s ready. (Which is a really terrible attitude to have when working on anything.)

I haven’t even been trying any new media like I said last week. What have I been doing with my time, you may ask? Well, I’ve gotten myself stuck in Homestuck (if you’ll pardon the half-baked pun). This happens every time I find some new thing that I really like. I obsess over it for a while, blocking out almost everything else until I am sated with every way I can enjoy the target of my obsession. It might become a problem later on when my income becomes more disposable, but, in this particular case, I was able to direct my obsession to focus on the elements of Homestuck that could be adapted into a game. It’s already halfway there, anyway, because the format of the story is a parody of adventure games and the game within the story is a combination of The Sims and Earthbound. Basically, I’ve been focusing on the possible ways to implement a dialogue system that can create conversations that are as natural and funny as the comic’s conversations and I’ve been looking at the roles and powers that the game within the story give the characters and how those elements affect the characters’ actions and personalities. I haven’t drawn many conclusions from these musings, though, so I probably won’t come back to them until I am making a game that could use systems like those.

Now I want to briefly talk about a game I played recently, but I won’t go into too much detail because I want to write something a bit more substantial on it soon. It’s name is Flow Free: Bridges, but I should also mention its predecessor, Flow Free. The concept for both games is that several pairs of dots are placed on a grid, each pair with a different color, and lines must be drawn, covering every square on the grid, to connect each pair of dots without intersecting any other lines. The difference between the two games, though, is that Bridges places one or more bridges on the grid, which allows two lines to occupy the same square; one over the bridge and one under the bridge. The reason that I find these games worth talking about is that they create an interesting ludic language that they allows players to learn at their own pace. Bridges is what I want to focus on when I write the longer article because the addition of its titular mechanic adds an extra layer of depth to that language without making it any more complex, but, right now, I just want to express how interesting I found it to learn that ludic language. While I was playing, I was reminded of time spent teaching myself how to play Sudoku and Minesweeper, which are two more games (yes, I’m calling Sudoku a game even though it’s more of a puzzle) that feature static puzzels that are possible to be soved through guesswork, but are more rewarding to be solved by assessing the situation and choosing specific responses that match what the situation needs. In other words, they each use their own language.

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