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Romeo and Juliet Game Post-Mortem 37

An anonymous reader writes "Gamasutra is running a post-mortem on an interactive love story that was written by students. They were attempting a solution to the game designer's challenge from the GDC 2004. From the article: Interaction with video games is currently done at an almost entirely rational level. The player may react to a game emotionally, but the game will never know about it, and thus, never respond to it. We wanted to change this, and have the player interact with the game solely through his own emotions."
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Romeo and Juliet Game Post-Mortem

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  • One big bug (Score:1, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Was that by the end of the game, everyone had committed suicide.
  • Intriguing Concept (Score:3, Interesting)

    by stpitner ( 164196 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:55PM (#11597607)
    This game has a very intriguing concept. I don't know if by my selecting of colors it would appropriately pick the emotions I'd want to convey. It definitely has originality in the idea, I'll give them that.

    What's the color for wanting to throw your controller down in disgust because Juliet killed herself? :)
  • by the_skywise ( 189793 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @12:58PM (#11597645)
    translate to "interacting with emotions?"

    That's like saying using Graffiti on my Palm Pilot allows me to interact with it on an emotional level...

    I'm not trying to flame down the idea. It's a novel approach and a much more "oragnic" interface than a keyboard ("I love you.", "I LOVE YOU!", "I LOVE YOU :)") But it seems to me that the player still has to "think" the emotion to paint to get the desired response.
    • What if we take the concept of reading emotions one step forward? Hook the game up with a connection to your webcam and read your facial expressions for the emotions. How would Abraham really react at the beginning if you played the character of Sampson and you literally bit your thumb? Or perhaps they could add a few other gestures to convey your emotion (raised eyebrow, wink). It's like the eye toy, only not. I mean, what color would you give if you feel confused? camoflauge? I have no clue.
    • Your Palm pilot isn't programmed to simulate a Shakespeare tragedy! Does it seem odd to you that GTA uses mouse clicks to simulate gunfire? Violence is part of one game, emotion is part of the other. Neither is "real", but so what? It's a game.
  • by DingerX ( 847589 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @01:11PM (#11597774) Journal
    So they set out with a vague idea of what the game was, basically an "emotional interface", no idea of how to work out the game itself; no run-throughs of what the concept was. They had limited artistic assets, which were essential for an impressionist game, and these were squandered by the shifting scope and requirements of the game. In other words, they didn't have a clear idea at the start, nor a clear execution.

    I guess that's why it's a learning experience. "great ideas" are very simple ones, backed up by a bunch of tedious execution.
  • This sounds kind of like those interactive love sim games that are really popular over in japan, and in certain crowds like the really geeky otaku type people

    It's a little sad that the person that won sounds like the better action like plot. Isn't it weird that pretty much all of them had trouble thinking of "things without guns in them" and two were multiplayer.

    We'll probably see more things like this here locally (romance type games), as an actual game, but the idea is kind of fun.

    As for the game desig

    • This sounds kind of like those interactive love sim games that are really popular over in japan, and in certain crowds like the really geeky otaku type people...

      We'll probably see more things like this here locally (romance type games), as an actual game, but the idea is kind of fun.

      Funny you should say both of those. Here's a review [] of UbiSoft's recent crack at a "bishoujo"-style game for the DS.
    • I don't think anyone on slashdot should be casting stones about "really geeky" anybody. If anything, you should be saying the otaku are insufficiently geeky.
  • by daviddennis ( 10926 ) <> on Monday February 07, 2005 @01:28PM (#11597939) Homepage
    Personally, I hate video games because nearly all of them are all about people killing each other. People kill each other enough in Watts without adding an artificial Watts for us to kill each other. This seems like a concept that could attract my interest, with a positive goal of maintaining a romance, instead of the tiresome negative goal of not being killed, which you always fail at in the end.

    I have a feeling the result was pretty dreadful, because otherwise it would have been released in some fashion, as a free thing to try if nothing else. At the same time, it would have definitely been interesting to try, and perhaps another group could pick up similar ideas and make something worthwhile out if it.

    • It's a good point, but here's why I don't like games about maintaining a romance:

      You can do it in real life.

      And, of course, doing it in a video game is a whole lot worse, because not only does it (a) make you realize what you don't have in real life, it (b) periodically makes you realize that you're playing a game about what you don't have in real life.

      But maybe that's just me...
      • by Anonymous Coward
        here's why I don't like games about maintaining a romance:

        You can do it in real life.

        The same goes for driving cars, playing sports, and dancing to music. Is there any sight more sad than someone playing a video game about football because they don't have enough friends to play football with in real life? What about those geeks who play DDR down the arcade because they don't have any cool friends to go clubbing with? Why are those somehow acceptable entries into the mainstream, while romance is taboo?
        • Yes, but you (well, most of us) can't drive a Ferrari in real life, nor even our own cars at "Ludicrous speed".

          Most of us can play sports, but not to the level of ability of professionals, or as well as we can *follow* (and thus simulate) the sport. I can imagine hitting a homerun or making a great diving catch or a game-saving goal block, but I can't *do* those things at a professional level. A video game lets me pretend to in a different way than playing at a lower level, and both have value (for some of
        • To be honest, my point was mainly in regards to violent games. Also, I don't really like romance movies, DDR, driving games, or sports games...

          (Also, a lot of the games I play are in a completely fictional setting... Most people would consider it rude if I brought about nuclear winter and apocalyptic death and destruction just because that's the setting I enjoy in games and, well, the real thing must be better, right?)
      • by fm6 ( 162816 )
        Your love life is obviously more successful than mine.

        Seriously though, people (well, mostly women) love romantic fantasies. Check out the romance section of your bookstore some time. There's an obvious market for romance-based games.

        Violent stories are the junk food of gaming and other forms of entertainment. They're intellectually and emotionally unnutritious, but they're relatively easy to program (or write or film) and they have a large guaranteed audience. And just as junk food dominates the food d

  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @02:21PM (#11598653) Homepage Journal
    As a matter of fact, variables don't have type, only the value that they contain does. This has its advantages. For instance, you can do things like assigning the name of a function to a variable, and then executing it by adding parentheses, for instance. It also has major disadvantages, making a typo in a variable name will create a new variable, and on top of that, Lua will not throw an error. This isn't such a big deal with a small codebase, or when the domain of Lua's use in a game is limited, but when a large portion of the game is written in Lua's, it can became a hassle. Often times, a member of the team would make a seemingly simple change, only to be greeted by Romeo and Juliet standing still on the stage, doing nothing, with naught a peep from Lua.
    This is the same issue I have with with Python and (to a lesser extent) Perl. Neither language enforces any kind of type checking. Python objects don't even have types as such -- you just add or remove members as you need them. And Python doesn't provide a way to declare variables, so you have to be a very careful typist.

    Some very successful applications have been writen in Perl and Python, so obviously there are good programmers who like self-discipline better than languages with anti-Murphy features. But a lot of us are not like that. Something to remember when you chose a language for a project.

    • Neither language enforces any kind of type checking.

      It'll be enforced if you ask for it. Just say "use strict" in any perl file.
      • Uh, do you understand what I mean by "type checking"? "Strict" enforces various restrictions (including the requirement that you explicitly declare variables, which is probably what you were thinking of). But none of these include type-checking. In fact, type-checking would break a lot of standard perl idioms.
    • One self-discipline strategy that helps is using a variable naming scheme that includes a notation for type and scope. For example, a phone number could be meaningfully stored as an integer or a string or a object, so a variable called $phone isn't very helpful. But you could use something like $liPhone to remind yourself that you're working with a local integer.

      This obviously doesn't stop your colleagues getting an integer from a method then dynamically casting it into a float, but it's a start. You cou
    • I thought one of the big ideas of Perl was that it was more or less typeless.

      It will automagically convert between types as needed.

      (Disclaimer: I don't have much object-oriented Perl experience, and nor do I want to have it ;p. The OO parts of perl might change this typelessness somewhat... )

      • I wouldn't say "typeless", but I know what you mean, and you're absolutely correct. The thing is, that feature of Perl makes the kind of type checking you see in (for example) Java impossible. Which is just fine with the Perl community. They tend to like a creative and subtle programming style, and don't want the language to protect them from themselves.

        As I said, some good software has been written in Perl. But it's my opinion that this software was written by programmers who are very, very comfortable w

    • I am a fairly seasoned python programmer, and I agree, however there are two sides to that coin.

      Python forces you to be a *better* programmer by forcing you to *know* what types of variables your functions expect. How many times have you seen a crappy programmer trying to figure out what a C++ object wants by slapping &'s and *'s and coercions infront of an object until the compiler didn't complain anymore? Loosely bound typing *rocks*.

      What does NOT rock, is undeclared variables. It play HAVOC wi

      • So loosely bound typing suits you. Fine. A lot of programmers would agree with you that its the best way to program. A lot of others strongly disagree. Are they mentally deficient? No, they just have a different approach to programming.
        • I just was pointing out a few foibles of python/weakly typed variables, pros and cons, as the grandparent seemed mystified how anyone could program without strong typing :) The grandparent is incorrect in his assertion as well that python has no way to declare a variable, one simply does "myvar = None" and that name/scope is created with no value :) I do it quite frequently for documentation, or make sure a variable has the intended locality.
  • Game has a web site (Score:4, Informative)

    by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @02:37PM (#11598879) Homepage Journal
    Here. []. No downloads yet.
  • is this like a dating sim?
  • by Myself ( 57572 ) on Monday February 07, 2005 @04:22PM (#11600082) Journal
    More so than just the idea of painting, is the fact that it's essentially a gesture interpretation system. If the game is decent at figuring out what you're thinking based on the way you move the mouse, maybe it'd be able to interpret other body motion too, if given the appropriate input devices.

    I'm thinking specifically of the motion trackers [] used in the CAVE system. It's one thing for a virtual character to mimic your movements without understanding them, which has been done for years. It'd be a big step for the character to make inferences about your emotions based on how you stand or move.

    The obvious pitfall here is that, after interacting with such a game for a long time, people might forget how to use the expressions that the game doesn't understand or react properly to. It's easy to keep a mental separation when the interface is very different from regular human interaction, like a keyboard. I like to think that most of us don't vocalize "lol" on a daily basis. But as the interfaces get closer to regular life, will the line blur enough to throw us off?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Which team would you like to join?
    1. Montague
    2. Capulet

    Romeo kills Tybalt with sword.

    Romeo:Pwned thee!

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.