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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Computer, Part Three

"Oh, you're up. Yossi just called- he said your computer's ready."

"Did he manage to transfer everything?"

"I don't know- I didn't ask."


"Hello, this is Mordechai Buckman. You said my computer was fixed?"


"Were you able to transfer everything from the old hard drive?"



"I've got to tell you, it took me eight hours. I had to move it over sector by sector. But I saved everything."

"That's all I needed to know."


I picked it up this morning. And I took it in the car back to the house. And I carried it up the stairs to its spot. And I plugged everything in. And I turned it on. And I waited for it to boot up, while in my head I improvised for myself a song befitting a Broadway musical. ...and it crashed on the Windows XP screen.

It doesn't make sense- Yossi showed me it worked at his office. I turned it on, and everything was just the way I had left it. Everything worked fine. Apparently it's broken down in between the time I unplugged it there and the time I plugged it in here. Does this make any sense at all?

Maybe it's my fault- maybe I was so excited that I shook it around or something, and something came loose.

For such logically complex machines, computers don't make a whole lot of sense.

I'm writing this post on Benjy's laptop.

(Posted by Mory @ 12:51 PM)

We were in the car, driving back to Yossi.

"You know what would be really silly?", I asked my mother.


"If Yossi plugged it in over there and it worked."


Yossi opened it up to see what the problem was. He didn't see anything. He lightly tapped the hard drive, just to check if it was loose. He plugged in the computer. It worked.


So here I am, writing on Mozilla Firefox in my preferred resolution of 1280x1024. (I've felt pretty cramped being in 800x600 for the past few days.) Google Desktop is to my side, providing essential functionality but slowing down the computer tremendously. The left speaker isn't working. And as this little incident should illustrate, my computer is being as incomprehensible and uncooperative as ever. And you know what? It's good to be home.



well, that story has a happy ending! Everything is back to normal, which is as weird as you can get.


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Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Tapestry Thread: Easterly Wave

title="Democracy of Morons">Not so unexpectedly, we've lost the elections. "We" being the religious.* (Exit polls estimate that the combined National Union and National Religious Party will get 8 seats in Knesset.) "We" being the right-wing.* (Likud will get 11 seats.) "We" being those who don't believe that rewarding the terrorists with more power will get them to stop fighting us.

But I'm not sure Olmert's platform is about belief. I can't believe a politician could get all the way to the top being stupid enough to believe something like that. More likely this is yet another effort to appease Europe and the rest of the world. Maybe if we do what they want, they'll support us. Or something like that. Anyway, I find it interesting that on the very first time that I get to vote for the right parties, the right fizzles out.

As more votes are counted, an eclipse is overhead. We don't look at it directly, but it's there. God's light was right up there, telling us that we are different, but it's blocked now. It's too late. We've lost. And all I can think of is that great line in the pilot of Battlestar Galactica: "We never ask ourselves why. Why are we worth saving?".

How can we be God's chosen people when we refuse to acknowledge it? When we pretend we're like all the other nations? When we're willing to shoot ourselves in the head to fit in? My mother is waiting for a miracle. She's waiting for Olmert to get a stroke. But we don't deserve a miracle- we have lost sight of who we are. We have lost sight of who we are meant to be. We were meant to be a light unto the nations. That light is blocked now.

I like the darkness, but there's one problem with it: You can't see very far ahead. So we'll all go back to worrying about our little, insignificant problems, for as long as the real issue stays avoidable. I'm lonely, and I miss my computer, and this chair is a bit uncomfortable.

I can't get friends, because I've title="Mistake, Lesson, Repeat">learned my place. It's right that I should be alone- I am different. Come to think of it, that's a lie- I'll never learn my place. Just today, I tried talking to the people on the Gamecritics forums about the Israeli elections, expecting intelligent comments. There was exactly one responder, coming from the Netherlands, who expressed his satisfaction that we may finally lose Israel. (Very brutally, I might add.) I wrote a response:
Thank you for that enlightening comment. It's so nice to know I'm thought of as a "religious zealot fascist occupier" for wanting to live my life without fear of being attacked or thrown out of my home. You're right, I've been so inconsiderate!! We're surrounded by enemies, our government is on the border between simple incompetence and evil, but at least we have such friendly neighbors in Europe.
That's when my modem mysteriously stopped working, so the post never went through. Which is as it should be. I am different. I am alone.

By the way, my father bought me a nice little audio cable which lets me plug the Gamecube's audio-out to headphones. So finally I can hear stereo sound. But on the very first time I got to use it, the only pair of headphones in the house stopped working right. It's the right ear- it keeps fizzling out.

That of course reminds me again of my digital home, whose left speaker has never worked well. Yossi's still working on my computer, and I don't know how it will end. Will the transition to a new hard drive be relatively painless? Or will I lose everything I've ever had?

Only time will tell.



Yeah, it is kind of depressing when no one comments on your blog, especially when they keep up with it.I feel a little guilty that I dont update every night, because I feel like I owe it to the people who do read my blog.But then again, as you said, your blog is for yourself, so why should my keeping up with it, depend of other people.
I usually dont randomly read blogs, unless I am very very bored and I have nothing else to do, which isnt very often, cause people always want something from me. I do read Lori's (when she reminds me to), and now, well, yours, I guess. Once I found it, and if I had something to say, why did you think I wouldnt comment? Is it because no one else comments, or because of me in particular? Or I dont know... any other weird reason.
Even if your party didnt win, well, it still must have given you a satisfying feeling to have been able to vote. My birthdays not until the summer, so no voting for me. I guess I'll have to wait a couple more years, til I can pick a piece of paper with my party on it and stick it into an envelope.
Ok, I would keep writing, but I should update my own blog now, and this comment is getting pretty long, and I have a toshbah matkonet to study for. And about the music, I would be honored if you would let me look at it, but I am kind of busy, so if its not going to put you through any kind of agony, can it wait until next week?

I didn't think you'd comment because, well... Look, I like to comment on posts which make interesting statements, or push me in some new creative direction. For instance, it was fun to comment on your short post. But when I read lots of straightforward exposition, I feel like there's nothing to say.

I didn't think you'd comment because I have a nagging suspicion that most other people are the other way 'round. Wander around in the land of smalltalk, through all sorts of random events and characters, and they'll like nothing more than join in. But wonder about the threads weaving events together, or hypothetical scenarios, and they stay far away.

If you think that putting a slip of paper into a box sounds exciting, then you're in for a big treat come next elections- I bet it will be every bit as satisfying as you expect it to be. Myself, I didn't think it sounded all that amazing, and it was every bit as satisfying as I expected it to be. It's all in the approach. Someone who's coming looking to feel like she's done her civic duty will try to get satisfaction out of it. I didn't.

In any case, I don't regard our government particularly highly, so it wasn't exactly an honor. Moreover, I knew for certain that another disengagement would pass, seeing as how there were two hurricanes in America and only one disengagement so far here. With the result a forgone conclusion, I felt more like I was playing the part fitting me than like I was shaping the future. It's all in the attitude.

As for the music, there's certainly no rush. I just thought you might enjoy it.

Now it's looking like I was totally wrong, since there wasn't another disengagement. I guess I don't have much of a future as a prophet!


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Monday, March 27, 2006

Home Collapsing

Ariel loved his house. It was small, and it didn't stand out, but when it comes to homes, it's what's on the inside that counts. He had comfortable furniture, carefully placed to suit his tastes. He had bookshelves filled with all his favorites. This was his personal house. He'd lived in it.

He had no reason to suspect he wouldn't continue to live in it. He was sitting and relaxing, content in the familiarity of his surroundings, when he noticed a little bit of chipped paint. Ah well, he'd bring in a painter to fix it. But by the time he got there, the problem had escalated. There were now cracks in the wall. The painter informed him that there was nothing he could do.

Had it really been five years already? But there was no time to worry about that- the ceiling looked like it might cave in at any moment. Ariel rushed to preserve what he could of his posessions. He grabbed all the books he could carry from the shelves, and dropped them outside. He repeated this several times. But what about the furniture? No, there was no way he could possibly get them out in time- he'd just have to hope he could get it replaced. By this point, the other three walls all had started to crack as well. The doors fell down. Ariel jumped out of the house, and not a moment too soon, as the entire house collapsed behind him. Looking at the wreckage where his home had stood, he felt a hole in his heart.

The only thought before picking himself up and worrying about the price of a new house: "I'd like to murder that salesman."

My computer had a very small problem: it kept stuttering, whether or not I was doing anything. It stuttered even if there were no programs running at all. I hated to bring it in to be repaired, even if it were only for a day or so. After all, I had set up the operating system to work just the way I liked. I had all my favorite software installed and configured properly. More importantly, it had a special place in my heart. It's been my computer for five years. I've lived in it.

Of course I had to bring it in to Yossi anyway. With this stutter, I could not play games, listen to music, or watch video. I figured it was probably a nothing problem, and I'd get it back very soon. Not so. It turns out my hard drive has suddenly, and for no good reason, broken down. Or rather, it is about to break down completely, and this is just an early symptom. Yossi said that had I not brought it in, it would have stopped working very soon. There is no way to repair it. It must be replaced.

I asked him whether he could transfer my operating system and everything in it to the new hard drive - He said he's not sure. Under the Unified Theory of Computing, otherwise known as Murphy's Law, that means no. I've lost it all. Maybe he can preserve a few files before my home collapses for good, but that's all. It's taken me five years to get it working exactly the way I want it. Now it's gone.

Why can't I pay twice as much, for a computer only half as powerful, which is guaranteed to work from now until the day I die? A computer needs to be dependable, because it is virtually my home. Why do I need anything close to the top of the line? I don't want any of that fancy stuff. I just want to be guaranteed that when I come home, I can sit back and be comfortable. I just want to be sure that my home will always be there waiting for me. Is that so much to ask?



I figured fair is fair. You comment on my pathetic blog, so I should comment on yours. Not that its pathetic, on the contrary... it is quite creative. Do you mind my asking, but does anyone read your blog daily? This is not about you its about blogs in general, because the only person who reads mine (when I post) is Lori and I always talk to her, therefore, it isnt all that exciting... that she reads it. Maybe you have to have a lot of friends who use the computer in order to have your blog read. but as you said, friends? No, I dont think many people have real friends even when it seems like it. Are you really that bored? And I'm sorry to hear about your computer, especially since you use it so much.

Well, I don't know much about blogs in general, but I do know that my blog exists to fill a hole that I had before it. If your blog is a bit simple, that's not "pathetic", it's a good thing- it means the hole in your life isn't anywhere near as big as mine! Okay, fine, I'll stop bragging. :)

Welcome to my blog. If my computer is like a physical home, then my blog is certainly my home on the internet. It's nice having a second home to fall back to. (Hopefully, this one has a bit more permanence.) The only regular guest here is Tamir, though he doesn't comment often. Hi there, Tamir! And I never address real people when they're not present. Um..

Anyway, it's actually a bit annoying that I can see people coming on to the blog when they do, since when they don't write then I feel bad that I didn't get to talk to them. I guess I wasn't really expecting you to comment when I saw you pop up, so I'm very excited. (You can tell I'm excited when I take four paragraphs for what ought to take only a few sentences.)

So now I'm thinking, maybe I need some sort of instant message feature on the bottom of the blog pages, where you could write in messages that go away after five minutes or so. I wonder if it can be done. That way, I'd actually be able to talk to guests.

I'm going to retract what I said about this being a home. There's always one home. The blog isn't really much more of a home than my piano is. I mean, "home" has connotations of the lack of work. Now that I'm thinking about it, it was a pretty stupid thing for me to say. Oh well, won't be my last.


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Usually, I don't play piano for all that long. Today I have little else to do. Solo improv without an audience gets pretty lonely.



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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Matters of Taste

Every so often, there's a chamber music concert for the Etta Kossowsky Fund, which is a fundraiser for something or other. Yesterday (after Shabbat) was the last one of the season. It was flute and piano, and they were playing (mostly) pieces by Fauré. I went because I love Fauré's music. Miriam came along. Already as we and our father were in the car, she started having second thoughts. She said to let her out, so that she could go home. She's very impulsive that way.

The music was amazing. It really inspired me. My father seemed to really enjoy it a lot, and it also gave him an opportunity to reminisce about his playing the clarinet in high school. (This was the first I'd heard of it.) Miriam was bored. When we finished, I was enthusiastically talking about the various pieces, while all Miriam had to say was "It was okay, but really long".

My mother organized a concert paying tribute to Simon & Garfunkle, as a fundraiser for JobKatif, which helps victims of the evacuation. I came back from that now. Miriam went because she loves Simon & Garfunkle's music. I came along. (I wouldn't have normally, but as it so happened on this very day I had taken my computer in for repairs, so I had less to do at home than usual.) We had to come really early since my mother was setting up, so I brought my Game Boy.

Everyone around me was smiling and seemed to be really into it. I'm sure Miriam really enjoyed it, because it's simple, repetitive music which is fairly nice. My father seemed to really love it, and he sang along whenever he remembered the lyrics. I was bored. When we finished, Miriam was humming all the tunes.

So how was it? Okay, I guess. But boy, it was really long.



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Day of Wrest

It was a dingy little apartment, but what did it matter- I had brought my Gamecube. Actually, I had finally gotten my father to play Pikmin, and he was amazing!- He had zoomed through the whole game in one sitting! He was up to the last part for Olimar's ship. I helped him through getting it. Inside the game, we climbed on books like the little creatures we were, and with great effort and good teamwork unscrewed the bolts holding the final piece in place.

"We'll finish this some other time- we have to go. Get my stuff."

And so I did. Turning back, I saw that there were two little kids walking with him as we left the room- a boy and a girl.

"Meet me down by the car."

I started down the stairs. And a lot of stairs there were! All over the walls were random numbers -------
- one number written big, in white paint, and little black numbers all around it listing all the nearby floors. And a lot of floors there were! I ran, but the stairway would go on forever.

I got to the bottom, and looked around. Which car was it? Oh, right, this one. My father came, carrying nothing, with the two kids.

"My Gamecube's still up there!"

And I ran up to where we were before. Or was it this floor?- they all look the same! I tried the blue key he'd given me on a nearby door which looked like it might be it. It took a lot of effort to turn the key, but I did- I turned it all the way around. And the door stayed closed. I ran in even more desparation, until I saw a door that had to be it- well, it probably wasn't it. But there was something covering the keyhole! It was blue and green- how odd, that looks exactly like my kippah.. No time to think about religion- my Gamecube's in there! But the key wouldn't turn.

I ran down and yelled, "I can't find the room! What number is it?"

"I have no idea."

Turning to the kids, he said, "Stay here."

We turned to go back up, but I knew he wouldn't go through with it, leaving them down there- he'd leave me. I'd never see my Gamecube...

That's when I woke up, only to realize -------
Wait, what day is it?
that I hadn't been too far off the mark- it was Shabbat morning. Which means that through no fault of my own, I really had lost my Gamecube. Not to mention my social environment. And my music. And my entertainment. And the ability to get information. And the ability to let out my thoughts. In short, I'd lost everything that makes up my life.

God, I hate Shabbat.

In life, I talk to people over the internet. I'll alienate them quickly, but it doesn't matter too much on a public forum- there are always new people to talk to.
On Shabbat, there's exactly one person to talk to- Eli. So if he's off playing with his friends, or just doesn't want to be with me, I've got nothing to do for 25 hours. Today I was actually lucky- I managed to spend a few good hours with Eli. *
Okay, to tell the truth, he did try to get rid of me. I didn't let him, and got to have something to do for another few hours.

In life, if I want to go exploring I can wander around Aether or Riven.
On Shabbat, I can walk around the street. Which brings me in a circle to the beginning of the street again. It's a small street. There's nothing interesting nearby.

In life, if I want to just have fun, I can play Donkey Kong: Jungle Beat or Pikmin 2.
On Shabbat, I've got two options: Gin Rummy, or Rum 500. That is, assuming there's anyone I can force into playing. If not, all I've got is Freecell.

In life, if I want music I make it on the piano. If I want to make music that will last, I use either a pencil and paper or the computer to write it down.
On Shabbat, if I want music I have to pretend that repetitive and fairly primitive Z'mirot (which exist not for the sake of a good tune but only as a means to praise Shabbat) are enough. Because that's all I've got.

In life, I can deal with problems by writing about them.
On Shabbat, I must keep my problems bottled up. There's nothing quite like a Shabbat for emotional stagnation.

Shabbat always starts the same way. It starts with me sitting, with nothing to do, bothering my mother by asking when it's over and mentioning how much I hate it. It's sort of a tradition by this point. Her part of the tradition is telling me "Go read a book." to every statement. I don't like reading plain text very much, especially when it is (as usual) bogged down in descriptions and exposition. If the material is really good, I'll put up with it for a short period of time. But only for a short period of time. My mother knows this, but she'd like to be able to sit down and read the newspaper in silence.

She also likes telling me that Shabbat is the highlight of her week. I feel sorry for her.

This week, she actually brought in a new twist- placing blame. She said: "You had a whole week to figure out what you could do on Shabbat!" Well, I have ideas. I've always had ideas. Like having a series of videos displaying on the computer during certain hours, so that I could watch something interesting without having to break Shabbat to do it. This is said to "go against the spirit of Shabbat", since the spirit of Shabbat is boredom. So that's not allowed.

What am I allowed to do then? Read books! Aren't I lucky to have such a selection.

Oh, don't get me wrong- I understand very well why I can't do anything on Shabbat. I'm never going to break it. But how I wish I could.

Then there's the Friday night meal, which is meat. I don't like meat so much, unless it's a sirloin steak. (I never get to eat steak.) I prefer dairy. I prefer pasta. I prefer lasagna. Mmmmm... lasagna. What was I talking about again?

Oh right, the meal. I never get to eat lasagna on Shabbat, because it's not "in the spirit of Shabbat". I get to eat bland chicken. Yay. We all sit together for the meal, singing the traditional songs we've all long since gotten bored of, and with a big, fancy, tasteless meal prepared by my mother in honor of Shabbat. And we sit around the table, and if we're really lucky someone will think of something interesting to say. Unfortunately, we are so different from each other that what one person finds interesting another will find depressing. Typically we latch onto a conversation about politics, and Miriam starts yelling about how she hates hearing about politics. It's a boring meal.

Then I go to bed, trying to forget it's Shabbat for long enough to fall asleep. This generally involves me pacing back and forth in the candle-lit living room past midnight, trying to think of hypothetical gameplay systems.

In the morning, I daven and read through the weekly Torah portion for myself. Then I wait for everyone to come back from shul, which takes a long time. And I wait. And I walk outside, to see what the weather is like, and walk back in for fear of burning. And I wait.

Then they come home, and we have lunch, which is effectively the same as dinner, though with different food. It's a boring meal.

Then I chase down Eli.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.

And I wait.



I figured, if I was going to do a post about my hatred of Shabbat, I ought to make it complete.

Why is Shabbat so bad?
I don't understand.


Well, that's an odd question to follow such a long post explaining why I hate Shabbat, but some time has passed since this post so I might as well take another look at the subject.

My life revolves around electronics and music, neither of which are allowed on Shabbat because they technically fit the term "work" which it is said we must not do. My socialization, my entertainment, my sources of information and my self-expression are all prohibited. Where they were, there is an emptiness which nothing allowed on Shabbat can fill.

Goodness knows I've tried to fill that gap. I've tried to get friends in the Real World I could talk to, only to realize that they had no interest in talking to me. I've tried to find ways to entertain myself, such as jigsaw puzzles, but they were not satisfying and only lasted me a few weeks before I got sick of them. I've now started learning math on Shabbat, though I know I can only get so far without being allowed to write. When I come up with music, more often than not it is forgotten by the time the day ends, since I have no way of remembering it without the use of a pencil or a piano.

What I am left with is a profound hatred of Shabbat and extreme boredom. I hope this clarifies


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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Democracy of Morons

Moshe stood at the gateway of the camp, and said, "Whoever is for God, join me!" - and all the Levites gathered around him.
Good for the tribe of Levi. But let's not forget that they were only 1 tribe out of 12. What the heck was wrong with the other eleven tribes?

I've just come back from a talk by Natan Sharansky about the upcoming elections. He's a very intelligent man, and it was fascinating. He gave a historical perspective, and explained in very practical terms why we should vote for Likud. Basically, he says that there are only two potential leaders: Likud's Bibi Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert. If we don't vote, or vote for a party other than Likud, it will hurt Netanyahu's chances of creating a coalition.

Now, I don't know much at all about politics. But let's say that we stopped believing that the two parties with the most confidence in themselves are the only two candidates worth considering. We'd stop voting for the ones we think are going to win, and start voting for the parties we believe should win. And then Likud would have no chance at all! For that matter, even Olmert's Kadima wouldn't necessarily get many votes.

Likud wouldn't get many votes, because Netanyahu has failed to promise, well, anything. It seems that the only reason to vote for Likud is that Likud's not Kadima. And while I see the importance of not allowing Kadima to get far, that's not much of a platform to stand on. What's to guarantee that Likud won't choose to go farther left, if the "political realities" force them? Netanyahu's not making a stand. Oh, Sharansky excused that too. He explained, in practical terms, why it's wrong to give a final goal before any negotiations. And it makes sense. But there's no ideology here, no plan, no nothing. No one would vote for Likud if Bibi weren't so confident that people thought he had a chance. No one would vote for Likud if this were about ideas and not manipulations.

Kadima wouldn't get many votes, because they don't have much of a platform either. Kadima's members come from all over the political spectrum, and don't really share a vision for the future of the country. As Sharansky put it so aptly: "They agree on only one thing: they all want to be in power." But the message they send (and which the media helps along) is "We are the future winners. Vote for us to be on the winning side." If people stopped wanting to vote for the "winning side", Kadima would have no chance at getting anything. And Olmert's personal position is a guaranteed course to self-destruction. He's openly stated that he's going to give a tremendous amount of land to the terrorists, without asking anything in return. The result would of course be an effort by the terrorists to keep going until they get all the rest, but Olmert's not selling a solid idea; he's selling a winner's attitude.

A little while ago, I listened to a talk by National Union's Effi Eitam, who had very clear ideas and very clear goals. They're perceived as a loser in this election. They will be a loser. The polls show them getting 10 seats in the Knesset out of 120. The polls have Kadima doing quite well, and why shouldn't they?- they're the future winners, as we all know.

As a matter of fact, I do know that Olmert will win, and I do know that he'll have his catastrophic "disengagement". When people approach elections so recklessly as to worry more about feeling like they're on the winning side than about actual ideas, how could he not? I'm going to vote for National Union.



I won't deny that there are many people who vote for the leading parties only because they are the leading parties. But you'd be surprised at the number of people who actually believe that Kadima or Likud should win.

I don't know what this country is coming to....I think you made a good choice, though.


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Saturday, March 18, 2006


I'd like to go back to my home planet now.



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Friday, March 17, 2006

Simple Reactionary Dialogue Control

Hey- I've got a really cool idea- want to hear it?

What sort of idea is this?

Not really, no. Go away now.

I'll tell you anyway.

Well, OK, as long as it's really short.

See, I've come up with a system for controlling dialogue in videogames.

Sorry, but I'm just not interested.

Hey, I just remembered this very very important meeting. I don't want to be late, so I'll just have to, um, go. Bye!

A meeting.

What- you've never had to go to a meeting?

Okay, you win. I'll leave you alone now.

Oh yes.

I don't buy it.

Oh well, I tried.

Yeah. In fact, this meeting is so important that I'd lose my job if I didn't get there, like, right now.

Overshot a little there, don't you think?

Okay, you caught me. What's this idea of yours?




Maybe a little, yeah.

Seriously, can I tell you my idea?

Sure. What did you say this was about?

It's a way to control dialogue in games.

What's wrong with dialogue trees?

Okay, I'm listening.

Go on...

See, I've mentioned in the past that it's a good idea to separate the player from the character in story-centered games.

Fine, fine.

Well, you'll probably tell me no matter what I say.


Fine, go ahead.

As I was saying, I've come up with a way to control dialogue. The current techniques, like dialogue trees, don't work too well, so I've come up with this to replace them.

Sounds ambitious. How would it work?

Well, I've mentioned in the past that it's a good idea to separate the player from the character in story-centered games.

Well, I don't really see the problem with dialogue trees, but go on.

I've mentioned in the past that it's a good idea to separate the player from the character in story-centered games.

I don't know- I've never had a problem with dialogue trees.

Well, in a dialogue tree the player decides exactly what the character should say, so the character ends up feeling like nothing more than an empty shell (as opposed to a person). I've gone over why things like that are a bad idea in the past.

So how else could it work?


I'm still not convinced there's anything wrong with dialogue trees. They can be very creative-

Sure, sure. But having the player carefully plan out exactly what the player character is going to say means that he can't possibly be an interesting character. He can't lose his temper, he can't be socially awkward, he can't make mistakes, he can't be forgetful, he can't-

Okay, I see your point.
So what I'd like to do is give the player less control over the dialogue, so that it should still interest and maybe surprise him, but give him enough control that he can, in fact, change the course of the discussion.

How would that work?

That's pretty vague.

Okay, I'll be more specific.

What- you mean, less control than you get nowadays with stuff like dialogue trees. Right.

Instead of being given a list of possible sentences (which, I might add, feels nothing like a real conversation), the player should be given only three buttons. One with a question mark, the second with an exclamation mark, and the third with three dots.


Okay, that's a bit... strange.

It's sort of an iconic representation of the most basic options for reacting to what's been said: asking a question, making a statement, and thinking about it.

And that's supposed to "feel like a real conversation", is it?

Sort of. When you're having a conversation, you never stop to consider all the possible things you might say- you just get swept along in the flow of the conversation. You generally don't plan out tactics. But you do generally know whether you're about to ask a question, or make a statement, or think a bit. Also whether you're going to agree or disagree.

But still, how will the player know what his character is going to say?

Well, he won't, really. All he's really picking is the tone of what the character's going to say. And that's half the essence of a conversation, I think. What the character actually says should be up to the character as much as it is up to the player.
Anyway, it'

I think I see what you're saying. Sounds interesting.



Uh... right. But it'

Now hold on a minute- how would the player know whether the character's going to agree or disagree? You didn't say anything about-

Oh, you're right, I'm getting ahead of myself. It i
s a little more complicated than just the three buttons. See, there would also be colors for each of them, either red or blue. The player wouldn't be able to control that- it just tells the player more about what the character feels like saying next. Sort of a heads-up, but not so descriptive that it ruins the conversation.

Uh huh. Why don't you go do it, then?


Why don't you make this imaginary system of yours?

It's a good idea. You should do it.

Well, I'd need to test it first. I mean, I don't know how well it would work. And I know everyone says you shouldn't do branching paths, so I don't even know if it's practical to set something like this up.
Anyway, I didn't finish telling you about the color system yet. B

Never mind. You were saying something about the colors?

Yeah. B

So what do the colors describe, exactly?


Um, red and blue?

asically, red means the PC will disagree and blue means he'll agree. Like, a red question mark is usually a challenge and a blue question mark is usually an inquiry. That's the word, right?- “inquiry”? Yeah, I think so.

Whatever. So this is like, for adventures, right?

Yeah. Or RPGs. It'd work well in RPGs.

Can I go now?

There's just one thing I don't understand. If you're taking so much control away from the player, then why don't you just take away all control? Why bother making it a game at all?

Well, first of all, it may sound like a cliché, but the connection between the player and the character is really important. Listening to someone else having a conversation is nothing like participating in one.
Secondly, interactivity gives a lot of depth. Really. I mean, with a linear conversation, it feels like every sentence is necessary, you know, it's rigid.

Well, it's a good idea. Best of luck with it.

Alright, I get it. Can I go now?

Well, that was, um... interesting. Bye.



I understand now. This is what I have to offer.

That was fun.


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