Joannes Truyens

Blog posts by Joannes Truyens

Let's compare Max Payne 3 to The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie

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Everything ripped apart in a Bikini Bottom minute.
Everything ripped apart in a Bikini Bottom minute.

Since we've just had some fun at Max Payne 3's expense, I figured it was time to give the game its due and discuss some of the deeper themes and mechanics that drive the experience. Just kidding, you've already seen the title, this is where I compare the storyline of Max Payne 3 to that of 2004's SpongeBob Squarepants movie.

Less than Interstellar

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I remember time being a flat circle.
I remember time being a flat circle.

I am always interested in charting a game's development path and looking at what could have been. Games are subject to a lot of iterations and sometimes go through an entire redesign (as was the case for Splinter Cell: Conviction). That's why I would like to talk about Interstellar (which is not a game, bear with me) and how I was disappointed with what was eventually realised from the original script penned by Jonathan Nolan. You can read it in its entirety here and I'll be comparing it to the finished product in this post. For the sake of convenience, Jonathan Nolan's first version will henceforth be referred to as the script and the movie will be referred to as (wait for it) the movie. Also, spoilers.

From deconstructing narratives to designing one

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 The Red Hood Diaries. Not narrated by David Duchovny (sadly).
Woolfe: The Red Hood Diaries. Not narrated by David Duchovny (sadly).

It appears I've been running this little blog for four years this month. Please join me in a celebratory nod as a distraction from the recent lack of updates. At least I have a series of valid excuses this time. I've spent a month in America! I've moved house! And pretty much the most exciting development of all: I can actually call myself a narrative designer now! For the last two months, I've been working closely with the Antwerp-based studio GriN on a game called Woolfe. It's an episodic platformer/brawler set in the Red Riding Hood fairy tale, but with that customary dark twist thrown in. I'm currently in charge of finetuning an already established story foundation and writing dialogue and voice-over elements. The first trailer is below the jump.

BAFTA Games Writing Panel

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Fine, you try captioning this one.
Fine, you try captioning this one.
On October 26th, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) invited four games writers and narrative designers for a small panel on the theory and practicality of writing for games. Since I was visiting a friend in Wales at the time, I was unable to attend myself. Fortunately, I managed to sneak a recorder on an unwitting attendee, and she captured the entire panel for me. If this unwitting attendee whose name may or may not be Nina is reading this, you have my eternal gratitude. So while this is an indirect account of the panel, I hope to offer a short but thorough recap here. Read on to find out about the improper use of cutscenes, the challenges presented by a silent protagonist, and why a games writer is like a feng shui guy.

Inception: a game changer

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Next we'll dream you up some facial hair, okay darling?
Next we'll dream you up some facial hair, okay darling?

Inception. A great movie by a great many standards. It gleans elements from a wide variety of genres and skillfully combines them into something that carries enough weight to become more than the sum of its parts. Its far-reaching appeal has naturally led to an enormous outpouring of articles and discussion, not in the least geared towards theories about what it all means. A subset of such articles focuses on the relation between Inception and videogames. It should therefore come as no surprise that Christopher Nolan himself has announced an intention to craft a game based on/in the Inception universe, and this post looks at the way in which it lends itself exceptionally well as a blueprint for a (certain type of) adaptation.

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