// March 25th, 2011 // Comments Off // Aaaaa!, Dejobaan News, Fun Stuff, Ugly Baby
I was just rambling on… at some length… about the use of unexpressed background elements in the creation of games, and just as it occurred to me that I could find a more receptive audience on the Dejobaan blog, the driver told me to get the hell off of his bus. It seemed a little abrupt- I hadn’t even gotten to the dolphins yet- but the other passengers seemed to be on his side, so I walked the rest of the way to the grocery store.
And now, since I still have this quasi-rant bubbling around in my pretty little* head, you get to read it as I spew it forth onto the Internet! What a wonderful thing.
* – My head is not actually little. It’s big and fat. Seriously.
One of the things we do at Dejobaan is often described, in the greater business community as Throwing Stuff Against the Wall to See What Sticks. It’s also known as Random Flailing Without a Clear Purpose. However you care to characterize it, we take our random flailing a little more seriously than perhaps we should. The background of “AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!! – A Reckless Disregard for Gravity” (I know you love it when I use the whole title) is surprisingly well thought-out; we know when the world of the game diverged from the real-world timeline, what the big advances were, who was involved and who made enormous amounts of money as science, art, commerce and culture swirled around in a zero-G funnel. We worked out the whys, the wherefores, the players and the played. We have enough information to write several bad novels or 1.5 mediocre ones… and we put almost none of it into the game. Instead we had a thousand oblique references, some fiction presented as assumed fact, and a baseline to inform our later craziness. Not efficient, perhaps, but great fun for Dejobaan.
When we started developing “1… 2… 3… Kick It! Drop That Beat Like an Ugly Baby,” our working setting was described as “23 years after Aaaaa!” and all the strangeness evolved, shifted, split apart and recombined. And just like before, we won’t be showing 99% of this stuff to anybody.
That said, I’m going to show some of this stuff. To somebody. To you. If you’re still reading. And if you’re not still reading, how are you reading this? Caught you in a paradox, didn’t I? I’m INSIDE YOUR BRAIN. Now get inside mine.
In Aaaaa!, you might note references to flying whales. Cetaceans have been modified through exotic and unexpectedly hereditary gravity-affecting force fields to become smarter and to be capable of flight. Humans call it “uplifting” but dolphins, in particular, call it “enlightenment.” In the far future year of Aaaaa! (2009), several cities have Delphine-American communities and dolphins are generally seen as the next big rising immigrant class. By the time of Kick It, the president of the fragmented, floating United States is a dolphin.
He won the election thanks to a very strong Delphine-American turnout, but also thanks to being the richest sentient creature in America. Moreover, he was incredibly famous- though he changed his name during his adolescent years, he was born “Sweetie Baby,” the child of the first major breakout Dolphin movie star. He risked his massive inheritance in a series of real-estate and stock-market maneuvers that proved so successful that the earlier stain of his mother’s expectations was wiped away in the memory of the public.
The President is now in the process of turning around the national economy, though it’s proving to be pretty hard, even for the creature whose brain is now a model for most current-generation expert share-trading systems. His critics give him a hard time, but they know his heart’s in the right place, except for a fringe of crazies. The crazies say that the floating tank where his mother gave birth to him was technically above international waters, not above US soil, so he’s not really a citizen. “Show us the dirt!” they cry. These “earthers” are a constant annoyance, but they’re easy enough to ignore. Most of the time.
…well, I think you get the idea. We have a world, here. One day maybe we’ll make it more overt in a Dejobaan game. We have a continuity going back to Inago Rage, if you happen to remember that title, and stretching quite a bit more than 23 years into the future.
I think our games are better thanks to this process. The shared background gives us a bulging lexicon full of slang, locations, customs, technology and insults to draw on as we weave mechanics with flavor and hopefully create something worth playing… and tasting.
My rant draws to a close, I fear. I apologize to those of you who were annoyed by it. Perhaps someday you’ll be in Boston and you’ll see me sitting next to you on bus. Perhaps on that day you’ll be glad I already got it out of my system.