Wednesday, November 28, 2012

So who exactly is the player supposed to be, anyway?

This one will be short, mostly because it's not some profound truth, but I still think it's a concept worthy of discussion.

I'm not sure who actually came up with the idea, but I have to give at least partial credit to Jacob. When he was screensharing his Dwarf Fortress session with me over Skype, the question surfaced what exactly was the player's role in that game. It couldn't be the colony leader, because that's just another unit inside the game. That's when we came up with the term Abstraction of Collective Executive Power. Simply put, every one of the player's decisions is a decision of a dwarf, not necessarily the leader, but any dwarf that can make that decision. This can be applied to other games as well, for example FTL: Faster Than Light or the Jagged Aliance series (in which you play as a guy hired for mercenary job, but there is still no realistic way you could coordinate the fights the way you do).

This revelation resulted in unintended hilarity when we realized what promoting Jacob's mayor dwarf to the title of Baron must have looked like. For those of you who don't know, every in-game year your outpost is visited by a caravan of traders from your home civilization and with them comes an outpost liaison who meets up with your leader dwarf (outpost leader or mayor) to discuss various stuff, and after you fulfill certain requirements, one of those things is that your outpost has become a barony and you are given the option to choose one of your dwarves to become a Baron. So choosing your current mayor is akin to him answering the question "So, do you have somebody who could be the Baron here?" with shifty eyes and "Uh... yeah. Me."

Although, who wouldn't say that?

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