Randomized Playlist as Situation Generation & Resolution?

edited October 2007 in Game Design Help
So, my entry in the Sight & Sound contest, Only the Guilty Run, is a game that uses a randomized playlist of custom, game-specific audio files for micro-situation setup & resolution. In the beginning of a whisper thread with Remi, I said the following:
Really, I put all my eggs into "Dude, randomized playlist!" as situation generation & resolution. The trick that I found is that unless you have someone manning the pause button (which my gut reaction says that that person will be less engaged in the game), narration isn't easy to achieve -- you're either going to go into the next track or there will be dead air. That, and without a more sophisticated media player that could, say, have two sets of randomized playlists & play from them alternately, you'd have to have the whole of the situation -- setup to resolution -- on one track. At least, that was me trying to puzzle how to make a randomized playlist-based game. If you have any thoughts, I'd love to hear them. In fact, I should take this to another, open thread.
So here's that thread. How could we use a randomized playlist for such a purpose without losing narration? How else could you use a randomized playlist like this?

(Incidentally, "more sophisticated media player" could be, say, a Flash movie. So it's easily possible, if you want to write something more custom for your game.)

Edit: And I say all this without having yet playtested my game.


  • I've done soundtracks with shuffle and repeat, so each track will repeat as long as needed, but clicking 'next' takes you to a random next track. This assumes, of course, that the music switches only at certain points in the game.
  • Hituro,

    I'm looking to go beyond "let's play a song during the game." The way I used the idea in my game is "instead of rolling a die, let's use a playlist. Oh, and we keep the playlist going. And the audio tells us what's going on and what we have to make a decision about."

    But now I also want to see how to use your idea, because your idea could rock the narration on toast. My tracks actually have instructions on them, pause, and then tell you what to do based on the decision -- so they couldn't be repeated. With a Flash player, you could set up something like:
    1. Randomly pick from X entries
    2. Play the X "situation" file once
    3. Loop through the X "give time to narrate" file until someone clicks "Resolve!"
    4. Play the X "resolution" file once
    5. Play some generic loop until someone clicks "Next," and start over again.

    And that's just messing with the play structure I used for Only the Guilty Run. I'm confident we can get really experimental here.
  • Hmm, I started thinking of this before I read the link and saw you plan to use specific sound files. So, in that case, having the files play on a loop and manually going to the next one to see what turns up next in the shuffle seems like the way to go.

    Another methos I was thinking was that you used your own songs/sound files (or a select number of them), and narrated based on inspiration from the song. Pretty free form, except for the music as a guide.

    What about letting the "oh, next song already?" and dead air influence play. Like, maybe a surprise next song means the conflict is unresolved, and not only that, but there's a major complication! Dead air means, even though the narration is complete, it's completed unsatisfactorily in some way, so that it's created a new complication down the road (maybe a character is made unhappy by it, or it creates problems on its own). The space of the "dead air" is used to delve into what that is. Perhaps starting obvious and simple, and then expounding and adding complexity for as long as possible. So, the more dead air you leave, the worse it is.
  • edited October 2007
    Posted By: Alvin FrewerWhat about letting the "oh, next song already?" and dead air influence play. Like, maybe a surprise next song means the conflict is unresolved, and not only that, but there's a major complication!
    Alvin, what sort of game could you imagine using this for? What sort of audio would you use for this? I'd be interested in seeing what you're thinking.

    Also, how would you deal with keeping the narration from spilling over into the new song? Depending on setup, someone could talk over the beginning of the next track. (Edit: I can think of a couple ways, mostly by a loud interruption at the beginning of each new sound, like a gong, to signal the next track. But that wouldn't work thematically for every game, and I wouldn't want something generic like a '50s-style beeping recording...unless the game was about playing school children in McCarthy's America.)
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