Poetics notes, Chapters 1-5

Alright! Finally typing these up. I like writing out my notes on paper, but it’s nice to have them typed up and online.

Chapter 1 (means)

Imitation (mimesis) differs in three ways:

  • means
  • objects
  • manner

The Homeric verse and scientific verse have different purposes, but are both considered poetry because both are written in verse (or rather, some science was written in verse at the time). This misses the point that the “capacity to produce an imitation is the essential characteristic of the poet.” (Science is not mimesis.)

Verse and variation of verse is a matter of means.

Language is sentence construction. There are no narrative considerations.

Chapter 2 (objects)

Imitations of people make them out to be:

  • better than the norm
  • worse than the norm
  • same as the norm

People are the object of imitation.

Comedy portrays people as worse than the norm, and tragedy portrays people as better than the norm.

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13 plays


Image Fight (Arcade) - Final Mission

Some cool FM sounds here, specially that scale thing near the end of the loop.

Huh, I commented on this quite some time ago. Just beat the arcade version of this game this past week.

Skill notes. These notes run from 0:15 to 1:15.

I can’t figure out how to do a page break on this silly thing. Maybe my brain is broken? I am kind of tired right now. Sorry for cluttering your dash like this.

-Short Term Memory
——Memory Span: There are only four main bits to remember for this part (this excludes knowledge needed for the rest of the game). I’ve long since moved these to long term memory, but learning this stage the first time, these are important to remember.
————Nothing spawns from the bottom, left, or top of the screen until the powerup that enters the screen at 1:00 (top left). You can hug whatever edge you want.
————On the other hand, the entire right side is lined with turrets.
————Doors will open to release enemies (watch the top of the screen at 0:25). This is infinite. This has a reliable timing you can memorize, too, but I haven’t.
————The teal-tipped openings release  enemies, too (see 0:35). This has a reliable timing you can memorize, too, but I haven’t.
——Coding & Decoding (Chunking)
————You can memorize the individual placement of turrets along the right side, but that easily simplifies to “there’s a bunch of stuff to shoot there.”
————When do the infinitely spawning enemies appear? I don’t know, I just know where they’ll appear. I can wait for them in a safe spot and rely on my reflexes when they do appear.
——Hold and Fidelity
————This part will not tax your hold, since there’s only four main bits.
————No piece of information is very precise, either, so fidelity won’t matter much. In this video, I misremember the timing on a turret firing or an enemy spawning plenty of times, but it doesn’t matter. You have a big battleship on the right, so there’s going to be fire coming from that direction—it’s a clear cue. However, you can play a little better if you remember specific things like the fact that enemies won’t spawn from the top, left, or bottom of the screen.
-Mental Capacity
——Mental Channels
————There are three main sources of enemies: the opening doors, the teal-tipped openings, and the turrets on the walls. You’ll need to balance between all three.
————Additionally, you need to pay attention to where you fire. Are your cannons facing in the right direction to hit the enemy you want?
——Brain Stamina
————Enemies spawn at a consistent pace over this minute-long segment. If you can’t keep up, things are only going to get worse. If you can keep up, you’re guaranteed to stay afloat.
-Long Term Memory
——Loci, Emotion, and Repetition
————I just recognize familiar images. Big battleship: I know turrets are planted on it. Gray door with the red hinge and arrow: I know ships are gonna fly out of it. Upward-facing teal-tipped openings: I know guys are gonna come out of there.
——Muscle Memory
————For playing Image Fight, it’s important to get ingrained in your fingers the experience of aiming your cannons. Red cannons (the ones to the left, right, and below my ship in this video) will aim the opposite direction from your movement. Move up, they shoot down. Move right, they shoot left. When you see a guy on the right, you can’t stop to think, “How do I aim right?” You just need to think, “Aim right!” and then have your fingers do the rest.
——Deleting, Flagging, and Moving Data
————It’s easy to clear this stage and think you can just hug the top left of the screen. It works for most of the stage, since you can hang out at the top, aim rightward, and kill turrets as they appear. The guys shooting lasers won’t die quickly enough, but you can use reflexes to get around that problem. The real issue is that powerup at 1:00—a real easy way to lose a life is to forget about that guy and crash into it the moment it spawns. It’s so embarrassing, too, since it’s a powerup.
————Image Fight lets you shoot in any direction you want using those red cannons, so you have a wide range of possibilities to explore for any given challenge.

——Because the battleship takes up space, you have less space to move around in. Additionally, you have to shoot the turrets from the side, so the distance is horizontal. Since the screen is taller than it is wide, having to approach something horizontally means you have to get pretty close. In short, you don’t have much space between yourself and the turrets, meaning you’ll need good speed.
——How long it takes to shoot down enemies and turrets depends on how quickly you can press the shoot button.
————Luckily, the Irem Arcade Collection comes with an autofire feature, which you can see me (ab)using here.
————Additionally, the PC Engine port has autofire available from the game start menu, and in the NES version, you shoot several volleys of bullets for each button press.
——Not applicable.
——When the turrets scroll onscreen, you’ll need to keep dodging fire for a while. After they’re all gone, you’ll have a break until the next set scrolls onscreen. The two sets are separated by the infinite enemy spawner at the top of the screen at 0:50. That enemy spawner juts out, acting as a shield for the turrets above it—there’s no way to shoot the turrets from below, so you’ll have to put yourself directly in their line of fire to get at them. Dodging is much tighter, and you’ll need to maintain stamina dodging between bullets until you can carve out a safe spot.
——If you get tired when hammering the shoot button, you won’t be able to kill enemies as quickly.
——If you have your ship speed higher (it’s at speed 3 in this video), you’ll need to exercise greater control. On the other hand, with higher speed, you can dodge obstacles with less time. A lower speed allows for greater control, but you’ll need more time to dodge stuff.
——When you move, you reorient your cannons. When moving, you need to keep in mind not only what will keep you safe but also what will get your cannons facing the right direction.
——If you’re good at finding safe spots, you can be efficient by just sitting there.
————I like staying just above the horizontal enemy spawners, since I can shoot down to kill the horizontally-spawning enemies and shoot up to kill the vertically-spawning enemies.
————If you sit at the top of the screen as turrets spawn, you can also kill them off before they complicate your life. The earlier you can kill a cannon, the less dodging you’ll need to do, creating a more efficient playthrough.

——You can learn the timing on each individual turret firing. I uh, just go by sight.
——When the doors on the side of the ship open, I know to get into place to shoot the enemies that will soon spawn. I judge other timers, like how long it’ll take a bullet or enemy to hit me, based on sight.
——Each obstacle here has its own static timer. Every playthrough, every shot will spawn with the same timing. (Granted, you can halt a turret’s timing by destroying it.)
——It’s hard to keep track of the firing for each individual turret, but the spawning enemies are slow enough that it’s easy to follow.
——If each enemy has its own static timer, then putting together the entire screen is a complex timer.
——Everything is regular, no changes in tempo!
——The infinitely spawning enemies spawn in response to one another, putting them on the same track: a side spawning enemy, an upward spawning enemy, a side spawning enemy, an upward spawning enemy, etc., in regular time. I understand the turrets along the wall as their own track, and go back and forth from focusing on one track and the other.

——Because Image Fight features the dynamics of space and time, there are no simple reflex tests. There are always an immeasurable amount of responses, since you can react at any moment and move to any adjacent space. It gets even more complicated when you try to decide which enemy to hit and how to orient your cannons.
——This happens in Terranigma. Image Fight, not so much.
——I guess I just explained above how each encounter is a choice test.
——You know, I never use this when I play, but the blue laser turrets make a pretty loud and distinguishable noise. These lasers are pretty dangerous, too, just because of their size.
——Not applicable.
——Peripheral Vision
————As in any shmup, fire can come from any enemy onscreen. There’s a certain lack of focus I need to achieve so that a bullet spawning in any location alerts me to its presence.
——Dynamic Visual Acuity
————Everything moves at a regular speed, so it’s pretty easy to keep track of when a single bullet will hit me. The trouble is when stuff gets layered (see eye movement below).
——Momentary Vision
————As explained under timing, you’re forced into pretty cramped quarters here. There is only a very small visual warning for lasers firing. The bullets and rockets spawn in and start moving that instant. You’ll need good momentary vision.
——Eye Movement
————Check out all the stuff flying around at 0:57. You can technically fit through a lot of openings, but so many hazards move at their own pace that it’s hard to keep track of everything. I end up just seeing it as a wall of death. When I do break through at 1:01, there’s a break where I don’t have to watch any projectiles—they’re all to the right of me, and all I have to do is move up along the left side of the screen.

Excited to crack this book open, but come on. Couldn’t afford the apostrophe?

Excited to crack this book open, but come on. Couldn’t afford the apostrophe?

More Gamescape Notes

I didn’t get to all the games at Gamescape, but here are the ones I hit today. There’s another post with several from yesterday.

  • MABManZ.com - Combat Core - A 3D arena fighter with lots of junk (weapons, powerups) to pick up in the environment. Developer Micah Betts explained to me how the block degrades so you can’t just spam it, and you fill up your special meter by hitting folks and picking up the jewels they drop. Think of it like coin mode in SSB, but if coins powered up special attacks. He said Power Stone was a big inspiration, and he sought to fill the void that it left (haven’t had a game like it in 10 years, I think he said). Thinking back to Ben Ruiz, I remarked that it looked like it worked well just as a button masher, and he said that was definitely one style of play he had accounted for. He was looking more for something fun than something technical, and to that end, he cited the fact that there are only two attack buttons and no super special inputs.
  • NiceNiceGames.com - Null X Void - A 1D fighter. My first thought was to compare it to Divekick, which I reluctantly admitted to David Kim. He said that Divekick had indeed served as inspiration. It doesn’t play like Divekick, though; you just want to push the other player to the edge of the playfield. If you directly push against the player, though, you swap places with them, so instead, you want to time your charge move just right in order to push your opponent—it requires some finesse. I asked him what kind of variation he had been looking to implement, and he mentioned mulling over powerups and different player abilities.
  • FlutterBombs.com - Flutter Bombs - An air combat game where you play as a butterfly. You get straight shots and bombs. Controls work like a third person shooter, only holding the right trigger moves you up (releasing lets you fall). I should’ve asked Hadar Silverman if he had played any Descent. Instead, I asked about Kolibri, which he said he hadn’t heard before—except that someone brought it up just before I had. He suggested a few potential mission structures, from surviving waves of enemies to guiding a flight path over treacherous waters. None of the enemies were finished.
  • Philosoplay.comThat Rock Paper Scissors Game - A multiplayer game for three: one person controllling a paper airplane, one person controlling a rock, and one person controlling a pair of scissors. It’s your job to collide into the player that’s weak to you and avoid the player that’s strong against you. Tony Powell was like super energetic and mentioned that the game had been stripped down somewhat just so it was easy to demo, but the real version will have special attacks to differentiate each combatant.
  • Stumblesoft.comBattle Recruits - I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this, but Dave Gibbons gave me a real simple way in: it’s Snake, only your tail extensions are folks that you recruit. I only played the first level, which just had a tower to attack, and I didn’t ask what enemies would be like. Anyway, Dave mentioned that the levels took on a twisty turny structure, and it was your job to navigate carefully around your tail to avoid hitting it (if you hit your tail, your troops scatter). You want to gather troops so you can send them off to attack for you.
  • Lindsay GraceBlack Like Me - A puzzle game where you have to match the color given. The choices get dimmer and dimmer over time, making it harder to match. I asked Lindsay Grace how you go about balancing something like that, and he said it took a lot of testing. He also mentioned it was in the app store, so he had real data of folks playing to readjust how hard stuff was.
Attempting to rigorously define interactivity is about as joyous as rigorously defining the word game into your preferred pigeon hole. You might see healthy debate in this conversation. I see a black hole event horizon through which my will to live is disappearing.

Joel Goodwin
http://www.electrondance.com/screw-your-walking-simulators/ (via notgames)

Here, the author imparts what it takes to enjoy “secret box” style games (derogatorily called “walking simulators”). My taste differs (both in subject matter of criticism and genre of game), but I find this very useful for understanding his taste. I’ll be returning to this in a few days and rereading it.

This show featured the basketball team Harlem Globetrotters as undercover superheroes, who would transform from their regular forms by entering magic portable lockers. Each member of the group had individual super powers and overall, all members of the group could fly.

The Globetrotters received their missions from a basketball-styled talking satellite called the Crime Globe. Most episodes culminated in the Super Globetrotters challenging the villain and his henchmen to a basketball game for whatever treasure or device they sought. The civilian Globetrotters were always bested by the villains’ super-powers in the first half, but they would use their own super-powers in the second half (often at the admonition of the Crime Globe) to save the day.

Gamescape notes

Not gonna write down too much, since I didn’t learn all that much, but here’s the basics.

  • DMTgame.com - Dead Man’s Trail - Overhead shooter with procedurally generated maps (each individual map segment is hard designed, but how rooms link together is random—think Binding of Isaac). You want to find stuff in town and get back to your starting point. Finding a gun and using it to hold off zombies helps.
  • ElevenElevenStudios.com (on Tumblr)- SuperTrip and UDLR:SWIPE - SuperTrip is an AR game about using your GPS to find places in real life. Like a scavenger hunt provided by your phone. UDLR:SWIPE is a puzzle game that involves swiping and colors. Didn’t get a real great sense of this (I didn’t sit down to play it). Here’s a video.
  • Salokingames.com - Elite Force - Horde mode but with customizable upgradeable weapon sets to cater to your playstyle. FIrst person shooter. If I knew like anything about FPS games or horde mode in general I could probably say something else.
  • BatteryStapleGames.com - Echoes of Eridu - The guy demoing this game emphasized a heavy influence from Mega Man X, which was apparent in the shooting, dashing, and platforming style. The dash works like it does in MMX, as does the wall jump. The game tries to balance challenges to work on two different axes: platforming vs. combat and long-range weapons vs. short-range weapons. I think I remember the guy making a comment that at one point in design, the platforming challenges weren’t beefy enough, so they had to redo some stuff. Also said they tried to balance the number of unique enemies with the number of unique platform types.
  • CriticalGameplay.com - This was just a postcard floating around. Not sure what to make of it, although maintaining an open mind can be difficult. Games associated with it at the show were You and Black Like Me, neither of which I spent time with today.