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Neal Stephenson's sword fighting kickstarter

Discussion in 'Games' started by dragonfliet, Jun 10, 2012.

  1. dragonfliet

    dragonfliet I write stuffs

    Apr 24, 2006
    Likes Received:


    I wish them the best of luck, but I have very low expectations. Why? Because of the pitiful understanding of the abstractions they are dealing with. I was amused as hell when Stephenson picks up the controller and says that it isn't a sword. He's right, it isn't. It also isn't a gun or a tank, it isn't a person or a helicopter or dragon, and yet it is wonderful for controlling all of those.

    The bigger problem is that no motion controller is a sword either. Sure, you can make sword motions with it, but it will be a very, very poor simulation, having no heft, no balance, no grip that is anything like a sword. They're starting with a two handed longsword and it is going to be ridiculous, because either people will be whipping them around with the speed of a dagger, which is a terrible, terrible simulation, or else the avatar will respond to the weight of the sword and will simply lag massively behind the player. It strips out body position from context, it strips out strength and endurance, etc.

    Using a controller, a game could very very easily emulate all of these things. You would perform moves with a control stick and the level of abstraction that comes with moving a control stick would help to keep the illusion from failng when the character moved with the slowness appropriate for such a large sword (which isn't to say that it is super slow, but it is comparatively so). The player can move their character bodily away from blows, using positioning and stance to their advantage, they can better apply kicks, shoves and pivots. In other words, by emulating the waving around nature of swords with a sword-like peripheral, you lose the ability to actually emulate the things that makes sword fighting unique. It becomes yet another waggle game where their is a massive disconnect.

    Sword fighting isn't about the holding of a sword, but about all of the movements and strategies that go along with it. In all honesty it seems to me that all of the effort has gone into trying to make the player holding the waggle controller look a certain way than in actually making a more interesting simulation of the actual experience. Whenever your explanation for how to deal with the lack of feedback is a really, really, really stretching it to the limits explanation of how you pull short anyways, you know you're in trouble.

    I know, I know, this is super premature footage, but if your famous writer can't figure out the levels of abstraction in any form of creative expression and where the strengths and limitations are for each in the promo video, I have to say, it just doesn't seem very promising for the future of the project.

    Love the HL3 reference, however.

    Edit: figured out a better way to express my trepidation:

    Last edited: Jun 10, 2012
  2. shadow_dragon

    shadow_dragon is ironing his panties!

    Apr 26, 2000
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    Well it's a funny video and they put in a good effort to entertain to lure in the moneys.

    Personally though, I don't need a PC based fighting simulator game.
    Not sure about anyone else but my console sits in my lounge which is vaguely spacious... my PC sits in a corner.

    Also by the sound of how it handles "feedback" and such it implies that the game is more of a complex "gestures" game where if you do specific moves you get specific results... which seems like more of an educational/sparring tool.

    I don't know. I have the same trepidations as yourself. I see what they're shooting for though but.. maybe i'm too old and too lazy that pushing a button has now become... enough for me.

    That said I have Sports Champions on the PS3 and that does a pretty good sword and board fighting game.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2012
  3. Severin

    Severin New Member

    Feb 8, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Much as I love his writing and on the face of it this seems like a cool idea. I like dragonfliet am pretty skeptical about what they will be able to achieve. As well as the hurdles already mentioned how would you go about emulating the resistance when your blow is parried.

    I'm sure there are technical solutions to all the problems above but getting them squeezed into an affordable controller seems like a non starter to me. anyhow I wish them luck.

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