I’ve been eagerly reading David Morgan-Mar‘s movie screencap comic Darths & Droids. He’s conjuring up the funny at a steady pace, and has even coaxed a few laughs out of my sour, recently-decaffeinated Ogreface. He mentions in the comments at the end of this strip that he very deliberately chose a different thrust for Darths, a move which I think will really pay off in the long run.
In DMotR, the story was mostly the product of one character (the Dungeon Master) who forced everyone through his story despite their many attempts to break free. I don’t know that I ever explicitly said so, but most of the time I imagined that the novels were the story the DM had in mind, and the movies were the result of simple mistakes and player sabotage. It didn’t always work out that way in practice, but that’s how I liked to think of it.
In Darths & Droids, the guy (?) running the game is not a railroader, and so the story is constantly being adapted to take into account the unpredictable actions of the players. This is a lot more like a “regular” game. For example, the Darths & Droids GM had no plans for the players to visit the surface of Naboo. When Ben and Jim (his two players so far) decide to go down to the planet, he has to come up with a world on the fly, and ends up freestyling a lot of stuff.
This change in the nature of the meta-story was a wise move, and let Morgan-Mar avoid falling into a rut where he’d be stuck re-hashing a lot of my “railroading DM” material.
On Sunday he struck gold with his explanation of why the politics on Naboo were so… unconventional. Alas, if only those of us who sat through the movie had such a comforting rationale for the rampant lunacy to which we were being exposed. It would have been nice to imagine that The Phantom Menace was the product of an elementary school relation of George Lucas, and not the work of the man himself. Now those of us who grew up with Star Wars are forced to wonder if the guy has finally lost it, or if he ever really had it to begin with. Did Star Wars become stupid, or was it always this way and I was too young to notice?
Also, I’d like to point out that Morgan Marr would be a great name for a Star Wars character.
Video Compression Gone Wrong
How does image compression work, and why does it create those ugly spots all over some videos and not others?
Batman: Arkham City
A look back at one of my favorite games. The gameplay was stellar, but the underlying story was clumsy and oddly constructed.
Deus Ex and The Treachery of Labels
Deus Ex Mankind Divided was a clumsy, tone-deaf allegory that thought it was clever, and it managed to annoy people of all political stripes.
Why Batman Can't Kill
His problem isn't that he's dumb, the problem is that he bends the world he inhabits.
Quakecon 2012 Annotated
An interesting but technically dense talk about gaming technology. I translate it for the non-coders.