The other day, I decided to play Planescape: Torment (hereby just referred to as PS:T). I was ill (still partially am actually) and couldn’t do much of anything else. Besides, I’ve heard so much about this RPG (Role-Playing Game). Did you know that the script for this game has about 800,000 words? (Compare that to the Mahabharata, the Indian epic, which has 1.8 million words). There is a lot of story exposition fleshing out the game world and the story behind the protagonist in the form of character dialogue, banter, and in-game books. I can’t say for sure but some have commented that there are very few mandatory combat sequences and that one could play through the *entire* game just by talking your way out.
The Nameless One
I installed the version from gog.com and installed the recommended mods that are supposed to enhance my experience. Next, I played until I reached The Hive, the city outside the Mortuary (where the game begins). I took my time and made sure to explore every nook and cranny in the Mortuary. My goal was to learn as much as possible about the story. I stopped playing once I reached the Hive because I had enough. My verdict? I was trying to like the game more than I was actually liking the game.
Don’t get me wrong. I appreciate story telling and I liked what I got so far from my playthrough of PS:T. The problem is, there are technical issues with the game that I just could not overlook. It would be one thing if I played and enjoyed this game back in 1999 (the year it came out). That way, I would have some memory of it to draw on and enjoy the game while ignoring the issues. However, I have no such memories and I have been spoilt by years of innovation in the RPG scene. Before I elaborate on my what issues are, I’d just like to note that back in 1999, most of these would not have been problems. But it’s not 1999 any longer and I think that PS: T has not aged well.
For the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about the bookmarks I keep. Each day, when I surf the Internet, I come across various articles, forum discussions or blog posts. If I find them particularly interesting, I bookmark them so as to not forget their existence. I like going back to these interesting links to re-read them or to share them with someone else. Here are some examples of pages I found interesting:
The problem is, I have no idea if these pages will exist in the future. Plenty of things could happen to invalidate my bookmarks. For example, the URL to the pages could change. Or perhaps the authors might bring down the pages. Whatever it is, my bookmarks could become worthless and the content might be lost…perhaps forever if no one has a copy of it somewhere.
The main means of communication over the Internet is through writing and text. People type on blogs, chat on MSN and comment on websites such as Youtube. With being forced to write all the time on the Internet, I believe that people have somehow become wittier, funnier and more insightful. I have observed many instances where someone posts a comment somewhere and it’s actually very thought-provoking, meriting further discussion, or just plain hilarious. I’d like to archive these nuggets of quality writing so that everyone can view them on a common website.
This isn’t an entirely original idea. Look at SeenOnSlash and Bash.org. SeenOnSlash specialises on comments made on Slashdot. Slashdot has a unique comment moderation system where moderators can assign scores to each comment. Good comments usually receive scores such as +5 Insightful or +5 Funny. SeenOnSlash attempts to archive these comments with the articles the comments are made on.
Bash.org focuses on excerpts of people’s chats, especially those on IRC. People can submit quotes that think are good/funny/interesting and moderators would accept or reject them. If they are accepted, the quote is available for the public to see. People vote up the quotes they like and those most liked appear in the ‘top 100’ list.
SeenOnTheInternet would focus on the greater Internet, not just Slashdot and IRC. People would archive comments they think are good and the article where these comments appeared on would be archived as well, for context. Other users can rank these comments and apply different labels on them to categorise them.
I envision a place where all the comments are grouped into general categories such as philosophy, politics, or software development. Each comment may also have additional attributes such ‘funny’ or ‘insightful’ (similar to how Slashdot does it). Users can view these comments, have their daily fix of writing that simulates their brain matter, and perhaps engage in further discussion.
Could you see it working? Need more clarification? Do comment and let me know what you think.
My undergraduate advisor encourages his students to always think of new ideas. He also holds a Random Ideas Day each vacation where all his students would meet and each would present a single idea. The idea is that through discussion, we could collectively come up with a viable idea to work on.
Apart from being interesting, there are no requirements on the idea. If an idea is interesting and people are willing to work on it, then any issues with it can be addressed with further discussion. There is no reason that a good idea should be shelved prematurely because of concerns such as ‘commercial-worthiness’.
It’s a good practice and like with the puzzles, I decided I needed a more formal approach. With that, I introduce a new category: Ideas. I get a lot of random ideas but I have limited free time. I certainly can’t work on everything that comes to my mind.
My hope is that by making posts about my ideas and by explaining why I find them interesting, someone will become convinced and work on the idea. Just to make it clear, I do not have any monopoly over the ideas I have and I do not require any royalty if you decide to actually work on something and commercialize it. Of course, if you do want to pay me, I have no problems with that! All ideas, unless otherwise noted, would be licensed with a Creative Commons – Attribution license.
My first idea would be posted within two days. Writing takes time.