The first public playtest for the MOOC is this weekend, so this week has been a little crazy. The instructors are testing out the technology. The class participants are testing out the crime scene scripts and learning the app we’ll be working with during the playtest. It’s busy…and crazy…
And it totally reminds me of Stage Week. A really insane Stage Week.
I hadn’t thought about it until my team was setting up for what the instructors have called a “tech rehearsal” Thursday afternoon, but Stage Week and a late-stage playtest really kind of do have some things in common.
For example, nearly all of the ballet companies I danced with had classes at the studio, and then performed at a local theater they had an arrangement with. We would spend months practicing in the studio with markers for where things were known to actually be at the stage or with the understanding we were going to be in a larger space. But we wouldn’t actually get to practice on the stage itself until the week leading up to the performance, where things may or may not have transferred smoothly and changes happened on the fly in the middle of rehearsal.
Because we’re a distributed class, this MOOC kind of has that same vibe to it. We’ve been building crime scenes and clues for a month in whatever digital or physical space works for the team. We are playtesting our scripts this week through Periscope in spaces that may have absolutely nothing in common with the actual space where the game will take place. We’re running into problems, and our only chance at practicing this in the actual space will be watching players test everything out through Periscope.
No, I’m wrong. This is actually more nerve wracking than Stage Week, now that I think about it.
We’re also running into problems with the various tools that will be employed during the playtest, and still prepping as if those glitches will absolutely be worked out by the time the first playtest runs Saturday afternoon. We have some backup plans. Just in case. I feel like I should be more nervous, but I’ve been through too many Stage Weeks to be anything more than mildly curious to see how things work out.
Yet one more example about how skills and experience gained in one field can benefit you in another.
A choose-your-own-adventure has been unfolding in the Mission District of San Francisco. Someone has been leaving the story in bites with arrows to direct the reader where to find the next piece. Forks in the story lead in different directions. (I’m sure this works much better if you’re in the Mission District actually following the blurbs.)
Research isn’t turning up a creator, but there are some funny ideas on what this unique story presentation method might spark.
Part of the charm of the interactive fiction format is that it can be presented in a wide variety of ways. The medium possibilities are endless.