Action/Expression Revelation

2006 Mar 6

me: i have experienced revelations about Waiting/Tea
JP: Do tell
me: there are two types of things that characters can do.
me: they can EXPRESS things and then they can DO things.
me: expressions would be saying stuff, yelling stuff, smiling, frowning, pointing at stuff, sighing, etc.
JP: What is the difference?
me: actions would be like picking up a bucket, going to a different location, making tea, etc.
me: so I think I’m gonna give players a large degree of leeway in character expression and very little leeway in character actions.
JP: Ok, I guess I can picture that.
me: so expressions are really how you get from action to action.
me: they’re what provide context to things that the characters actually do.
me: so you could say, “Chema laughs at Gai Zheng, ‘I can’t believe you just did that.’ “
me: freeforming the expressions.
me: but if you actually want to DO things, you have to select an action from a list based on your current location.
JP: Now I can picture that ;)
me: i think that’ll give the system both flexibility and structure.
JP: Sounds like a good plan
me: Thomas wanted the system to “get out of the way,” supporting stuff that needed supporting and not restricting stuff that was actually good for the game.
me: and limiting character expressions was pretty limiting.
JP: Something easier said than done
me: it’s also got me thinking about the difference between acting and expressing in other games.
me: like, in Nobilis, killing an entire nation of humans can be an expression, because it doesn’t actually DO anything. you can just do it because you’re in a bad mood.
* JP nods
me: whereas, an action actually does something that affects what actions can be taken later.
me: like insulting the Power of Fluffy Bunnies might be an action.
JP: Kind of like actions that change color vs. ones that change situation.
me: very much so.
me: expressions of color don’t create new situations like actual actions do.
JP: Yea
me: though Waiting/Tea’s expressions don’t necessarily line up with how I feel about expressions overall. for instance, saying “I hate you and hope you die” will often cause new situations, but, in W/T, that would still be an expression.
JP: Yea, that does seem a bit strange
me: maybe it’s just because Waiting/Tea is a single scene long, so, if you create new situations, you don’t really get to deal with them.
JP: Like ordering another dish when all you have time for is already on your plate :)
me: right.
me: like ordering 3 desserts.
JP: Heh

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