Thursday, June 7, 2012

7dfps: The Leaden Circles, prep

(I'm making an FPS in 7 days, as are many other designers. This is cross-posted.)

"One feels even in the midst of the traffic, or waking at night, Clarissa was positive, a particular hush, or solemnity; an indescribable pause; a suspense before Big Ben strikes. There! Out it boomed. First a warning, musical; then the hour, irrevocable. The leaden circles dissolved in the air."

Mrs. Dalloway is a novel by Virginia Woolf about a rich white lady in 1920s London throwing a party for a bunch of random acquaintances she doesn't really care about. She does it because she likes the attention and it's good for her husband's career.

It's also about a smart-ass white dude coming back from India who judges everyone.

It's also about a depressed World War I veteran who's going insane, hearing trees sing in ancient Greek. It's also about.... well, 20 other people.

It's not an easy read on the first try. Virginia Woolf wrote it in a "stream of consciousness" style, meaning you go back and forth between different characters' heads, often without warning -- sometimes several times in a paragraph. Sometimes you're reading what he thinks she thinks he thinks, as filtered by her (?!) but trust me, it's rewarding. Part of the idea behind making this is that hopefully it'll make the logic and systems governing the book (novels and narratives are systems!) more apparent.

Now, most of the different book covers feature a portrait of some random lady on the front... which totally misses the point. My favorite version is the one above, Wassily Kandinsky's Akzent in Rosa (1926). Sure, the book is about a Mrs. Dalloway, but it's also about consciousness, some kind of unseen universe on the edges of human comprehension.

My plan is to adapt Mrs. Dalloway as "The Leaden Circles," a single player squad shooter with a stream of consciousness mechanic, kind of in a Space Hulk format. You'll ping pong between the different characters, chaining together thoughts, memories, and feelings -- and to win, you have to get this rich petty vapid white lady to feel something deeply profound at the end of the day.

I'll be using Unity, C#, Maya, Audacity, Photoshop, and source material from Virginia Woolf, CGTextures,

Let's do this, and good luck to everyone!