Corridors and More

On corridor thinking from yesterday, Donna Haraway provides a short bibliography for further reading:

  • Mary Ellen Hannibal, The Spine of the Continent: The Most Ambitious Wildlife Conservation Project Ever Undertaken (Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2012).
  • Michael E. Soulé and John Terborgh, Continental Conservation: Scientific Foundations Of Regional Reserve Networks (Washington, DC: Island Press, 1999).
  • Jodi A. Hilty, Annika T. H. Keeley, William Z. Lidicker Jr., and Adina M. Merenlender, Corridor Ecology: Linking Landscapes for Biodiversity and Climate Adaptation (Washington, DC: Island Press, 2019).
  • Ellen Meloy, Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild (New York, NY: Vintage Books, 2005).
  • Alexandra Koelle, Rights of Way: Race, Place, and Nation in the Northern Rockies, PhD Dissertation, University of California, Santa Cruz, 2010.

On production, and my day job. From Latin, produco. A few senses:

  • I lead or bring forth, forward or out.
  • I conduct to; bring before, present.
  • I draw or stretch out, lengthen, extend.
  • I bring to light, disclose, expose.

In game production, there is some nobility claimed by virtue of both position and etymology: production as bringing forth, as bringing to light, as conducting and extending what is (and I am inclined to say that there is something to these definitions). The producer orchestrates, conductor of a symphony. But, in reality, production is more often than not closer to a fifth sense of the word:

  • I place one thing before another.

In this sense, production is a matter of counting, of sequencing, a combinatorial effort. To produce a game is primarily to enumerate and arrange. Less glamorous than bringing forth, to be sure. But also, more practical and material. There is no magic here, and that’s good, because magic is shit process. All focus needs to be on the work, on the actual effort expended by actual people. That is the function of production.

Progress on the interactive storytelling syllabus continues. My game list, broken up into the three categories mentioned yesterday (chatty is now dialogic, much more scholarly…), is as follows:

Wordless Stories

  • Thatgamecompany, Journey (2012)
  • Ustwo Studios, Monument Valley (2014)
  • Playdead, Inside (2016)
  • Buried Signal, Gorogoa (2017)
  • Nomada Studio, Gris (2018)
  • Mountains, Florence (2018)
  • Witch Beam, Unpacking (2021)

Dialogic Stories

  • The Fullbright Company, Gone Home (2013)
  • Campo Santo, Firewatch (2016)
  • Night School Studio, Oxenfree (2016)
  • Geography of Robots, Norco (2022)

Environmental Stories

  • Mobius Digital, Outer Wilds (2020)
  • Shedworks, Sable (2021)

Constituting the analytic portion of the course, students will conduct a solo analysis of one of the wordless stories, a partner analysis of one of the dialogic stories, and a group analysis of one of the environmental stories. Thinking about drama as both individual writer-designers and together as a writers room.

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