today i, uh, did some work on the procedural generation thing. nothing that touches in-game code paths at all yet, but just like... trying to hook together the generation setup i coded up and then didn't really use; trying to use it for something that actually tracks state and expands and stuff like that. it's currently: a big mess. hopefully more messing with it will make it come into shape. for a while i was like "i won't work on this b/c i should be working on hell game" but then i reminded myself, again, that i don't get virtue points for sitting here miserably, actively refusing to do smth i want to do just because it is not the Correct Thing.
thinking abt legend of mana
okay so legend of mana has this in-game history encyclopedia that gets filled out as you do certain things. it's this whole complete history -- very abbreviated of course, but it covers from the creation of the world through a bunch of wars and kingdoms rising and falling, magic being discovered and overused, etc. there are a bunch of names in there that never come up in the rest of the game -- and a bunch that you recognize because they're still important characters in the plot. like there are the six "wisdoms", who are characters that are like... renowned sages that are understood to deeply understand the world, and by reading the histories you get to learn who they used to be and how they became famous.
and this was kind of contrasted to me actually playing dawn of mana, which touches on a few fragments of that history, and it's like: nope there aren't any huge armies of fairies, or vast machines of war, or centuries of evil ruling the land by the power of Eyes of Flame. instead you get one (1) standard anime/game protangonist: young, male, dumb, falling into the plot by accident, who goes and saves the world.
and it's like. cmon. it's not just "you can do better than this", because clearly they already did better than that by writing the histories to begin with, it's just, well, when people are making a game there is an immense pressure to fit it to the standard formula, which means: dumb guy with sword, singlehandedly saving the world.
listen: i want a game where yr the great witch anise & the entire game is abt how yr boring a hole in the side of the tree of mana & building yr workshop there, doing all sorts of profane experiments to construct the first artifacts, and also probably turning evil in the mean time. but nope.
(this is also kinda my feeling re: ffxii, since like... vagrant story is great and has this huge sense of presence and weight to the world, and tells a story that, even as the stakes grow near the end, remains fairly small and self-contained. (fft is okay too i guess.) and then you step back a thousand or so years into the golden age, the rome to vagrant story's renaissance france, and it's like. oh i guess the world was saved from utter destruction by a plucky band of heroes, ostensibly headed by a young clueless guy who fell into the plot by accident. and here it's even more clear b/c like, vaan was originally not even gonna be in the game? but ashe -- the toppled queen trying to destroy the invaders that conquered her homeland by striving for the power of the gods -- apparently wasn't protagonist material, and so explicitly during development the pr folks told the devs, no, no, you need a more relatable main character, so she inexplicably takes a backseat to clueless mcfuckboy or w/e.)