Art but from who's perspective?

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Art but from who's perspective?

Post by snowdrop » Tue May 31, 2011 07:54

Below is a mail I just sent to Qx. Feel free to come with input, as always, with all things on forum.

Well, this is a pretty big topic as it will direct most of the art. I will dump a copy of this in the forum, because as usual, we are keeping stuff internal here. Not that I care much about everyones input, but because it doesn't really add transparency to the project.

Questions here are (and my short answers in the parenthesis):
Do all our factions perceive themselves as good or at the very least as better in some undefined sense, than the other factions? (I think yes, most do. The only exception I can think of are the Elfs to some degree.)

1. If #1 is true, should we because of that depict every faction as it perceives itself? When looking at Gains while depicted on Gaian cards, they look "good". While looking at RB on RB cards they look "good"?

2. How should a member of faction x be depicted when it is depicted on a card that belongs to faction y? Since every faction believes it's own perspective to be correct, would that mean that whatever is on that factions card should be on par with what their perspective is? If so, this means that Red Banner would look more evil and more brute whenever they're depicted by other factions cards, while being more or less "Normal" or glorified when they depict themselves. (Clearly propagandistic stuff comes to mind here, like how some people portray other groups of people in certain was because it fits their political/normative agendas)

3. When the player holds a Gaian card with an elf on it, are the odds that it depicts a haromic and happy kind looking elf? And when she holds a Shadowguild or a Red Banner creature - do they look "evil" and "semi evil"? (As it is now, I'd answer yes as well: All our undead cards look "evil" and our orc cards fall into only two catgeories: Evil looking barbaric or good / looney tunes.) Point being, now we seem to have a meta perpsective and we currently do take sides in the game: The Gaian are noble and the orcs are goofy/stupid. But that's strange, since the orcs aren't stupid - they have just been treated as they were just that by society, and also been exploited and not seen as equals to man. We have a meta perspective since our view is from "god" (we, as the players have that peperspective as we can build decks any way we want and mix fates etc in the decks). Our meta perspective tells the player what values to have and to not take the orc serious. But how can that be, if the orc should be understood from _their own_ perspective?

I think these are complicated matters for several reasons. a) One of the obvious ones are that we have five factions and that each faction has /will have it's own story and mindset, often conflicting with the others. b) We also have some factions that are traditionally perceived as good/evil in the genre, and that perception is likely to be around in our game as well and maybe even should stick around to some degree if we want to make our world understandable as a fantasy world. c) Lastly, a card can either be told/shown from the perspective of it's faction, or from the perspective of the other factions.

What I think would be best to do is to not always let each faction portray itself as only good or only evil, and also to avoid a situation where x is described as good by itself but as evil by y z w etc. I think that would just confuse the players and add some very strange feeling in the game.

Instead, I suggest we let every faction be more or less dynamic: We will show angry and serious and happy elfs as well as giggly orcs (yeah, i know, that seems to be hard to create without it looking comical...) and we would try to find some kind of "balance" within each faction, so that it is not only depicted as being x, but rather, being depicted so that it is obvious that it is x y z etc. Showing a full palette of emotions and moods, instead of just sticking every species and faction into a stereotypical and flat one.

What say you?

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Re: Art but from who's perspective?

Post by Q_x » Tue May 31, 2011 09:11

First is - maybe we should really cease the forums and start a mailing list? I think when we do a serious bit of design with mailing eachother, we may benefit from that.

But, back to the topic.
Problem is not how factions perceive themselves, cause I think it's pretty much "ordinary life and war" type of perception - you want, turn on any documentary, just not american one.

Problem is how to make attractive cards, not how obedient soldiers perceive other obedient soldiers on the other side of the field. As an admiral, I'm not interested into that, really. I think there is much more hatred in their heads than it should be, just to kill any logical thinking.

Let me explain it on an example:
Empire great catapult:
God (Admiral) view: strong, advanced, expensive unit that needs fit crew to attack
Crew member's view: dangerous and tedious work, always near-death exhaustion and layer of mud on face, but what a fun to shoot!
Battle field first line soldier's view: Oh, how good it is not to siege this fortress for a half year, heal wounds, loose life, when you can just throw that freaking boulder
Supply unit view: relaxing, watching this thing does holes in the walls, waiting for orders
Enemy view: Terror! Nowhere to escape! Walls are crumbling!
Enemy captain finally decides to move out from the fortress and attack the machine.

Now, none of this points of view is adequate to what I would want to see really. I think what a player wants to see is what may be referred to our advertisement, or a "concept stage visualization" that producers want you to pay for - this is a catapult in action watched from completely unrealistic distance and perspective, and smoking, crumbled down fortress is mandatory in the same illustration.

And how to show other-faction humanoids? Just like on medieval war: humiliated, being made fun of them, imprisoned or dead. We can leave tortures away from the game, even when this is still a normal, important and highly valued (and scientifically developed, from clinic tests to manuals for soldiers) part of interrogation in all "most developed societies".

Mixing concepts of evil and good is a kind strange for me in the context of war - mankind should be prohibited to use those terms at all, world would have been better place without those. "Pleasant", "proud", "dominating" or "friendly" are maybe better in this case.

Survival strategy, deception, mischief, traps, planning, robbing and of course a whole lot of suffering and brainwashing. This is what a conflict is. And no matter what and who - it should be depicted this way. When combined with the above, I'd say we could have, for example, Empire that dominates enemies in some way, like when dragging them on the leach behind a cart or shoots heads into sieged fortress to cause a plague and spoil water supply, or Orcs that wait watching the trap, that the prey, lets say Noble guards, is going to fall in, just to let them suffocate under stone avalanche they are just about to release and loot them afterwards.

I think "The art of war" may be the right book to start with in this subject, really, rather than book about ethics.
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