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Creating the Game - Chapter 3

Submitted by Tom Sorrell at 2013-04-30 03:05:26 EDT
Rating: 0.0 on 1 rating (3 reviews) (Review this item) (V)

Hugo and Isaac sit in silence as the machine whirs and beeps. It finally finishes loading and a green control prompt pops up on the black screen.

C:\XO>_

Isaac’s eyebrows raise and he glances at his brother. He can't help but notice the sweat on Hugo's forehead as prepares to use the machine he’s spent a year designing and building. Hugo exhales, sharply, then pulls his chair up to the keyboard and rests his fingers on the keys. He inhales, then click-clack-click-clack…

C:\XO> CREATE ENVIRONMENT: LIGHT

He pushes the enter key. The screen lights up with bright white light. He turns to Isaac with a smirk. “And there was light,” he says.

Isaac cackles and sneers, “Illuminate!”

“OK, Simon Phoenix,” Hugo replies with a grin.

“Demolition Man is so awesome!!” Isaac screams. “Deluminate!” he shouts, happily, but the world is Hugo’s, so the screen stays lit.

Hugo shakes his head in disgust, because he thinks he’s too good to watch legitimately entertaining movies like Demolition Man, or anything with Stallone other than Rocky. Hugo’s a pompous ass. He’s being one right now. I can read his thoughts. His real reason for not liking movies like this is because he secretly knows he could never do better. Not in a million years. He knows this because I tell him this. I tell him this all the time. Well, him and Brian Wilson. I spend quite a bit of time with him as well.

Anyway, Hugo ignores the dark-hearted comment of Isaac and pulls up the control prompt again. My buddy Isaac looks around the room and notices Hugo's stack of old records. I give him a nudge. He smiles. "You know bro, what you should have done is keep the whole screen black, then build a huge mountain on the right side and have a giant fucking wizard standing on the pinnacle holding a lantern and staff."

Hugo pauses for a moment, as if he recognizes the tone in his brother’ voice, then looks over at Isaac, who laughs, then blinks, hard and shakes his head. “I love Led Zeppelin too," Hugo says in complete earnestness. “But they built their own world. This one is mine. I’m not remaking the scene laid out in the interior art for their fourth album. I don’t even understand it completely, to tell the truth.” Hugo smiles, and I want to slap the shit out of him. I want to claw his stupid, round little face with my …

Isaac chuckles. "It's called Zoso," he says.

"No it is not," replies Hugo, as he casts an annoyed look at Isaac. Isaac smirks and nods as if to say, "Is so." Hugo shakes his head, adamantly, then says, "It doesn't matter anyway. Just watch what I do here," he says.

C:\XO>CREATE ENVIRONMENT
LOCATION: LOWER THIRD
TERRA FIRMA

The machine hums, mechanically. Hugo and Isaac watch as the screen fills with lush green grass. Hugo takes the mouse and starts to build. He pulls the left side of the screen up creating a small hill leading down to the right and bottom of the screen.

“I have to be honest, Hugo, that looks ridiculous.”

“Wait until I’m done, dick.” Hugo snaps.

He moves the hill around to where it seems you could walk up it from the bottom or the right side of the screen. It almost seems 3D. On the bottom right side of the screen he takes his mouse and cuts a circle that takes up half the screen, then pulls up a control prompt:

C:\XO>FILL: DARK MURKY LIQUID

The hole fills with something that looks like tar, but it’s nowhere near as thick. It’s almost transparent, in fact. “What is that?” I have Isaac ask, and Hugo turns with a knowing nod.

“This is the pool of life,” he says. "This is where everything I create will come from.”

Isaac blinks for a minute. He's confused. Hugo notices and explains, “Think of it as the primordial fountain of life. If I tell the program to create something, whatever that something is will come crawling out of this muck.”

"It comes out of the goo?" Isaac asks in disbelief. "Dude, that's disgusting. Why not just have it appear on screen?"

"Because that's life," Hugo says with a grin. "Everything that's created in our world emerges from something else, right?"

Isaac nods, slowly. "Like the Raptors in Jurassic Park," he says, softly.

Hugo, the patient moron he is, allows his younger brother a moment to ramble in order to fully understand. He chuckles as Isaac wrings his hands and stares at his shoes while speaking in a low voice, "Butterflies, chickens, people, monkeys, bats, rats, horses. Fuckin' ... dolphins and shit."

"Exactly," Hugo says with a trace of annoyance I dusted in the air around the word "horses."

"Cats!" Isaac shouts, as Hugo's orange and white tabby strolls into the room like an asshole. "Create a stupid cat. Let's see how it works."

Hugo shakes his head as Raskatnikov, an annoying little creature I can't stand, jumps onto his lap. He scritches its stupid head as it glares at me. I hear Hugo say to Isaac, "I really don't want anything in my world until it's done."

"Oh come on," Isaac says, with a trace of evil. "Let's make a cat and then kill it. It won't matter. I want to see what happens."

Hugo pauses for a moment, apprehensively, before finally nodding and pulling up the control prompt with a sigh. "Ok," he says, timidly.



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Submitted by Tom Sorrell at 2013-05-01 00:59:30 EDT (#)

Ok.

As I've been writing I've been using the narrator less and less and wanting to use him less and less. I'm inclined to remove that element entirely and let the story tell itself without the third element. Too much and not enough to prop it up. Really good advice.

Re: logical issues and things that contradict each other, that's part of it. It's Hugo's world, period. The machine does whatever he wants it to do. If things contradict each other, so be it. I'd drive myself insane trying to keep it straight.

Re: obvious conclusion in CH2: Yep. I'm not Faulkner and this is the story I'm telling. Thanks for your time.

Submitted by ilikesteak at 2013-04-30 22:25:34 EDT (#)

This whole chapter is a massive logical facepalm. I read this and the thought that exclusively occurred is "That's not how that works."

Machines don't hum mechanically. They hum the intros to popular songs along with the team captain while another guest tries to guess it for points.

I get that the characters are supposed to be a bit awkward, and that this is more of a transition chapter to go from the introduction to the life of Hugo into the program, and then it'll lead to how the program affects the rest of Hugo's life, but there doesn't feel like there's much content that relates to the telling of the story. It had a lot to do with the description of the IN/OUT processing of what the program is doing, especially since we've been given logically conflicting information about how the program works.

The fact that the cat is facing the narrator suggests that it is a named character in the room but not acting as anything other than an observer, generally making no mention of its own personal interactions with the story so far other than about its span of influence. We were lead to believe that the narrator was a sinister all-seeing observer whose main interactive capability is to suggest mild actions and help steer the opinions of those around him, with the benefit of future knowledge.

In the first of those two scenarios, the narrator is a harder douche than an assistant manager in a sleeveless Affliction shirt wearing an Ed Hardy trucker hat with a fresh coat of orange spray tan preparing himself to be the center of attention in a one man gangbang.

The second of these two scenarios would be a massive waste of ability for the narrator so its entire series of interactions with Hugo's life would be on the same level as a smoke break, where it isn't a constant occurrence in Hugo's life, but is a recurring player. It would explain the few good months of Hugo's life as simply the narrator not being around. Either way, the best thing that could happen with this story is to drop the idea of a narrator character and to just narrate the story without it. It's the weakest link of the entire series, but you've written it in as the linchpin of the whole story.

The story itself is good enough and isn't painful to read, but it is waterboarding my inner nerd.

Submitted by Shlongy at 2013-04-30 19:16:19 EDT (#)
Rating: 0

Taking advice on writing from Perkman is akin to...to...

...To something else really dumb.


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