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  • SirSilentPhil

Story Generation

Hello fellow citizens, today you can learn a bit more about how we've handled the story generation in Norland, which brings plenty of emotions, drama, and unique gameplay.

Story generators are unique game systems that can create a much wider range of emotions than traditional video games ever could. In addition to the joy of victory, the bitterness of defeat, the wonder of exploration, and the pleasure of harmony, the semi-autonomous creatures in story generators can give players complex feelings related to empathy toward other creatures. These can be pride in successes, fear of loss, empathy for grief, sentimentality, and so on.

For the emotions to become more alive and vibrant, the events that evoke them must surprise the player. This is achieved through unexpected combinations and interactions, which can be accomplished if semi-autonomous actors function in curious and unpredictable ways. In other words, you need chaos, and you need complexity. We can say that story generators are complex, deterministic, and chaotic systems.

That's why we tried to include a lot of different systems in the game: crime and punishment, personal property (you can't take away aristocrats' jewelry, but they can donate it to a church, for example, or give it to a loved one), the institution of religion, social classes, rituals, and so on. There are many different factors at play here in Norland that make up vital aspects to the game.

Since we’ll play as a family of aristocrats, they have the opportunity to work a few hours a day (or not at all), rather than constantly as in other colony simulations. This way, they have the opportunity to build relationships among themselves more visibly, engage in intrigue, learn, and have fun. In this respect, their interaction is closer to the Sims. But the Sims lacks what makes Rimworld's stories so compelling: drama.

Drama is realized through the pressures of the systems at hand: the conflicts, the scarcity of resources, the danger of a sudden and unexpected death. To put it bluntly: drama is realized through survival.

But what can add drama to the lives of aristocrats? Death by starvation or fatigue does not threaten them. The solution is logical - their lives are threatened by other actors.

This could be the same aristocrats but from other families, intra-family competition, or a threat from characters of other classes, such as a slave revolt.

The social mechanics we mentioned above also work for conflicts: the reason for killing one character by another can be envy (originating from the mechanics of property or inheritance of power), religious differences, criminal impunity, etc. There are many different ways that these stories could end in conflict and death, and it’s the unpredictability of these reasons that make Norland’s storytelling powers so engaging.

Thus, the dramatic survival of a family of aristocrats in an aggressive, complex social environment makes for a potent and compelling generator.



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