We’re ruminating on this now. It’s a layout and design challenge. Check this out:

JOEL: I want Stephen and Joy to have a scene. I want to convince her to seduce Pete Branch. [The rules for choosing to establish a scene are on page 55]

Everyone nods – it’s understood that the group will be deciding whether Stephen Caney manages to talk his wife into seducing Pete.

It’s a Friday night and we’re in my trailer. “Time Cop” is on the TV, and Caney’s on the couch in a bath robe, potato chip crumbs in his beard.

JASON: The place smells like ammonia and chicken fat. The shotgun is propped up against an arm of the couch.

Jason and Joel play out the scene in character

We’re out of everything, Stephen.

JOEL: Yeah.

So you’ve got three or four things going on there:

1. Players talking.
2. Observations of what players are doing related to the rules, and actual pointers.
3. Flags regarding player behavior (in this case dropping into IC mode)
4. Characters talking.

And they all get a little mixed up. IC and OOC communication is intermingled in real life, we shift naturally from one to the other, but rendering that clearly in text is sort of hard. Here’s one where IC and OOC get mixed together:

JASON: Pete, I’m so lonely.

MONA: And against his better judgment, against every instinct, he kisses her. Then he runs away.

JOEL: I’m so happy right now. This is all going to end in a terrible tragedy.

So IC speech, then OOC narration, then a player comment. Confusing. Or this:

JOEL: Maybe you ain’t and maybe you are. Maybe the fact that you just aided and abetted a known felon will come back to cause some kind of problem, who knows? I sure don’t. And he hands the doctor the shotgun.

So IC then OOC in the same paragraph. What game book handles this well? How to the JRPG replays handle it? What are some solid layout/typography techniques for making this clear and readable?

Formatting Replays and Extended Examples
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2 thoughts on “Formatting Replays and Extended Examples

  • January 7, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Jason, one thing you might want to check out: in Communications Studies there are actually a variety of formal methods for transcribing conversations, which mark many of the kinds of distinctions that you’re making here. I’m actually not sure what a good source on that is, but I could poke around if you’re interested.

  • January 7, 2009 at 10:27 am

    Good call! I’ll look into it, thanks.

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