Images shamelessly lifted from various sources on the web… I make no claim to the art, I’m just using these to illustrate a point.
OK, yes, I cheated by putting in that “more” link. I really wanted the pictures to stand on their own as a complete post, examples of storytelling without words. Still, there’s more to the story, so I have to use some words after all. I’m an animator and storyteller by training (my BFA degree is in Computer Animation), though I work in games. Those characters above are great examples of emotion and storytelling through acting, especially the king and queen in Tangled. They never say a word, but they express themselves perfectly. I think we can use that as a principle to make storytelling in games better.
Stabs has a great writeup to start with: Storybricks in Pictures
Syl offers her take over at Raging Monkey’s: Storybricks: Breathing Life into NPCs
Rowan points out some interesting “monkeysphere” tangents; real life has a few lessons to teach us
Spinks writes about Storybricks: Storytelling with an Emotive AI (coming from a veteran of tabletop RPGs, no less, a valuable viewpoint)
epic.Ben suggests that Storybricks can even make Keanu emotional
…and I’m sure that there are other great articles I’m missing. Apologies if I’ve overlooked your take on Storybricks, and please include relevant links in the comments if you’d like. I’ll happily add them into the post with proper attribution.
So, there’s a bunch of pictures and a bunch of links, but what’s my take? Well, I’ve not really delved into the system much. I want it to work, I want Brian to have a hit on his hands, and I want better games. The Namaste people have kindly contacted me to see about letting me see tinker with the system a little bit, and I’ll be taking them up on that when I can, then offering my own writeup. In the meantime, I think Storybricks has great potential. I might be coming at it from a different angle, what with my movie background and animation specialty, but hey, it’s not like I toe the line most of the time anyway.
Until then, might I suggest something? Watch your favorite movie (or play, perhaps) with the sound off and see just how much is communicated in faces, gestures, framing, camera moves, lighting, and timing. Really great movies can work without words, even if words make them better. That’s just basic storytelling in a visual media. They did film without sound for a while, after all, and it didn’t preclude the possibility of great movies or impressive creativity.