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Monday, September 17, 2007

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The Making Of A Tale In The Desert
6:44 AM | Cord Kruse | Comment on this story

Rock, Paper, Shotgun has posted a new developer interview, this time questioning Andrew Tepper about the creation of A Tale In The Desert. The interview covers the game's origins, the unusual nature of the Tale's social puzzles, and some of the difficulties Tepper encountered along the way. Currently on its 3rd incarnation, the Egyptian themed game encourages players to cooperate as they work to solve a variety of puzzles.

“When MMO games first came out there was the promise of all sorts of things that had never been tried before,” he explains when asked about the game’s origins, “The first games that came out were really just taking a single player game and making them multiplayer. They didn’t have any social puzzles. Motor City online tried racing. Space sims. Lots of RPGs. But very few social puzzles… and I think that’s the most interesting thing in real life.” He references the American reality-TV show survivor’s interactive dynamic as an example of an exquisite social puzzle, and what he wanted to see in a game. “Nobody was doing it, and they’re still not doing it in the sense that we’re doing it,” notes Andrew.

An initial problem was actually devising these puzzles. “There are certain social puzzles that are well know – like the Prisoners dilemma – but what was commonly known at the time wasn’t very large.” One of A Tale In The Desert’s primary elements is the passing of tests, which pose a social problem for them to find a solution. An early example was the Test of Marriage. “A very simple puzzle: find one person you trust totally,” explains Andrew, “The person who you can marry, can use all your stuff – in fact, even log in as you. But in Egypt there’s no concept of divorce, so it’s the easiest test in the game to pass but it’s the one that can totally screw up your game forever. And that’s happened a few times. There’s been several high profile marriages that really did”. Similarly, the test of the Demi-Pharaoh. “The community has to elect one person they trust totally, who then has the power to ban – permanently exile – up to seven people at their whim, any time,” notes Andrew.
To read the full interview and learn more about the game, follow the link below.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun: A Tale In The Desert Interview
A Tale in the Desert

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