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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It doesn't have to be over!!!

I can hope against hope that another branch will occur before her death and will have a happier ending.... Can't I?
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wansley
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 14, 2004 10:39 pm    Post subject: An unusual use of branching, actually Reply with quote

Hunter of Wisdom wrote:
Michael_Harker wrote:
To restate what everyone else has already said, great use of flash.

Just to be contrary (): I wasn't too impressed. I didn't find the whole "branching storylines" thing particularly interesting the first time I saw it, and it hasn't grown on me. I guess I prefer my comics to form a coherent whole.


I happen to like branching storylines. I was fascinated by those "choose your own adventure" books for kids that used to be popular a long time ago. (How long has it been now... 15, 20 years since those were published? Probably too long ago for most of the rest of the people in this forum to remember them.) Not that they were particularly good, but I thought could be. In fact I wrote and illustrated a picture book on index cards that used the branching technique, which is probably the closest I have ever come to creating comics.

But, in all the examples I have ever seen of these branching stories, I have never seen it done the way Scott did it in "Mimi's Last Coffee." In every other branching storyline I have seen, the parts of the path before the storylines diverged represented a fixed, common reality, from which different outcomes diverged. But in "Mimi" the reality at the beginning of the strip, before the branching starts is fluid. It varies depending on which path we follow.

If we follow one path, the redhead in the first panel is named Mimi; if we follow another she is Leslie. If we follow one path, the restaurant she is sitting in is named Mimi's Last Coffee, if we choose another, it is named the Branch Street Diner. If we follow one path the redhead and the waitress don't seem to have any relationship beyond restaurant patron and disgruntled waitress, but if the follow another they are friends and yet another, sisters-in-law. (Well, they could be sisters-in-law in all the branches where they are friends.)

Rather than a typical branching story, this Morning Improv reminds me more of a time travel story in which someone keeps going back and changing the past and therefore the present and future as well, except the changes in the "Mimi timeline" propagate backwards in time.

Now it may be that there are many other examples of branching stories that do the same thing and I just haven't seen any of them. Does anyone know of others? And, if so, can you tell me where t find some examples?
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ShadowCaster
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2004 3:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Rather than a typical branching story, this Morning Improv reminds me more of a time travel story in which someone keeps going back and changing the past and therefore the present and future as well, except the changes in the "Mimi timeline" propagate backwards in time.

This is OK as long as you can see the big picture. These backwards propagation are not managable nor suitable for bigger stories. There are a few books that do it and they are a nightmare to read because you are used to backtrack and read quickly over previously read paragraphs and so you can't remember what is real in the current reading path and what is not, making the stroy completly uncomprehensible (for example in the Sherlock Holmes series, you can have diffrent persons responsible for the crime, and even a fantastic interpretation of the facts, depending on the reading path. I wasted much time trying to make sense of events that shouldn't be influenced by your actions, but that can't be on a single reading path. ( follow someone and you were right to suspect him, but don't follow him an you where right too).
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Hunter of Wisdom
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:55 am    Post subject: Re: An unusual use of branching, actually Reply with quote

wansley wrote:
I happen to like branching storylines. I was fascinated by those "choose your own adventure" books for kids that used to be popular a long time ago. (How long has it been now... 15, 20 years since those were published? Probably too long ago for most of the rest of the people in this forum to remember them.) Not that they were particularly good, but I thought could be. In fact I wrote and illustrated a picture book on index cards that used the branching technique, which is probably the closest I have ever come to creating comics.

Hey, I remember CYOA books just fine, and I'm twenty-two . And I liked them fine. I think the difference, for me at least, is the second person point of view. In a CYOA book, different paths represent different choices, actions, made by me as the main character - it involves me strongly in the tale. In branching comics, I am external to it all, and really just looking at the goings on, and therefore the branching doesn't do much other than violate my suspension of disbelief.
Possibly, the CYOA feel could be achieved if the comic was drawn from a first person point of view, as the equivalent of the literary version's second person. I don't know.

wansley wrote:
Now it may be that there are many other examples of branching stories that do the same thing and I just haven't seen any of them. Does anyone know of others? And, if so, can you tell me where t find some examples?

I don't know of any other comics that does this, but there's a fantasy series of books by Marion Zimmer Bradley, Julian May and Andre Norton that does. The first book, Black Trillium, is written by all three of them. Each of them also wrote a sequel (or two in the case of Julian May) that diverge rather radically in their interpretations of what went on in the first book.
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Eric F Myers
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked the CYOA books but Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series was better. It was a series of gamebooks where you would keep an inventory and status sheets. It play just like a CYOA book but you would choose your weapon and roll dice to fight monsters and villians. Good stuff, sadly all out of print.

In the web comic world Michigan Comics Network has just started up some sort of comic jam using the CYOA style. I think they only have one page up so far.
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ShadowCaster
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2004 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Possibly, the CYOA feel could be achieved if the comic was drawn from a first person point of view, as the equivalent of the literary version's second person. I don't know.

It was succesfully achieved in two numbers of "le journal de Mickey" something like ten years ago. You had inventory to choose (limited number) at the start of the game that was nicely materialized as little cards, an exagon with 123456 on the edges to use as a dice by putting a match in the middle. Each pannel was numbered and decision led to pannel number X . The pannels where drawn like classic Mickey mouse pannels, but since you took the decisions, you felt as involve with the character (Taram, the Walt Disney Character in Taram and the magic cauldron) as with a CYOA book. Since there was only around 70 pannels, you soon knew all the comic by heart but great memory anyway.

latest Lone Wolf books are still sold in France (in French, sorry).

As for the link
pointed by efm, it's the perfect example of a WAY TOO BIG image file size comic that could probably be reduced to quarter it's size with almost no loss in quality (maybe even quality increase) by separating the different layers into jpgs and pngs depending of their nature and stack them with HTML. Beside that, it looks good and promising.
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Anonymous wrote:
It doesn't have to be over!!!

I can hope against hope that another branch will occur before her death and will have a happier ending.... Can't I?
Theoretically, it never has to be over. The story can go on forever. That's the real beauty of this whole Tarquin thing. You can add a branch anywhere along the trunk or the other branches. Because you can zoom in and out, a branch can be as small or large in scale as you wish, and you don't have to worry about a branch getting so long that it crosses another. You can continue to zoom and see more branches. Thus, you can have an infinite number of permutations and iterations, like a fractal. The only limits, I guess, are hardware contrains, and bandwidth.

Also, if you accept the premise that time/space reality is fluid along the path, then you can really go in any direction storywise. Any variable that hasn't been previously defined along a particualr path, can be any value until it is defined along that path, even if that variable has already been previously defined, with a different value, somewhere along a divergent path.
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Chronosome
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

efm wrote:
I liked the CYOA books but Joe Dever's Lone Wolf series was better.


CYOA, Lone Wolf--both great.
I've got four Lone Wolf books and I'd love to have more. Who needs a Dungeon Master?
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Tim Tylor
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rip Tanion wrote:
Because you can zoom in and out, a branch can be as small or large in scale as you wish, and you don't have to worry about a branch getting so long that it crosses another.


I wonder what would happen if two branches did collide?
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 20, 2004 2:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back to the Future, Part II: Paradox!
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Worse, I fear. A chain reaction throughout the multi-dimensional time-space continueum, resulting in total, and complete non-existance.
[go to close-up of Kirk in shock and cue "a shrubbery!" music]
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Tim Mallos
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

" Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. "

T
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William G
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It can be done with a "Lay-zer"
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 22, 2004 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Mallos wrote:
" Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light. "
OK, THAT would be BAD.

Everybody, no crossing the branches. It would be bad.
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ShadowCaster
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

- I made an HTML web page in Scott's <table> style so that people without flash can read Mimi's last coffe.

- Made another with CSS positionning that looks equivalent to the first, but with images downloaded in the order of their Pannel distance from the first pannel. This way readers are able able to start reading immediatly after first image is downloaded instead of waiting for the vertical branches up to the horizontal path to be downloaded first.

- I made another HTML/javascript version that mimics the click scroll tarquin interface, but without zooming.


I won't post the first and second without Scott's acceptance (of course I can mail them to him if he want's to integrate them into his site)
I won't post the third without Scott and Merlin's acceptance.
Currently waiting for Merlin's response about the release of the javascript script.
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Scott McCloud
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 16, 2004 9:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fine with me, SC. Go for it.
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