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13 strokes, seriously?
November 21, 2010 3:22 PM   Subscribe

Calligraphy a new interactive story by Christine Sarah Love (previously) with a neat calligraphy rpg combat mechanic.
posted by juv3nal (33 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"A story about the persistence of sadness."

[Hits back button]
posted by regicide is good for you at 3:31 PM on November 21, 2010 [4 favorites]


So I like the idea, but the little box where I have to draw stuff is all sorts of buggy for me. Some strokes don't completely show, sometimes some of the box is missing, sometimes there's previous lines already in there.

I gave up at "Love", not being able to see my work is a bit of a pain.
posted by jasmus at 3:42 PM on November 21, 2010


Love is definitely too much work.
posted by maryr at 3:43 PM on November 21, 2010


So much clicking, so little activity.
posted by jacquilynne at 4:02 PM on November 21, 2010 [2 favorites]


So much clicking, so little activity.

That's love.
posted by kenko at 4:23 PM on November 21, 2010


"Hi", she doesn't so much say as she does croon?

Uh.
posted by kenko at 4:24 PM on November 21, 2010


And a hearty "Thank you all" for reminding me art classes were a waste...
posted by Samizdata at 4:26 PM on November 21, 2010


Interesting idea, but irritatingly implemented.
posted by nomadicink at 4:35 PM on November 21, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I gave up at "love" as well. No glitches or anything, just too much detail for clumsy ol' me to get right in that little box.

Pity, I had wondered where the story would go. Apparently my version ends with "and she never quite got the hang of it and died alone, the end". :(
posted by pla at 5:00 PM on November 21, 2010


OK, this is ridiculous. I am stuck at what is basically the beginning. I can't get it to accept the simple character for fire. I even hooked up my Wacom tablet so I could draw it smoother, but it won't accept my character, no matter how I draw it. Over and over, I get an error message that looks like it says "wwvalid."

Now mind you, I have a degree in Japanese, my favorite part is kanji. I know the stroke order by heart. I am an artist and I've studied calligraphy for years, I even won an award in Japan and got my picture in the newspaper. Also, I am a minor expert in pen input. I've used kanji "pen input" devices since about 1992 and I've written explanations of their function and use for Japanese students. I know the subtle details of stylus-based input, like doing things in correct stroke order, correct crossing order, correct stroke direction, making sure you draw full strokes across the invisible section lines that help the computer detect what character you've drawn. I even tried to account for differences in Chinese and Japanese stroke direction, especially the little dots on the sides, which you can easily see the stroke direction by looking at the drawn example.

And yet, I can't get it to accept one damn character that is so simple, I could do it in my sleep. I have to assume the page is broken, because I am drawing it right.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:10 PM on November 21, 2010 [11 favorites]


...Don't China and Japan have different stroke orders?
posted by KChasm at 5:25 PM on November 21, 2010


Ugh, sorry. That's what I get for typing without my glasses. Do China and Japan have different stroke orders, he asked in wonder and bewilderment?
posted by KChasm at 5:27 PM on November 21, 2010


Okay.. I finally found their guide. You don't just get the list, you have to click and then it shows you their suggested drawing of the kanji.

The problem is they are drawing the character Fire differently than I learned it. The instructions for the stroke order are wrong. And even worse, if you follow their stroke direction, it doesn't work. You have to fiddle it so it's the right directions (theirs are wrong) even if it's the wrong order.

Once I got past this stupid, I did manage to input all the characters including Love. But what the hell is the point of the game? Am I supposed to draw some specific characters? How do I even know if I'm winning? It seems pointless. You draw some characters, you get some right and you get some wrong, and then it stops. And nothing happens.

If this game can't please a kanji-lover like me, I think it has failed its intended purpose.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:32 PM on November 21, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yes, KChasm, China and Japan have different stroke orders.. sometimes. The character Ai (love) has a different order in the four top strokes. But this game uses the Japanese order. Or at least that's how I remember it. When I took Japanese classes, the Chinese students had a huge advantage, but when they used their native kanji and it had the wrong stroke order, the teacher was merciless in correcting them and making sure they did the Japanese order. That was one way she leveled the playing field for us poor Americans, who didn't learn kanji as a child. I specifically remember that character being the point of a lesson in stroke order differences in Chinese/Japanese. But then, it has been a long time since that lesson.
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:36 PM on November 21, 2010


CDS, write her an email. She's just a kid, really and I think she's more into writing than programming, she's probably appreciate the feedback.

Digital: A Love Story was pure genius, looking forward to trying this one.
posted by empath at 5:57 PM on November 21, 2010


If this game can't please a kanji-lover like me, I think it has failed its intended purpose.

Think of it like Rock Band. I'm sure, say, Steve Vai hates on Rock Band with the fury of a thousand suns.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 5:58 PM on November 21, 2010


Okay, got to Love.

She must be fucking joking
posted by empath at 6:07 PM on November 21, 2010


but when they used their native kanji and it had the wrong stroke order, the teacher was merciless in correcting them and making sure they did the Japanese order.

Can you tell from the written character in what order the strokes were made? Or was she watching them write?
posted by kenko at 6:09 PM on November 21, 2010


You can tell the stroke direction from the way the strokes are written. It's a little harder to tell stroke order, but that is a boring technical issue that you don't want to know. You can often tell from the direction of the strokes that they're writing it the Chinese way instead of the Japanese way.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:14 PM on November 21, 2010


Oh, kenko, I must have misinterpreted your question, I thought you were asking about Chinese vs. Japanese.

There are rules about stroke order, like strokes are top to bottom, left to right (with a few exceptions). Many kanji dictionaries have stroke order diagrams. You can draw them in a different stroke order, but they just look wrong.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:19 PM on November 21, 2010


Anyone else stick with it? I got to the end, or at least AN end, there very well may be another better outcome if you can pull off what I was unable to do. Might just not be possible however, or it might not work at all. (Trying not to be spoilery.) Also, lesbians!
posted by luftmensch at 7:48 PM on November 21, 2010


In looking at other things from the author, I see lesbians should not be a surprise. Pardon my delighted surprise. and not "omg wank" delighted but "cool, representing the underepresented" delighted
posted by luftmensch at 7:52 PM on November 21, 2010


empath, I emailed the author a little note, asking for help past the point where the game comes up. I wonder what the solution is.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:05 PM on November 21, 2010


I was so taken with Christine Love's work on Digital: A Love Story (and her thanking textfiles.com for research material) I flew her in to this year's HOPE conference in NYC and interviewed/conversed with her on stage.

Here's the video.

Sounds like some people are frustrated with the new work. I will continue to maintain she's a genius and thank goodness she's making games like this.
posted by jscott at 12:51 AM on November 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK. So far, I've defeated: the Ghost, the priest & am currently fighting an Ogre.

I've tried using Love to conquer all, but that hasn't worked very well.

It's an interesting mechanic: shame the gesture area is so small; I find it's too easy for me to leave the white box by mistake & trigger the recognition engine before I've finished the character I was trying to write.
posted by pharm at 5:39 AM on November 22, 2010


So eventually, death becomes inevitable, but through rebirth, redemption is possible.
posted by pharm at 6:05 AM on November 22, 2010


Finished.

I know some written Chinese so I suppose the stroke orders made a lot more sense to me. It's pretty forgiving - as long as you know your stroke orders correctly. And it has to be, because it's not like we're using a wacom tablet with 10,000 levels of pressure (or a real brush, for that matter).

I thought it was an interesting game with a novel mechanic (well, almost novel - it reminds me more than a little of Okami). Certainly falls under one of the games that are more about narrative than about gameplay - Echo Bazaar is another game that comes to mind under this genre, or even something like The Graveyard or Gravity Bone, if going for an extreme case.

But I did like the narrative, even though I think it could've been expanded more in light of cultural traditions in ancient/modern China, and could have done more with the mythology of spirits as well.


Re: luftmensch: I believe you're supposed to fail at that part; the story certainly continues, and the timer is extremely fast.
posted by Han Tzu at 6:10 AM on November 22, 2010


Got through it. Was a bit of a chore though. I didn't have problems with the writing mechanic (years of scratching out kanji on the tiny LCDs of electronic dictionaries helped there, I'm sure)...but considering that this is the 'gimmick' of the game, and its most crucial interactive function, I can't understand why the author cramped it into such a tiny little frame. My biggest problem, though, was the awful font of the writing; almost unreadable, both in terms of headache-inducing eye strain, and cultural cringe...that horrible "let's write English as though it were some form of Heian period court calligraphy"...or more likely, "let's write English so it looks all exotic and Asian-y".

I'll go check out her other games, though, as some MF folks seem to adore them.
posted by jet_manifesto at 7:04 AM on November 22, 2010


I know a bit of kanji, and I could do the stroke order and everything...if it wasn't for the clumsy cheap mouse that I have. I'm actually stuck at "Fire", but AFAICT it's not the fault of the game, but of my mouse.

It's a neat idea, I wish I still had a Wacom tablet.
posted by happyroach at 9:00 AM on November 22, 2010


empath, I emailed the author a little note, asking for help past the point where the game comes up.

This is your doing, isn't it?

Also, she thinks Apocalypse Sentai Skyfighter is better.
posted by juv3nal at 11:25 AM on November 22, 2010


I can't get this to work in Firefox, Chrome, or IE. Doesn't sound like I'm missing much, though.
posted by xedrik at 12:13 PM on November 22, 2010


You are missing hawt azn lesbians, xedrik. Plus calligraphy. Like The Pillow Book (wikipedia) but Ewan McGregor is replaced by Vivian Wu's secret twin.

Ok, not really. But that's how it is in my head.
posted by juv3nal at 2:59 PM on November 22, 2010


This is your doing, isn't it?

Yeah, probably. I didn't mean to upset her. I emailed and asked her some questions as politely and respectfully as possible, but she'd already seen me express my frustration here in MeFi.

In any case, she kindly told me how the game scenario operates. I don't think I want to give away any spoilers, but a vague enough answer is that some kanji are more powerful than others, and it has nothing to do with complexity or difficulty in writing them. I suppose that is part of the game, to learn how it is played. I just found it completely opaque, I couldn't see any feedback that would tell me I was doing any better with one strategy than another. Now I know (sort of). I'll give it another shot.
posted by charlie don't surf at 6:05 PM on November 22, 2010


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